Dawn News

All eyes on BlackBerry record

A BlackBerry handset. - Reuters Photo.

ISLAMABAD: The record of BlackBerry messages will play a key role in investigation into the memo case by the commission set up by the Supreme Court on Friday.

Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, a central character of the memo scandal, has claimed to have provided forensic evidence from his BlackBerry phone to ISI Director General Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha.

On the other hand, former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani has said he never discussed the memo issue with Mansoor Ijaz and added that his phone may be accessed to verify his claim.

A senior FIA official told Dawn: “We can get the data because we are federal police and have already performed such operations in the past.”

He said if the judicial commission set up by the Supreme Court approached the FIA for technical assistance in getting the forensic evidence it would use all its resources to acquire the data from the Canada-based BlackBerry company.

According to the official, the data provided by the BlackBerry service provider, Research in Motion (RIM), will be forensic evidence.

The RIM rarely shares data of its subscribers with any agency.

When Dawn recently contacted the US headquarters of RIM in Irving, Texas, the company said it had a strict privacy policy and never shared the data of a customer with a third party unless they were approached by police.

RIM helpline official Danielle Mora said: “We will not share our customers’ data with anyone until the police approach us.” She added: “Even if someone deletes all his messages from his chat, the person with whom he/she was chatting will have a record.

In other words, verifiable data from the service provider cannot be acquired without legal proceedings.”

But the FIA official said: “The law is there and we have international arrangements with our fellow agencies across the globe and data of BlackBerry can be acquired through proper channel.”

An international legal expert told Dawn that progress could not be made without registering an FIR. “Pakistan has an understanding with several countries called the ‘Mutual Legal Assistance Framework’ in which one state security agency can approach its counterparts anywhere in the world for assistance in seeking evidence.”

He said FIA’s cyber wing could be instrumental in investigating the matter through its Canadian counterpart Cyber Incident Response Centre or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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