Palm Pre Spying on Users – Are BlackBerry Users Safe?

surveillance-webcam One of the common questions I get as a security buff is if RIM, carriers, or BES administrators can spy on BlackBerry users and what they can see. We already covered what carriers can see and BES administrators have access to the information that is backed up on their servers or travels through their servers. The question is what can RIM access on our devices?

Technically RIM does have the keys to view email that transfers through the BIS service from what I understand and practically all traffic that goes to your BlackBerry travels through RIM’s BES servers unless the app is using a WAP or TCP APN. RIM might choose not to ever look at this information but technically they are policing themselves as long as they stay within their legal rights.

These phone home issues are really starting to become an issue after recent events. Amazon got into trouble after remotely deleting copies of 1984 from users Kindles and Apple is known to have a similar kill switch in the iPhone.

This question becomes scarier once you read a users findings on how his Palm Pre is phoning home and sending back information to Palm.

This information includes:

  • GPS location
  • Crash logs and information for applications
  • Which applications you have installed, if you have used them, and how often

Right now there is a pretty complicated way to disable sending this information to Palm on a Pre but it takes a few steps. Still the user who discovered it, Joey, seems to think that this all fits in legally with Palm’s Privacy Policy so they may not be breaking any laws.

Still how would you feel if RIM was collecting this information about you? I know that RIM has a Quincy, battery, and BugReport app for collecting information from Beta devices but I hope none of that functionality exists baked into the OS.

What do you think?

via Slashdot

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