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Obama Keeps His Blackberry (And Gets a Sectera)

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the good-cuz-crazy-glue-hurts dept.

Security 365

InternetVoting writes "After all the controversy surrounding Obama's Blackberry, word has come that he will get to keep it. Few details are available and neither the National Security Agency nor the White House are talking. The current rumor is that the Blackberry will be used exclusively for personal use and a Sectera Edge will be used for official communications."

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gotta keep 'em separated (5, Funny)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558707)

Kinda like rnc.org for personal use and whitehouse.gov for official communications?

Re:gotta keep 'em separated (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558933)

Or yahoo.com for personal and yahoo.com for official communications?

Re:gotta keep 'em separated (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558957)

The question I have for Obama is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single fat colored mammy sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

Re:gotta keep 'em separated (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559061)

Do you want the correct answer or the politically correct answer?

Re:gotta keep 'em separated (0, Offtopic)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559425)

He said "fat colored mammy", so I don't think he's interested in either answer.

Re:gotta keep 'em separated (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559431)

Ironically, it's probably the single fat mammy. Assuming the four kids grow up to be gangbangers, and each kill three people, thats 12 criminals off the street dead saving us $120,000 per year on average EACH to incarcerate.
Your contribution to the GDP : 14 x $40,000 = $560,000
Fat nigger savings to the GDP : 12 x $120,000 = $1,440,000
Plus the gangbangers will likely be killed and might provide income to the local hospitals, etc.

Re:gotta keep 'em separated (0, Offtopic)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559491)

You are employing 14 people.

The bureaucracy to take care of the latter person employs far more than that.

Too bad I can't pre-mod my own post as -1 Offtopic, -1 Flamebait, and -1 Stupid.

Re:gotta keep 'em separated (1)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559545)

There's always slashdot.org to address the masses, too.

Should be interesting... (5, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558725)

The main reason for the President himself to not to have something like a personal BlackBerry or other personal communications devices -- ones which is he is publicly known to have, anyway -- is simply the high-profile nature and symbolism of the target. It doesn't matter that other federal agencies and the military use them for one purpose or another.

This is the case even with all the compelling "finger on the pulse of [insert subject du jour here]" and Information Age tempo arguments. The fact is that the President will have an army of aides who can all have their fingers directly on the multitude of things that the President cares about and needs to know about.

And in the event that a case is made, internal to the administration, that the President -- now or in the future -- really needs to have his own personal communications device(s), that fact in itself -- not to mention the specific equipment and carriers -- doesn't need to be, and, frankly, shouldn't be, publicly disclosed.

Also, from the article:

Obama and other officials won't be able to use Instant Messaging in the White House.

This is for a variety of reasons, but security is not necessarily one of them. For example, an IM service offered by the DNI's Intelligence Community Enterprise Solutions group does provide instant messaging services using the open Jabber protocol up to the TOP SECRET/SCI level.

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558753)

I agree, as well he could still send info about where he is going to be (by mistake or not)
and someone catch wind of it, and set up an assassination.

Re:Should be interesting... (-1, Troll)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558961)

We wouldn't get that much luck.

Re:Should be interesting... (5, Interesting)

diersing (679767) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558771)

I just hope they cross the GPS signal with another device that is, you know, not tracking the President's exact location.

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559357)

Do mobile phones constantly broadcast their GPS location?

Serious question. I know they have it for E911, but is the location constantly (or regularly) pinged to the network or does it have to be activated by the 911 operator?

Re:Should be interesting... (2, Interesting)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559637)

I don't think they "broadcast" it per se, but the network does track them; it has to, in order to know which other tower to hand off the signal to if the phone is moving. Someone who gained access to the system enough to read any messages they'd like would, I'd think, also be able to get individual phone tracking info from the network.

Disclaimer: I am not in the cell phone industry, these are just things I have gleaned from reading over the years. I'm sure someone with exact knowledge will chime in soon.

