KPN’s CIO Jaya Baloo wants everyone to “live long, laugh a lot and encrypt everything.”
Speaking at the International NCSC One Conference in The Hague, Baloo said encryption was essential for protecting the freedom of expression.
Baloo also praised the Blackphone, a secure smartphone designed by Silent Circle that can encrypt voice calls. On April 15, KPN became the first operator in the world to sell the Blackphone in its stores.
In the U.S., both the FBI and the National Security Agency have criticized efforts by companies such as Google and Apple to encrypt information on phones, saying it would hinder efforts to catch criminals and terrorists. At the conference, Baloo railed against such efforts.
“Democracy and civil rights should protect you with real standards,” she said. “Police and prosecutors should be able to substantiate why they want to eavesdrop on someone. If they cannot, they should not have that ability.”
The Dutch telco’s strong focus on privacy comes from hard experience, according to VentureBeat. In 2012, a hack forced KPN to shut down e-mail service to 2 million users.
Baloo, a security expert, was brought on board shortly after that shut-down to help shore up security. The partnership with Silent Circle started with an effort to improve security inside the company, and when the Blackphone was developed it seemed like a natural extension to offer it to KPN customers.
More telecom news from Europe, the Middle East and Africa:
Nokia offers $16.5 billion for Alcatel Lucent in merger deal.  The Finnish ICT company Nokia announced on April 15 that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with France’s Alcatel-Lucent. Under the terms of the deal, Nokia will make an offer for all the equity securities issued by Alcatel-Lucent for a total value of $16.5 billion. On the same day, Nokia also announced that it would be initiating a “review of strategic options” for Here, its mapping and navigation unit. Options include possible divestment.
Telekom Slovenije stake sale receives only one bid. On April 13, Slovenia’s asset manager reported it had received only one binding offer for the telecom’s assets, without naming the bidder or the amount. However, sources told Bloomberg that the private equity firm Cinven had placed the bid. Telekom Slovenije is estimated to have a market value of $824 million.
MTN Group plans to buy Nigeria’s Visafone – report. Sources told Reuters that MTN Group is working on a deal to buy Visafone Communications in Nigeria, which is home to the largest mobile market in Africa. MTN is already the leading operator in Nigeria with a 44% market share, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission. The country’s rapid mobile growth is outpacing network investment, and recently Nigeria’s consumer protection agency threatened operators delivering poor services with criminal prosecution.
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