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France Bans BlackBerries In Govt. On Fears of Spying

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-their-kind-of-pie-i-guess dept.

Communications 268

DesertBlade writes "French government officials are no longer allowed to use BlackBerries for official correspondence. The reason? Fear that the US government will snoop out French national secrets via RIM's network. From the article: '"The risks of interception are real. It is economic war," daily Le Monde quoted Alain Juillet, in charge of economic intelligence for the government, as saying. With BlackBerries, there is "a problem with the protection of information," he said. Juillet's office confirmed that he spoke to Le Monde but said he would not talk to other reporters. Officials at the presidential Elysee Palace and the prime minister's office were not immediately available for comment. Le Monde said information sent from BlackBerries goes through servers in the United States and Britain, and that France fears that the U.S. National Security Agency can snoop.'"

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Entirely plausible, even likely. (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608257)

I'm sure there will be an avalanche of French jokes (looking forward to some good ones!), but as silly as it may seem, put that in the context of past and present behavior of our executive branch and their reach with the "Intelligence" Community. Entirely plausible, even likely.

Re:Entirely plausible, even likely. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608293)

Of course we'll spy, but are their recipies for cheese and wine really something that we care enough about for them to go out of their way to hide it?

RIM is Candidian. Those STUPID, STUPID frenchies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608523)



RIM is Candidian. Those STUPID, STUPID frenchies !!

Re:Entirely plausible, even likely. (4, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608549)

After having tasted the American delicacies Cheez Whiz and Thunderbird Wine, I would have to answer emphatically YES!

Re:Entirely plausible, even likely. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608467)

It is industrial espionage they are worried about. The French are worried that their white flag manufacturing techniques will be found out.

It's been going on longer than that (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608497)

This has nothing to do with our present executive, much as I love to blame anything I can on Bush. Our intelligence community has always depended on help from large American corporations. In return for them providing cover for our operatives overseas, we provide them with useful business intelligence.

This was why Australia tried to withdraw from Echelon, and outed the project when we whined. We refused to let them redact sensitive information regarding Australian businesses from the data, and they knew we were using it against them even though we were partners in the project.

Re:It's been going on longer than that (5, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608733)

Our intelligence community has always depended on help from large American corporations.
RIM is Canadian.

Re:It's been going on longer than that (2, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608797)

Canada is part of Echelon.

Re:It's been going on longer than that (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608925)

...much as I love to blame anything I can on Bush.

Really? I find shooting fish in a barrel to get dull after a while.

Re:Entirely plausible, even likely. (2, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608537)

Sure we'll get all of their secrets, but who cares? We already know about the secret lab under the Eiffel Tower where they're breeding all of the super soldiers, and we already know about the mind control agents they put into French cheeses. What else could they possibly have to hide?

Re:Entirely plausible, even likely. (1)

DMoylan (65079) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608565)

i think the main benefit of spying on consumer technology like blackberries is that it could be easier to install and harder to trace.

they never did find who were spying on the greeks.

http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,1703702,00 .html [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Entirely plausible, even likely. (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608649)

Umm, I can understand their fears about spying.. but RIMM is a Canadian company based in Waterloo, Ontario, how would the US manage to intercept such information unless the Canadian government was handing it to them.. which seems unlikely.

Re:Entirely plausible, even likely. (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608739)

I guess you aren't aware how the interweb works, with all it's scattered nodes and multitudinous routes of travel. A lot of traffic will come through the US on it's way to Canadia.

Apparently... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608265)

They don't want us to know of any surrenders in advance!

Pointless demand (1, Interesting)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608267)

It wasn't through Crackberry messages that the US caught Airbus bribing the Saudis, Belgians and others. Have people already forgotten about Echelon?

Re:Pointless demand (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608723)

The stupid thing is there is encryption available for Blackberries through Entrust and I wouldn't be surprised with other companies. GPG maybe?

HOWLER MONKEYS!!! (-1, Offtopic)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608289)

HOWLER MONKEYS!!!

Everything? (1)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608291)

So if they are worried about information traveling through US servers, won't they have to stop using e-mail, webpages, and the Internet entirely?

This from.... (2, Interesting)

Earl The Squirrel (463078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608295)

The country that is accused of spying on AirFrance aircraft?
http://www.iht.com/articles/1991/09/14/spy_.php/ [iht.com]

Re:This from.... (3, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608579)

So, if you're spying... You're not allowed to protect yourself from others spying on you?

Industrial Espionage (3, Interesting)

BgJonson79 (129962) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608299)

I thought France was regarded as being very, very good at industrial espionage. Shouldn't we be afraid of them?

Re:Industrial Espionage (2, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608337)

You're afraid of Inspector Clouseau?

Re:Industrial Espionage (4, Insightful)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608469)

Psychologists call this "projection. [wikipedia.org] " That's why adulterers are more likely to accuse their spouse of cheating, etc.

That said, we both probably spy on each other as much as possible.

--Joe

Re:Industrial Espionage (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608793)

It's what other people call "first hand knowledge".

It hardly takes subtle impression formation psychodynamics to assume that the other guy would do what you would do in this situation. Looking at the chessboard from the perspective of the other player is elementary strategy.

Re:Industrial Espionage (4, Funny)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608975)

Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I'm not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

News? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608301)

information sent from BlackBerries goes through servers in the United States and Britain, and that France fears that the U.S. National Security Agency can snoop.

So?
The rest of the world already knows you're going to run 180 degrees away from a war...

It's not unreasonable (5, Insightful)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608307)

I don't think it's unreasonable for a foreign government to suspect that our government is not currently obeying any laws, morals, or ethics where snooping on electronic information is concerned.

Even when laws are obeyed they differ from country to country, and one country might not appreciate the latitude (or lack of it) in the way another country handles information and espionage.

Re:It's not unreasonable (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608439)

I don't think it's unreasonable for a foreign government to suspect that our government is not currently obeying any laws, morals, or ethics where snooping on electronic information is concerned.

Currently? Why would they have ever trusted them? This time period is little different from the Cold War era. The only serious change is that it is now easier than ever for the Government to automatically spy and have less chance of getting caught.

Re:It's not unreasonable (3, Interesting)

gmajor (514414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608531)

Do you think it's illegal, immoral, or unethical for the intelligence community to spy on other governments? If it is, then why isn't there any uproar on Russia spying on us, or China, or even France?

I'm afraid that the USA makes an easy target for outrage and will always be an easy target.

Spying is necessary. Every nation is looking out for its own self interests. Spying on government entitites is fair game. Spying on your own citizens is not. It is a very fine ethical line but as long as the focus is foreign governments, they are on the right side of that ethical line.

Re:It's not unreasonable (1)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608709)

I'm sorry, I don't believe in an espionage system without limits, laws or oversight. I understand that for you the world is a very frightening place where any form of espionage can be explained away, but I don't see things that way.

Yes, some spying is necessary. Part of the game that governments have always played with each other. But espionage at all levels, for any purpose is not alright with me. Those are limits we impose on ourselves internally, based on our own ideas, not those of other countries. It will never be ok with me for my government to lower itself to the petty level of other countries just because they too are doing it.

Re:It's not unreasonable (1)

gmajor (514414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608843)

But I do believe in an espionage system with limits, laws, and oversight! Just because you spy on a foregin government does not mean you do not have any limits.

Re:It's not unreasonable (1)

jalet (36114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608749)

> I'm afraid that the USA makes an easy target for outrage and will always be an easy target.

Always ? Don't worry, nobody makes the Romans or Babylonians an easy target anymore...

Since when is espionage vs another gov't immoral? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608869)

Or even illegal?

If any government were to send official and sensitive communications through unsecured channels known to go through another country, they'd be stupid.

The wonder of it is that it took the French government so damn long to recognize that.

Seriously.

Because the internal workings and deliberations of any government ARE a prime target of espionage even between friendly governments. Think of the advantage one would get from knowing the entire background deliberations of the other side in something as simple as a trade agreement on opening up even a small market.

Now, think how dumb it is to send those communications via an open channel in another country...

isn't RIM Canadian? (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608315)

1. name a network that US Spy agencies can't spy on if they wanted to, regardless of national affiliation. why is RIM any different?

2. would a Canadian like to clear their throat and defend a Canadian company accused of complicity with US Spying? seems like France is insulting Canada more than the US here

i think the real culprit here is economic competition. it's not outright economic protectionism, but it's a shrewd effort at spreading FUD to protect the real goal: the nurturing of a Fench homegrown RIM alternative

maybe the French are just pissed that the Internet didn't grow from Minitel [wikipedia.org]

Re:isn't RIM Canadian? (2, Informative)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608393)

>maybe the French are just pissed that the Internet didn't grow from Minitel
Ooh, good homework, respect.

