Research In Motion (RIM) has announced that the Australian Government's Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) has approved the BlackBerry PlayBook for use in government agencies — as long as the tablet is connected to an approved BlackBerry smartphone using the BlackBerry Bridge application.
The BlackBerry PlayBook (Credit: RIM)
The BlackBerry Bridge app is downloaded to a BlackBerry smartphone, allowing users to access their email, calendar, contacts, memo pad and tasks on the tablet. Users who do this can now use the tablet device for classification levels up to and including restricted or protected.
The PlayBook is the first tablet to be certified by the DSD. BlackBerrys have been a staple of government use, although the DSD has been evaluating iOS for private wireless networks that handle national security material, and has issued a "hardening guide" for use at the unclassified and unclassified in-confidence levels of security. John Sheridan, first assistant secretary of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has tweeted previously that the evaluation is set to be completed by September.
The DSD has said that it has no plans to look into Android, saying that there were few government business users on the operating system, so it didn't see the need.
RIM pointed to the PlayBook's support for ECC (Elliptical Curve Cryptography) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), as well as its ability to protect enterprise data when it is transferred between the tablet and a BlackBerry smartphone, as reasons why it achieved certification.
"RIM continues to set the benchmark for government security, and now, with DSD approval, the BlackBerry PlayBook is the first tablet to be certified for deployment in Australian government departments. This again demonstrates our leadership in the government sector, and our commitment and investment in secure mobile technology," RIM's manager Security Certifications, Asia Pacific, BlackBerry Security said in a statement.