As reported earlier in the Sydney Morning Herald, a team from the New South Wales (Australia) police department have traveled to Waterloo in ongoing investigations surrounding the murder of various drug traffickers.
Whilst much of the detailed conversations between NSW Crime Commission and BlackBerry is confidential it is known that the reason for this visit is that much of the investigations have been hampered due to the encryption on devices which the criminals had in their possession.
The debate surrounding mobile data security and the balance between privacy and societal security has been a long one with many anti-BlackBerry apologists claiming that there is a great need for law enforcement organisations to have back doors to our data to keep us safe from criminals and terrorists. What we have in this case is not a standard out of the box device which criminals are using to plan murder and jeopardizing our safety. These devices have been specially modified in order to be uncrackable. The SMH reports that:
The NSW Crime Commission’s latest annual report states that uncrackable phones have hindered at least two murder investigations in Sydney.
The commission reported a “steady increase in the use of encrypted communication methods, such as Phantom Secure BlackBerry devices and free downloadable applications for smartphones, over the last two years”
Phantom Secure is a company which is utilizing older BlackBerry devices to provide encrypted mobile devices to exclusive corporate clients. Styling itself as a company which lives in the world of global espionage, it modifies devices such as the 9320, 9720 and the 9900 for exclusive corporate use. Like with anything which is designed for good, the negative side of society will also continue to exploit these positive steps for nefarious deeds. It is also clear from the report that BlackBerry modified phones are not the only phones being used:
Investigators have also recently identified criminals using BlackPhones – a Swiss-designed product similar to Phantom Secure but which uses the Android operating system and also allows users to make encrypted calls.
Like with other stories where BlackBerry is made out to be the biggest threat to our public security, it is mentioned in a throw away paragraph that BlackBerry have been supportive of the investigations. As per their commitment to unparalleled security, BlackBerry have wholeheartedly supported this investigation without compromising on your privacy.
BlackBerry’s new fleet of mobile devices continue to provide productivity, security, and variety of design which would suit any mobile user. They are still the answer to the mobile needs of the average prosumer.