Washington (DC) – Last week, Mr. Obama discussed his dismay that he would more than likely lose the battles against his lawyers and the Secret Service regarding his keeping his electronic link to the real world including his family, friends, and outside news – his Blackberry.
President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in next week, and he has just been told that he will without a doubt, have to hand over his Blackberry device.
If you are like me, and among the many Americans that can’t go without your wireless devices, and connections to friends and relatives then you can probably understand his desire and need.
However, there are many reasons that Obama is being forced to leave his Blackberry behind. First off, issue number one is security. Even though RIM claims that its devices and network is designed to protect all of the data transferred on them, the Secret Service, FBI, and National Security Agency feel that Barak Obama will be more susceptible to hackers and other attacks on such a network.
Currently, the government trusts employees with Blackberry’s because the data sent from them is heavily encrypted prior to being transferred to one of RIM’s network operation centers, and subsequently being distributed out to other networks. This means if a message were to be intercepted it would be impossible to read it, due to the scrambling of the message’s contents, without decryption.
It’s common knowledge that at this point there is not a security system that is completely safe.
Another issue is that Obama’s Blackberry could potentially tip off individuals to his exactly location, thus leading him to potential harm. When a mobile phone is turned on it constantly contacts nearby wireless network to sync up with so that calls can be routed to the phone.
Even though it is a stretch, it is possible that an individual with access to a cell phone company’s systems might possibly be able to utilize the pinging of a phone to a wireless tower in an attempt to track the movements of Obama. In addition, someone scanning cellular frequencies could, while being potentially unable to decode all of the data sent via the phone’s encryption, use the signal itself to triangulate his position.
Obama’s job leaves him more prone to privacy invaders taking any opportunity possible to take advantage of a security slip.
Another major issue Obama faces is the fact that all of his correspondence could eventually become subject to legal disputes. Under the 1978 Presidential Records Act, all administrations are required to hand over their communications to a public archive, so that those communications can then be made public five years following a President’s last term.
It is for those reasons that when Mr. Obama becomes our president, he will do so sans Blackberry, and he’ll have to figure out a new method for keeping up with the outside world.