Much is being made of the deliberations as to whether President Obama will be able to keep using his beloved Blackberry. As the New York Times reports, there are two major sets of objections:
Deven Coldeway of CrunchGear does a good job of showing that the technological infosecurity problems can surely be solved. I'd only add that the "Omigod, he left his Blackberry behind at dinner" issue is absurd. Presidents are surrounded by attendants, Secret Service and otherwise. Somebody just has to add the job of keeping track of the president's personal communication device.
So the only legitimate issue is legal -- can the president afford to put things in writing that will surely be exposed by courts and archivists later? The answer to that depends largely on the subject matter or recipient. Email to his Chicago friends? Sure! Anything he'd write to them would be necessarily non-secret anyway. Email to the Secretary of Defense? That might be a different matter. Email to his speechwriters? That would probably be OK.
I.e., President Obama can safely keep his Blackberry if he restricts its use to low-secrecy and/or non-official matters.
I'd like to conclude with two arguments as to why President Obama keeping email access would be a very good thing. One is that few insights into history are more valuable than those that can be found in people's letters. It would be a boon to the world -- or at least to future historians -- if President Obama were to leave a daily trail of personal electronic correspondence. The second is a reiteration of Paul Begala's point:
... one of the many strengths Barack Obama brings to the White House is that up till now he's led a pretty normal life.As president he'll need to hear from the folks who made it normal.
If a Blackberry and ESPN SportsCenter are what Obama needs to stay grounded, I think they absolutely should remain part of his life. It's worth whatever fuss is needed to make it happen.
Edit: Here's a sequel post, with links and response to a couple of intense discussions.
Curt Monash is a leading analyst of and strategic advisor to the software industry. Praised by Lawrence J. Ellison for his "unmatched insight into technology and marketplace trends," Curt was the software/services industry's #1 ranked stock analyst while at PaineWebber, Inc., where he served as a First Vice President until 1987. He subsequently co-founded Evernet, Inc., a $40 million networking systems integrator. Since 1990, he has owned and operated Monash Research, an analysis and advisory firm covering software-intensive sectors of the technology industry. In that period he also has been co-founder, president, or chairman of several other technology startups.
Curt has served as a strategic advisor to many well-known firms, including Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, AOL, CA, and Netezza. Curt earned a Ph.D. in mathematics (Game Theory) from Harvard University. He has held faculty positions in mathematics, economics and public policy at Harvard, Yale, and Suffolk universities.