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558825)

Yeah, it is interessting. I've heard the DoD uses BlackBerry, but the Sectera Edge seems to be a no-brainer for a commander-in-chief.

Info on the General Dynamics Sectera

Re:Should be interesting... (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558827)

Grrr.. Slashdot ate my link [gdc4s.com] again.

Re:Should be interesting... (1, Flamebait)

tb3 (313150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558919)

Okay, the hardware specs look good, but the software description scotched the deal for me. "Familiar Microsoft® Windows® Platform".
Windows? Secure? Crap. Point those guys to some of the numerous articles we've seen here in the last few days about Windows vulnerabilities. I'm sure the only reason Windows Mobile devices haven't been rooted in the past is the lack of incentive. With the POTUS now carrying one, the incentive is there.

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559351)

Looking at the screenshots, I don't think it's Windows Mobile; I think it's Windows 2000.

Re:Should be interesting... (4, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558835)

I can buy the top secret nature of the device. That is a legitimate concern. I also agree that his safety is important.

But to not have a personal device because he is the "President" is pure crap! Since when did the "President" become royalty? So what that he is the leader of the USA, he is just another HUMAN...

And I am tempted to believe he thinks the same way.

The argument of the president having aides is exactly the problem of royalty and how their heads were cut off. When a human surrounds themselves with "aides" they surround themselves with "yes-men".

What I think Obama wants is to not loose contact to the people who got him into office in the first place. And THAT I find commendable.

I actually have a real problem with the need for "security" in a government where I elected them. The government is the people, and I want complete transparency. The government asks transparency of the financial community, and the car industry. Where is the transparency of the government?

I happen to like direct democracy because it keeps the politicians close to the people.

Re:Should be interesting... (3, Insightful)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559005)

the need for security does not stem from fear of those that elected him, but from fear of foreign interests getting their hands on sensitive information. I could care less if China, Al-Queda, Russia, etc. get their hands on his emails from his wife. I do care if any of them were to get their hands on sensitive information like internal comments about on-going negotiations on pending legislate, trade agreements, or human rights issues.

Re:Should be interesting... (0, Troll)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559377)

I think there is a need for security from some of those who voted against him or chose not to vote, though -- just look at some of the trolls around here. Apparently, Rush Limbaugh wants Obama to fail; I bet some of his listeners would be willing to use force to make that happen. There is an internal risk as well as an external risk, and his security team will realise that.

Re:Should be interesting... (1, Informative)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559609)

I watched an interview with Rush on Fox last night, and he doesn't want Obama to fail. He believes (correctly or not) that Obama is a socialist and is going to try and shape America into a socialist nation. Rush is correct that full-fledged Socialism hasn't worked anywhere, and his concern is that this move will be ruinous for America.

Now, you can debate the accuracy of the claim that Obama is a Socialist, the efficacy of limited Socialism (Canada and many european countries), and in the end whether Rush's fears were warranted, but this insistence that bombastic personalities like Rush and O'Reily actually want the president, and by extension the US, to fail is useless demagoguery. No American truly wants America to fail (with the possible exception of Chomsky, he scares me).

The sooner people start to realize that the opposition party is just as patriotic, just with a different opinion on the best way to proceed, the sooner we can "Move beyond Politics" as most of Obama's supporters claim he has.

Re:Should be interesting... (0, Flamebait)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559589)

"I could care less"

No, you *couldn't* care less. Jesus Christ, it's basic english, people!

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559685)

Oh, can you find it in your hart to forgive my typo you pedantic a$$.

Re:Should be interesting... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559173)

What I think Obama wants is to not loose contact to the people who got him into office in the first place. And THAT I find commendable.

Don't worry, I'm sure someone at the White House has George Soros's number.

I hate to break it to you (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559315)

but you, and other voters, are truly not the people who got him into office, let alone will you get credit for it or any other sort of acknowledgment. If you haven't figured it out by now this is a political machine, almost all of the people surrounding him are old school, hell this could be Clinton Part ][ considering many of the appointments.

