Research in Motion (RIM) co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has walked out part-way through a BBC video interview after being asked about the company's impasse with governments over BlackBerry encryption.
“Can I move on to the problems you’ve had in terms of security. There is arguments you’ve had with the Indian government and the governments in the MIddle East. Is that any where near being sorted out?” asked BBC journalist, Rory Cellan-Jones.
A visibly agitated Lazaridis replied, “Um, that’s just not fair”.
The founder of RIM at first said he took exception to the implication that the company itself had a security problem.
“We have no security problem,” he said, adding that the BlackBerry was the most secure platform.
Governments had "singled out" RIM because the BlackBerry was an “iconic product”, according to Lazaridis.
When pressed to give Middle East viewers an update on the question, Lazaridis replied, “This is a national security issue” and ended the interview.
RIM had previously been unable to meet India's demand for access to all its BlackBerry users' communications.
The Canadian company offered the Indian Government access to consumer communications, but insisted it lacked the encryption key to provide access to corporate email.
Before the security question arose, a “bubbly and enthusiastic” Lazaridis had been demonstrating RIM’s forthcoming Playbook tablet, according to Jones.
“Suddenly, the atmosphere in the room chilled, Mr Lazaridis told me my question was unfair, and his PR executive informed us that the interview was over. We were there, apparently, to discuss the new product and nothing else.”
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