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RIM Helping UK Police Track Down Rioters

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the there's-an-app-for-that dept.

Blackberry 343

jfruhlinger writes "Protests against a police shooting in the poor London neighborhood of Tottenham escalated into rioting and looting this past weekend. Initial reports have it that the activity was coordinated not by Twitter or Facebook but by the relatively old-tech method of BlackBerry messaging. Now the official Twitter account of RIM's UK division has announced that it is 'engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can,' which presumably means that it's handing over messages sent by rioters. Is BlackBerry being a responsible part of British society, or is it overstepping its bounds?"

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343 comments

There's a line (3, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026078)

There's a difference between protesting and rioting/looting. So cheers for tracking down rioters and looters.

Re:There's a line (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026268)

One man's freedom protester is another man's unlawful rioter.

Of course, it's pretty clear that there was plain stupid rioting going on here, but were RIM there to watch? In fact, do recall that the UK government (through a quango) is censoring the 'web to shuffle kiddie pr0n under the carpet. Now you can say that child porn is so bad, it has to be censored, but while I agree that whoever made such ought to be tracked down and, er, corrected, I don't agree at all on the censorship. Exactly because right after that people will demand other things be censored too -- in fact it's happened in the UK where "parent activists" demanded the 'web be turned into teletubbieland wholesale unless some punter would phone in and ask for the smut to be turned back on, so they didn't have to watch over their underage kids' shoulders while surfing. The problem with that, and your, line of reasoning is that it's not a solid base to make policy decisions on. That line is wobbly, blurry, and vague. It's subjective, even if to most if not all onlookers it was crossed at some point during a particular (series of) incident(s).

Moreover, RIM is not a police agency and as such does have exactly no investigative powers. Strictly speaking they're not even allowed to mine their own data and if you put it to the information commissioner they might even end up banned from keeping it.

So I say that they are very possibly overstepping a line here. Exactly because to volunteer data they need to make judgements they're not entitled to make. So I hope for their sake they sweetly asked the plod for a court order demanding they hand over "processed data" regarding the riots or something, or they could (well, should, not many people actually understand how this works) rightly be in hot water for assuming police powers they are not entitled to.

Re:There's a line (3, Insightful)

Aquitaine (102097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026444)

One man's freedom protester is another man's unlawful rioter.

How deep. Grow up.

How about this: in anything pretending to resemble a civilized society, smashing and destroying private property as a means to make your point counts as unlawful rioting.

It's amazing to me how much scrutiny anyone in authority gets (though deservedly so, in my book) but then how much latitude anyone who is ostensibly anti-authority gets. You can break shit, hack things, disseminate somebody else's private documents, so long as you're sticking it to the man.

Re:There's a line (0, Flamebait)

TehNoobTrumpet (1836716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026468)

Responding to the first line you read and don't even bother reading the rest of the comment?
Then telling someone to grow up?
Need I say anything more?

Re:There's a line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026652)

Responding to the first line you read and don't even bother reading the rest of the comment? Then telling someone to grow up? Need I say anything more?

Actually you should have thought more before you said anything at all. Perhaps the GP only commented on the first line because that is all he disagreed with.

Re:There's a line (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026290)

I'd say there's also a line between protesting/rioting/looting and shooting a citizen.

Re:There's a line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026376)

yes especially when he shoots first... the person who's death sparked this off was stooped in a Taxi and fired at the policemen with a gun before they fired back, this sort of thing is too common to get in the news in America but in England it is rare.

Re:There's a line (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026422)

yes especially when he shoots first... the person who's death sparked this off was stooped in a Taxi and fired at the policemen with a gun before they fired back, this sort of thing is too common to get in the news in America but in England it is rare.

Uh, the latest news reports I've seen were saying that the bullet that hit the policeman was... fired by the police.

So it looks like the police may have shot someone dead for no particularly good reason again, though at least this time it seems that they managed to shoot an actual bad guy.

Re:There's a line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026724)

(1) ... the person who's death sparked this off was stooped in a Taxi and fired at the policemen with a gun before they fired back ...

(2) ... that the bullet that hit the policeman was... fired by the police...

So it looks like the police may have shot someone dead for no particularly good reason

You do realize that (1) and (2) do not contradict each other, that they are not mutually exclusive?

Re:There's a line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026426)

this sort of thing is too common to get in the news in America but in England it is rare.

lol

Re:There's a line (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026402)

I'd say with can live without both.

People get shot on a daily basis in London and nobody bats an eyelid. A gangster is shot by the police and the world has to end? Please.

Re:There's a line (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026420)

Armed police stopped him in a pre-planed operation. A police officer got shot. They shot back, as they should. If a police officer was shot, that means somebody had a gun who shouldn't have. Given that Mark Duggan was the one who was shot, it would seem logical that he was the one doing the shooting in the first place. So why, precisely, do you have such a problem with any of the above?

