French officials ignore BlackBerry security warning

Top French government officials are ignoring warnings to ditch their cherished BlackBerrys -- smartphones with email capacity -- despite warnings their messages may be intercepted by US spy agencies, an AFP report, quoting local media, said.'They tried to offer us something else to replace our BlackBerrys,' an unnamed official in the prime minister's office told Le Monde newspaper. 'But that didn't work and some people use their BlackBerrys in secret.' French security officials are worried that e-mails sent by government officials from a BlackBerry might be picked up by the US National Security Agency because the servers for BlackBerry mail are located in the US and Britain, according to Le Monde. They first notified the government of this risk 18 months ago but have had to reissue the warning, the paper said.'The risk of interception is real, it's an economic war,' Alain Juilllet, a senior French economic intelligence official, told Le Monde.Research in Motion, the Canadian firm that makes BlackBerry, is the market leader for mobile e-mail devices with more than seven million users of its smartphones in use worldwide, the AFP report further said.