You might have heard that RIM was set to cooperate with London authorities to investigate who was participating in the local riots. BBM has apparently been instrumental in organizing groups of looters. A hacking group called TeaMpOisoN didn’t take particularly kindly to this, and took over control of the official Inside BlackBerry blog to issue this statement:
You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all, the Police are looking to arrest as many people as possible to save themselves from embarrassment…. if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters…. do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps? Think about it…. and don’t think that the police will protect your employees, the police can’t protect themselves let alone protect others….. if you make the wrong choice your database will be made public, save yourself the embarrassment and make the right choice. don’t be a puppet..
p.s – we do not condone in innocent people being attacked in these riots nor do we condone in small businesses being looted, but we are all for the rioters that are engaging in attacks on the police and government…. and before anyone says “the blackberry employees are innocent” no they are not! They are the ones that would be assisting the police
The London riots are ongoing, but I do find their message a little suspect. Just because you can crack into a RIM-owned WordPress site hardly means they have access to anything beyond that. That’s like tagging the outside of a bank and saying you could get the money inside if you really wanted to. Then again, it’s not a threat to take lightly, especially since RIM’s primary UK office is in Slough, not far from London. At the very least, having the official BlackBerry blog hacked is a bit embarrassing for RIM, which prides itself on security.
For now, the Inside BlackBerry Blog has been shut down until this security gap is plugged. Even without RIM’s help, everyone has a camera, and those rioters that get sloppy and show their faces in a city wired with CCTV are very likely to be identified. The real issue here is that RIM owes more allegiance to local governments than its customers. This isn’t the first time the question has come up; RIM is still wrestling with the government of India on how to provide access to lawful interception of BlackBerry messages. In that particular case, it’s clear they want to meet all regulatory requirements, so it’s no surprise to see RIM equally wanting to work with the British government to put an end to the London riots.
In any case, here’s hoping TeaMpOisoN is bluffing, for the sake of those in London trying to get their lives back in order, and the authorities who are working hard to lock up looters. What do you guys think – is there a legitimate possibility that innocent bystanders will get caught in the legal crossfire of these investigations?