Canada will share encrypted BlackBerry messages with the Dutch police, who recently raided the offices of a Toronto technology company. The Dutch police are investigating an underworld conspiracy that involves assassinations, drug trafficking, robberies and attempted murder, reports the National Post.
Sharing encrypted messages with restrictions
However, the messages from the 20,000 users will not just be simply handed over, as an Ontario judge imposed restrictions this week so as to prevent a “fishing expedition” by police in the Netherlands or any other country. The ruling ensures that the data will remain under Canadian control, and approval from the court will be needed to share any of it further, the media outlet reports.
Judge Ian Nordheimer wrote, “Canada remains the home of this data.”
The concerns is that innocent people will be exposed to the unjustified attention of police just because they used an encrypted BlackBerry.
This case is a result of a Dutch probe of an organized crime ring where police seized grenades, machine, guns, vehicles, rifles, tracking devices and large sums of money. The probe also kept discovering BlackBerry devices that had been modified to send only encrypted messages outside the normal cellphone network. These BlackBerry devices had also been modified so that they could not be used for making phone calls, taking pictures or accessing the Internet. Also their microphones had either been disabled or removed.
A Dutch company called Ennetcom offered such services and then sold modified BlackBerry devices for about 1,500 euros ($2,220). The company was able to remotely wipe all the data from the devices. Ennetcom portrays itself as a pioneering data protection company that will defend against all forms of cyber-crime, the report notes.
One more high-profile BlackBerry lover
In positive news for the Canadian firm, Walter Isaacson – the person who wrote the biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs — loves his BlackBerry Bold. Whenever he finds the opportunity to buy a Bold, he buys it to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the discontinued device, reports the Waterloo Chronicle.
“I get up every morning and I cuddle my BlackBerry,” he said.
On Thursday when speaking at the Waterloo Innovation Summit, Isaacson pulled out his iPhone to make a point. When asked to share his thoughts on the fate of BlackBerry during a question-and-answer session, he praised it.
“I have a BlackBerry. I know I pulled out my iPhone, but I keep both. I like BlackBerry because I love the physical keyboard. It’s that simple,” Isaacson said.