back to article Canadian cops cry for BlackBerry wiretap

It has recently dawned on Canadian officials that communications sent with the BlackBerry are among the hardest mobile messages to eavesdrop on. But rather than congratulate the Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion on a job well done, they're calling for laws that would force service providers to use only technology that …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Theory versus practice

    Yeah, that's fine, but remember that emotional arguments in politics typically trump things like rational thought or actual facts. Unless maybe it's different in Canada.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    So this is what a liberal politic wants

    I wonder what's on conservatives agenda. Wouldn't it be curious to have the conservatives strand for your freedom against liberals standing for surveillance? Just guessing at random there...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I guess this is similar to Skype

    Remember when all the agencies were complaining that they needed a backdoor into Skype because it was too tough to crack and then some tool from the Austrian police blurted out that they already had one?

    I'd say this BlackBerry story is classic misdirection by the Canadians.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    "Canadians need it "

    Eh? What Canadians need it?

    BTW Canadian politics follows the UK model rather closely which is not a compliment.

  5. Eddy Ito


    So what you are saying is that it is much more difficult in practice than it is in theory. I'd wager the knee jerkers don't see it that way. I just wish they wouldn't drool quite so much.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Get Real

    The NSA can eavesdrop on and decode anything they want; yes it's hard and needs to be targeted (due to the resources required) but it's possible. The Canadians need to get a better relationship with their US partners. Decryption is one area where the US is in the lead compared to CIS / China and other "hostile" states.

    Obama's use of a Blackberry was to do with the requirement for all record of communications to be kept and made available if required - not security.

    This is why the Blackberry is regarded as a Serious, Secure business tool compared to the Cool, Intuitive and Versatile iPhone. Perhaps Apple should run some advertisements for the iPhone similar in nature to the PC versus Mac ones they did... just don't mention security!

  7. Viv Collins

    Old school encryption & delivery

    Its ironic that the most secure way to send a communication in the 21st century is by a hand written letter delivered by the local postal service! why? because they cant afford to allocate enough plod to open all the letters by hand and read them! emails are easy and cheap a machine can do that but letters need expensive people.

  8. Hate2Register

    If this article is true....

    If this article is true.... then why did the French government warn employees about sending sensitive data over blackberries?

    And is the blackberry "enterprise server" is hard to crack? How could you possibly know?

    If all Blackberry data goes through North America, I would suggest that government eavesdropping, if it doesn't already take place, is just a matter of time.

    Haven't you jaded hacks ever heard of ECHELON?

    Sometimes I think you guys barely read those press releases before cut-and-pasting them onto our screens..

  9. Danny
    Black Helicopters

    @ Theory versus practice

    Nah, politicians are pretty much the same everywhere. Reasoned arguments take too much work and besides there might be a legitimate counterargument. Better to stick with irrational scaremongering and appeals to baser instincts.

    I wonder how much it'll cost the Canadian government if the bill passes and companies move to other alternatives.

  10. Vendicar Decarian

    Krooks is so dumb

    Criminal masterminds would never be capable of producing their own encryption system.

    Can't happen. Never.

  11. Philip Kroker

    RE:Theory versus practice

    Sorry to dissapoint, but it's not. Cry loud and long enough you'll get it passed regardless of how illogical or stupid the idea is.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Home-grown encryption anyone...

    And how long would it be before anyone serious about this rolled their own encryption variant to shove on top of this, thereby rendering any cracked algorithms irrelevant?

  13. Ash
    Thumb Down

    I didn't read TFA, but

    If at one (several?) points anybody mentioned:

    - Catching terrorists

    - Tracking child abuse

    - Protecting the children

    Expect this to be hammered home with alacrity by the government, and trepidation by the people.

  14. Adrian Jones

    I wonder

    Do the Canadian police have a set of keys for Marlene Jennings's houses and cars?

    If not, then why hasn't she given them a set? It's an essential tool to allow them to search her property without her knowledge.

  15. Anonymous Scotsman

    @Theory versus practice

    With the exception of Quebec, certain cartoon porn restraints and few other minor irregularities, I think it actually might be given their legislative record.

    I've been on the fence about blackberry since it came out, but I think this might just have sold it for me.

  16. Graham Marsden

    "an essential tool for the battle against crime"...

    ... and so are ID cards and DNA databases and Identity Registers and CCTV and ANPR and...

    One wonders just how Police ever managed to do their jobs in the past...

  17. Anonymous Coward


    "...'Law enforcement needs it, Canadians need it. It's an essential tool for the battle against crime,' she says..."

    Oww, so police could snoop on all those backroom deals and trading scams and put the brakes on Government scams too. Oh what's that, it's only meant to target "criminals" not their mates in the boardrooms?? Oops. Idiots, the lot of them. Doesn't matter which country or which party, virtually all politicians are the same: retarded, short-sighted, biggotted and only out for themselves.

    Now remind me again why we elected them in the first place?!?!?! *grrrrrrrrrr*

  18. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    Sadly no

    It's not different here. I think we've found another idiot we need to purge though. Encryption is good m'kay? Damn politician.

  19. Matthew Little
    Thumb Up

    Dude... we do more than just Blackberries

    We also draw water, cut wood, grow corn and make Maple syrup.

  20. Stevie Silver badge


    That would explain the following header I discovered on my outgoing Blackberry mail:

    BCC: The_Plod.

  21. Matthew

    Don't invest in tinfoil heargear yet

    The nice thing here is that really these are musings at this point, and the polarization of the Canadian political system means that this may run into some difficulty actually succeeding.

    Oh yeah, there's also our pesky Charter of Rights and Freedoms thingy that is ultimately defended by a rather liberal (in comparison) judiciary, and S.1 (for those who know about it) isn't a blanket allowance for Parliamentarians to do whatever they want. It would also pretty much mean that the SCC would have to determine if Privacy matters are part of the Charter, they've hinted at it in the past.

    It's a rather silly proposal, that at the moment has an awful lot of barriers in its way. I don't really see this as anything more than spit-balling by an impotent opposition bencher.

    We don't have the ever-present CCTV, our DNA banks are fairly limited, and on a pardon, you can even get your info removed if you ask nicely. Surveillance is generally limited, remember, our judges actually have real power here, and having met as many lawyers as I have, I'm convinced most of em are pretty vigorous about defending our social rights too. Not afraid of being intercepted and charged like the Brits.

    And No, it's not rose-coloured glasses I'm wearing, before anyone criticizes me.

    And odds are, yes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police probably do have keys to M. Jenning's residence. As a security precaution they often have the locks specially installed with their keys so as to be able to get quick access for important people.

    Our Telco's suck though, I'll get that out in the open, right up there with Bears and our woods.

  22. MarkJ
    Black Helicopters

    The more you tighten your grasp, the more systems will slip through your fingers

    It's highly unlikely that the NSA can break random gibberish, which means nested encryption will always get the better of them, you just have to keep layering it on until the paranoia goes away. Even worse, using TrueCrypt style multiple encrypted volumes in the same container and a 'weaker' password/algorithm on the soft data will foil key guessing and brute force attacks. The research from Cambridge which proved that humans can guess words just from the first and last letter just makes life even harder as it breaks the easier statistical analysis of 'plain text' to find the positive match.

    The other issue is that in terrorism cases, the information only needs to remain hidden till it's too late to prevent an incident.

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