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Government ministers warned not to use BlackBerrys and iPhones

AFP · 9 Aug 2010, 17:31

Published: 09 Aug 2010 17:31 GMT+02:00

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An Interior Ministry spokesman told reporters they had been told to use instead Simko devices offered by Deutsche Telekom because of "urgent" advice from the federal IT security agency, the BSI.

BlackBerry smartphones, made by Canadian firm Research in Motion (RIM), offer a high level of protection for data and emails, but Berlin is reportedly uneasy that all data pass though two RIM centres in Britain and Canada.

Thomas de Maiziere, the interior minister, told the Handelsblatt business daily that there was a risk that malicious software might find its way onto government and corporate IT networks via the devices.

"The government must therefore keep it very much in mind that it has to protect its own network effectively," he told the newspaper in comments published on Monday.

"BlackBerry's infrastructure is a company-owned closed system. But the access standard must be capable of being set by the government and not by a private company."

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The advice dates from 2009 but it has attracted German media attention because of efforts by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, citing security concerns, to gain access to BlackBerry's encrypted data.

De Maiziere said that Germany was experiencing a "dramatic rise in attacks against our networks and in particular against government networks" at the hands of foreign intelligence agencies and organised crime.

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Your comments about this article

01:06 August 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I'll keep using my BlackBerry, thank you. I've had my phone calls monitored by the NSA for years. F*ck 'em.
09:01 August 10, 2010 by moistvelvet
If there is a real concern about security then why isn't the advice being given to all user of Blackberry and I-phone?

If the risk is to national security then why are Ministers and Civil servants using these devices for official business in the first place, surely only approved devices should be used and not gucci fashion accessories.

If the concern is about data going through British and Canadian centres, isn't this really about control and lack of trust with a clear preference and bias to German products/services?
10:11 August 10, 2010 by 9900lawre
Goverment ministers aren't as concerned about security as we would like to think. If they were then they wouldn't be using the mobile network at all for anything of a restricted nature or above.

Your right about everyone being at risk.

We have all recieved and opened advertising SMS then deleted it. The very act of previewing a rogue SMS alone can activate a hidden virus designed to route calls via a monitoring address.

Again your right that trust is an issue here but restricting the networks and manufactureres of preference isn't the solution. Educating the ministers on how they should be communicating is.
14:14 August 10, 2010 by auniquecorn
Government ministers warned not to use BlackBerrys and iPhones ,

Hell why not?, The world already knows that if the gov. was gonna plan something, it will only get changed 20 times within a week any way

Besides, all that will get intercepted would be,

Did too, Did not, Did too, Did not, Did too, Did not.
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