Obama & his BlackBerry

21 01 2009

With a changing of the guard in the U.S. finally upon us many tech pundits are interested in the changes that Obama will bring to the White House (see Wired’s recent article for example). Many are hoping that social software tools (blogs, wikis, video, etc.) will open up a new era of government transparency. There is some hope – after all, Obama used a lot of those technologies to build momentum in his bid for the presidency. But governments aren’t exactly known for nimble decision-making, so we’ll see…

The real reason for this post is to comment on Obama’s personal technology – his BlackBerry. Like other users, Obama is addicted to this communication device (CrackBerry anyone?). What’s interesting is that before his inauguration the articles suggested that he would have to abandon his favourite gadget. Now, that he’s the most powerful man in the world, indications are that he might be able to keep it. What a difference a day makes.

Obviously, the main concern is a security issue. His BlackBerry likely has GPS, which means the device could potentially be hacked, making his location easily traceable – not the best scenario in the world.

I’ve also read concerns that the data that travels over the BlackBerry network goes through servers in (gasp!) Waterloo, Ontario. Now, I know he’s the the commander-in-chief and as a rule you don’t want sensitive information going through a “foreign” company, but let’s be realistic. Is that information any more secure if it goes through servers in California? I think not. Such is the risk of using services provided by corporations…

Here’s the latest story in the Globe and Mail.

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