Sunday, April 10, 2016

Canadian Police Obtained BlackBerry’s Global Decryption Key in 2010

Canadian Police are in possession of BlackBerry's global decryption key and have been secretly using it to decrypt PIN to PIN BBMs.

The revelation comes via court documents that were made public after members of a Montreal crime syndicate pleaded guilty to a 2011 murder. Government lawyers spent nearly two years fighting in a courtroom to keep this out of the public record.
According to technical reports by the RCMP that were filed in court, law enforcement intercepted and decrypted one million PIN-to-PIN BlackBerry messages in connection with the probe. The key is a piece of code that can break the encryption on virtually any BlackBerry message sent from one device to another. As one police officer put it, it was a key that could unlock millions of doors.

Although police don't have a backdoor into most government and business clients, who make up BlackBerry's core constituency, it would mean that police have enjoyed years of virtually unlimited access to Canadians' personal cellphones without the public being any the wiser. Presumably RCMP would be able to use the global decryption key to read almost any BBM including those sent by Americans.