Your point re FUD is certainly a good one though although I'm not aware of any French 'answer to Blackberry' systems about to hit the market.

Award for Most Misguided Trust Goes To.... (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608571)

circletimessquare!!!!

shrewd effort at spreading FUD
I'm sorry to inform you that countries spy on each other. Activities categorized under spying include lots of activities that most citizens would find distasteful to say the least.

Instead of the spooks sitting on their ever-expanding rear-ends collecting data, it means they need to keep field agents working France and turning more French politicians and policy wonks.

What you should consider carefully is the implications of this public statement. It tacitly verifies the U.S. Government is collecting that data and getting full cooperation from probably way more than just America telcos.

No one in their right mind wants to re-invent the crackberry.

why do you trust the french? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608691)

i am not getting at that you should trust the americans. i am saying that you should trust neither

"What you should consider carefully is the implications of this public statement. It tacitly verifies the U.S. Government is collecting that data and getting full cooperation from probably way more than just America telcos."

right. because the american government is evil and the french government is good

what a retard

here's a wacky concept: BOTH GOVERNMENTS LIE

fascinating idea isn't it?

a moron blindly trusts what the us government says. another type of moron blindly trusts what the french government says. an intelligent person trusts neither. sorry, you're not in the intelligent camp

Re:isn't RIM Canadian? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608619)

Thus spake circletimessquare (444983):

2. would a Canadian like to clear their throat and defend a Canadian company accused of complicity with US Spying? seems like France is insulting Canada more than the US here
..

Puhlease. Any company (particularly large ones) that wants to have a crack at the lucrative American market would do whatever the American government tells them to do. Whether it is a Canadian company or not, the fact remains is that is is a COMPANY. Companies have no country loyalty, but only loyalty to the "almighty buck".

I am a staunch Canadian, and there is no way I would defend RIM, or any company.

Re:isn't RIM Canadian? (3, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608667)

One of the issues that seems to be apparent is that the BlackBerry servers are out of country, on someone else's soil. I am not sure the USA would react any differently if the servers were on French soil instead? One way to reassure the French government could be by placing the BlackBerry servers handling French traffic in France. As to whether the USA or France spy on each other? Well I just take the cynical point of view that if national security matters you need act as if anyone could be spying on you. I don't mind that governments wear tin foil hats, as long as their policy of doing so does not effect Joe public.

Re:isn't RIM Canadian? (1)

Tuzanor (125152) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608705)

As a canadian, I'd like to point out that RIM's single largest customer is the US government in various forms (military, civilian, etc). The contract is probably worth a hundred million dollars. I'd be complacent for that much money. What RIM has to do is offer to have french government blackberries to go through servers in france.

Re:isn't RIM Canadian? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608887)

As a canadian, I'd like to point out that RIM's single largest customer is the US government in various forms (military, civilian, etc). The contract is probably worth a hundred million dollars. I'd be complacent for that much money. What RIM has to do is offer to have french government blackberries to go through servers in france.
That's RIM's dilemma isn't it? To keep the French as customers that's what they have to do, however, to keep the Americans as customers it's also what they must under no circumstances do. Essentially, for them it's a matter of which is the bigger market and losing the French Govt. as a customer will put a smaller dent in their stock prices than losing the business they get from the US. Govt. Still, from RIM's point of view this must really suck even if their US interests are safe. The US may be their biggest customer, much bigger than France, and they probably make significant concessions to US intelligence services in order to keep their presence in the US market but France's example may of inspire others. If several EU Govts. and major European corporations the French example it could really hurt RIM regardless of whether the US is their biggest customer or not, even the small fry can weight heavily in a company's financial bottom line if there is just enough of it.

What is there to fear? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608317)


    What could an economic powerhouse like France possibly fear from the US? That they'll find the secret to their outrageous accent?

Re:What is there to fear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608427)

They're afraid the US will discover that France already has the Holy Grail, and that the US will give that information to some English kuh-nig-its in the Coalition of the Willing.

Re:What is there to fear? (0)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608683)

What could an economic powerhouse like France possibly fear from the US? That they'll find the secret to their outrageous accent?
Or maybe they'll find the secret to their running shoes

Seems rational (5, Interesting)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608325)

This seems like a perfectly rational precaution. For five every crazed conspiracy theory where random Joe Public runs around screaming that the NSA is decrypting his SSL'd eBay login information and/or listening for words like "bomb" and "president" on his phone calls to his mother, there's one very legitimate precaution like this.

The real news story would be any government organization, US or foreign, that _WAS_ entrusting valuable national secrets to a third party vendor anywhere. The US isn't the only country with ELINT, and unless you have a network that doesn't require external trust (eg, the encryption is done server side or via a proprietary program that could be compromised) there's every reason NOT to make it easy for someone to profit at your expense.

The minute God crapped out the third cave man, a conspiracy was hatched against one of them. You don't need to be a tin-foil wearing, taxi driving crazypants to know this.

Re:Seems rational (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608715)

'crazed conspiracy theory where random Joe Public runs around screaming that the NSA is decrypting his SSL'd eBay login information'

Not likely without a reason but not unlikely if they had some reason to care.

'listening for words like "bomb" and "president" on his phone calls to his mother'

You do realize this isn't a conspiracy theory right? This has been leaked, confirmed, and publicly defended by the dictat... err president.

'The minute God crapped out the third cave man, a conspiracy was hatched against one of them.'

No doubt. Personally I am rather impressed with own governments clever spin. Despite the fact that government conspiracies are uncovered and brought into the public eye regularly, everyone who suspects that the government might be conspiring in any way that hasn't yet been uncovered is considered a crackpot (not to say that there are any shortage of actual crackpots).

Re:Seems rational (1)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608877)

listening for words like "bomb" and "president"
Suddenly there was a knock at the door,
And Slashdot poster Chairboy was no more.

Is RIM really that stupid? (2, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608333)

Blackberries can't do S/MIME? Every other email client on the planet can do that. If RIM just built S/MIME support into their products, then it wouldn't matter at all who routed through what and where.

Re:Is RIM really that stupid? (3, Interesting)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608559)

That's only true if you audit the entire Blackberry software stack for side-channel information leaks at the machine code level. I refer you to Ken Thompson's classic, Reflections on Trusting Trust. [acm.org] I've actually worked with a vendor that has tools for embedding special kinds of sentinels [arxan.com] in object code, taking an even more direct and undetectable route than Ken did.

They're right to be wary.

--Joe

Re:Is RIM really that stupid? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608907)

Did you read the article? They are concerned about routing their messages through the US, not about the devices themselves being boobytrapped.

Re:Is RIM really that stupid? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608583)

Yeah, that'll stop the NSA from dropping a box into their network and snooping that way.

France has a very legitimate concern. In fact, I'd be amazed if, given the US's history, RIM wasn't already sending every email that goes through their system to the NSA.

Yes, RIM might be headquartered in Canada, but if being in another country can't stop the US from abducting you and sending you to be tortured, why would that stop them from snooping on RIM's servers?

Insighful?? No. (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608731)

It's got **nothing** to do with the crackberry client.

At this point in time, I don't doubt that the U.S. spooks measure their computing power in acres so if it's important they'll crack it.

The article indirectly confirms spying at the backbone level via telco cooperation. A probable case can be made that RIM cooperates with the spooks anyway so secure client or not, the French are being practical and staying off a newish and very tempting looking grid.

do they not understand how blackberries work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608341)

This is laughable at best. While I understand their very real concern, the US has changed considerably under the dictatorship of their current el presidente, do they not understand how blackberries work?

there is a reason why there is end to end encryption..

Re:do they not understand how blackberries work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608441)

1. you do not understand how blackberries work.
2. you do not understand how spying works.

an indication of what the French are doing (2, Interesting)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608343)

You always fear most the evils that you yourself would commit.

Thieves fear theft, liars fear that others are lying, backstabbers fear backstabbing... and the French fear economic espionage. Hmmmm. I wonder what the French might be up to?

Re:an indication of what the French are doing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608451)

And Americans fear terrorists... Hummmmm.

Re:an indication of what the French are doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608547)

Don't be silly... Americans fear everything... and David Bowie is afraid of Americans!

Re:an indication of what the French are doing (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608503)

You always fear most the evils that you yourself would commit.


