Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SECRET MESSAGES

The cost of Blackberry usage by Ministers and MHA's got me to thinking. What is going on with all the texting. The government is shying away from briefing notes and e-mails that can be attained through freedom of information requests. Have Blackberrys become the last domain of secrecy.

Each BlackBerry has a personal identification number known as a PIN, which users can share with others to communicate through instant messages. PIN messages are unique to BlackBerry users. The messages are not routed through e-mail servers, so no paper trail is created.

Forensic technology experts can recover PIN messages by examining residual memory of the individual Blackberry or through special software that captures the messages. Are Ministers and senior staff using PINs to prevent a trail of evidence? Does the province have a policy on PINS. If they are unable to provide such communication should they not disable all text messaging on government-issued Blackberrys?

How secret are these PINS?  n June, Scott Totzke, RIM’s vice-president of global security, told The Times of London that its encryption is virtually unbreakable. “Every message that is sent via a BlackBerry is broken up into 2Kb [kilobyte] packets of information, each of which is given a 256-bit key by the BlackBerry server,” said Totzke. “That means to release the contents of a 10Kb e-mail, a person would have to crack five separate keys, and each one would take about as long as it would for the sun to burn out — billion of years.”

I think the issue is worthy of further conversation and potentially addressing it with new policies

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