Friday, January 23, 2009

'Black Berry One'

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama will be allowed to keep his beloved Black Berry phone. 

This is to be considered a notable victory for the President, whose desire to keep his phone has overcome the vociferous objections of security officials.  Concerns arise because after he leaves office, any and all Obama communications, whether strictly business or candidly personal, are required to be released under the Freedom of Information rules and become part of the public record. Thereis also an apprehension that secure information could be "hacked" or "leaked" from the phone. 

I don't really see why Obama's bid to keep his phone became such a major contention.  First, White House IT personnel will "whitelist" the phone, restricting incoming messages to a tightly controlled list of Obama's personal and business contacts.  Michelle Obama, his kids, Rahm Emanual, David Axelrod, Hillary Clinton and a couple of close friends will likely constitute the entire approved list.  Obama's outgoing emails and messages will be closely regulated as well. Such tight control allows the President to retain at least some of the phone's functionality, but drastically reduces the chance for any malfeasance on the account. [imagine how Bill Clinton's texts to his interns would read]

Second, Obama is the first man to take Office who actually supports and embraces technological advancements.  He knows and understands the responsibilities that come with the Presidency, and will not abuse it by sending any inappropriate messages on his phone.  In all likelihood, President Obama's most "revealing" personal emails will expound his love of sports; he is too conscious of his technological footprint to allow any secure or scandalous information to leak through his phone. 

The controversy over the President's phone has quickly be resolved and will become an non-story as Obama's staff  brings a tech-centric approach to the entire White House.  This tech transition may encounter a few road bumps (apparently some junior staffers were entirely flummoxed when they tried to access information from an actual *gasp* Rolodex), but it is long overdue and a wise move by the new administration. 

2 comments:

ACorso said...

Just as an adder to your story, the Blackberry is HIGHLY encrypted.

They basically created their own OS security software with the BBerry software as the base.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/01/the-first-techn.html

Kinda cool.

They call me K. said...

Mmm, that thing is going to be hacked. Announcing that he's keeping a specially encrypted Blackberry was like waving a red cloth in front of a bull. All the bored blackhats are now going to take a shot at it. They can hack the Pentagon; why not the Blackberry?

If Obama is an evil genius, then keeping the Blackberry is smart. When it gets hacked and the information is leaked, all the public will see are innocuous, normal people emails because he'd be smart enough to keep his correspondences that way. Leaking hacked information that only testifies to his lack of evil is kind of a genius way to "verify" his white-bread wholesomeness.