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Privacy researchers plot RIM's route

BlackBerry users asked to play 'hunt the servers'

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The Citizen Lab, a Canadian privacy group run from the University of Toronto, is asking BlackBerry users to drop by and let them know how you got there.

It‘s as easy as it sounds, and is explained here by IT Business Canada. Just drop by the website on your Blackberry device and fill in some information about where you are physically located and who provides your connectivity. The Lab will then work out by which route your connection has arrived - eventually creating a worldwide map of RIM's servers, so we can all see under whose authority they fall.

That‘s become more important recently as various governments, notably India and Saudi Arabia, have petitioned RIM to locate servers within their borders, and thus under the authority of their law enforcement. RIM's servers route internet connections including web browsing, as well as hosting non-corporate email services, but won‘t help with lawful intercept of enterprise email, which remains impractical.

But that obviously doesn‘t matter to many governments who have threatened bans on all BlackBerry services, then rescinded those threats in response to unspecified capitulation on the part of RIM. RIM has repeatedly stated that it doesn‘t make special arrangements for specific governments, but locating a server within a country is something that can be done for all sorts of reasons besides security.

Given that RIM won‘t say where the servers are, and that the governments aren't saying either, it‘s down to a group like Citizen Lab to try to work it out.

So if you‘ve got a BlackBerry then head on over and we‘ll see where the servers have ended up - unless you are one of those who would prefer us not to know. ®

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