RIM CIO: "Everything, I record everything"

In an interview with ZDNet Australia, Research in Motion's (RIM, manufacturer of BlackBerry devices) Chief Information Officer, Robin Bienfait, revealed that every type of communication whether it be private call, e-mails, or text messages, made by employees of RIM, is recorded and documented.

It's normal for an employer to record land line calls and oversee e-mail messages, but private calls? Most employees who carry a mobile device that is paid for by their employer also use it for personal and private phone calls. Has RIM violated any law or simply invaded their employees' privacy?

When it comes down to it, RIM is within their legal right to use this type of practice. Bienfait went on to say that, "Everything I have that's on RIM is recorded and retained as RIM. So if they [employees] want to have a chat with somebody and it's not a chat that's within RIM's domain, then they may want their own personal device." Bienfait also noted that RIM employees are aware of the surveillance and one reason why the company is going on record about this policy is because everything that employees say can be patented by RIM.

We've learned that RIM is another company that has the access to remotely wipe a device if it is lost or stolen, more specifically exactly like the case we saw when a HTC mobile phone was stolen at MWC 2009 a few weeks back. Like all companies, RIM employees get access to beta versions of upcoming devices. Beinfait said that there have been leaks and lost devices, and they have tracked down the problem and taken corrective action. In the case of a lost or stolen beta device, she couldn't melt it from the sky yet, but would love to.

Just because RIM can does that mean they should? Knowing that every conversation you have whilst at work would be a little nerve racking, and would feel as if one isn't trusted. Is taping every mobile device, land line, and e-mail message necessary?

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15 Comments

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Is it legal for them to do this? In USA yes this is legal. In Canada where RIM is located is it legal?

If it is legal is it necessary? WHat is the point of recording every conversation? Just because something can be done does not mean it should be done. Trust is a two way street. It sounds like the employees are not trusted, so why should they trust their employer?

It seems entirely unnecessary. If RIM is ever involved in any kind of illegal practice, they just announced to the world what needs to be on the subpoena. What, you destroyed all those records? Hmmm...thats odd.

The employees know about the policy, so it isn't spying. As for personal phone calls, it seems a little ridiculous for RIM employees to have to carrying around two cell phones. Can an employee opt out of a company paid phone, purchase their own phone (heh, iPhone) and do business with it?

Think of all the data that is produces...who's going to mine through it all?

It's supposed to be news ? This kind of policy is active almost everywhere and is perfectly legal as long as the workers are clearly made aware of it. As some said, If you want privacy then use your own phone/pda ... Case closed.

You are given a company's device and you're warned that everything is logged. Do you want to call your friends and family or w/e? Use your own private device and not the company's one. Problem solved.

Is it just me or news headlines are getting more and more misleading? I would understand the big deal if they were secretly logging or if they were somehow logging/monitoring privately owned devices. But what's the big deal here? They are clearly trying to protect industrial secrets, definitely acceptable by me.

Has RIM violated any law or simply invaded their employees' privacy?

Neither. As long as they have disclosed this fact to their employees before they start using the device it is completely within their right.

You want some privacy? Use your OWN phone, PDA, computer, whatever. Business devices are intended for business use only; you should not expect any kind of personal privacy on them.

I don't see what the big deal is here either.

C_Guy said,
Has RIM violated any law or simply invaded their employees' privacy?

Neither. As long as they have disclosed this fact to their employees before they start using the device it is completely within their right.

You want some privacy? Use your OWN phone, PDA, computer, whatever. Business devices are intended for business use only; you should not expect any kind of personal privacy on them.

I don't see what the big deal is here either.


It's not a big deal and I didn't portrait it to be a big deal. If you read the entire article, at the end I asked if it was necessary.

RebelSean said,

It's not a big deal and I didn't portrait it to be a big deal. If you read the entire article, at the end I asked if it was necessary.

When it comes down to a ****ing match of he said she said, this will cut straight to the point and solve everything. There are to many poeple/companies that are sue happy. Look how many cases are out there where everyone is trying to gather info or a company that says it doesn't have the info. To me, sounds like RIM is trying to run a decent business and covering their ass in the process.

Same as where I work, all call dialed or answered are recorded, you want to make a personal call? They allow us to use our own phones AND they have set up 6 VOIP phones that are not recorded for employees to use for personal purposes

We've learned that RIM is another company that has the access to remotely wipe a device if it is lost or stolen

Like, for years now. I can do it from my BES server.

Joel said,
Like, for years now. I can do it from my BES server.


Indeed, I figued I'd plug that in there since we recently saw HTC wipe one of their phones at MWC.

Bienfait also noted that RIM employees are aware of the surveillance

There's nothing wrong, as long as the employees know about it. I don't have a personal device but I would get one as soon as my boss starts recording everything I do with it.

Just because RIM can does that mean they should? Knowing that every conversation you have whilst at work would be a little nerve racking, and would feel as if one isn't trusted. Is taping every mobile device, land line, and e-mail message necessary?

It say's in the article only devices provided via RIM are recorded. So if RIM pay for the device than they should be allowed to record it's useage. If you don't want to be recorded use a personal device. I don't see the big deal about this article. Work stuff is for work. RIM devices paid for by RIM are for work.

Not really, since you are aware of the fact that evrything you do with that device its been recorded.
Same thing happens in my case, i work in a factory and the devices than they provide are recorded all the time. Anywayz i have my own device for personal use and the work device its just that. Work!

I agree with RIM's, it's there property and they are giving you while informing you that everything would be recoded. And we don't live in those days where you leave everything on trust. Nowadays you can't even trust your own parents.

So in short either take it or quit the job. It's not their choice, it's YOUR's.