BlackBerry introduces BBM Protected

BlackBerry introduces BBM Protected

As professional communicators, when we hear the word ‘tracking’ we often think of analytics, ROI measurement, evaluation, insight and so on. This week’s hot topic is about tracking, but tracking of a different kind, one that can get a little messy; this time around it got Blackberry in a little hot water.

Thanks to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), known for its security and self-avowed high-level encryption, BlackBerry has hit the spotlight after several police investigations were able to track criminal conversations through the instant messaging app. In wake of this event, and due to some people being concerned with BlackBerry privacy policy, BlackBerry announced earlier this week the release of BBM Protected, a more advanced security service for its business customers.

According to The Canadian Press, more than a million BBM instant messages helped Quebec police and the RCMP gathered evidence on two alleged organized crime groups and made 33 arrests in Montreal, Quebec City, Laval and Gatineau.

By decoding these BBM instant messages, police were able to identify the suspects in a series of violent crimes committed in Quebec including weapon cache, forcible confinement, drug trafficking, gangsterism and conspiracy. This isn’t the first time police have tapped into mobile phone technology to help them in a case but, as explained by RCMP, “this was the first time that this technique was used on such a large scale in a major investigation in North America.”

Of course, this drew attention to the security of BlackBerry devices, but the truth is and according to unnamed experts cited by the Globe and Mail, “the Mounties could not have directly cracked the codes belonging to BlackBerry, a company that is often still touted as the maker of the world’s most secure commercial smartphones. Instead, it’s likely that authorities got a judicial order compelling the Waterloo, Ontario, company to help decode communications.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise; with a warrant in hand, police have the right to access this information. As cited by an expert in the Huffington post, “for anyone who thinks this exhibits a vulnerability in BlackBerry’s core technology, this is not the case.”

BlackBerry did update its privacy policy on its website just to be clear, it states that it will access personal information of its users in some cases, including in response to court orders, warrants and “other lawful requests or legal processes.”






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