BlackBerry, U.K. deny BB10 failed security test

BlackBerry and the British government today said that there is no truth to reports that the Canadian smart phone company’s new BB10 mobile operating system has been rejected by the United Kingdom’s Communications-Electronics Security Group for use in classified government communications.

“Discussions with BlackBerry are ongoing about the use of the BlackBerry 10 platform in government,” a statement by the CESG said. “We have not yet performed an evaluation of the security platform, but we expect to be issuing Platform Guidance in the summer.”
 

The government body, which provides policy and assistance on security of communications and electronic data for government departments and agencies and the armed forces, said its platform guidance will “cover a number of platforms, including BlackBerry 10 (and the use of Balance).”

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“We have a long-standing security partnership with BlackBerry, and this gives us confidence that the BlackBerry 10 platform is likely to present a viable solution for the U.K. Government,” the CESG added.

The U.K.-based newspaper The Guardian, reported on Tuesday that theBB10 OS, particularly its Balance feature, failed certain security requirements of the CESG. BB10’s Balance feature enables IT administrators and users to separate personal and work accounts in their BB10 handset. The feature is meant to prevent data leaks in the corporate setting.

For its part, BlackBerry said media reports claiming that the BB10 has been rejected for use in U.K. government communications were false.

The mobile device company said recent changes in the CESG’s approval process due to a review of the government protective marking scheme and a new CESG commercial product assurance scheme has affected the timeline for the BB10 approval.

The United States government’s Federal Information Processing Standards certification of BB10 and the platform’s selection by the German Procurement Office and Federal Office for Information Security as well as BlackBerry long history of collaboration with the CESG, puts the mobile operating systems in very good standing.

The BlackBerry Z10 went on sale in the U.K. in February and it will hit the stores in the U.S. on Friday.

Canadian investment firm RBC Capital Markets, last week altered its February sales forecast for the Z10 last week saying BlackBerry will likely have sold 500,000 units of its new phone for the period rather than the 350,000 units RBC earlier predicted.

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