A BlackBerry blog has been hacked as an MP has called for its messaging service to be shut down to prevent rioters from communicating.
Yesterday, RIM said it would "assist" authorities battling the riots, amid reports that the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service was being used to organise looting.
After a night of continued rioting, David Lammy, a Labour MP for Tottenham, has called on RIM to shut down the service. "Immediate action needed," Lammy said over Twitter. "[Londoners] cannot have another evening like last night tonight. BBM clearly helping rioters outfox police. Suspend it."
Meanwhile, hackers managed to post a message on BlackBerry's official UK blog, warning RIM from blocking the service.
The message told RIM that if it shares data with the police, "you will regret it", claiming to have access to RIM's employee database and threatening to pass it on to rioters.
A spokeswoman for RIM in the UK said the company was working on a statement to be issued soon. The message has since been removed from the blog. It remains unclear whether BBM is actually of any significance to the riots, and how easily RIM could shut down the service.
Kathryn Wynn, a lawyer for legal tech experts Pinsent Masons, said RIM and any other firm could legally hand data to the police.
"Neither RIPA (re interception of emails) nor the Data Protection Act (disclosure of emails and user names to the police) will stand in the way of RIM co-operating with the police because the interception or disclosure is for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime," Wynn said in a blog post.
"However, from a data protection laws perspective, RIM will need to ensure that the disclosure is proportional for the purposes," she said. "Therefore, if possible and in the light of the urgency of the situation, the company should avoid disclosing the messages or details of obviously innocent users. RIM should also ensure that any disclosures are made using secure media."
Separately, eBay has issued a statement saying it will remove any listings that clearly feature items stolen during the riots.
“Our thoughts are with the businesses and communities affected by recent events in London and around the UK," the company said in a statement to The Next Web. "eBay will cooperate fully with the investigating authorities to identify and remove any listings which are linked to criminal activity.”
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk