As part of its investigation into a 2011 murder, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) intercepted and decrypted around one million PIN-to-PIN BlackBerry messages, according to Vice News.
Court documents in the case revealed the extent of cooperation between BlackBerry Limited, formerly known as Research In Motion Limited, as well as telecommunications giant Rogers. The RCMP set up a server to intercept messages. BlackBerry’s master key was then applied to decrypt the messages.
While the exact details of where the piece of code to decrypt messages originated, Crown prosecutors revealed the RCMP had access to the key since 2010. Lawyers for the government attempted in court for two years to prevent the information from becoming public.
While privacy advocates question the legal authority compelling service providers to cooperate with police in carrying out court orders, such as wiretaps and search warrants, it’s unknown whether the RCMP maintains its surveillance capabilities.