BBM Plays Role In English Riots…. Don’t Blame The Messenger.

The recent riots in England have apparently been a case study for how technology can be used for creating mayhem. One of the technologies central to this mayhem is Blackberry Messenger. Apparently the miscreants who are behind the rioting are using it to stay one step ahead of the police and aid in them looting stores. This is such a concern that there’s been one MP who calls for BBM service to be suspended:

David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, where London’s worst riots for decades began on Saturday, appealed on Twitter and on BBC radio for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to suspend BlackBerry Messenger.

“This is one of the reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police force,” he tweeted. “BBM is different as it is encrypted and police can’t access it.”

RIM for it’s part, gave a vague promise to assist British police:

Research In Motion said in a statement on Monday: “As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we co-operate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials.”

The company declined to say whether it was handing over chat logs or user details to police.

That earned threats from a notorious hacker group:

Research In Motion’s Inside BlackBerry blog was hacked on Tuesday by a group going by the name of Teampoison. The group posted a warning to the company not to co-operate with police.

“You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all,” the statement said.

“If you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters,” it said.

Charming. Here’s my $0.02 worth. First, BBM is not the problem. These rioters or anybody else who wants to do harm will just leverage whatever technology is available to them. iMessage which is part of iOS 5 could be their next choice. Second, I’d love to see if RIM actually helps U.K. law enforcement seeing as they have typically not been helpful on that front. If they do, some countries like India for example could be knocking on their door.Third, we’ll see what Teampoison does or doesn’t do to RIM. It may be interesting to watch.

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