Print 81 comment(s) - last by Hieyeck.. on Jan 23 at 11:14 AM

Obama will have to trade his beloved Blackberry for a less sexy, but very secure device

For the vast majority of Americans, we can chat online, send emails, and browse all of the websites we want without much fear of damaging information leaking to powerful enemies. Our smartphones, Blackberry devies, and email may not be that secure, but few of us are in a position where our personal conversations would matter much to anyone else.

The same can’t be said for the President of the United States. President-elect Barrack Obama is a very prolific email user and has said on several occasions that his Blackberry is his most prized gadget.

While Obama could use his Blackberry freely as a Senator, as President he will have to trade his beloved Blackberry in for a less sexy (and user friendly) NSA-approved mobile phone. The reason Obama will need a significantly more secure mobile device is one of national security. Hackers and eavesdroppers could conceivably gain access to private conversations made with the Blackberry. RIM does offer encryption for the Blackberry, but it isn’t up to the standards needed for classified data.

The NSA does have an approved device that Obama can choose once he takes office. The device is the General Dynamics Sectera Edge. The device is a PDA phone that is certified by the NSA to handle top-secret voice communications along with secret email and web sites.

The handset has modules for Wi-Fi, GSM, and CDMA networks. It is said to look like a chunky version of the Palm Treo 750 with an additional display under the keyboard. Price for the Presidential rated handset is $3,350 and it comes with a two-year warranty. The lighter adapter alone costs $100.

The OS for the Sectera is Windows Mobile and includes mobile versions of Word and more. Exactly how the IE browser, well know to be the target of hackers and malicious users, is secured in the handset is unknown. An additional handset will be available at some time in the future from a firm called L-3 communications that is said to be capable of Presidential use.

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I for one...
By MrBlastman on 1/14/2009 11:43:59 AM , Rating: 2
Would not want to shoulder the responsibility of having every single one of my written communications recorded and kept as part of national history if I were president. We had another guy who did do this, except it was with voice recordings - and look at where he ended up.

It is not the risk of security breach or leaks (which is substantially hightened by utilizing electronic communications by the #1 job in the country), but moreso the risk of something Obama says will come back to bite him in the tail later on down the road. Pretty dangerous and akin to handling a loaded weapon without the safety on while not pointed down range.

I think this is a poor decision on Obama's part. He should suck it up and stick to personal meetings or strict voice communications - Presidents have been doing it for years and for good reason.

RE: I for one...
By MozeeToby on 1/14/2009 12:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
You view it as a naive mistake, I prefer to look at it as an unspoken pledge that he will try to keep his presidency on the up and up. Perhaps he is confident that he can be ethical and legal in the way he runs the country.

That being said, if it ever became 'necissary' to make 'hard choices', he could (and undoubtably will) go into closed door meetings with the people concerned and there still won't be a record of it.

RE: I for one...
By zombiexl on 1/14/2009 2:19:32 PM , Rating: 2
Based on his state senate record (which I'm sure no one cares about) he would vote one way and say he really meant to vote the other way. :)

I look forwad to this quote:
"Yes I veto'd that bill, but I really intended to sign it into law. I must have used the wrong rubber stamp."

RE: I for one...
By KeypoX on 1/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: I for one...
By Cubexco on 1/15/2009 8:25:07 AM , Rating: 1
I sure am glad that our future leader is willing to do everything he can (including trading in his Blackberry for a NSA-approved communication device), so he can continue to stay in touch with the real world, unfiltered!

RE: I for one...
By FITCamaro on 1/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: I for one...
By DigitalFreak on 1/14/2009 4:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
It's amazing how the article is about a cell phone, and you assholes turn it into another Obama bash fest.

RE: I for one...
By MrBlastman on 1/14/2009 4:57:56 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I hate the guy (Obama), I was trying to look out for him from becoming another Nixon. Not bash him.

RE: I for one...
By KeypoX on 1/14/2009 6:11:10 PM , Rating: 3
i think the article is about Obamas cell phone, and his unwavering need to "change".

RE: I for one...
By Spuke on 1/14/2009 6:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it IS about his cell phone.

RE: I for one...
By Mojo the Monkey on 1/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: I for one...
By Moishe on 1/14/2009 1:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
Clinton apparently could get plenty of head while President with only carelessness to account for people finding out... There has to be some amount of privacy. The solution for any kind of true privacy is never to allow communication to pass into the hands of any middle-man. Any internet/phone/technology is such a middle-man.

It would truly suck to not be able to txt, email, or browse without knowing that everything is examined with a fine-toothed comb. Granted, if the President wants to surf the pr0n, he probably can and they would probably make sure it's clean and then look the other way. The idea is to be secure not private. As long as the employees are all hush-hush about it the President can do lots of stuff. To be sure, they've all had background checks and have signed plenty of documents to guarantee that the dude watching the Presidential computer logs can't tell his wife that the boss likes donkey pr0n.

RE: I for one...
By dj LiTh on 1/14/2009 5:36:57 PM , Rating: 3
I agree....i mean how the hell is he suppose to order pizza and hookers privately without the public gaining knowledge of it in 50 years. Imagine if JFK had one....

RE: I for one...
By Fritzr on 1/14/2009 8:19:18 PM , Rating: 1
Mr. Bush and his team have shown the correct work around...use non-secure, unapproved com system & delete all records if asked about it.

Hopefully they have enough sense to not send messages containing classified info by this means, but you can be sure that if it happens then either "no one was aware of it" or the President gave permission thus making it legal to transmit classified information on non-secure public coms.

This is the most important Bush legacy. The ability of the President to set aside his/her Oath of Office obligation to Uphold the Laws of the United States by asking the President for permission to do so.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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