BlackBerry today announced that later this month third-party app developers will be able to leverage BBM to add encrypted messaging into their products.
The move comes as part of BlackBerry’s ongoing attempt to reinvent itself as a leading software provider. The subscription-based service, BBM Enterprise SDK, will allow developers to integrate the company’s secure messaging platform into any number apps, including ones developed for Android and iOS.
BlackBerry did not disclose how much enterprise customers will have to pay to gain access to the service, nor did the company provide an estimate as to how the service will affect its bottom line. However, BlackBerry COO Marty Beard told The Globe and Mail‘s Shane Dingman that the company believes “we can scale very large here.”
During the company’s peak in the mid-2000s, BBM was used by 90 million users across the globe, and was at the time considered the gold standard when it came to security and privacy within a consumer-facing messaging app.
However, in recent years the service has lost much of its security sheen. In 2015, an article co-published by Vice and Motherboard Canada, sourcing court documents related to a Montreal murder case, revealed that BlackBerry had given the RCMP access to the worldwide BIS BBM encryption key, giving the policing agency the power to intercept any message sent using the service.
The good news is that BlackBerry says it will not have access . Instead, developers that opt into the service will be responsible for maintaining their own encryption keys.
[source]The Globe and Mail[/source]