The one thing many voters (fanbois in this case) and even too many members of the press have wrong is that being there when it happened does not entitle one to be part of history or history making. Sorry, if any Republican or Democrat gets into power it is simply through the machine. I have quite a few Republican diehards as friends and they still can't figure out how McCain got to be their nominee, just like some of my HRC supporter friends who are still in shock.

The reason he cannot have what he wants is because the office is more important than he is. That is the major fact everyone seems to forget here

Re:I hate to break it to you (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559627)

All of that political machinery was originally behind Hillary at first and /something/ managed to upend it. A lot of his appointments might look like just handing out positions to former Clinton administration people, until you consider that they're also some of the few around who have any experience at all for the jobs they're getting that hasn't been tied with the past 8 years of cronyism. There's been no shortage of credit given to his popular backing, either, both in getting him nominated and elected as well as turning the party towards him rather than Clinton.

Re:Should be interesting... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559007)

And in the event that a case is made, internal to the administration, that the President -- now or in the future -- really needs to have his own personal communications device(s), that fact in itself -- not to mention the specific equipment and carriers -- doesn't need to be, and, frankly, shouldn't be, publicly disclosed.

Whoa, sentence, Batman. That hurts my head.

Re:Should be interesting... (0, Flamebait)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559035)

And in the event that a case is made, internal to the administration, that the President -- now or in the future -- really needs to have his own personal communications device(s), that fact in itself -- not to mention the specific equipment and carriers -- doesn't need to be, and, frankly, shouldn't be, publicly disclosed.

You, are, just, whining, because, it's, not, an, iPhone.

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559373)

You, use, too, many, commas.

Re:Should be interesting... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559411)

You. Are. William. Shatner.

AICMFP.

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559153)

Just had cool idea for a game. It's based on the "Stock Market Games" where finance students compete against each other. Only in this case, you get the message that the president got, and then you get to evaluate the outcome of your choice. A possible title would be, "SIMS - Oval Office". The problem is that you would start seeing more gamers getting gray hair that played 4 years straight. And messages would come in Real Time. Lets face it, the D.O.D. has their version of a combat game for civilians, how about the State Department having one for them? Larger businesses are doing it already, and are very good at draining the money from the market, maybe a low-life-dirt-bag like myself could learn a thing or two?

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559269)

It's too bad they won't let him just use the Blackberry for all communications as he intended. Now they have given him an reason to have "classified/unclassified conversations".

Re:Should be interesting... (2, Funny)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559347)

I'm waiting for the first time he's in a meeting with the most honored prime poobah of turkarmenikazicenglistan, and starts a war by insulting said poobah by checking the blackberry and replying to emails the way all of my bosses do in the middle of supposedly crucial meetings.

Re:Should be interesting... (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559521)

One thing that seems to be neglected in these discussions is that most of the protocols in question are artifacts of the Executive anyway. That means that the President could actually make orders (not 'requests') and he would get his way. There are limits, of course, such as the requirements of the Presidential Records Act and other things mandated by the Legislature, but the rules that supposedly prevent him from using his Blackberry are constructions of the Executive Branch over which the President has broad (and sometimes absolute) authority. But Obama is wise and will choose his fights, and he is willing to work within the framework that previous executives have constructed.

The public perception of how much external controls are on the President, at least from people in his own direct organization, is probably a distant echo of the reality. For the most part, the President can have things as he wants them to be. And in some things, as the sole authority in the military chain of command, especially during wartime, his word is law, his requests are orders, and if he wants to make an issue out of it, refusal to carry out his orders is a crime of treason, punishable by death.

Re:Should be interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559553)

The fact is that the President will have an army of aides who can all have their fingers directly on the multitude of things that the President cares about

Isn't that what Clinton got in trouble for ;\

Intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558741)

Yay another trump for technology to be controlled by intelligence rather then greed and marketing :) hopefully he will make some progress on switching to FOSS within the federal gov this year..

Another first...go Obama go! (-1, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558751)

Another first for President Obama. I am sure he "brought all sides together" to hammer out a compromise.

