Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RIM to release data following London riots

Following the riots that spread across London and the rest of the country earlier this month, Research In Motion (RIM), will most likely hand over data to the Metropolitan Police and UK government.

The riots, according to media reports, were organised via Blackberry’s private messaging service (BBM) – something the authorities have had difficulty intercepting, unlike sites such as Twitter.

RIM is happy to help the police but also said they will continue to operate under UK data protection laws and regulation.

"As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we co-operate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials. We also comply with The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and co-operate fully with the Home Office and UK police forces."

The police would need a warrant in order to request access to the BBM messages – if granted RIM would have to had over the data.

However, there is a loophole, as Mike Conradi, partner and lead telecoms lawyer at DLA Piper, confirmed.

“The act only applies to the content, not to the fact that the content has been sent. So the fact that person A has sent a message to person B at a certain time would not be covered by RIPA."

The police could exploit this loophole to find out information about the individuals sending the messages. Conradi also believes the warrant would be ‘quite easy’ to gain - so with content and individuals potentially being exposed, there may be nowhere for the rioters to hide.

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