Wireless messages sent on a BlackBerry are so hard to intercept that the smartphones have become the device of choice for both criminals and law enforcement, police say.
While some police admit that level of security makes the BlackBerry their preferred handheld device, they also say that also makes it hard for them to listen in on suspected criminals.
"It does limit our abilities to intercept, which in turn minimizes our abilities to prevent the crimes," said Supt. Pat Fogerty of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia, a division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The problem is that BlackBerry smartphones, designed by Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion initially for corporate clients, run software called the BlackBerry Enterprise Server that creates a secure and private network and encrypts data. Police say criminals are using additional layers of encryption with other types of software, bringing the encryption level up to military grade.