Research in Motion has said that it will co-operate with the police after it was revealed that London rioters used Blackberry Messenger rather than Twitter to organise looting sprees across the capital, with violence later spreading to Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol.
Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is free to use, private and encrypted, so messages appear to be difficult for the police to intercept. "We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can," said Blackberry UK.
Jonathan Akwue, director at digital consultancy TransformUK, was one of the first people to point out the use of BBM as the channel through which rioters communicated. He said on his blog that the media has wrongly focused on Twitter.
"To be clear, Blackberry did not cause the riots and is not responsible for them. BBM is simply the preferred communications network for large numbers of young people, and as I said earlier, when young people are angry and organised enough, the results can be explosive," he wrote in a blog post this morning.
"But calls for the use of BBM to be curbed are, in my opinion, misguided. As others have pointed out, social networks don't cause riots - people do," he wrote.
In an earlier post, Akwue said Canadian police officers have previously complained that criminals prefer using Blackberry Messenger because it is harder to wiretap.