BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has agreed to work with London authorities as they begin their investigation into recent riots. According to some Londoners, rioters were using RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service, along with social networks such as Twitter, to organize the attacks. “It is clear that technology is being used, including in demonstrations, to direct people and undermine the police,” London’s deputy assistant commissioner Stephen Kavanagh told Bloomberg. “It is not for us to to moan about this, but to adapt policing style and deal with it.” RIM typically prides itself on the security of its BBM service and has denied access to governments worried the chat platform could be used for planning terrorist attacks. “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London,” RIM wrote in a recent tweet. “We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.” Read on for more.
Despite RIM’s efforts, one Member of Parliament, David Lammy, has called on the Canadian company to suspend BlackBerry Messenger services while the riots continue, Reuters said. “This is one of the reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police force,” Lamme tweeted. “BBM is different as it is encrypted and police can’t access it.” Twitter isn’t giving up information as quickly. A spokesperson for the social network told Bloomberg that it would require a “subpoena or court order” before giving the police access to private user information. Read on for more on how one group of hackers is reacting to RIM’s cooperation.
A hacker group who calls themselves “Teampoison,” recently broke into RIM’s official BlackBerry blog and warned the company to stay out of the riots. In a letter, the group said:
If you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we_WILL_make this information public and pass it onto rioters.
Teampoison said it was afraid that “innocent members of the public” carrying BlackBerry smartphones “at the wrong place at the wrong time,” could be “charged for no reason at all.”
Read [Bloomberg] Read [Reuters]