More on the great Obama Blackberry debate

I weighed in a few days ago to the effect that incoming President Obama could and should keep his Blackberry. Discussion ensued, especially on SlashdotNetwork World also added an excellent news/analysis article on the subject.  So I'll now tackle a few of the points that came up which I perhaps didn't cover so well before.

Blackberry as homing device.  The theory is that a bad guy could use Obama's Blackberry to locate him. Well, frankly -- most of the time it's pretty clear where the President is anyway. He works from his house, after all. His travel schedule is public knowledge.  I can see why it should be turned off when he's moving, or even left at home/in the limo/on Air Force One. But this shouldn't be a showstopper. 

Lack of authentication of outgoing email.  Uh, why is this a bigger problem for the President than for any other Blackberry user?

Blackberry as virus host. Well, that just illustrates that he made need two devices, one for communicating insecurely with the external world and one if he really wants to do classified work on a handheld device.  And maybe even the insecure machine should be frequently wiped and rebuilt. But basically this is an overwrought problem.

Remember, a President Obama has lots of technological options. Celebrities today have multiple cellphones, and change the numbers on same frequently.  (I think I once read that Paul Pierce had five cell phone numbers at once.) The same can be done with email devices and numbers.  Or, as outlined in Network World's articles and others, when appropriate he can work with devices that communicate on custom, secure government networks.

The whole thing is a solvable problem. And as I outlined in my prior post, even if that solution is expensive, it's probably worth it.  EVERYTHING the President does to interact with the outside world is super-expensive, largely because for very legitimate personal-security reasons.

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