Since he said he wanted to keep his Black Berry in order to "keep in touch" with ordinary folks, I wonder how I can get a hold of him. I would like to inform him about corruption, nepotism and cronyism in my department.

DoD use Blackberries (4, Interesting)

OffTheLip (636691) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558761)

Since Obama is commander in chief of the military shouldn't he be able to use the same technology (Blackberry) they use? If our national defense is entrusted to a product why would that not be good enough for the boss?

Re:DoD use Blackberries (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559297)

Since Obama is commander in chief of the military, shouldn't he get to say what he's going to use?

Re:DoD use Blackberries (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559629)

No?

I mean, in theory yes, however common sense should make it rapidly apparent that having a variety of diferent devices in use reduces the risk of a critical failure in one type bringing the whole system to its knees...

Re:DoD use Blackberries (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559645)

Since Obama is commander in chief of the military shouldn't he be able to use the same technology (Blackberry) they use? If our national defense is entrusted to a product why would that not be good enough for the boss?

Well this is what is happening. The Sectra is probably secure enough for military needs. The main issue with the Blackberry is that e-mail transits over a third-party server, instead of going directly from sender to recipient. The Blackberry would also probably need to be connected to the VPN at all times to ensure secure communication. I took a quick look at the Sectra and it lacks style and runs Windows Mobile, which IMHO has never been an ideal OS for a hand held device.

So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558765)

It turns out, that, after trashing Bush and Cheney for eight years for not making all of their communications public, the first thing the new Democratic President does is get for himself a means of making private communications based on his word that it will be for personal use only.

Frankly, I don't dispute the right of any President to have secret communications. He needs to be judged by his work product and not be constantly subject to the Congress. It was wrong for Republicans to harrass Clinton during his Presidency and it was wrong for Bush to be harrassed as well. IT's not because, ideally, the President is above the law, but it is because, he (or she!), is not subjugated to the Congress. They are equal branches of government.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (0, Offtopic)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558833)

I'll bite. No. Which shell can?

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (3, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558989)

So goes our karma into off topic land. I think it should be in slashdot that any technical post is NEVER off topic!

I'll bite. No. Which shell can?

Powershell for Windows does. It can do this because in Powershell the operating principal of piping is not a text stream but rather collections of objects. In the case of my signature statement,

ls |where {$_.Length -gt 2000}|format-table Name, Length

Powershell returns a list of file objects, then, applies the filter function where to it, and the notation $_ is obviously ripped off from Perl, and -gt, well, is to avoid ambiguity I guess with the redirection operator (cheesy parser, anyone?), and then, that gets you a list of filtered file objects. That list then is pumped through the format-table operator, which, uses the name and length arguments to project the given list into a table of just name and length columns.

It's a pretty big advancement in shell technology, for sure, but its not so fancy or capital intensive that a bright person could not make a better FOSS version for Linux.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559331)

ripped off from Perl, and -gt, well, is to avoid ambiguity I guess with the redirection operator

-gt is (also?) a bash comparison operator.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (2, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559441)

ls -1 | awk '{ if ( length($1) > 2000 ) printf "%s\t%s\n", $1, length($1)}'

Is there something like format-table for UNIX? I've never looked for such a thing.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (5, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558891)

No one is complaining about Bush's private communications with his family and friends, which is presumably what Obama will continue to use his Blackberry for. That information can and should remain private. The "Bush-trashing" is coming from the refusal of the Bush administration to release communications between, say, administration and intelligence officials, which can and should be a matter of public record, and probably contain a great deal of enlightening information on the administration's many illegal activities (torture, wiretapping, etc.)

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559063)

My point is that, as soon as you allow the President to have a means of making "private" communications, then don't you think he or she would use that to keep his or her own deliberations secret? Your guys are chasing after Bush on a presumption of guilt of something, and you demand a right to all of his communications because they exist and prove your point. If Obama were to fall under the same accusations, there's no way that those communications could ever even exist, and therefor, it makes it impossible to even bother trying to go after him. He's got a relatively blank check now, that Bush never had. That's my point.

