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London rioters organized looting with BlackBerries

As RIM works with police to identify rioters, the company's receives a threatening message

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
August 9, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1d9c

RIM is finding itself at the unfortunate center of a series of riots that have rocked London for the last three days—at a time when the company can least afford the bad publicity.  As it turns out, the majority of London rioters have been communicating via BlackBerry Messenger.

It’s pretty tragic for RIM, which just posted its most dismal quarterly earnings to date and has been plummeting in market share.  The use of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has been so widespread among the rioters that London MPs have asked the Canada-based company to suspend its service in an effort to help cool the mayhem. 

On Monday, RIM tweeted: “We feel for those impacted by the riots in London.  We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.”

As a result, a hacktivist group going by the name TeaMp0isoN (cute) hacked into RIM’s official blog on Tuesday to post the following menacing reply:

Dear Rim;
You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all, the Police are looking to arrest as many people as possible to save themselves from embarrassment…. if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters…. do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps? Think about it…. and don’t think that the police will protect your employees, the police can’t protect themselves let alone protect others….. if you make the wrong choice your database will be made public, save yourself the embarrassment and make the right choice. don’t be a puppet..

p.s – we do not condone in innocent people being attacked in these riots nor do we condone in small businesses being looted, but we are all for the rioters that are engaging in attacks on the police and government…. and before anyone says “the blackberry employees are innocent” no they are not! They are the ones that would be assisting the police

- TriCk – TeaMp0isoN -
Greets To: iN^SaNe – Hex00010 – MLT – BlackHacker

- Knowledge is Power . . . . .

#FuckTheFeds

Twitter: @TeaMp0isoN_

The page has since been disabled.

It’s a cruel irony: Facebook and Twitter get credited with providing the backbone of the Egyptian protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime; RIM gets blamed for looted electronics stores and jewelry shops.  The company just can’t catch a break.

As it turns out, the BlackBerry just happens to be the most popular smartphone among UK youth ages 16-24, according to a recent study.  Last Christmas, the company sold over 500,000 handsets as teenagers scooped them up hungrily.  RIM’s explanation: it has shifted from being a business-focused brand to a more youth-focused brand with the release of popular social apps—like BlackBerry Messenger.  With over 33 million users worldwide, BBM is BlackBerry’s most popular app.  This is due in part to the fact that the instant messaging service is free, and in part to its high level of security. 

The riots started on Saturday following the shooting death of a local man, Mark Duggan.  The 29-year-old father of four was said to be carrying a gun used for firing blanks that had been converted to shoot real ammunition, but Duggan had not opened fire on police officers when he was shot in the chest.  Duggan died of his injuries, and the uncertainty as to why police opened fire has prompted authorities to open an inquest into the shooting death.  

Riots began on Saturday night in Tottenham and lasted through the weekend and Monday, leaving the streets littered with charred cars, debris, and destroyed storefronts.  Some have been comparing the riots to the protests in Egypt, specifically in police efforts to get RIM to shut down its service to disband rioters, echoing Egypt's and Libya's attempts to control their protests by blocking Facebook and Twitter. The comparisons have prompted several Egyptian bloggers to weigh in on Twitter.

“Egyptians and Tunisians took revenge for Khaled Said and Bouazizi by peacefully toppling their murdering regimes, not stealing DVD players,” tweeted Mosa’ab Elshamy.  Another blogger, Alaa Abd El Fattah, tweeted: “seems to happen periodically in Europe, police kills poor boy, riots erupt, hours later nobody talks about police killers just looters.”  He added: “The point being, when the event is injustice committed by a state against an already marginalized community expect trouble.”

 

Image source: Twitter.com


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