The London riots are being blamed in part on the encrypted Blackberry Messenger service British youth are using to communicate. Blackberry manufacturer RIM has pledged to cooperate with the police. Now hackers have hit back, and are threatening to release sensitive information if RIM gives up rioters' Blackberry info.

The hacking squad Team P0isoN defaced the official Blackberry blog with this statement a few minutes ago:

Dear Rim;
You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all, the Police are looking to arrest as many people as possible to save themselves from embarrassment…. if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters…. do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps? Think about it…. and don't think that the police will protect your employees, the police can't protect themselves let alone protect others….. if you make the wrong choice your database will be made public, save yourself the embarrassment and make the right choice. don't be a puppet.

Team Poison boasted on its Twitter account, "This hack took less then 5mins, very very embarrasing for the company and the feds." The group seems to have a thing for Great Britain (and grammar errors); in June they published what they claimed was former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's address book, in retaliation for his role in the Iraq war.

Although RIM has said it will assist authorities "in any way we can," it's unclear exactly how much help they could be to police. The strong encryption on its BBM messages is one of its main selling points, and RIM has claimed that even it can't decrypt users' messages. Maybe RIM will shut down the whole BBM system, as some are speculating. Though seems like it will only further inflame rioters—not to mention avenging hackers.

[Image via Getty]