Government counters media reports that BB10 failed security clearance

Alex Walls
March 21, 2013

BlackBerry 10 would likely represent a “viable solution” for the UK government, the government’s electronic communications security group has said following media reports to the contrary.

A Guardian report said the Communications Electronic Security Group (CESG) had not given clearance to Blackberry’s Z10 and Q10 smartphones, meaning it had determined the devices were not secure enough for government work, The Verge reported.

However later in play, the Guardian story was removed and the CESG issued a statement “following press reporting on 20 March 2013 about the security of the BlackBerry 10 platform”,  which said it had not as yet evaluated the security of the platform and discussions with BlackBerry were ongoing, regarding the use of the operating system in government.  It expected to issue a guidance in summer, covering a number of platforms including BlackBerry 10.

The statement went on to say the government had a long-standing security partnership with BlackBerry, which gave it confidence that the operating system was likely to represent a viable solution for the government.

Berry secure

BlackBerry has added new security measures, such as Balance, a feature that separated work documents separately from the rest of the handset (much like Samsung’s Knox), the Verge reported.

BlackBerry has long been catered for business users and governments; in 2009, the United States government had 500,000 BlackBerry’s in operation.  The Verge notes its previous operating system (7.1) received approval from both the US and UK governments; in November CEGS issued this statement saying BlackBerry 7.1 OS had been approved for handling information protectively marked ‘Restricted’.

BlackBerry counters reports

BlackBerry said in a statement yesterday that media reports alleging its operating system had been rejected for UK government use were misleading.

“BlackBerry has a long-established relationship with CESG and we remain the only mobile solution approved for use at ‘Restricted’ when configured in accordance with CESG guidelines.”

This level of approval followed a rigorous process, it said. The current re-structuring of this process, due to a government review and a CESG commercial product assurance scheme impacted on the timeline for BB10’s receiving a similar level of approval, BlackBerry said.

The company was continuing to work closely with CESG on the approval of the OS, it said.

“We’re confident that BlackBerry 10 will only strengthen our position as the mobile solution of choice for the UK government.”

About the Author

Share this article