Dial Tones

Amid Spy Scandal, Blackberry Buys Maker of Software Protecting Chancellor's Phone

German Chancellor Angela Merkel dials her cellphone on June 27, 2014, during an E.U. summit in Brussels. Source AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel dials her cellphone on June 27, 2014, during an E.U. summit in Brussels. Source AP
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The sale of Secusmart, a German software maker whose products protect the cellphone communications of the German chancellor, could be blocked out of security concerns.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Blackberry, the Canadian handset maker, has offered to buy Secusmart, a German company whose security software is used by the German government.
    • Secusmart makes the security software that protects the cellphone of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
    • One German politician said the government will examine whether the sale should be blocked under German law out of national security concerns.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Canadian mobile phone company Blackberry has agreed to buy Dusseldorf-based technology company Secusmart, which provides anti-eavesdropping technology used by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Secusmart said the deal is still subject to regulatory approval and did not release any financial details.

The German interior ministry appeared surprised by the sale and a ministry representative said the government is looking at whether the sale comes under the Foreign Trade Law, which may give Germany the opportunity to challenge the transaction on security grounds.

Under the law, the German government can investigate, and possibly block, a deal if a person or company outside the European Union buys a Germany-based company.

The acquisition, if it goes through, would give Secusmart access to the global market.

The company sought to reassure clients in a statement, saying that it will continue to protect the security of its existing and new customers and will continue to use “end to end encryption” technology that means only the sender and intended recipient of a message can read it, to protect against third-party espionage.

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