According to technical reports by the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police that were filed in court, law enforcement intercepted and
decrypted roughly one million PIN-to-PIN BlackBerry messages in
connection with the probe. The report doesn’t disclose exactly
where the key — effectively a piece of code that could break the
encryption on virtually any BlackBerry message sent from one
device to another — came from. But, as one police officer put it,
it was a key that could unlock millions of doors.
Government lawyers spent almost two years fighting in a Montreal
courtroom to keep this information out of the public record.
And while neither the RCMP nor BlackBerry confirmed that the
cellphone manufacturer handed over the global encryption key, and
both fought against a judge’s order to release more information
about their working relationship, the Crown prosecutors admitted
that the federal police service had access to the key.
This is why more recent messaging protocols, like iMessage and WhatsApp, are designed without a “golden key”.