Could the U.S. Government Spy on You Via the BlackBerry?

Dennis Faas's picture

The BlackBerry has been praised by some, rejected by others, and now banned by the Government of France, with the country's Minister of Defense calling the handheld device a "threat to French state secrets".

What is most bizarre about the situation is that France has lashed out against the United States, claiming that American intelligence agencies are manipulating French BlackBerry devices to spy on government secrets.

Emails that are sent from a French BlackBerry device must pass through servers in the United States and Britain. France fears that this process will make their systems prone to surveillance by U.S. National Security agencies. (Source:

Ontario-based Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry device, vehemently deny that any mode of surveillance is possible.

However, according to French officials Research In Motion representatives admitted that there was a certain fragility in the protection of information via the device's popular "push" email system. The two parties ended their private meeting with a promise that something would be done to fix the problem. More than a year has passed, and still nothing has been done to alleviate the situation. (Source:

In a recent statement, Research In Motion representatives insisted that BlackBerry emails cannot be read by the NSA or any other organization. The emails are supposedly more heavily encrypted than most online banking websites.

Many French officials are visibly upset with the removal of their BlackBerry devices, with some claiming that it would now take an unnecessary amount of time and effort to relearn the old system.

The BlackBerry device is currently being used by security agencies in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Austria and Canada. A certification process is also underway in the Netherlands and Germany. (Source:

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