Will RIM help British police ID BlackBerry users who rioted, looted?

BlackBerry UK tweets it will assist authorities 'in any way we can'

london riots fire crowds panic people emergency blaze hot heat
Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Well, this could pretty much rule out a marketing campaign touting BlackBerry as the smartphone of choice for rioters. Which is too bad, because Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) could use a new demographic stronghold to reverse its dwindling market share. Media reports since the weekend's rioting in sections of London following the shooting death of a local man by police have focused on the roles Twitter and BlackBerry's IM service played in stoking the mayhem. Now RIM has officially responded. BlackBerry UK, the "official UK Twitter account" for Canada-based RIM, early Monday tweeted:

We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.

So how can RIM help the police identify riot and looting participants? According to The Register, "RIM can pass over decrypted versions of BBM chatter." While it continues to lose share of the overall enterprise and consumer smartphone markets, RIM's BlackBerry is quite popular among U.K. teens. Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, says that 37% of teenagers in the U.K. cite the BlackBerry as their main device for communication, The Register reports. BlackBerry UK's tweet that it is assisting authorities met with some criticism on Twitter. Among the comments in reply:

"What do you mean by that? Are you going to be passing private messages to the police?"

"Are you handing over data to the police?"

"You didn't need to post this. Fanning the flames for people who believe technology, rather than idiots using it, is to blame."

"So basically UK_BB is snitching...b!tchA$$"

Because, as you know, "snitching" is always a greater crime than rioting, looting, shooting, scamming, robbing, etc. At least according to the rioters, looters, shooters, scammers and robbers, who, if anything, are all about honor!

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