BlackBerry scores victory over iPhone in Whitehall

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BlackBerry scores victory over iPhone in Whitehall

Apple device not sanctioned for use by ministers.

UK Government ministers have been told that Apple's iPhone is not approved as a work device, although BlackBerry smartphones have been sanctioned for official use.

Health secretary Simon Burns confirmed in response to a question from Labour MP Tom Watson that ministers in his department have been issued with BlackBerrys and that this will be the case for all government departments.

"The only mobile telecoms or personal digital assistant devices that have been issued to ministers of the department are BlackBerrys," he said.

"The department does not issue Apple iPhones to staff as these are not approved for government use by the Communications-Electronics Security Group [CESG]."

The CESG is the information assurance arm of GCHQ, which provides advice and assistance on the security of communications and electronic data in the UK.

Simon Ford, a director at secure communications provider NCP Engineering, said that the iPhone had evolved into a popular choice for businesses, but that security should remain paramount.

"We have to remember that the iPhone was initially developed for consumers but has since evolved into a business phone rivalling the BlackBerry, which critics claim has the upper hand in its encryption technology," he said.

BlackBerrys are also the device of choice across a range of public sector organisations, including police, fire and ambulance trusts and city councils.

However, a major private sector organisation has turned its back on the BlackBerry. Standard Chartered announced last month that it will offer its users the option of an iPhone instead of the device.

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