My other point is, I think its good that the President have something of a blank check because the last 16 years of Clinton/Bush subpoenas and evidence gathering did little more than to undermine the power of the Presidency relative to the Congress, and right now, the Congress is completely out of control. The job of the Congress is to manage legislation and the federal purse and its failed at both. Meanwhile, it blames its own failures on the Presidency and thus , its not only wrecking itself, it wants to drag another branch of government down with it.

The bottom line is, Dick Cheney is right. The Presidency needs to be more powerful relative to the Congress, and that is why Obama should get to keep his Blackberry, and -gasp-, even a cell phone, if he could get a secure one.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (4, Insightful)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559273)

My point is that, as soon as you allow the President to have a means of making "private" communications, then don't you think he or she would use that to keep his or her own deliberations secret?

Ok. Where do you draw the line? The President can't use a non-official phone? The President cannot ever be alone with somebody? The President cannot write a birthday card to his Auntie Mabel without a copy going into the permanant record?

After all, 'best birthday wishes' might be code for 'buy Haliburton; we's invadin' another o'l country!' and 'best wishes on your birthday' might be code for 'sell Microsoft; we're sending Gates to Guantanamo tomorrow!'

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559601)

"Your guys are chasing after Bush on a presumption of guilt of something, and you demand a right to all of his communications because they exist and prove your point."
 
Yeah lay off guys, seriously. Bush doing something illegal? Poppycock.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559301)

And the reason the messages were not recorded on the automatic systems were that they were using blackberries and other systems that were provided for private and political reasons. Since they were not able to get similar devices for official purposes and people being people they used what was around.
Oops my mistake should of read the whole message then I would of seen you are the fools who is fabricating illegal actions.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (3, Insightful)

jmyers (208878) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558905)

The big problem with email and any recorded communication really is that is can be used to craft almost any story you want to tell. Your enemies will always want access to all of your communications. This way they can edit them and release to the public in a way to paint a picture of you using your own words.

Many people have been slandered this way for many years. So much that you would think that the general public could tell the difference between propaganda and reality. The problem remains that people believe what they want to hear and discount anything they don't want to hear. Give them an irrelevant email out of context and they will eat it up.

I would recommended against any public figure using email.

Separation of Powers (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558935)

They are equal branches of government.

The separation of powers defined in the Constitution do not make for an *equal* separation of powers. Congress has much more authority than the other two branches of federal government.

Read the Federalist. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559079)

The separation of powers defined in the Constitution do not make for an *equal* separation of powers. Congress has much more authority than the other two branches of federal government.

Hamilton would disagree with you. If anything, he says that the President should be MORE powerful than the Congress, the role of the Congress to be a check on him, not the other way around.

http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa70.htm [constitution.org]

Well *that* didn't take long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558941)

So tell me - does the RNC still pay you even though they're not in power anymore, or are you just contracted through the end of the month?

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1)

JavaTHut (9877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559057)

They are equal branches of government.

The constitution most definitely does not say all branches are equal. The Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers both put the judicial branch as weaker than the other two. Granted to your point, the President was never intended to be more powerful than the Congress; it's no accident that if 76% of the congress agreed to it, they'd have the legal authority to abolish both the presidency and the supreme court and install cowboy neal as dictator for life.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559287)

it's no accident that if 76% of the congress agreed to it, they'd have the legal authority to abolish both the presidency and the supreme court and install cowboy neal as dictator for life.

Actually, they'd only need 2/3 of both houses of congress. But, they'd also need 3/4 of the state legislatures to agree. Its a bit harder than you made it out to be.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559105)

Can my shell accept random, terse syntax to produce unexpected results? Yes! Just look for phroggy's sig.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1)

kitgerrits (1034262) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559157)

If his blackberry is wires into the Gov't Blackberry Enterprise Server, you can rest assured all his communications on it are still 'logged' on the system, I simply hope he doesn't use it for personal gains.

