BlackBerry 7 OS certified to carry 'Restricted' UK government information

BlackBerry Bold 9900

RIM's BlackBerry 7 operating system has been approved by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) in the UK to carry classified information.

BlackBerry handsets including the flagship BlackBerry Bold 9900 have been certified to store 'Restricted' material. The release of such information to the public would causes significant distress to individuals, adversely affect military operations or compromise law enforcement, according to CESG guidelines.

Stephen Bates managing director of RIM UK, noted the security of RIM devices is still an advantage over competitors and they help increase employee productivity.

"BlackBerry smartphones are widely deployed in UK public sector organisations including the Ministry of Defence (MoD), most of central government and more than half of the UK's police forces, NHS and local government organisations," he said.

"BlackBerry smartphones are enabling greater efficiencies and improved citizen service by providing access to data such as patient records, the Police National Computer and other government systems at the point of need."

Government approval gives a timing boost to RIM, which has seen shares plunge by 70 per cent over the past 12 months. Consumers have opted for the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy SII ahead of BlackBerrys and the firm may become increasingly reliant on business customers.

With RIM's BlackBerry 10 due to come out later this year, the firm could have an uphill battle. The highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S III is due out on 29 May in the UK and the Android handset could have a six month headstart over BlackBerry 10 devices. To make things worse for RIM, Apple may even launch the iPhone 5 at the back end for 2012.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.