Tag: politics

Obama to keep his BlackBerry, gets ’super-encryption’

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Want Obama wants, Obama gets. Scoring the first major victory of his nascent term, the White House announced today that President Barack Obama will indeed keep his BlackBerry (eat it, Sectera Edge). President Obama will use the BlackBerry to keep in touch with “senior staff and a small group of personal friends.” As we’ve mentioned previously, Obama’s decision will have significant effects on the transparency of his communications.

Gibbs said the presumption from the White House counsel’s office is that e-mails will be subject to the Presidential Records Act, the law that requires the National Archives to preserve presidential records. But he also said that some exemptions in the law allow for “strictly personal communications.” He did not say how that classification would be determined but made clear that the device could be used for both business and personal communication.

How did Obama get the deal done? By turning the NSA loose on his BlackBerry:

On Monday, a government agency said that the Obama administration — but that is probably the National Security Agency — added to a standard BlackBerry a super-encryption package…. and Obama WILL be able to use it … still for routine and personal messages.

Wait a minute… NSA… ’super-encryption package’… Is this why RIM wanted to buy Certicom?

Thanks to @marybethlowell and @frasercole for the tip!

|via Atlantic and SacBee|

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Breaking down the Obama BlackBerry (ObamaBerry?)

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Now that President-Elect Barack Obama has declared that he will fight to keep his BlackBerry, the question of how exactly the U.S. government is going to make that happen. Starting from the premise that the Commander in Chief could not simply use an off-the-shelf consumer model, CrunchGear has composed a list of must-have features for a custom-made Obama BlackBerry (henceforth known as the ObamaBerry).

While most of what CrunchGear recommends is both insightful and cool — my favorite recommendations include voice recognition and remote detonation capability — the ObamaBerry collapses under its own expectations of security and performance. By creating a device that performs all the functions a President’s BlackBerry should (although does any President really need military grade GPS and the ability to start nuclear war from their BlackBerry?), CrunchGear has has destroyed the one thing that Obama wants from his BlackBerry: to not be isolated from the American public like previous Presidents.

Regardless, pulling out the ObamaBerry would be a great icebreaker while on diplomatic missions (”Did you know this thing can shoot lasers? Yes it can!”)

UPDATE: Gizmodo is reporting that Obama may end up using a giant brick running Windows Mobile 6.1. Sigh.

|via CrunchGear|

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Obama fighting to keep his BlackBerry

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We haven’t really posted about this before, mostly because we never thought he’d actually be able to keep it, but it’s time to talk about Barack Obama and his BlackBerry. In response to questions of whether or not he’ll follow the lead of previous administrations and limit access to documented communications, Obama vowed to fight to keep his BlackBerry.

“They’re going to pry it out of my hands,” he told CBNC about his BlackBerry, a cellphone made by Research In Motion Ltd that handles e-mail and has become an essential accessory for on-the-go movers and shakers.

Beyond being pretty damn cool (Barack, hit me on BBM), this decision will have serious ramifications on the Obama administration. By choosing to have access to and communicate via email, all of Obama’s BlackBerry secrets must be recorded and archived for posterity. I for one cannot wait to read those emails.

|via Reuters|

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McCain Aid: McCain “helped create” the BlackBerry

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As a Canadian mobile industry blog, we tend to shy away from discussing American politics on the site (that’s what conventions are for). However, we feel that for many members of the BlackBerry Nation, what we are about to tell you could be the deciding factor in whom you vote for this November. Essentially, a McCain staffer has claimed that the Republican nominee helped create the BlackBerry. We’re going to let CNN do the heavy lifting on this story while we pull ourselves up from the floor:

He added, though, that McCain — who has struggled to stress his economic credentials this cycle — did have experience dealing with the economy, pointing to his time on the Senate Commerce Committee. Pressed to provide an example of what McCain had accomplished on that committee, Holtz-Eakin said the senator did not have jurisdiction over financial markets — then held up his Blackberry, telling reporters: “He did this.”

“Telecommunications of the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create,” said Holtz-Eakin. “And that’s what he did. He both regulated and de-regulated the industry.”

It’s funny, I didn’t realize that the United States Commerce Committee had jurisdiction over Canadian companies and their products.

The Obama campaign has already weighed in, with spokesman Bill Burton stating, “If John McCain hadn’t said that ‘the fundamentals of our economy are strong’ on the day of one of our nation’s worst financial crises, the claim that he invented the BlackBerry would have been the most preposterous thing said all week.”

Please feel free to post a comment. Seriously, go nuts. The BlackBerry Cool staff really wants to hear your thoughts on this one.

(via CNN)

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BPlay busts out Republican and Democrat themes

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So, the U.S. has been abuzz with electoral debates and presidential candidates for at least a year now, and if you’ve picked your side, you can show your colours with some new themes from BPlay. Being in Canada, I’m pretty daft about American politics, but the way the democrats have a Smartcar icon and the republicans have a fighter jet, I think the picture’s pretty clear. And hey, so long as you’re getting all political, you should check out White House Rumble. Along with the new themes, Bplay’s also released Spyro, the old PlayStation classic recently brought to the Wii, as a side-scrolling game for BlackBerry.

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The French aren’t crazy to not use BlackBerrys, just politically motivated

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When we heard that the French were against BlackBerrys for government use due to security concerns, we were a little confused: weren’t they designed to be secure devices for exactly this type of use? To recap, the French are worried that their intelligence data is vulnerable to interception by British and American operatives (data from French BlackBerrys is routed through severs at RIM NOCs in the US and UK). However, RIM says that to be successful, the culprits would have to use hundreds of computers running at over 100 GHz for millions of years.

An interesting article from World Politics Review sheds some light on the conflicting reports. Pointing to the French government’s previous attempts to halt iPod marketing in order to allow domestic companies to develop competitive technologies, WPR indicates that the French may be hoping that raising concerns about information transmitted over BlackBerrys would encourage more French people to rely on electronics manufactured and managed by French companies.

Apparently, it’s not working. The French media is reporting that the substitute device offered by the French government is not as efficient as the BlackBerry, leading some French civil servants to use their BlackBerrys in secret. It just goes to show that, despite political agendas, it’s hard to separate a government worker from their BlackBerry.

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