Blackberry Priv (credit: Ron Amadeo)

John Chen, the Blackberry chairman and CEO, is ripping Apple's position that granting the authorities access to a suspected criminal's mobile device would "tarnish" the iPhone maker's image.

"We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good. At BlackBerry, we understand, arguably more than any other large tech company, the importance of our privacy commitment to product success and brand value: privacy and security form the crux of everything we do. However, our privacy commitment does not extend to criminals," Chen wrote in a blog post titled "The encryption Debate: a Way Forward."

Chen links to a recent Ars story in which Apple is fighting the authorities on whether it should give them access to an iPhone running iOS 7. Among other things, Apple argues in the criminal case that "forcing Apple to extract data in this case, absent clear legal authority to do so, could threaten the trust between Apple and its customers and substantially tarnish the Apple brand. This reputational harm could have a longer term economic impact beyond the mere cost of performing the single extraction at issue."

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