All eyes have been on the NSA since word got out that they forced various carriers to hand over call records from millions of customers. Now The Guardian has uncovered more documents that claim the British Government (GCHQ) had special instructions to intercept phone calls and emails from officials and politicians who attended the G20 summit in London back in 2009.
According to the documents, GCHQ used "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to monitor and intercept communications that included fake internet cafes and supposedly breaking the security on BlackBerry devices in order to monitor email and phone calls.
While we can't say to just what measures the GCHQ went to monitor the officials, a few issues arise for us on the topic of "hacking" the security of a BlackBerry device.
It's fairly safe to assume that all of the officials in question were running their device on a BES which means that there is no chance that anyone or anything could simply hack in and monitor communications. A BES on BlackBerry is as secure as it gets. Not even the folks at BlackBerry HQ have the key to check out emails behind a BES, so the thinking that any agency would be able to do so seems a bit much.
On the flip side, a BlackBerry runs off a carrier network just like an other phone, so phone calls could have been monitored however. Not necessarily tapping into the actual calls - but just times, length and numbers as every carrier keeps tabs on those.
We reached out to BlackBerry and this is what they had to say:
"While we cannot comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic, we remain confident in the superiority of BlackBerry's mobile security platform for customers using our integrated device and enterprise server technology. Our public statements and principles have long underscored that there is no "back door" pipeline to that platform. Our customers can rest assured that BlackBerry mobile security remains the best available solution to protect their mobile communications."
So in case you read the article and were left questioning the security of your BlackBerry - don't worry. While some agencies may be tapping your carrier for info, your BlackBerry is still keeping your data safe - especially if you're using a BES. So don't be afraid of heading to your local coffee shop with your BlackBerry in-hand.