German Chancellor Angela Merkel is using a BlackBerry phone equipped with Secumsmart's encryption technology

BlackBerry to buy encryption tech developer

Representatives of privately owned German encryption technology developer Secusmart believe the German government won’t find any obstacles for its prospective sale to smartphone maker BlackBerry.

Privately owned German firm Secusmart provides technology which is currently being used by Germany’s top officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, to secure their devices. Therefore, the prospective sale could be seen as possibly putting sensitive communication at risk, a much undesired matter, especially in the wake of the eavesdropping revelations made by former contractor of the US National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snoweden last year.

"I am sure that there will be a positive decision after it has been looked at," Hans-Christoph Quelle, managing director of the privately-held German firm, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“Nothing changes the security of the 'Merkel phone' and the telephones supplied to the government. All the secrets are only in the micro-SD (card).. which the BSI Federal Office for Information Security has developed and supplied to us," he said, explaining that neither Secusmart nor BlackBerry could gain access to those sensitive data.

Germany's economy ministry said on Wednesday it would have to check whether German security would be affected by the planned sale, saying a decision would be made within a month as to whether a deeper investigation was needed.

BlackBerry’s interest in Secusmart comes as the company is trying to revive its business under new CEO John Chen. The acquisition of Secusmart should improve BlackBerry’s track record with highly security-conscious clients like government agencies. Corporate clients and governments have traditionally formed an important part of BlackBerry’s business.

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