Blackberries , encryption and other mobile phones

Matthew Pemble matthew at
Mon Aug 2 11:35:22 BST 2010


On 2 August 2010 09:11, Peter Tomlinson <pwt at> wrote:

> - not just UAE but also Abu Dhabi have announced bans, with different dates
> for implementing

I didn't listen to Today - but surely Abu Dhabi is the largest of the UA
Emirates? The BBC News page ( mentions Saudi

Mary Hawking wrote:
>> I'm about to change from an ancient Nokia and have been considering
>> Blackberry, iPhone and Android (not necessarily in that order): what are the
>> security models of each, and do they depend on the handset or the network?
Both - and the precise way you implement (or purchase) them.

> I.e. if I continue with O2 and get a Blackberry, does the handling of the
>> messages depend on the device (Blackberry) or the network supplier (O2), and
>> would it be different if I got an iPhone (or one of the Android phones) but
>> still stayed with O2?
It rather depends (unfortunately, for the non-techies amongst us). If you
run your own email server and pick mail up via HTTPS or, with a Blackberry,
you run your own Blackberry Enterprise Server (I don't know what happens
with the free "BES Express" package", your email is protected from snooping
over the mobile connection.

Obviously, if you use a service provider email account (including consumer
Blackberry packages) or a non-encrypted connection, then your mail can be
snooped by the provider (obviously) and, potentially, by people with radio
intercept capabilities.

Of course, if the email comes to you clear-text, it can be snooped (the
non-triviality of fishing your particular email out of the millions not
withstanding) before it gets into your protected environment. There is a
general, albeit low-scale still, move towards encrypting mail server to mail
server comms (now using the STARTTLS SMTP extension, rather than GPG/PGPing
sensitive things up like the more paranoid of us have from some time.)


Matthew Pemble
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