Blackberry CEO John Chen said that tech companies must balance customer privacy with lawful government interests. The translation of this is “we have given the Blackberry keys to a variety of governments”. And we only THOUGHT that Blackberrys were secure.
One point that is important to understand is that for companies that have their own BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server), we do not think that Chen has those keys to give out. But who knows – we didn’t think he was giving out other keys either.
The President has a Blackberry. Did Chen give the key to the President’s Blackberry to China? I hope not, but… To alleviate those concerns, while the Feds are silent on the issue, we can assume that the Prez’s phone has “extra” security in it.
In the cases in question, it appears that Blackberry may have given the KEYS to these governments, not just select messages from select customers.
That means that those governments can eavesdrop on any message from any customer without any further intervention from Blackberry. Blackberry can plead ignorance because, basically, they unlocked the door and left it ajar.
What this means, if true, is that Blackberry customers should not assume that their communications are secure. As consumers, we do not know what countries Chen gave keys. Are those governments reading consumers’ messages because they think those consumers are terrorists? Have committed a crime? Or just disagree with the government. Who knows?
For those people who have assumed that their Blackberry is more secure than say, an Android or Apple phone, maybe they should rethink that decision.
Information for this post came from Infoworld.