Blackberry privacy concerns w/BES
I use a BB 7100t, on t-mobile, and am connected to my companies BES which wirelessly synchronizes my company Outlook email and calendar.
Last week my IT department was able to disable my phone from working by wirelessly sending me a new "security policy". This was a mistake on their part but it really got me to thinking.
I use SMS extensively with friends, in addition to having three personal email accounts forwarded to my BB through the BWC. And as many of you know, all these messages (company email, personal email, and SMS's) end up in the same application on the BB (Messages)
Is my companies IT department able to read the SMS and BWC messages that are on my BB?????
Not likely. They would have to back it up constantly, then pick out the sms and other messages from the backup file.
But isn't my inbox reconciled continuously via wireless anyway? Are you suggesting that indeed my SMS and BWC-routed messages on my BB are synchronized onto my companies BES server?
They would probably be saved in the wireless backups. I'm not positive on this again, but I'm assuming so.
Thanks for the feedback. Could anyone else speak definitively on this question - yes or no?
Unless they are capturing packets, no. BWC goes directly to the handset, so that doesnt touch your companys network. SMS's go directly to and from the handset too. The only email that would touch your companys network would be your company email, which is the property of the company anyway :)
well, bfrye is making a good point. the wireless backups will capture any SMS and BWC messages that are currently on the handheld. that would be the only way they would be able to read those messages. even sniffing packets wouldn't help, as those packets are encrypted (and if they can break the encryption, then they should go work for the government).
just keep in mind that despite your having SMS and BWC emails, as long as you are on the corporate BES, any data sent to that handheld would technically be property of your company (not just the corporate emails). most privacy rules and whatnot in any typical united states corporation will state this.
Actually, with the backup, an administrator could probably easily view your SMS and BWC email by simply restoring the backup to another device, without activating it. Or selectively restoring databases such as messages and phone logs to see exactly what kinds of activity a user was conducting.
Typically, in a govt organization, we will disable 3rd party emails, and if SMS or phone calls get exceptionally high, disable them for a user as well.
From the RIM documentaion on BES 4.0 (for Exchange)...only the following items get backed-up via the automatic wireless backup/restore...most of it is only options...note that messages themselves ar not backed up meaning that (at least for Exchange BES) you email, BWC mail, SMS, PIN messages are not stored on the BES. However, some third parties (i.e. Wallace Wireless) sell products that do allow corporations to store, track and monitor these messages, but the BES by itself will not.
•attachment viewer options
•message list options
•default service selector
•home screen positions
•WAP push options
•address book options
•memo pad options
A couple of points here:
1. I don't recall getting my SMS messages to reconcile to my exchange mail box.
2. There is very little if any privacy from the IT infrastructure. That said, having been a Sysadmin for 8 years now. I really don't want to know what you are SMS'ing, emailing or anything. I have far too much to do to snoop messages about your dates and private life.
However, you do risk having everything seized. Company property and resources misused and abused is a bad thing - you can be fired, legally. Counterpoint, I think there was a court case recently that prevented an employer from snooping private emails. So, you aren't safe, but you are protected.
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