Although no firm decisions have been made (forced) on our new President-elect, Barack Obama. It's not looking good. Blackberry is likely to lose its most famous customer. It's likely President-elect Obama is more upset about it than RIM (Blackberry's parent company).
If he kept it, Obama would be our first president that does "the e-mail". In retrospect, we all laughed at John McCain's disconnect with e-mail. But, sadly maybe he was on to something. It appears e-mail presents just too many security risks for POTUS (President of the United States). There's the risk of hacking, of course, of both the e-mail client and the servers where e-mails are archived. There's also a little thing called the "President Records Act", which puts all of his correspondence written or digital under the scrutiny of public record keeping.
Questions that come to mind:
- Aside from the President Records Act, if the Blackberry isn't secure enough for the President; then how is it secure enough for anyone else sending and receiving sensitive data. The President isn't the only one with secrets to keep. His are just more important.
- Did people of the day have this same debate when the first president had to consider whether to use that new-fangled technology called the telephone?
- FYI, yes, George W. Bush did have e-mail prior to going into office. He had to give it up. It was firstname.lastname@example.org, for the record. It's a dead account, so didn't even try it.
At some point, the President of the United States will need to be allowed to move into the new millineum. To date, Presidents are advised to steer clear of blogs, updates via mobile device, even no laptop in the oval office.
No wonder it's become an echo chamber.
Last updated: Nov 18, 2008
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio