The major selling point for BlackBerry has always been its security and privacy - the way it encrypted communication across its network was the only game in town - that is, until 2010, when governments threatened to “block encrypted BlackBerry corporate e-mail and messaging services” unless their security agencies were granted access to them.
This was the beginning of the demise of Blackberry. Because of The Surveillance State’s inability to spy on their own citizens, governments forced BlackBerry to change their business model, which in turn played a major role in the company’s collapse.
Ironic, considering the latest announcement from the U.S. Defense Department that approximately 98% of their smartphone purchases for their new network will be from BlackBerry because they offer the best option in the industry for secure communication.
“About 80,000 BlackBerrys will start being hooked up to the department’s management system at the end of this month, the Defense Information Systems Agency said in a statement last week. The network will also include 1,800 phones and tablets based on Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iOS software and Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system….BlackBerry CEO John Chen stated that:
“The Pentagon’s statement shows that Samsung Electronics Co. (SMSN), the biggest maker of Android devices, and Apple aren’t making the inroads into military smartphone sales that many expected because they can’t always meet the security specifications the Defense Department wants.”
“Many in the regulated industries -- those with the most stringent security needs -- still depend solely on BlackBerry to secure their mobile infrastructure. For governments, BlackBerry cannot just be replaced -- we are the only MDM provider to obtain ‘Authority to Operate’ on US Department of Defense (DoD) networks. This means the DoD is only allowed to use BlackBerry,… Across the globe, seven out of seven of the G7 governments are also BlackBerry customers.”The hypocrisy of our government’s stance on secrecy is not lost on the citizenry as is evident with a recent case in Canada where a senior citizen refused to fill out a census form. One of the main reasons for her public disobedience was that she did not believe her private information would be secure:
“…she is worried about the safety and security of that data, considering Lockheed’s ties to the U.S. military and the absolute powers of the U.S. Patriot Act, which allows the government to demand data from any American company, regardless where that information originates.”It appears that our governments believe in secrecy for themselves and transparency for everyone else. A model that is inconsistent with an open and just society. As Glenn Greenwald pointed out in his keynote address at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress (2), what the future holds, may it be a dystopian totalitarian surveillance state or one in which human rights are recognized, depends on us (full keynote and excerpt from the transcript provided below) :
“But I ultimately think that where the greatest hope lies is with the people in this room and the skills that all of you possess. The privacy technologies that have already been developed: the Tor Browser, PGP, OTR, and a variety of other products are making real inroads in preventing the US government and its allies from invading the sanctity of our communications.
“None of them is perfect. None of them is invulnerable, but they all pose a serious obstacle to the US government's ability to continue to destroy our privacy. And ultimately, the battle over Internet freedom, the question of whether or not the Internet will really be this tool of liberation and democratization and whether it'll become the worst tool of human oppression in all of human history will be fought out, I think, primarily, on the technological battlefield.
“The NSA and the US government certainly knows that. That's why Keith Alexander gets dressed up in his little costumes, his dad jeans and his edgy black shirt and goes to hacker conferences.
“And it's why corporations in Silicon Valley, like Palantir Technologies, spend so much effort depicting themselves as these kind-of rebellious, pro-civil-libertarian factions, as they spend most of their time in secret working hand-in-hand with the intelligence community and the CIA to increase their capabilities, because they want to recruit particularly younger brainpower onto their side, the side of destroying privacy and putting the Internet to use for the world's most powerful factions.
“What the outcome of this conflict is, what the Internet ultimately becomes really is not answerable in any definitive way now. It depends so much on what it is that we, as human beings, do. One of the most pressing questions is whether people like the ones who are in this room, and the people who have the skills that you have, now and in the future, will succumb to those temptations, and go to work for the very entities that are attempting to destroy privacy around the world, or whether you will put your talents, skills and resources, to defending human beings from those invasions, and continuing to create effective technologies to protect our privacy. I am very optimistic, because that power does lie in your hands.”
Glenn Greenwald Keynote on 30c3 (address begins at 5:00)
As for how much we actually know about The Surveillance State’s activities? The following video from Global Research TV is a good summary of our current predicament.
Justifying the Unjustifiable: Deconstructing the Lies of the NSA
The Surveillance State Killed BlackBerry, and the Same Fate Awaits Other Tech Giants
How to Protect Ourselves on Social Networks and from Data Collection Systems of Governments and Corporations
Powerhouse Panel Discussion on the Surveillance State and the War on Whistleblowers: Alexa O'Brien, Robert Manne, Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, and David Coombs
Why the U.S. Government has such a hard-on for Edward Snowden
Anomalies, Prisons, and Geophysics: How Governments Use Data and How to Stop Them
Bradley Manning and the trial of the United States Military
A Candid Speaker and Three Hypocrites address the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly