Fin24

Govt wants access to BlackBerry messenger

2011-09-06 08:40

Johannesburg - The government wants new regulation giving the police access to BlackBerry's encrypted messenger service (BBM), according to reports on Tuesday.

BBM had become the favoured way of executing crimes, Deputy Communications Minister Obed Bapela told the Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference in East London on Monday.

According to a report in The New Age, Bapela said BBM posed a security risk that the government needed to "address with urgency".

"There is evidence that criminals are now using BBM to plan and execute crime. We want to review BBM like in the UK and Saudi Arabia," Bapela was quoted as saying.

But Business Day reported that Bapela's comments puzzled technology experts, who said that the Regulation of Interception of Communication Act would include the tracking of BBM being permitted if crimes were committed.

Justice spokesperson Tlali Tlali told SABC radio news on Tuesday morning that the "interception of communication... is regarded as a technique of last resort".

Recent riots in the UK were reportedly organised through BBM.