June 17 (Bloomberg) -- BlackBerry defended the security of its smartphones after the Guardian newspaper reported a British agency penetrated the devices at Group of 20 meetings in 2009 to monitor phone calls and e-mail traffic.
Evidence of the monitoring came from top-secret documents that American Edward Snowden showed the Guardian. The documents, which the London-based paper said belong to the intelligence arm known as Government Communications Headquarters, tout success in reading BlackBerry traffic. One excerpt titled “BlackBerry at G20” reads, “Delivered messages to analysts during the G20 in near real-time.”
“We remain confident in the superiority of BlackBerry’s mobile security platform for customers using our integrated device and enterprise server technology,” Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry said in an e-mailed statement today. “There is no ‘back door’ pipeline to that platform.” The company said it couldn’t comment specifically on media reports of government surveillance.
BlackBerry has built a following among lawyers, bankers and government workers because of the security of its devices and the fact that it operates a network of servers on behalf of its clients. The company is counting on that reputation as it seeks to claw back market share lost in recent years to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
BlackBerry shares fell less than 1 percent to $14.30 at the close in New York.
“We never comment on security or intelligence issues and I am not about to start now,” U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron told broadcasters today in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, where he is hosting the Group of Eight, or G-8. “I don’t make comments on security or intelligence issues. That would be breaking something that no government has previously done.”
Snowden is a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who earlier this month said he leaked classified documents about government surveillance programs. His disclosures to the Guardian and Washington Post forced the administration of President Barack Obama to confirm the existence of two surveillance programs, one designed to collect phone call records from millions of U.S. citizens and another that monitors the Internet activity of foreigners with links to terrorism.
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