The maker of BlackBerry handheld devices said on Monday night that it would cooperate with police investigating claims that its popular smartphone messenger service played a major role in helping demonstrators organize riots sweeping around London.
Police believe demonstrators have used the free, encrypted BlackBerry Messenger instant-messaging service to help identify meeting points and to incite violence, which has swept across the capital for three days.
BBM messages can reportedly be passed to hundreds of users within minutes and are encrypted when sent, making them difficult for authorities to trace.
Scotland Yard has said it's committed to finding and arresting protesters who posted "really inflammatory, inaccurate" messages on BBM, as well as social networking Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Patrick Spence, the managing director of regional marketing at Research in Motion -- the maker of BlackBerry -- confirmed the company had contacted London police to assist with their investigation.
"We feel for those impacted by the riots in London," Spence told The Guardian. "We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can."
Spence added that RIM complies with UK legislation on the interception of communication and will cooperate with the Home Office.
Although the Canadian company can be legally ordered to provide police with details of BlackBerry users' unlawful activity, The Guardian reports that RIM has previously said that even it can't access messages sent through BBM.
Many believe the UK riots are the first in the nation to be mainly orchestrated through BBM.
In recent years, social networking Web sites have helped to organize a number of demonstrations and protests. Twitter and Facebook earlier this year were credited with aiding massive protests in Egypt, which led to the ouster of long-time President Hosni Mubarak.