Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DOME OF SILENCE


___________________________________________________
"Five minutes after my decision, I am absolutely certain that
caucus members got a PIN [an instant message by BlackBerry] 
and party supporters got a phone call saying, 
'You need to get on and say he shouldn't have left,' " 

Tom Osborne Sep 14, 2012
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The revelation by Tom Osborne that PC operatives utilize a communications tool to hide communication between ministers, staff and political supporters is most interesting to me. It confirms a concern that I have had for a few years going back to the Cameron Inquiry.



Each BlackBerry device is unique. The phone comes equipped with an eight-digit PIN. The PIN, which is the identification device for the phone, can be located under the phone's settings icon in the status section. Just like phone numbers, no two PINs are alike. The PIN can be used to send electronic messages to another BlackBerry device. The PIN ensures that the mail will be delivered to the correct address and is a convenient way to speed up the messaging process.

The big convenience for politicos is that unlike email, PIN communication is not recorded or logged. It flies underneath the radar! For a regime that does not like to produce a paper or electronic trail, it is the ultimate tool! The province does not archive or back-up PIN messages. Thus they are undetectable. Users assume that PIN messages are secure and untraceable. Many business organizations have had to ensure employees deactivate these features to ensure they are regulatory compliant for audits. The provincial government has never dealt with the issue.


Each BlackBerry device is unique. Each phone comes equipped with an eight-digit PIN. The PIN, which is the identification device for the phone, can be located under the phone's settings icon in the status section. Just like phone numbers, no two PINs are alike. The PIN can be used to send electronic messages to another BlackBerry device. The PIN ensures that the mail will be delivered to the correct address and is a convenient way to speed up the messaging process.

The big convenience for politicos is that unlike email, PIN communication is not recorded or logged. It flies underneath the radar! For a regime that does not like to produce a paper or electronic trail, it is the ultimate tool!

I have written a number of posts about the stealthy PIN approach to accountability. Here, here & here. Back on June 17th, an editorial in the TheTelegram questioned the paperless approach calling a spade a spade. 

Obviously, the clandestine PIN is a carefully thought out way to circumvent freedom of information rules.

It amazes me that this government still has the audacity to claim that it is committed to transparency and accountability.

I wonder what other "black communication ops" are employed by the powers that are





10 comments:

Wm. Murphy said...

I agree, HOWEVER there are a few points to keep in mind.

Before email and smart phone communication, there was talking on the telephone. Unless it was recorded there was no paper trail.... then or now. If you "control" or record this form of communication then the return of traditional dissemination of information will take place. In the case of BBM it is easier to message using batch and mass communiques however "secret" messaging will always be with us.

I wonder what other "black communication ops" are employed by the powers that are


The phone!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter. This government uses stealth practice to implement its goals. Stealth ensures the hit occurs before those impacted have opportunity to react. This group of Cons have discovered it more opportunistic to deny than to seek approval or consensus.

It is a Government where the small print you don't or can't see determines the true happening.

These honorable ladies and gents will be long gone before any accountability can be demanded.

Adding to this is the "message control"now being implemented so aggressively by them.

Anonymous said...

It certainly confirms how stage managed everything is. The oral briefing and telephone call will always be the way around a paper trail.

The PIN does allow digital communications that is free from prying eyes. Is it covert? Perhaps not? However if electronic transmissions are party to the Freedom Of Information Act - than they should be included

Anonymous said...

You supported this government Peter.

Peter L. Whittle said...

That is a blanket statement.

I certainly have been in favor of a few initiatives but have been constant in my criticism of both Williams and Dunderdale.

That said I have not hesitated to be critical of the liberal and the New Democrats.

I have certainly been very critical of the approach to communications and access to information.

Jay L said...

If the Government uses their own Blackberry Enterprise Server, or "BES", then BBM messages and PINS can certainly be tracked. Unless you turn that function off.

Anonymous said...

I certainly would not base my opinion on what comes out of the mouth of Tom Osborne. Lets face it that man was a part of that Government for 16 years. Its a pity that someone does no come out with the real reason why he picked up his marbles.

Peter L. Whittle said...

Turned off or not set up for it. PINs re off the official and unofficial grid in the provincial government.

It is not happenstance..but a deliberate back door

Anonymous said...

Jeez, let's wire them all just in case they decide to have whispered conversations in the darker corners. No conspiracy here. PINs, the phone, the direct chat. How else do you communciate in confidence...or are you suggesting that there is never a need for confidential communciations when discussing partisan political strategy? Or are you usggestinbg that it's just the Torys whose conversations require full disclosure. To be frank, does anyone feel any great urge to know what Yvonne and Dwight or Lorraine and Dale or Kathy and Jerome or Tom with any of the above are discussing when it comes to blind partisan stuff like crossing the floor. There's a purient interest, for sure, but it's hardly the ground on which transparency is contested.

Peter L. Whittle said...

First of all, this government has a terrible record when it comes to freedom of information.

This government has done everything possible, including Bill 29 to roll back the commitment to transparency and accountability they so falsely profess to be committed to. They have defeated the spirit of the act time and time again.

This is an administration where oral briefings have become the norm because they do not want anything on paper.

If electronic message via email are subject to FOi, so should PINs. Particularly if Pins are being used as a work around because they are not recorded. We the people have a right to public information, it is as simple as that.