Tag Archives | Blackberry

The Surveillance State Killed BlackBerry, and the Same Fate Awaits Other Tech Giants

blackberry_deathvia chycho

Being from Canada, interested in technology and the markets, and a privacy advocate, BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM), has been on my radar for a number of years, so I would like to add my two cents regarding its demise (2, 3, 4, 5).

The two most important things we need to keep in mind about the “timeline of the company from RIM to Blackberry” are that: first, “when phone systems failed in New York and DC on 9/11, it was the BlackBerry network that provided backup communication”; second, contrary to popular belief, apps were never meant to be the feature selling point for its products, it was its security and privacy, the way it encrypted communication across its network that made it the only game in town.

In 2010, when governments threatened to “block encrypted BlackBerry corporate e-mail and messaging services if its security agencies were not granted access to them”, BlackBerry’s reply was:

“RIM also said it has drawn a firm line by insisting that any capabilities it provides to carriers for ‘lawful’ access purposes be limited by four main principles: Such access has to be legal, it must not exceed access imposed on RIM’s competitors, it does not change the security architecture for Blackberry enterprise customers, and does not require a country-specific deal that does not conform to RIM’s global standard for lawful access.”

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard or read a single word about this from the pundits on mainstream media, that BlackBerry’s selling point was its guarantee to privacy, i.e., its network was so secure that even BlackBerry didn’t have access to its users emails, which made the company what it was.… Read the rest

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Neil Gaiman Wants You As His Co-Author

If the BlackBerry smartphone dies at the hands of iPhone and Android, it won’t be because the marketing team failed to rope in pop culture luminaries. Following the rather embarrassing announcement of iPhone user Alicia Keys as BlackBerry ambassador, Neil Gaiman is being promoted as a BlackBerry toting superhero of artistic collaboration:

Neil Gaiman is one of today’s best-loved authors. He famously collaborates with artists across the globe to create graphic novels, books, films, music and poetry.

Now he wants to collaborate with you.

Neil wants you to inspire him with themes for A Calendar of Tales. He’ll develop a collection of twelve tales from your ideas and then invite you to submit illustrations, choosing his favourite for each tale. This collection will transform into an amazing calendar showcasing your illustrations beside Neil’s stories.

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Phone Snooping ‘Prevented Riots’

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

To tweet or not tweet where you’re rioting next? One option was to shut down social networks so that rioters couldn’t mass communicate. The other option was to allow them to tweet and text, then read their messages to find out what they’re planning next. The latter was able to prevent attacks on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street. BBC reports:

Police say they prevented attacks by rioters on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street after picking up intelligence on social networks.

Assistant Met Police Commissioner Lynne Owens told a committee of MPs officers learned of possible trouble via Twitter and Blackberry messenger.

But Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he had considered asking authorities to switch off social networks.

He said they provided intelligence but could also be misleading.

A number of politicians, media commentators and members of the police force have suggested that Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) had a role to play in the riots.

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