Re:There's a line (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026482)

If a police officer was shot, that means somebody had a gun who shouldn't have. Given that Mark Duggan was the one who was shot, it would seem logical that he was the one doing the shooting in the first place. So why, precisely, do you have such a problem with any of the above?

Because last night the British media were reporting that the bullet that hit the policeman was probably fired by the police?

I doubt you'll find many people in the UK who believe the police story on any shooting after the Brazilian Electrician fiasco of a few years ago where pretty much every aspect of the initial police story turned out to be wrong.

Re:There's a line (2)

manicb (1633645) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026530)

Because the police in London do not have a very good track record [wikimedia.org] for honesty [wikimedia.org] over this kind of thing. If there is a suggestion that the police have acted improperly, people are now inclined to believe it, as they are expected to deny everything and smear the victim either way.

Re:There's a line (1)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026536)

If a police officer was shot, that means somebody had a gun who shouldn't have. Given that Mark Duggan was the one who was shot, it would seem logical that he was the one doing the shooting in the first place.

You've omitted a scenario -- a cop shot another cop:

The Guardian understands that initial ballistics tests on a bullet, found lodged in a police radio worn by an officer during Thursday's incident, suggested it was police issue – and therefore had not been fired by Duggan.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/07/police-attack-london-burns [guardian.co.uk]

Nobody knows for certain right now, but things that "seem logical" very often turn out to be not the case.

Re:There's a line (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026294)

I've been reading the headlines on this a couple of days....and I'm still not sure what all the rioting is about?

The police shoot someone over there, and they have a riot? What's the deal with that?

We don't lose our minds everytime someone get's shot over here unless it is something pretty egregious....I mean, we just finished the trial (not that much national exposure I don't think) about all the people shot on the Danziger bridge post Katrina by the cops. They had an orderly trial, etc. We didn't go all apeshit over it and riot in the streets over the shooting. The cops were caught, tried and found guilty, and convicted...end of story.

Then again, I don't understand it why other towns riot in the streets and burn cars when "their" football/basketball/baseball teams wins the championship.

Re:There's a line (3, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026362)

I've been reading the headlines on this a couple of days....and I'm still not sure what all the rioting is about?

The police shoot someone over there, and they have a riot? What's the deal with that?

We don't lose our minds everytime someone get's shot over here unless it is something pretty egregious....I mean, we just finished the trial (not that much national exposure I don't think) about all the people shot on the Danziger bridge post Katrina by the cops. They had an orderly trial, etc. We didn't go all apeshit over it and riot in the streets over the shooting. The cops were caught, tried and found guilty, and convicted...end of story.

Then again, I don't understand it why other towns riot in the streets and burn cars when "their" football/basketball/baseball teams wins the championship.

Good thinking, point out a verdict that went in favor of "the people". When the Rodney King verdict came down (in the opposite direction) there were many significant riots... Forget about those? You are right, things are so different over there.

Re:There's a line (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026656)

I've been reading the headlines on this a couple of days....and I'm still not sure what all the rioting is about?

The police shoot someone over there, and they have a riot? What's the deal with that?

We don't lose our minds everytime someone get's shot over here unless it is something pretty egregious....I mean, we just finished the trial (not that much national exposure I don't think) about all the people shot on the Danziger bridge post Katrina by the cops. They had an orderly trial, etc. We didn't go all apeshit over it and riot in the streets over the shooting. The cops were caught, tried and found guilty, and convicted...end of story.

Then again, I don't understand it why other towns riot in the streets and burn cars when "their" football/basketball/baseball teams wins the championship.

Good thinking, point out a verdict that went in favor of "the people". When the Rodney King verdict came down (in the opposite direction) there were many significant riots... Forget about those? You are right, things are so different over there.

Yeah, it must be the case that he was selective about his example and has nothing to do with the fact that the danziger bridge trial verdict was only 3 days ago.

Here, I'll try it just like you... How about the 1985 Dorothy Groce shooting, subsequent riots (plural), and eventual acquittal of the officer who shot her. Meanwhile, cayenne8 is still accurate in pointing out you guys riot and kill each other when your favorite soccer team loses a match.

Re:There's a line (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026370)

If by "we" you mean America then you're taking it quite out of context. We live in a huge country with a lot of space; it's a lot harder to organize and protest with our geographic size.

We don't "lose our minds" by protesting because a lot of people don't care (like that innocent bystander that was shot to death in Miami and another that was shoved to the ground and has his phone smashed for taping it).

Stop living in whatever red, white and blue wonderland acid trip you're in.

Re:There's a line (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026388)

We don't lose our minds everytime someone get's shot over here

What the F&*^* is wrong with you, you f^*$ing asshat!? Did your mother drop you on your head as a baby? Shoot. Everyone damn well knows it's "gets", not "get's".

Dickfuck.

Re:There's a line (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026430)

The police shoot someone over there, and they have a riot? What's the deal with that?

The family of the victim supposedly arranged a peaceful protest and a bunch of outsiders hijacked it. I expect the shooting made a convenient to engage in a spot of rioting and looting. Probably a mix of local gangs and anarchists. I hope the lot get the book thrown at them.

Re:There's a line (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026446)

Perhaps if we made a bit more noise about it, it would happen less often.

Re:There's a line (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026412)

There's also a difference between due process and illegal wiretapping. I'm not sure about london vs united states law, but there is something wrong with just having the information given to the government at will. I don't care if they are alleged rioters, looters, child molesters, terrorists, pirates or murderers. The bottom line is once you give them the power once, they own it indefinitely, if you declare it OK but only during an emergency, there will always be something that can be declared an emergency.

Re:There's a line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026458)

There's a difference between protesting and rioting/looting

Not according to the mainstream media. Every incident of rioting and looting is a "protest", and rioters and looters and the media's preferred brand of terrorists are no different from peaceful protesters. A protest without rioting and looting, or the threat of it, is not worth reporting on so it does not exist.

Then there's the irony that the Tea Party types talk about revolution and how they want to shoot people and their protests are peaceful, while what's left of the Left talks about peace and then goes out and breaks shit and intentionally starts fights with the cops so they can complain about being oppressed. I'm sure there are protests by people who are not crazy, but they don't get media coverage.

Re:There's a line (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026518)

I agree... It's just too bad that RIM didn't as feel as deeply for those who were impacted by all the wrong doing that led to the financial crash of 2007-8, the Madoff scandal, Enron, WorldComm, the prosecution of the war in Iraq by Bush II, the Abrahmoff scandal or any of numerous other egregious illegal acts for which they undoubtedly have access to evidence because they provide service to such a wide diversity of clientelle.

And that about the phone hacking scandal with Rupert Murdoch, or is that a little close to home?

Definitely overstepping (2)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026086)

If you want a messaging infrastruture that people can use and not feel like someone is deciding who else in the world is going to listen in, then yes they are overstepping and changing the contract they have with their users. Good luck RIM UK.

Re:Definitely overstepping (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026180)

I don't know about the UK but "I have a court order" means you hand over data.

Re:Definitely overstepping (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026378)

I would suggest you actually read that contract before you go making claims that RIM is changing it. From the BBSLA:

(i) You and Your Authorised Users will cooperate with RIM and provide information requested by RIM to assist RIM in investigating or determining whether there has been a breach of this Agreement and provide RIM or a RIM appointed independent auditor with access to the premises and computers where the RIM Products, Services or Software are or have been used and any associated records. You hereby authorise RIM to cooperate with: (i) law enforcement authorities in the investigation of suspected criminal violations; (ii) third parties in investigating acts in violation of this Agreement; and (iii) system administrators at Internet service providers, networks or computing facilities in order to enforce this Agreement. Such cooperation may include RIM disclosing Your or Your Authorised Users' username, IP address, or other personal information.

Re:Definitely overstepping (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026474)

If you want a messaging infrastruture that people can use and not feel like someone is deciding who else in the world is going to listen in, then yes they are overstepping and changing the contract they have with their users. Good luck RIM UK.

This is one of those areas I'd say is getting a little gray.

On the one hand, you don't want RIM handing over information to every petty dictator who wants to suppress democracy -- which, sadly, nowadays includes the bastions of democracy who historically think themselves not in that club.

On the other hand, rioting looting and burning of buildings (and I think a murder) isn't exactly lawful behavior and not necessarily the kind of thing you want to let happen.

I'm pretty sure the contract with their users says they're not here to help you engage in illegal activities. And, if the government shows up with the right legal documents to compel you, the point is moot. But, if the government is there mostly oppressing peaceful demonstrations (Iran, Syria for example) then maybe this isn't a government you should be dealing with anyway.

I'm not sure this falls into an "always this" or "always that" scenario ... then again, almost nothing really does despite people's tendencies to do so. Either way, I'm sure this will lead to what people perceive as double standards and hypocrisy.

As technology becomes increasingly something you can look to in order to get this information ... I think you'll see this kind of thing happen more often.

Re:Definitely overstepping (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026592)

I really don't see how it is any different than a regular wiretap: Blackberry gets a warrant on the grounds that the target is involved in a criminal activity, and BlackBerry is obligated to comply. It's certain that compliance with law enforcement is in the contract; they wouldn't be allowed to do business otherwise.

So my question is: Why do people think BlackBerry has a say in this? When the government asks them to jump, they jump - that is what the law demands. Failure to comply will result in fines and possibly forfeiture of their license to do business - either way their stock price drops further.

If they can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026090)

If they can do it for the UK, they are probably already doing it for someone else... India, Saudi Arabia, US??

Re:If they can... (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026150)

It's not if, it's only a question of what is expected of a company in this situation within a particular jurisdiction.

Re:If they can... (2)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026260)

If they can do it for the UK, they are probably already doing it for someone else... India, Saudi Arabia, US??

They can - that's not the issue here.

Do they want to do this? Without a warrant it would be commercial suicide, and they can stop pretending to resist Indian and Saudi Arabian governments. UK judges cannot give out warrants I think, because how do they know which numbers are used for these riots? Only if they have caught people, then they can ask for their messages, but nothing more.

It can't happen here (2)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026288)

they are probably already doing it for someone else... India, Saudi Arabia, US??

They don't need to in the USA, since the ability to go fishing in RIM's data and connections was designed in from the beginning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act [wikipedia.org]

...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026092)

relatively old-tech method of BlackBerry messaging

So basically, texting. Did you really just call texting old?
Using carrier pidgins is old, texting is not.

Re:...what? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026142)

Do you know what the word "relatively" means?

Re:...what? (1)

turtleAJ (910000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026240)

Do you know what the word "relatively" means?

Relatively speaking, no.

Re:...what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026254)

Not "basically" texting; texting in the walled garden that is BES/BIS. Given the typical userbase of BBM (hint, most corporate users ignore it) it has definitely gone the way of the carrier pigeon; most people have gone back to actual texting as the abandonment of RIM continues.

Re:...what? (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026576)

SMS has been around for over a decade, easily. In technology terms that's pretty damn old.

Good move on their part (2)

hilldog (656513) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026112)

Blackberry most likely feels being proactive is better than waiting to be subpoenaed and looking like they are protecting looters and criminals.

Re:Good move on their part (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026352)

Blackberry most likely feels being proactive is better than waiting to be subpoenaed and looking like they are protecting looters and criminals.

Yeah right!!! Proactive! :-P

This applies to T-Mobile and Vodafone and all phone and internet providers. Do they look like they are protecting "criminals"? Because right now somewhere somebody is planning a crime over the phone. I hope you see where I'm going.

it's England. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026118)

The police just get a warrant* for the data and then "Give us the decryption keys or you go to jail" to each BB executive/IP staff member.

* Or is mumbling "terrorist" sufficient these days?

Or is mumbling "terrorist" sufficient these days? (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026356)

Not necessary. All of the major communications hubs have built-in taps (this sounds awfully tinfoil-hat, doesn't it?)

Getting humans involved, especially at the carrier end, is expensive, time-consuming, and totally pointless. Instead, someone at Homeland Security just taps the data directly.

easy answer (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026122)

if RIM were asked to track down users engaged in a peaceful protest, this is a negative commentary on RIM for colluding with a vile regime, and it would paint the british government as a vile regime

but if RIM were asked to track down out-of-town hooligans intent on turning a peaceful protest into a riot of window breaking and looting (which seems to be the case here), then this is a noncommentary on simple law enforcement, which is justifiable by any government of any free society, and it is expected that companies like RIM would help out

Re:easy answer (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026224)

One mans riot is another's protest.
I tend to agree with you but others will not.
What I don't get is the people getting bent over it that do think crimes are happening.
If you have evidence of a crime you are not allowed to withhold it. If you get a court order you have to turn it over.
 

Re:easy answer (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026292)

a protest is what started in tottenham: peaceful demonstrations in front of the police station

then hooligans, from outside the neighborhood, came in to turn it into a riot

and no, i'm sorry "one mans riot is another's protest" is a stinking pile of steaming bullshit

people marching down the street is in no way the same thing as hooligan assholes throwing rocks through windows and walking off with loot

in fact, protests around the world and throughout history, protests that in a different universe would move society and government to change policy for the better, have been ruined by hooligan assholes hijacking peaceful protests and using them as an excuse to commit simple crimes. this in turn causes society, public opinion and government to turn from the protesters and their just demands in disgust, through no fault of the protesters

so no: to confuse criminal rioting with genuine protesting is disgusting

Re:easy answer (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026542)

As I said, "I tend to agree with you but others will not."
Trust me that statement is true and the best part is we have no idea what that one line tweet really means. Everyone is jumping to conclusions.

Re:easy answer (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026720)

so you doubt that hooligans frequently piggy back and parasitize peaceful protests, ruining them?

you can't tell the difference between the guy chanting and holding a placard and the guy throwing a rock through the storefront window to walk off with jewelry? what cause is he protesting? what injustice is he correcting? what wrong is he righting?

he's a criminal, and he is ruining the protest

it's a clear line, there is no confusing the two

Re:easy answer (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026546)

so no: to confuse criminal rioting with genuine protesting is disgusting

But you admit that for almost any sufficiently long protest, criminal rioting is an inevitability... This is what causes confusion to some not intimately familiar with the details of the event.

Re:easy answer (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026274)

Easier answer: RIM said "holy ****, we still have users? sure, we will do whatever you want as long as it's proclaimed far and wide that we do indeed have users left!"

Re:easy answer (2)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026428)

if RIM were asked to track down users engaged in a peaceful protest

It can still happen, the UK has a history of sending FITs (Forward Intelligence Teams) to photograph, film, identify and intimidate anyone who is engaged in peaceful protest. It's a highly effective tactic because people who would otherwise participate in the protest out of personal belief would give up and go home in fear of being harassed by the police later, or end up in some black list and be sentenced to life unemployment. It will happen. The UK is fully committed to the Safe Society For the Upper Class Under the Watchful Eyes.

Re:easy answer (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026502)

it seems that scotland yard has been contracting that sort of murky work out to murdoch's scumbags lately

Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (3, Insightful)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026130)

You know, even though I long ago forsook my BB, I understood why business & government wanted them.

Secure reliable communications.

Today....reliability? Sure, if you pull the battery once a day (yes, I know you can reset it without yanking the battery. Still stupid as fuck you have to reboot them constantly) Secure? RTFA.

RIM is toast...and fuck it, let them die already.

And I even get it...they're trying to put "bad people" away. BUT THAT ISN'T THEIR FUCKING PLACE IN THE WORLD. It would be one thing to answer a suponea. It is another entirely to hand over records voluntarily.

Fuck RIM. Fuck them right in the ear.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026174)

You sound like you have something to hide. Throwing bricks were we? A little looting perhaps?

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026234)

I'm just surprised this many people use it that RIM can even help.

Was just at GenCon in Indianapolis and one of our GM friends was using her BB to try and scan QR codes for a contest; it was hilarious to see.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026342)

our GM friends was using her BB to try and scan QR codes

You have genetically-modified friends? That may explain the continued use of a Blackberry.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026438)

General Motors, but I agree in either case.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026236)

Secure? Use BES. Still secure.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (1)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026386)

Use BES? That somehow brings the magic?

Bullshit.

You are still routing every single byte of every single message through THEIR equipment. THEY have physical access to the equipment. They have the keys...and even if they actually don't have the keys (bullshit), they have physical access to the servers.

Secure my ass.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026626)

As much as I dislike Blackberrys as archaic and buggy semi-smart phones, I'll add that when you use BES, RIM does not have your keys. It's possible that their gear is backdoored to provide the keys to RIM on demand, but that's true of pretty much every commercial encryption system.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026340)

You know, even though I long ago forsook my BB, I understood why business & government wanted them.

Secure reliable communications.

Today....reliability? Sure, if you pull the battery once a day (yes, I know you can reset it without yanking the battery. Still stupid as fuck you have to reboot them constantly) Secure? RTFA.

Which BB did you have to reboot once/day? I have a BB Tour and I've never had to reboot it (aside from software upgrades). And it runs for 3 - 4 days on a single charge (as opposed to about the 18 hours I get on my Android device).

As for security, I read TFA and though it speculates that RIM handed over the unencrypted chat messages, it's not clear that they did or even can.

But it doesn't matter to me because as a Corporate user, I'm more concerned about the security of my emails, not my SMS's, and the encryption key for those messages lives on my BES, not in RIM's network.

There's lots of reasons to dislike blackberries, but security is not the best example, especially when compared to most of the rest of the options.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026436)

If you think RIM is incapable of reading your BES-server email communications, you're dumber than you look.

That is all.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026578)

If you think RIM is incapable of reading your BES-server email communications, you're dumber than you look.

Do you have evidence that RIM is able to decrypt customer communications? RIM says:

RIM says it doesn't have 'master key'
That architecture, RIM said, is "based on a symmetric key system whereby the customer creates their own key and only the customer ever possesses a copy of their encryption key. RIM does not possess a 'master key,' nor does any ‘back door’ exist in the system that would allow RIM or any third party to gain unauthorized access to the key or corporate data."
In fact, the system is "purposefully designed to exclude the capability for RIM or any third party to read encrypted information under any circumstances," the company said. "RIM would simply be unable to accommodate any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key since at no time does RIM, or any wireless network operator, ever possess a copy of the key."

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026348)

People's apartments are being burnt down in areas miles from the original event that sparked the Tottenham riot. In this case this is a company cooperating with authorities within the framework of the law (including, I'm sure, the Data Protection Act and Hman Rights Act) to try to put an end to violent rioting. I don't like the current gov't and I don't like telecoms providers that bend over for them but in this case it is the right thing.

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026406)

Well, law-enforcement may not be my place in the world either, and I would not report a person for jaywalking. But if I were able to help solving a real crime, I would definitely do it. Looting qualifies...

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (3, Insightful)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026510)

I'm not saying remotely that these assholes don't deserve to be locked up. They absolutely do.

If I had information personally that could lead to one of these jerkoff's arrest, I'd hand it over to authorities in a heartbeat.

But this isn't a private individual with first-hand knowledge of the incident going to police...this is a private company we trust to keep our information and communications secure doing exactly the opposite. This isn't some loser posting how he just broke a window & looted on twitter, or a pic of him coming out of a store with a TV posted to Facebook (which are both PUBLIC mediums). RIM prides itself on security...and running to the police with everyone's shit because of a riot defeats their sales pitch towards secure communications, especially in a market where RIM is already taking the long cock up the short ass.

Fuck RIM

Re:Goodbye RIM - it was nice knowing you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026416)

Don't people ever learn. If you want to commit crime and mayhem, don't broadcast your plan, and, this is important, don't leave any trace like email, texting, voicemail, paper notes, etc...

Why no PGP instant messaging? (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026156)

How come PGP instant messaging isn't a reality yet?
Private messages that turn out to NOT be private will have a chilling effect on technology. I would think that these companies would encrypt everything just so they were not put in a position to have decide IF they should rat out their customers.

Re:Why no PGP instant messaging? (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026250)

The US government would just force them to store plaintext copies. Just like they forced Google to put a backdoor in Gmail. Just like they tap your phones and sniff your dirty packets.

Re:Why no PGP instant messaging? (2)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026364)

Yoda's paranoid twin...

Re:Why no PGP instant messaging? (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026380)

As always, the problem with PGP comes down to trust. Do you trust:
- The other user's key
- The other user's key has not been compromised (i.e.. stolen, 'missing', used by somebody else.)
- The other users's device isn't compromised remotely (at the service provider level)
- Keys the other user may have signed (or the other user's restraint in signing keys) are also valid - and so on along the chain.

And so on...

Encryption is a false security blanket in this case - it's already a given that mobile devices are, as a whole, remotely compromised by the service provider. The best you're going to hope for is that the communication to the other device is encrypted. There is no guarantee that the person holding it is your friend. The police could have already arrested her, and are in fact the ones you're sending incriminating messages to the police - which your phone happily decrypts for them.

Re:Why no PGP instant messaging? (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026554)

We are not looking for a panacea here. If you raise the bar to the level where you have to actually take possession of one of the users phone in the conversation, it would become a matter for a judge to decide in US. That costs lots of money which means it won't happen willy nilly. I just want surveillance of the people by the government to not be trivial. I don't think that is a lot to ask.

You have to ask? (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026448)

Who's going to get on the wrong side of Homeland Security by providing it?

Bear in mind that a carrier's messaging traffic is a data gold mine. In a totally open market (as distinct from the cosy oligopoly that telecom really is) you might see one carrier offer security as a value-added marketing advantage. Sort of like SMS at less than the per-minute voice charge.

However, getting on the wrong side of Homeland Security just makes it that little bit less attractive to step out of line.

A little bit of insight I read today.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026162)

"I don't quite understand looting whilst rioting. At what point do you stop standing up for what you believe in and decide life would be better with a free radio alarm clock?"

From Sickipedia, no less.

Rioter with a blackberry? (2)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026166)

Yeah, not quite.

This is part of Blackberry's effort to ingratiate themselves to Government. First with their security compliance, now with the 'Hey, we'll do anything we can to help you!' regarding text messages.

My guess is Blackberry is positioning themselves to be the handheld client of government since they don't have any competitiveness in the consumer market.

Re:Rioter with a blackberry? (2)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026238)

Actually, Blackberry's are massively popular with the country's yoofs. I was surprised to find this out a few months ago myself, but apparently they really like BBM

Re:Rioter with a blackberry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026316)

I don't see why you would want blackberries as a government if they are so willing to give up all data on other people to you.
Wouldn't that make you think twice before using it yourself?

yessss master.. (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026170)

It could be a business decision to have atleast one market still tied to them (i.e govt)

No, it's following the law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026186)

If the British government makes a lawful request of information from RIM, and if by law RIM is obligated to fufill that request, then no it's not overstepping its bounds; it's doing what it's supposed to do. (Regardless of what you think is morally right/wrong).

If you'd like to make a moral judgement on whether laws should be upheld/enforced, or venture down the path of comparing it to hitler/ww2/providing information on jews as requested by the government... well now you're trying to define where the line is on right vs. wrong. Short version: "the company" won't decide, the individuals running RIM will make their own individual decisions and/or perform actions that will be considered/judged only in aggregate rather than individually.

I didn't RTFA, but if it's some hazy middleground where RIM is proactively turning over suspected wrong-doers for no other reason than the soulless corporation has somehow developed a method for determining right from wrong and is applying its conscious... well that probably constitutes 'overstepping its bounds'. Although it "may be within its rights" to do so. (Whether you agree or not).

