Dutch law enforcement agency claims it can access PGP-encrypted BlackBerry data

A report by the Dutch law enforcement agency says that PGP BlackBerry smartphones may not be completely safe for private communication.

According to the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI)’s investigators, they could read the encrypted emails protected by the high-security devices. The investigation details published by Motherboard report that Tuscha Essed, NFI press officer, said that they were easily able to obtain encrypted data from the PGP BlackBerry devices.

NFI press officer Tuscha Essed said, “We are capable of obtaining encrypted data from BlackBerry PGP devices.”

NFI handles the forensic part of the criminal cases in the Netherlands and the whole issue came to the fore when the Crime News published secret documents allegedly from NFI in December 2015.

The Dutch blog misdaadnieuws also published the documents reporting that it was possible to read deleted messages as well as encrypted emails using Cellebrite, a private security firm’s software.

However, the agency has not explained the technique it used for tracking down the secret emails and messages.

A number of vendors sell such modified BlackBerry’s, which usually have additional security measures in place like a disabled microphone and a USB port configured only for charging.

According to the report, to decrypt the content in the device, law officials will have to access the device physically.

Law enforcement agencies from other countries including National Crime Agency of UK and Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have not confirmed the Motherboard reports.

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