If it's his private blackberry, I simply hope he keeps it separate from his work.

What Bush did wrong, was using Republican Party resources for personal and work means and then keeping everything inside it 'private'.

and here I thought (2, Funny)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559189)

all his communication to us would come in the form of burning Bushes and stone tablets

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (2, Insightful)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559197)

I just wanted to clarify a small thing. The Congress is responsible for the passage of laws, the Executive (President) is responsible for enacting those laws. While in theory, the two are equal, the power of law is based in Congress, which has the most direct connection to the people, and is most directly accountable.

The President is not subject to Congress, however he can also not really act without their support. Were he truly to be a separate entity and not beholden to the laws passed to him by Congress, he would be an elected King, which your message appeared to support. Direct accountability to the people, whom both the Congress and President serve is more important than secret communications. These people are our employees, and I know I get cranky when my staff spend too much time on the clock dealing with non-work issues.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559257)

It turns out, that, after trashing Bush and Cheney for eight years for not making all of their communications public, the first thing the new Democratic President does is get for himself a means of making private communications based on his word that it will be for personal use only.

This for anyone confused by your argument -- there's obviously no hope of reaching you but I might just be able to reach them.

There is a huge difference between personal privacy and professional privacy. Obama's health was his and his family's business when he was a senator. As President, it's a matter of public interest. Reagan's Alzheimer's after he left office, his business; his Alzheimer's when he was President, that was damn well America's business. It was nothing less than the question of whether he could fulfill his duties as President of the United States. Same reason why we don't have a professional interest in the health of the airline mechanic but we give the pilots annual physicals -- the mechanic keeling over won't kill 150 people.

And when it comes to the president, there's a difference between having an affair with another consenting adult, an action that was incredibly stupid yet broke no laws and Bush's active effort to commit treason against the United States and cover up the planning. Clinton's affair was between him, Hillary, and Chelsea. Bush I and II, Reagan, their crimes were against the American people. Iran-Contra, lying us into the Iraq war, helping to roll back regulations so our economy would overheat and explode like the heart of a rabbit chased by a lawnmower...

Frankly, I don't dispute the right of any President to have secret communications. He needs to be judged by his work product and not be constantly subject to the Congress. It was wrong for Republicans to harrass Clinton during his Presidency and it was wrong for Bush to be harrassed as well. IT's not because, ideally, the President is above the law, but it is because, he (or she!), is not subjugated to the Congress. They are equal branches of government.

Bush and his cronies setup separate RNC emails so that they could conduct illegal politiking from the White House. They tore a strip off Gore's hide for making a fundraising call on public lines from his office, how is it any different doing RNC work on the public's dime? Sure, there should be separate email accounts so that any President can keep party business and state business separate but the White House shouldn't be party headquarters.

Trying to conflate Clinton's sins, which were many, against Bush's sins which were many but also far, far more treasonous is ridiculous. Clinton was impeached for lying about a blowjob. Bush was never impeached for lying us into a fucking war.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559385)

The problem was that there was a lot of evidence suggesting that President Bush and Cheney was conducting official business on his personal account, and these communications will not be archived according to law. Hopefully, Obama will avoid this problem but I do not have high hopes.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559555)

I think we will see a lot of this kind of back tracking in the next four years.

Just look at the ethics situation now.

A tax cheat will be running the Treasury Department and a guy who played a questionable role in getting another tax cheat and fugitive pardoned will be the Attorney General. Don't even talk about Hillary.

Switch the party labels around and Slashdot would be in flames.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (1)

Wanado (908085) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559565)

Haven't you people seen 24? The terrorists will blackmail the president on his personal cell phone.

Re:So, all this talk about Bush emails and... (3, Insightful)

Orne (144925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559661)

Don't worry, the press will treat this as fairly as they did when it was revealed that Governor Palin of Alaska had an email account for work use, and a separate email account for home use.

He'll get it back under Ninnle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558767)

Once he's switched over US government IT systems to Ninnle, security will cease to be an issue, so a Blackberry running under Ninnle will be his to keep!

