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Tottenham MP calls for BlackBerry Messenger ban

Tottenham MP David Lammy has issued calls aimed at BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, asking the oufit to suspend its BlackBerry Messenger service, thought to be handy for those wishing to meet up in city centres for a bit of smash and grab.

Lammy kicked off his campaign on Twitter claiming BBM, "is one of the reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police force. BBM is different as it is encrypted and police can't access it," he moaned.

Tottenham was the scene of initial rioting in the British capital following the slaying of resident Mark Duggan, apparently by police officers. Police claims that they had been fired on later turned out to be unsubstantiated.

Lammy followed his initial tweet with an call on BBC Radio 5 Live calling for a suspension of the service. He later twitted: "Immediate action needed. LDNers cannot have another evening like last night tonight. BBM clearly helping rioters outfox Police. Suspend it."

RIM yesterday said it was willing to help British police investigators with getting hold of information from its BBM service but stopped short of detailing how it might help. "We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can," the outfit twitted.

That offer lead to a hack on its blog.

Research In Motion said in a statement on Monday: "As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials."

RIM says its BlackBerry Messenger service has more than 45 million users worldwide and has come under pressure from governments including the likes of Saudi Arabia and India demanding access to its encrypted service.

The reputed security of the service - along with the fact it's free for contract users - is one if the reasons for the popularity of the service, but you can be sure that if the snoops come a-courting RIM is likely to cave in pretty sharpish.