At least, the French are not afraid of being tortured by their enemies. I wonder what the CIA might be up to, with its black flights and secret prisons?

Re:an indication of what the French are doing (1)

tiananmen tank man (979067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608735)

An indication of what the French are doing? You have got to be kidding. Have you been so brainwashed by the American Media/Government?

"If you aren't doing anything wrong, why are you hiding what you are doing?"

You might want to ask the people/customers who use the services of a dna lab what they are hiding cause a lot of those services are going up to Canada cause of the disregard for privacy in the USA due to post 911 laws.

Re:an indication of what the French are doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608839)

Um, the French have openly acknowledged that they are engaged in a campaign of industrial espionage against the US.

Crackers and Blackberries.... (-1, Flamebait)

PorkNutz (730601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608355)

First an article about Crackers, and now an article about Blackberries. It's starting to feel like Def Comedy Jam around here today!

-----
Übergeek Necktie T-Shirt [prostoner.com]
Funny Shirts @ ProStoner.com

The French should know a thing or two about spying (4, Informative)

gmajor (514414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608383)

The French should know a thing or two about spying. They've been widely reported to engage in corporate spying against U.S. corporate interests. As an American, I say this is fair game (if the U.S. chooses this route).

http://www.iht.com/articles/1991/09/14/spy_.php [iht.com] - an article about this from 1991.

Paranoid? (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608421)

Kinda sad that our own allies are afraid of us spying on them.

That said the US's own citizens might need to take up counter intelligence mindset against it's Government.

As for France's counter intelligence measures it seems to me that the US could pick their communications out of the air with satellites and spy planes, no matter what wireless e-mail they use, just as easily as they could check RIM's servers.

France, of course, knows about this stuff (4, Interesting)

ab762 (138582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608423)

because they pursue it themselves: see this [jinsa.org] or Google "economic espionage" and France. And this 1992 item about Air France's [fas.org] involvement in bugging first class seats.

I recall being told never to trust the shredders in French hotel rooms: they may have a scanner. Can't find that online, though.

Re:France, of course, knows about this stuff (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608781)

After reading that, I'm not so sure I should trust my chapeau de feuille d'étain.

Fallout from current administration (0, Flamebait)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608425)

Whether you like or hate this administration, there can be little argument that it's caused a great deal of harm to our nations foreign relations.

Do we have any friends left?

Re:Fallout from current administration (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608515)

Is there anything that's wrong with today's world, for which BushCo is not at least partly responsible? In your opinion?..

Thank you.

Re:Fallout from current administration (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608665)


Is there anything that's wrong with today's world, for which BushCo is not at least partly responsible? In your opinion?..

Thank you.


You know, were this this the story about the lake dissapearing, you'd have a point. But this is about a foreign nation worried that the US isn't trustworthy. A nation who, until fairly recently, we were best buds with ( politically speaking ). Who would you like to believe this was caused by? Toothfairy maybe? Santa?

Re:Fallout from current administration (-1, Flamebait)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608879)

IMHO not much. We have a dictator in office, said dictator is already known to have rigged the election to stay in power, disregards the highest laws in the land and the principles our nation is founded upon, has ordered the murder and torture of tens of thousands in a sovereign nation without any known cause, spies upon our citizens, and of course detains and tortures U.S. Citizens without trial.

In response to this, the people of this nation have taken decisive action to remove this threat to our democracy and way of life. We have... complained about him and made fun of him. Is it really that far of a stretch to assume that all this might have had an impact on our credibility in the rest of the world?

Somewhere along the lines we got confused. We have fought so hard and defended free speech so desperately that forgot that there is a time to stop talking and start acting.

Re:Fallout from current administration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608607)

Well there's always Israel. However... [wikipedia.org] .

I thought the french would love a good RIM job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608443)

But seriously folks.

I'd be willing to bet the NSA could snoop no matter what they use.

This is just France being France, and flipping us off because they're better than everyone else.

And they are right... (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608449)

Personally, I don't understand how/why these devices can be used by anyone, really, who cares for the privacy/secrets. The connection to your mail-server is not secured at all.

Even if device->RIM connection is secure (which is not certain, for they are using a proprietary protocol, AFAIK), you have to trust your privacy to RIM, a Canadian company foreign to most of its users.