And... (5, Informative)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558777)

RIM gets an unlimited amount of free advertising over this being headline news for a month!

Wondering what a Sectera is? (5, Informative)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558795)

So was I. It's a "Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device", it's made by General Dynamics, and you can read more about it here [gdc4s.com] .

Re:Wondering what a Sectera is? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559199)

This may become the most famous Sexeteria since the one in Jerusalem.

Re:Wondering what a Sectera is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559529)

hmmm....it runs Windows.
I'm certainly convinced that it's secure...

Idiotic WashPo Story (5, Interesting)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558813)

The Washington Post had a truly idiotic story [washingtonpost.com] today entitled: "Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages" that seemed (to me) silly. Among the statements: " The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software." seemed the silliest in that it implies that six-year old software (WinXP?) is "old". The author needs to be told that just because newer is available doesn't mean there is a business sense to use it! From the article: "What does that mean in 21st-century terms? No Facebook to communicate with supporters. No outside e-mail log-ins. No instant messaging. Hard adjustments for a staff that helped sweep Obama to power through, among other things, relentless online social networking." The young'uns should learn there are reasons to make those things unavailable. Like, uhhh, security? Think back to when Clinton took office and his minions were saying the same kinds of things about the WH phone system left by Bush 1...that is used "dial phones" (for christ's sake!)...and everything had to go through the WH switchboard. There was a reason for that as the Clintonites found when they "modernized". Suddenly the WH began leaking info like a sieve when the "new technology" was adopted. Watch for the same thing to happen here! For the record: I didn't vote for Obama or McCain but it seems like this article was another kick at GWB.

Re:Idiotic WashPo Story (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558975)

If they think Windows XP is outdated I hope they never find out what some of the computers are running in a place like the Pentagon. Heck, they probably don't even have GUIs.

Re:Idiotic WashPo Story (3, Interesting)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559089)

Expect to see this kind of thing for at least the next 100 days. The press likes to make a big deal about this 100 day honeymoon period. They cut the president some slack, and spend their time on other things.

Over the last 8 years, nothing has given the media more joy than kicking Bush around. I watched MSNBC last night for an hour and every discussion of Obama quickly turned into a burning in effigy of Bush, instead of a commentary on what I wanted to here about. "What is Obama doing, or planning to do during his administration!" I already know what Bush did, and what I think about his actions. I Don't care what Obama's appointies think of them, only what they plan on doing now that they have the power.

Obama may claim to be above politics, and there is even evidence that he is trying. However, the media and those I've seen on TV who are members of the new Obama administration are not even pretending.

Re:Idiotic WashPo Story (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559165)

The White House is in the "Technological Dark Ages" because the media put it there, with constant subpoenas and FOIA requests trying to dig up dirt on GWB and Cheney.

Re:Idiotic WashPo Story (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559393)

Among the statements: " The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software." seemed the silliest in that it implies that six-year old software (WinXP?) is "old".

If you want silly, here's silly:

During the senate subcomittee hearings on the "lost email" fiasco (broadcast on CSPAN), the White House's "Chief Technologist" prefaced a description of the problems they were having with their new Exchange servers by championing their move from "obsolete technologies".

The committee member nodded their heads approvingly.

What was this "obsolete technology"? Lotus Notes.

Re:Idiotic WashPo Story (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559469)

No, I don't want silly which is why I pointed out the original. It looks like business as usual in that they would rather blame the previous occupant than take care of business.

National Security (5, Interesting)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558817)

To put my comments in their proper context, it's a good idea to disclose that I'm Canadian.

Having said that, I understand the national security concerns with Obama using a Blackberry. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't all Blackberry traffic pass through RIM's servers in Waterloo, Ontario. Given the fact that such information can be intercepted on foreign soil should be worrisome to a U.S. security agency such as the NSA.

Other smartphones don't appear to have that problem. Perhaps the NSA can persuade Obama to get an iPhone instead? :D

Re:National Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559111)

Ok, I'll correct you. You are wrong.

Re:National Security (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559409)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't all Blackberry traffic pass through RIM's servers in Waterloo, Ontario.

All the Pentagon stuff runs off its own servers, as you would expect.

correction: (0, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559683)

canada is merely unincorporated usa territory

Bad idea to have two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558831)

One for "personal" use and one for secure stuff? Bad idea!

We all know that secure stuff will accidentally done on the personal device. It's just too hard and inconvenient to try to manually control these types of problems.

Pick one device, make sure it is secure by default and you're much better off.

It's for personal use... (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558879)

... so it's no different than owning an iPod. Official email will still be made a matter of public record, and he's going to be the first president to use email at all, largely because the former chiefs didn't want it on file.

Re:It's for personal use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559427)

Just like RNC.org and Yahoo...

Re:It's for personal use... (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559543)

Come on - Sarah Palin is either as corrupt as they come, or she's small town stupid. A former lecturer in constitutional law isn't going to anything that daft.

Nice try.... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559607)

This [theregister.co.uk] link has a little fun at W's expense, but doesn't quite state that he didn't use email at all.

More interesting, and IMHO more realistic, is that the President really can't use e-mail [gawker.com] for much at all. National security pretty much dictates that. Remember, there are few email clients that aren't easily compromised or subverted to deliver malware. The Pentagon can't keep the bad stuff out. The White House must adhere to an even higher standard of information security. Archiving is a somewhat different discussion.

But the allegation that Obama will be the *first* President to make full use of Internet communication is a little bit of the general hysteria and history-bending that is going on, and predictably so. Let's just remember that despite our fondest wishes, the truth is what it is, not what we wanted it to be.

Not good (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558887)

The problem with Bush/Cheney was that they did not understand they were public servants. Rather, Bush still thought as he was in Texas where only locals cared that he ripped off the tax payers through his sweetheart deal on the Texas Rangers. Cheney treated the US government as his personal corporation, refusing to justify his actions to the people through the normal open government policies. Instead they both hid behind equivocation and various fraudulent tactics that we can only assume are commonly taught in an MBA program.

And now we are told that Obama 'promises' to only use his blackberry for personal communications. I am sure he has every good intention to comply, but, as with Palin, we see that routine use of personal assets while in a government job can lead to a confusion and misuse between the personal asset and government property. One can imagine Palin logged onto her yahoo account simply writing a government note because it was more efficient that logging into the proper account, or thinking that since she was staying in her own home on government business, that the taxpayers should help her pay her mortgage.

Which is to say that we cannot trust that our officials are always doing the right thing, no matter how moral or trustworthy we think they are. If Obama uses the blackberry, then it still has to fall under the FOIA. If that means we get hundreds of pages of 'thinking of you dear', that is fine. At least we will know that he is not plotting to defraud the American consumers by colluding with oil company executives.

FOIA (1)

rock56501 (1301287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558943)

Im not an expert of the Freedom of Information Act(FOIA), but govenment communications I believe are subject to the act, but I don't think that his personal Crackberry would be subject to it.

Re:FOIA (1)

MasterOfMagic (151058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559291)

Anybody with an axe to grind can accuse Obama of using his personal Blackberry for official business, whether it's true or not. The only way to prove that he isn't using his personal Blackberry for official business would be to submit to a search of all mail sent or received from it. If the president refuses to do this, then he looks guilty. If he allows it, then his personal correspondence is out in the open. Previous presidents didn't want to put the people that they were emailing privately with through this, so they decided not to use email.

Err, what? (2, Funny)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558959)

On Monday, a government agency 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.

Sentence goes -- but that isn't so... and someone WILL be -- understanding of this ... still better than me.

And, oh, look... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559027)

...it's running Windows - the most secure OS available.

Update (5, Informative)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559183)

I know its not popular here, but if you RTFA and pay attention to other news sources, you'll find out that the NSA has modified Obama's Blackberry to the point that they are satisfied with it. