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BlackBerry CEO John Chen says tech firms have duty to co-operate with police

Last Updated Apr 19, 2016 at 5:22 am EDT

BlackBerry CEO John Chen shows off the new Passport phone after the company's annual general meeting in Waterloo, Ont., on June 19, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

WATERLOO, Ont. – The head of BlackBerry says tech companies have a duty to be “good corporate citizens” who co-operate with reasonable lawful requests from the police.

The comments were in response to a story last week by Vice, which reported the RCMP intercepted and decrypted more than a million BlackBerry messages as part of an investigation between 2010 and 2012.

The probe, dubbed “Project Clemenza,” involved the killing of a Mafia crime family member.

In a blog post Monday, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) chief executive John Chen said firms need to strike a balance between protecting the right to privacy and helping investigators apprehend criminals.

Chen wrote that the world is a “dark place” when companies put their reputations above the greater good.

He noted that the case resulted in a major criminal organization being dismantled.