BlackBerry denies OS rejected for UK government use

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BlackBerry has said that, contrary to media reports, its new OS has not been rejected for use by the UK government

BlackBerry has dismissed reports alleging its operating system, BlackBerry 10, has been rejected for UK government use.

Several sites including Mobile News reported yesterday that the communications electronics security group (CESG) had deemed BlackBerry 10 unsafe for essential work by government employees.

The Guardian cited a source as saying the problem lay with BlackBerry Balance, software designed to separate work and personal content.

The newspaper has since retracted the story.

A GCHQ (government communications headquarters) spokesperson said discussions with BlackBerry are ongoing and set to conclude in the summer.

They said: “We have not yet performed an evaluation of the security of that platform (BlackBerry 10), but we expect to be issuing Platform Guidance in the summer. This will cover a number of platforms including BlackBerry 10 (and the use of ‘Balance’).

“We have a long standing security partnership with BlackBerry and this gives us confidence that the BlackBerry 10 platform is likely to represent a viable solution for UK Government.”

BlackBerry said it’s previous OS, BlackBerry 7.1 remains the only mobile solution approved for use at ‘restricted’ level and said that reports its latest OS had been rejected are “false and misleading.”

A spokesperson for the manufacturer said changes to the approval process has “had an impact on the timeline for BlackBerry 10 to receive a similar level of approval [as BlackBerry 7.1].

“The U.S. government’s FIPS 140-2 certification of BlackBerry 10 and the selection of BlackBerry 10 by the German Procurement Office and Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) underline how our new platform continues to set the standard for government communications.

“We are continuing to work closely with CESG on the approval of BlackBerry 10 and we’re confident that BlackBerry 10 will only strengthen our position as the mobile solution of choice for the U.K. government.”

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