back to article Obama tries to stay connected

Barack Obama is hoping to find a way around the rules that ban communications equipment in the White House so he can keep his beloved BlackBerry when he takes office. In an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC the president elect explained that he is "in the process of negotiating with the secret service, with lawyers [and] …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Executive Decision

    When Obama becomes President he can order them to give him his phone/laptop/whatever.

  2. M7S

    Can blackberry mails really not be archived satisfactorily?

    There are numerous regulations requiring corporations to keep records of emails, and many of these use Blackberries officially. I am surprised that the US Gov does not issue such devices where appropriate, and have the means to secure them. UK and other governments do in the first case and beleive they can in the second. Perhaps this last point tells us something our government blackberry users should be aware of...

    If they are worried about other people tracking him, perhaps a device that received mails only over public wifi, and downloaded via a vpn proxy in the whitehouse (so no-one can work out the access point he is using as he travels around) might be an acceptable compromise.

    I cannot beleive there is not a reasonable technical solution to this. If there isn't, many of those beleiving they have taken steps to hide any nefarious activities from others should perhaps be a little more worried.

  3. Dunhill

    Security ??

    And a Blackberry uses what as OS ??

    And as mailserver ??

    Let's see what fun the future brings ........

  4. Andrew Barratt

    and I thought out place was strict at dishing out a blackberry

    Given Al, Kyle and Eeda are still struggling to get out of a cave somewhere in Afghanistan, I reckon the risk from an cellular / gps triangulated , ICBM hitting him is fairly low (discounting the Russians wanting to blow up a large customer). You've probably got better odds just by waiting to see him go into the Whitehouse and then hitting the launch button.

    Any one would think he couldn't just leave it at that massive white house he's got if he was that worried about being tracked when he was out..

  5. RainForestGuppy


    RIM uses their own propriety Blackberry OS

    And as a mailserver can work with Exchange, Lotus notes , Novell Groupwise, there are also third party connectors for Zimbra etc.

    Do you think the Blackberry is a MS product??

    The handset itself does not connect with the mailserver directly, like a pop3 client, instead the enterprise email server reroutes the mail via RIM using a propriety protocol. RIM then pushes th email to the handset.

    The main security concern is that all email goes through RIM's own servers. Some countries such as France, India have an issue with this and won't allow Blackberries for government use.

  6. James Pickett


    Clearly this wasn't something that troubled the current incumbent. Obama can probably ditch the Etch-a-sketch and Speak-and-Spell too...

  7. Daniel B.
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Security

    Um... BlackBerry OS?

    Mailserver can be Exchange or Notes; the White House had the latter, then changed to the former. The BlackBerry's pretty secure as long as you have the BES service, all comms are encrypted up to the BES server.

    However, cell triangulation might be a bit of security compromise.

  8. Robert Moore

    @ AC

    As I understand it, the secret service are the ones who say he can't have his blackberry, and the secret service do not work for the president.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    One cannot simply assume that there's a fairly good chance the President is in the white house when he calls his beer buddy for a get-together?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @Robert Moore

    Secret Service doesn't work for the President? The hell they don't.

    The President has the Secretary of the Treasury reporting to him. The Secretary of the Treasury is the head of the Treasury Department, which is where you'll find the Secret Service. So...wait. Who do the Secret Service work for, if not the President? That'd be like a CEO ordering a mail clerk around, and the mail clerk refusing to do something because he reports to his own, lower, boss, and not the CEO directly.

  11. James Pickett

    Gander sauce

    "the secret service are the ones who say he can't have his blackberry"

    So what do they use? If security's so important, perhaps they should practise what they preach...

  12. Chris G

    @ JamesPickett

    I think Georgy had graduated to a VTech and was beginning to find the Telly Tubbies less intellectually challenging.

    As for Obama ,I think he is limited due to legislation passed subsequent to Nixon and Watergate.

    All communications issuing out of and into the White House must be recorded and kept and particularly any and all communications made by the president.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Archiving requirements

    Anyone who's worked with mobile email in the financial industry will know that archiving of all communications has been mandatory for a long time, and is pretty trivial to achieve, particularly with BES+Exchange. It's bizarre that this is being thrown up as a roadblock.

  14. michael

    no wifi

    "" to get information from "outside the 10 or 12 people who surround my office.""

    dose the ovil office not have wifi maby all the led in the walls is blockng the signal

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "f they are worried about other people tracking him, perhaps a device that received mails only over public wifi, and downloaded via a vpn proxy in the whitehouse (so no-one can work out the access point he is using as he travels around) might be an acceptable compromise."

    I think the concern is probably more the basic ability to track a mobile through the cell base stations. Relatively easy for operators and others. Don't need to be making calls or sending emails. Just need the phone to be switched on.

    There are technical solutions, but I think trying to vet all the people who have access to cell information would be a major task, and you'd have to deal with all the different operators who own the equipment, and they'd not be able to keep control of overseas networks, so he won't be able to 'roam'.

    They could however set up a presidential network of their own, with their own base stations. Plus within government buildings it's easy to shield outside signals and use their own internal base stations (I'd be surprised if this is not already in place).

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