Sure, they have a good incentive to keep your privacy, but it would be better still to just use an end-to-end secure connection directly to your servers (via IMAPS, for example). Devices capable of that are becoming available, and the wireless networks grow as well... RIM exploded in prominence because it did not use Internet Protocol and was able to deliver relatively light and power-efficient devices to do the job.

But technology is quickly eliminating that advantage — and the French may help create a better alternative, for a change.

Can? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608455)

You mean that our governments aren't already assuming that they do snoop?

Yeah, but what am I thinking? We're talking about politicians and bureaucrats here.

 

The French government should worry (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608465)

They spend so much time meddling in the corporate world, trying to build national champions that I have no doubt that there is a lot of information of commercial interest floating around.

Mind you, wouldn't surprise me if this is just an excuse to subsidise a French company and have them build a network.

Failed economic policy? Point the finger! (0, Troll)

Syncerus (213609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608471)

Given the disastrous track record of the French economy under Socialist policies, one would think the French economic gurus might want to focus more on economic fundamentals and basic Capitalist theory rather than indulge in paranoid conspiracy theories.

Of course, then they might be held accountable for their policy failures ...

Re:Failed economic policy? Point the finger! (3, Informative)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608729)

Except of course, the current French President is a conservative, and one that comes from a fairly free-enterprise and pro-American background.

Except, of course, the former French President was also a Conservative, and had been in power for the past 15 years. ith disastrous economic results except when his Prime Minister was... a French Socialist.

Except, of course, that the fundamentals of the French economy -- except for unemployment -- are sound, and that the top 40 French companies -- some of which are #1 in the world in their respective fields -- have made so much profit, they have decided to distribute Billions of Euros to their shareholders [lesechos.fr] .

And you, Sir, should focus on basic literacy and common sense, instead of indulging in your know-nothing French socialist bashing.

Re:Failed economic policy? Point the finger! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608915)

Isn't this a policy from the newly-elected administration in France? They can blame any economic failures on their predecessors quite easily.

It's a strange comment though, since the new French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has spoke out against Free Software. Once you remove Free Software, that basically leaves you dependent on code you can't audit, supplied by US companies, which doesn't strike me as entirely consistent with this comment.

If the software is being used on a classified network, then the code should be audited by your own security services, and the deployed version should be compiled from the audited source (sorry Microsoft, supplying parts of the code that can't be compiled isn't acceptable).

No surprises here (5, Insightful)

patrik (55312) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608477)

I am not surprised. The US Government does not particularly like them either. They are not considered secure devices by anyone's standard. I used to work at a large contractor and whenever some idiot manager had accidentally forwarded their classified emails to their to a blackberry there was always a lot of yelling and head rolling. The person had to basically give up their PDA for a week while the security guys sanitized the device. I believe the emails are actually stored on blackberry's emails servers so they even had to contact them to remove said emails.

If I were worried about security I wouldn't think twice about banning them, no matter what country the mail servers were in. That being said, our govt and I am sure the French govt have skiffs for the really higher classification stuff.

Patrik

Re:No surprises here (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608603)

Yup, just set one up last week for my VP. The emails are all stored on the provider's server and the system is set up to copy/redirect emails to/from your internal email to the provider's email service. So your email is only as secure as the 3rd party makes is.

-Rick

Re:No surprises here (1)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608859)

No.

That is not the correct way to set up a BlackBerry in a corporate environment, sorry.

A FANTASTIC development!! (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608533)

Oh this makes me really happy to see this.

At the moment, it would appear that the US Government has been pushing onto US businesses to allow for this and other types of surveillance and snooping. Now businesses will have a clear example of why it is not in their interests to comply so readily. When the international market will no longer trust you or your business model because the US Federal Government is potentially encroaching, corrupting or otherwise tainting their bsuiness image, then there will be lobbying for less government interference with business.

I don't want to see lobbying affect government at all... don't get me wrong. That's where corruption largely begins and lives. But as long as this system is in place, at least now we can see where even those forces can be used against the current trends in government eroding our rights and privacy.

Re:A FANTASTIC development!! (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608939)

Oh please. Nobody would even TALK to a Chinese company by your line of reasoning. Get a grip, nobody cares.

the french don't need any high tech devices, (1)

MXPS (1091249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608535)

they have Jacques Clouseau to find out and tell them everything they need to know!

blackberries banned (2, Funny)

ShorePiper82 (1027534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608541)

in other news Steve Jobs just announced the latest French Flag theme for the iPhone.

