Beyond BlackBerry: Feds loosen restrictions on cellphones for civil servants

Government opens up approved devices to include some Samsung and Apple models
BlackBerry
(Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns / Flickr)

Public servants can now hang up their BlackBerrys in favour of other options, as the government moves to expand the types of phones that can be used for official business.

Shared Services Canada (SSC), the agency that manages the government IT infrastructure, now has a small number of Samsung phones and some Apple phones that can be used.

BlackBerry was once the dominant player in the smartphone market, but has lost ground to other companies like Apple, Google and Samsung.

An SCC spokesperson said they’re moving to keep up with the times.

“SSC is committed to supporting the modernization of the Government of Canada’s telecommunications infrastructure,” said Frederica Dupuis.

“SSC is taking a new approach to mobile service to better serve its clients, use new technology and adapt to changes in the marketplace.”

BlackBerry has long been the go-to for governments, both in Canada and around the world, because of its encryption technology.
 

Dupuis said any phone the government uses will still have to meet high standards.

“To continue to ensure Government of Canada data confidentiality and integrity, only devices that meet Government of Canada security standards will be made available to customers, consistent with SSC’s current mobile services,” she said.

Anyone addicted to the tactile keyboard of their “CrackBerry” need not worry, however: the government will still support the devices.

Dupuis said the rollout of new options will slowly the next year.

“SSC is introducing these new device options for customer departments on a gradual basis starting now through until spring 2018.”

This story originally appeared in Metro News.