There, that's probably all of your options and the article probably hovers around/between some of those points.

Don't Broadcast Your Crime (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026210)

My god. Don't people ever learn. If you want to commit crime and mayhem, don't broadcast your plan, and, this is important, don't leave any trace like email, texting, paper notes.

Damn, they're easy (2, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026242)

Looks like the Brits are still not getting the basics right. Back in the 60s we'd already taught the authorities who tapped our phones, read our mail, and sent ringers to our gatherings not to trust that kind of "intelligence."

It only takes a few cases where they prosecute someone based on that kind of "evidence" and it turns out that the defendant was in another country to make the prosecutor a laughing stock. Again.

No good can come of this (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026264)

When authorities corrupt one messaging platform, users will either switch or employ more sophisticated means of masking their activity.

Anyone remember which credit card payment service cut off Wikileaks? That kind of memory sticks with the collective a long time. Sell out your users and you can expect them to remember a long, long time.

I don't think this is good for the state or RIM. There are other ways to get the same information that rely on nothing more than good old fashioned police work. RIM volunteering to help police identify their customers, many of whom may have had legitimate reasons for being in the vicinity, is not a message I'd want to send.

Scale (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026270)

Anyone worried that rioters text messages are being handed over should worry a lot more that every single call in the US is monitored.

"Poor London Neighbourhood" (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026272)

Yeah, right. Richer than most of the UK. One view of what is going on (and favoured by this former North Londoner) is that the police shot a "professional criminal" and the criminal gangs of North London are retaliating by demonstrating their ability to get out the foot soldiers. This is an area popular with the BNP/EDL, a stronghold of the original National Front, the British Nazi equivalent. The subsequent riots were mainly in strongly BNP areas like Enfield.

This looks like the Mob trying to intimidate the Government and the police because one of its capos got shot. If this is in fact the current line, RIM is obliged to co-operate. It is probably nothing whatsoever to do with poor people opposing Government cuts.

Re:"Poor London Neighbourhood" (1)

ZG-Rules (661531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026584)

Yes, opinion varies, but it is alleged that Mark Duggan both owned a handgun (an offense under the Firearms Act 1997) and used it to shoot at Police, injuring one: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2022670/Gangster-Mark-Duggan-shot-police-London-cab-shootout.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Incidentally, for those fans of history, what happened last time there was a riot in this area, is documented in history as the Broadwater Farm riot: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/from-the-archive-blog/2011/aug/08/anger-tottenham-broadwater-riots-1985 [guardian.co.uk] . Given that then an innocent, unarmed policeman was brutally hacked to death, by person or persons unknown, I would not blame the Police for going in hard and fast with all means at their disposal, including asking RIM for some messages.

Don't get me wrong, I am just as much of an advocate for free speech and privacy as the next man, but there are considerations that outweigh this. I shall quote you Mr Spock, from the 1982 classic STII: The Wrath of Kahn - logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

In this case, the vast majority of people don't believe that rioting is a proportionate response. It is their property that is being destroyed, and I bet they don't care one iota if their BBM messages are read as a by-product of the search to catch the opportunistic thugs who are doing this.

Re:"Poor London Neighbourhood" (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026696)

Yes, opinion varies, but it is alleged that Mark Duggan both owned a handgun (an offense under the Firearms Act 1997) and used it to shoot at Police, injuring one: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2022670/Gangster-Mark-Duggan-shot-police-London-cab-shootout.html [dailymail.co.uk]

It was also alleged that a man who looked a bit muslim wearing a thick overcoat in the middle of summer jumped over the barriers at an underground station when challenged by armed police and then ran onto a train where said police shot him dead to avoid a suicide bombing.

Of course that all turned out to be nonsense and he was just an electrician who the police decided to kill because it seemed like a good idea at the time. And in this case, while Duggan was probably worth shooting, the British media is already saying that the policeman was probably shot by another policeman.

There is a difference between Crime and Protests (2)

GREY_LENSMAN312 (892508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026284)

When you are hurting innocent people, your right to privacy is tossed out with the first firebomb. I know that can be an excuse for governments to try to suppress valid protest; but this is criminal looting, not political protests. People are losing their homes and livelihoods to these thugs. Put them in jail.

Re:There is a difference between Crime and Protest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026346)

Your right to privacy, maybe. Your right to due process, absolutely not.

Re:There is a difference between Crime and Protest (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026610)

Put them in jail.

Sure buddy, gotta catch them first. Do you see the police even trying? And the government is just whining and blaming twitter. Fuck people like you. Wake up and realize the problem is the government NOT DOING SHIT, and not the people rioting and looting.

Just drop a few tear gas grenades and rubber bullets, and this ends today. But the government isn't doing it. And as long as they don't, this will go on. NEWSFLASH! you can't arrest and charge everyone on the street at the moment of the protests. There are more protesters than policemen.

Re:There is a difference between Crime and Protest (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026698)

"People are losing their homes and livelihoods to these thugs"

The victims also have no legal right to effective self-defense because there is no practical unarmed self-defense against a mob.

If someone came to torch my home in the US, I would be well within my rights to kill them on the spot and the world would be a better place for their passing.

Wow. (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026308)

I just love this! It was a tweet by RIM.
This is all that it says.
"We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can."
This can mean anything from providing extra coverage of the area so any police using blackberries get coverage or buying people free beagles?
Wow what a jump to conclusions this has inspired.

Sing Along With Me +4, Informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026374)

Anarchy In The (Former) U.K. [youtube.com]

Yours In Minsk,
Kilgore Trout.

P.S.: Arrest Tony Blair. War Criminal !!!!!!!!!!!!

RIM are going to be very, very busy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37026396)

There are currently "copycat" riots springing up all over London. I wonder if they'll stop at London - there's the lethal combination of lack of employment/opportunities, massive cuts to police funding, god knows how many "not-wars" going on (so we are currently short an army if things get REALLY out of hand) and a disgustingly large gap between rich and poor.

I think looting and burning peoples' property is an utterly horendous thing to do, you can sort of see why they're all so pissed off. The rioters' apparent obsession with stealing shitty sports shoes probably isn't doing them any favours in the sympathy department though.

stolen BBs (1)

yeswework (1823850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026464)

Is it wrong to hope that every Blackberry used by a protester/rioter/looter was also stolen... perhaps from an investment banker or civil servant?

Lock the bastards up! (4, Informative)

xirtam_work (560625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026522)

I've got two friends who are now homeless and have lost everything apart from the clothes on their backs and their mobile phones after scum broke into a jewellers in Tottenham on Saturday night and then proceeded to torch the place. They lived above the shops and barely got out with their lives. For twenty minutes the Police were nowhere in site. My friends were posting on Facebook as the riots got closer and were frightened that they'd have to arm themselves to protect against a home invasion and then their worse fear happened - fires were started.

These kids aren't making a statement, they aren't fighting the system, they aren't protesting against jack shit. They just want to run riot, smash shit up and set fire to stuff whilst getting away with stealing as much as possible.

I'm quite happy the RIM are helping. Hopefully Skype, MSN, etc. will be on the case too. I'd send in the army with tear gas and rubber bullets (to start with) if I was in charge.

On the other hand.. (1)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026534)

It's probably safe to assume that any provider that stores your messages beyond what's required (purging from servers immediately post delivery, or not saving them in the first place) for proper functioning of the service, is a lousy choice for rioters and looters.
 
If these idiots had any sense, they'd send coded messages or use a different means of communication. It's not RIM's problem really. I for one, am against corporates spying and monitoring their people etc, but I have faith in my theory that people who are like minded as i am about privacy, would boycott companies and enterprises that embrace such ideologies.
 
For what it's worth, BBM ain't the real issue here. They never said they kept messages private, or that they are saved and stored for possible future retreival. In fact, it says so in their contracts! I find it hard to believe in mob stupidity.. All I can say really, is "What on Earth were those idiots thinking!?"

Questions! (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026538)

Is BlackBerry being a responsible part of British society, or is it overstepping its bounds?

These useless questions at the end! Is Slashdot trying to look like journalism or is it mocking it for its wicked ways?

To those who are surprised (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026540)

BBs are actually quite popular amongst the young here in the UK. It is the BB messenger that seems to be the driving force too.

Blame the people? (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026580)

Hello? Seriously, no one here think that the government and the police are to blame - not for "shooting someone", but instead, for letting the situation escalate to this?

Hello? Tear gas? Water jet trucks? Rubber bullets? Seriously, look at the images. The UK cops don't even have decent riot shields! What are they going to do, blind people to death with their yellow vests?

Apparently slashdotters here are up in arms when there's a "privacy" issue, but if a policeman shoots someone - even if he executes him summarily - it's OK, because the policeman represents "good". This mentality is what leads to unprepared police. This has nothing to do with being a developed country, or an educated society. Riots turn violent sooner or later. Even in the most tame societies, and for the stupidest reasons (Canada and hockey...)

Well there goes RIM security again... (1)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37026604)

At this point, pretty much the only selling point a BB has over its competition is the security of its messaging and email system. But if they are willingly cooperating with police to out their customers, then they really do not have a led to stand on anymore.

Don't misunderstand me, in cases like the London riots such behavior is justified. But these cases also undermine any security argument they make. Then there are also the servers set up in Saudi Arabia and in other places that are expressly under government control. I can just see RIM's next ad:

"Your communication is 100% secure*. And yes, it does Flash too**."

*as long as you're only messaging grocery lists and baseball scores
**we know nobody cares anymore, but it's all we've got.

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