Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Canadian bureaucrats under fire for sending sensitive data through BlackBerry

MANY top Indian bureaucrats at the level of joint secretaries or secretaries may find their BlackBerry handset convenient for exchanging sensitive data, but their counterparts in Canada have come under fire for using a BlackBerry feature called PIN messaging to discuss sensitive information. Significantly, Canada is home to BlackBerry, one of the most popular smart phones around the world.
According to media reports published in Canada, senior Canadian bureaucrats are virtually playing with fire by sending sensitive government information on their BlackBerry. The debate was sparked off by wire service called The Canadian Press recently. The privacy commissioner and the federal agency responsible for information security have reportedly asked the bureaucrats not to use the PIN service for sending sensitive material. But the mobile-happy bureaucrats in Canada are still using the PIN service as it’s an easier tool to handle and is also faster than emails. The report further said that it is only a perception that such messaging systems are secure because they are encrypted and not stored, but they can actually be cracked.
The views of the Canadian company RIM, the maker of BlackBerry, were not however incorporated in the media reports.
In India, the Union home ministry has been threatening for a ban of BlackBerry service if intelligence agencies fail to get access to their encrypted messaging system, but the ministry kept on extending the deadlines. After all, the ban on BlackBerry in India would impact none other than ministers and senior bureaucrats among others!

R Vineel Krishna freed by Maoists
R Vineel Krishna, the 2005 batch Orissa cadre IAS who was abducted by Maoist extremists last Wednesday was released at Chitrakonda in Malkangiri district on Tuesday night. Krishna is the collector of Malkangiri district. Both R Vineel Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi were freed moment after an announcement was made at a joint press conference held by mediators and government officials that they would be released within 48 hours. According to reports, thousands of people of Malkangiri town came out on roads to celebrate. 

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