Skip

Obamas crack problem
January 21, 2009 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Obama may just be able to keep that precious Blackberry after all for personal use. Although anything business related will be housed by this potential giant brick phone. The question is how secure and private will his emails be? How private should they be? Has Dick set a precedent that personal records stay personal?
posted by brinkzilla (27 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
BUY MORE CELLPHONES YOU... oh, wait, ok, I guess.

Man, I don't get why the prez gotta use a winmo phone. They're awful.
posted by boo_radley at 3:20 PM on January 21, 2009


Press Secretary Gibbs' statement on Obama's Presidential Orders, in case people haven't seen them:

The President today signed two Executive Orders and three Presidential Memoranda. These five documents represent a bold first step to fulfill his campaign promises to make government more responsible and accountable, to launch sweeping ethics reform, and to begin a new era of transparent and open government.

Across the country, families are tightening their belts in this economic crisis, and so should Washington. That is why in the Presidential Memorandum Regarding Pay Freeze the President has announced that he will freeze his White House senior staff pay at current levels to the full extent allowed by law. This will enable the White House to stretch its budget to get more done for the country. The President and his staff recognize that in these austere times, everyone must do more with less, and the White House is no exception.

The American people also deserve more than simply an assurance that those coming to Washington will serve their interests. They deserve to know that there are rules on the books to keep it that way. In the Executive Order on Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel, the President, first, prohibits executive branch employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists. Second, he closes the revolving door that allows government officials to move to and from private sector jobs in ways that give that sector undue influence over government. Third, he requires that government hiring be based upon qualifications, competence and experience, not political connections. He has ordered every one of his appointees to sign a pledge abiding by these tough new rules as a downpayment on the change he has promised to bring to Washington.

In the Presidential Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, and the Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act, the President instructs all members of his administration to operate under principles of openness, transparency and of engaging citizens with their government. To implement these principles and make them concrete, the Memorandum on Transparency instructs three senior officials to produce an Open Government Directive within 120 days directing specific actions to implement the principles in the Memorandum. And the Memorandum on FOIA instructs the Attorney General to in that same time period issue new guidelines to the government implementing those same principles of openness and transparency in the FOIA context.

Finally, the Executive Order on Presidential Records brings those principles to presidential records by giving the American people greater access to these historic documents. This order ends the practice of having others besides the President assert executive privilege for records after an administration ends. Now, only the President will have that power, limiting its potential for abuse. And the order also requires the Attorney General and the White House Counsel to review claims of executive privilege about covered records to make sure those claims are fully warranted by the Constitution.


The emphasis on open government suggests that he doesn't expect that the records will be kept "personal", so the only problem is how to keep them secure.
posted by voltairemodern at 3:22 PM on January 21, 2009


CNN took this headline down fast...
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:34 PM on January 21, 2009




CNN took this headline down fast...

My brother saw that, took a screenshot, and showed me. I thought for sure it was some fake image he got somewhere. According to him it was only up on CNN for about 15 minutes. I'm sure someone got reprimanded for that, but in my estimation it was worth it.

After seeing it, I suggested that Obama should have worked Chef's "Salty Chocolate Balls" song into his speech. "My fellow citizens... (funk horn crescendo) Hey everybody, have you seen my balls, they're big n' salty n' brown!"
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:08 PM on January 21, 2009


Dick
posted by Huplescat at 4:19 PM on January 21, 2009


you people are confusing the hell out of me.

1. the cnn jugglin' balls? wonderful, but not good enough. i spent a lot of time last night trying to figure out how we get to clown mister obama now that he's head clown number one. the lightning strike for me was realizing that all those black jokes that only us black folks get to tell suddenly become cool. because now black people are cool(/er. "ice cold!"). and all you fools who debate his majesty's blackenoughforya-ness are not paying enough attention. kid was black enough, right?

2. all day i've been wondering about the encryption tech that he gets. the NSA has put it together and i want it, too. i have to get a new phone and i want whatever my brother has. he is now officially my keeper. cough.cough.

3. what the hell is this post about? public records? secrecy vis a vis telephonic encryption? funny jokes? i don't actually care, but as a phailed anthropologist i sure do find this big blue tarball a little cryptic sometimes.
posted by artof.mulata at 4:35 PM on January 21, 2009


CNN took this headline down fast...

My brother saw that, took a screenshot, and showed me. I thought for sure it was some fake image he got somewhere. According to him it was only up on CNN for about 15 minutes. I'm sure someone got reprimanded for that, but in my estimation it was worth it.


Keith Olbermann did something just like after his show. They put up a graphic of Keith, Chris Matthews, Eugene Robinson, and Rachel Maddow and I swear Olbermann said "juggling inaugural balls" or something like that. I assumed it was just a coincidence he said that while the picture was up.
posted by dead cousin ted at 4:49 PM on January 21, 2009




If he's using BES, then they can do all the email in-house. Basically, it allows you to set up your own push server for email, but a mail server is still required, although that's simple enough, and it could even be fully encrypted. BIS routes all email through RIM's push servers, however, and I can't imagine they'd want him to do that.

Personally, I'd rather have a Palm, but I have to support BB users, so I gotta have one. It's neat, but it's also the phone that gets called when I'm on call, so it's not that cool. Obama may be a cool cat, but he doesn't have an OtterBox (primarily so I can take it skiing - we have a mountain right here). I got this one in yellow, so it looks more like a real tool than a yuppie slave device.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:39 PM on January 21, 2009


If he's using BES, then they can do all the email in-house.

Must. Resist. Tasteless. Joke!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:46 PM on January 21, 2009


artof.mulata writes "all day i've been wondering about the encryption tech that he gets. the NSA has put it together and i want it, too."

GnuPG is strong enough that it doesn't really matter what the government uses. If you're really paranoid you can make a 2048 bit key, although you really don't even need that. BB uses Triple-DES for data transmission, but that's just transmission, although you can use PGP with the BES software. I mean, you don't want to be careless, but more than enough tools exist to lock down your data fairly decently (and free in the case of GnuPG), if you really want to do it.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:52 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, I don't get why the prez gotta use a winmo phone.

To keep him from getting too cocky.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:49 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not surprised at all about the mobile devices. The Sectera is really just about the only choice that's even close to being Blackberry-esque.

But I'm not sure why the whole palmtop thing is really even an issue. If you're the President of the United States, what are you going to do with a Blackberry that the dozens of people you're constantly surrounded with, and whose entire jobs amount to making your life more efficient, couldn't do faster? A Blackberry is great, but a staff of assistants who you can turn to, delegate a task to one of, and then move on to something else, is a lot faster.

I've met corporate officers — not exactly heads of state — who have so many demands on their time that they don't have a computer or compose email themselves. They just have a constant stream of assistants and secretaries and general underlings running in and out of their office all day, presenting information for a decision, recording the decision and typing things up, presenting drafts (and then only sometimes), and then getting finals signed. There's a certain point where it just no longer makes sense for a person to type their own emails, because there are just too many other demands on their time.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2009


Update - the Atlantic says President Obama gets a blackberry after all.

But no IM?
posted by phyrewerx at 7:31 PM on January 21, 2009




you're the President of the United States, what are you going to do with a Blackberry that the dozens of people you're constantly surrounded with, and whose entire jobs amount to making your life more efficient, couldn't do faster?

Thing is, he wants to do it himself. He wants to send and receive emails from friends outside of the White House, to keep up with them personally. (This was all talked about in one of the articles about his campaign).
posted by jb at 8:11 PM on January 21, 2009


What's a "Classified USB Port?"
posted by grouse at 9:12 PM on January 21, 2009


What's a "Classified USB Port?"

There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:30 PM on January 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


RIM is Canadian. I'm just sayin'.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:48 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's a "Classified USB Port?"

A USB port that's cleared to handle Classified data. There's a whole lot of rules about handling classified data that the software has to enforce, about what can be written to or read from (for example the Bell LePadula Model); and the hardware has to meet rigorous specs regarding RF leakage (see TEMPEST, ZONE, NONSTOP, SKIPJACK, HIJACK & TEAPOT).
posted by scalefree at 9:54 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Word is that Obama's "BlackBerry" is actually a Sectéra® Edge™ Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME PED):
The Sectéra® Edge™ smartphone converges secure wireless voice and data by combining the functionality of a wireless phone and PDA — all in one easy-to-use handheld device. Developed for the National Security Agency’s Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME PED) program, the Sectéra Edge is certified to protect wireless voice communications classified Top Secret and below as well as access e-mail and websites classified Secret and below. The Sectéra Edge is the only SME PED that switches between an integrated classified and unclassified PDA with a single key press. * One-touch switching between classified and unclassified PDA functions
* First ever on-the-move wireless access to the SIPRNET
* Intuitive, user-friendly interface
* NSA-certified and available today
posted by scalefree at 8:19 AM on January 22, 2009


Revised: BlackBerry for personal communication, Sectera Edge for official.
posted by scalefree at 9:06 AM on January 22, 2009


So how does this SIPRNET work? Or how does the wireless functions of Obama's phone work? How does it handoff to different towers? The government doesn't have a separate cellular infrastructure, do they?
posted by geoff. at 9:25 AM on January 22, 2009


I'm just glad that when I'm waiting in line and I whip out my BlackBerry to check my Recent Activity here, I'll no longer be "That guy" and instead be "That guy who uses a device similar to the President!"

Or at least, that's what I'm going to proclaim loudly every time I pull it out; "Checkin' my email. Just like the prez."

I figure it will be a week or two of this before it gets me my ass kicked.
posted by quin at 9:48 AM on January 22, 2009


SIPRNET is DoD's Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, a TCP/IP-based network that's cleared to handle Secret data & VOIP calls. The Edge creates an NSA-approved encrypted VPN tunnel to SIPRNET using whatever wireless transport networks are available: GSM, CDMA or WIFI (not actually available yet, coming 3Q09). Presumably the Edge can transmit whatever priority codes each system has to let its calls get through when the system is swamped but it's still relying on the PSTN infrastructure to carry the connection.
posted by scalefree at 9:49 AM on January 22, 2009


I don't have a BlackBerry, but hey! I use Verizon! The same service Obama used when his account was hacked!

Maybe someone could hack my account and listen to my voicemails for me and send me a summary via email. Lord knows I'm never gonna do it.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:40 PM on January 22, 2009


« Older Life's for Sharing.   |   there's simply not enough cyanide Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post