Re:blackberries banned (3, Funny)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608871)

Cool a completely white iphone ! I may have to buy one now.

why engage in economic war with France? (3, Funny)

boguslinks (1117203) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608591)

Why would the US want to do this? To engage in "economic war" the opponent needs a vibrant economy. Would the US spy on them to try to determine if they're going to loosen up the 35 hour work week?

Two words: (1)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608819)

Boeing.

Airbus.

Both are MASSIVE exporters, netting their home countries billions - largely because they're the biggest (and, for some products, the only) players in their industry.

Both are at each others throats. Both are trying to best each other. Both are targets of the intelligence service of the opposing country's intelligence community.

The French economy isn't exactly soaring lately, to be sure, but in this particular industry we want to keep a close eye on our competitors. Espionage, like international relations in general, is based on reciprocity - we do what you do to us, and we expect done to us what we'll do to you. Outrage of the uninformed and falsely shocked not withstanding, those are the rules. Sure, we'll try to counter wherever we can and defend ourselves, but it's all part of the game. The French are known to spy on the U.S. Aerospace industry - it would be foolish of us not to do the same to the French industry as well.

Also note that there is a significant difference between espionage and covert action.

Open government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608625)

So make all offical correspondance publically available - the government is supposed to be accountable to the people after all.
Exceptions could of course be made for national security, but for the day-to-day stuff, there's no reason the public shouldn't know.

Not just the French should be worried... (-1, Troll)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608627)

...given the lack of respect that the current US administration shows for privacy laws, I'm surprised that anybody in the US or Canada thinks that their data exchanges are safe from prying eyes...!

Re:Not just the French should be worried... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608697)

blackberry == rim == Canadian company?

Bah, bb's [and smart phones] suck anyways. I'm so tired of whenever I catch up with the pals at the bar to have them all pull out their smart phones and show off how cool it is to read email while at the pub. ... or maybe I just have to hang out with less scriptkiddie type people .... hmmm

Re:Not just the French should be worried... (1)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608941)

The real surprise is to think that any data exchange at all is safe from prying eyes. Even with encryption , computing is making leaps and bounds at breaking it. Those exchanges are only as safe as the length of time needed to break the encryption.

Hopefully by then the "honey , please pick up some wine on the way home" email will be safe.

Do they think any data sent wireless and through a third party is actually safe ? If so I have one hell of a swatch of land to sell em out there in the middle of the atlantic.

Eh? (3, Informative)

daemonc (145175) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608699)

I thought RIM was Canadian? http://www.rim.net/ [rim.net]

Although I don't doubt that the US government would would snoop on their network too if they could.

Ironic (3, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608713)

Officials at the presidential Elysee Palace and the prime minister's office were not immediately available for comment.
If they'd of just had their blackberries... oh wait...

fuck a tRoll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608717)

yoU can. No, member. GNAA (GAY share. *BSD is

How do you trust your computers? (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608759)

There's really only one way.

Build it yourself. Hardware and software. It kind of explains Bull [bull.com] .

 

It is just realy and excuse (4, Funny)

DesertBlade (741219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608789)

They just want to get an iPhone and need a reason to expense it.

Would someone please tell the French... (1)

denobug (753200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608791)

That BlackBerry is made of a Canadian Company?

Enterprise Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19608837)

I would be paranoid too -but it is a Canadian company (I think though not French Canadian), but couldn't France just use the Enterprise edition, and host it themselves (and monitor it for anything suspicious), or might they fear it being a black box that reports back?

In any event, the Idokorro SSH for BB worries me, when you store your public key, it appears that you are trusting Idokorro with access to your servers ... Can anyone shed light on this, or recommend an as capable/safer SSH client for the BB?

Thanks,
AC

I can't think of a French joke to this (1)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19608873)

Sadly, it seems to me there really is nothing wrong with the idea. Corporate espionage is, I'm sure, alive and well. Honestly, I think they should be more concerned about American COMPANIES digging for information more than our government, but still. Also, the idea of 'listening in' to foreign communications is the heart of espionage. It really doesn't matter what country may be doing it, it's just a part of the landscape.
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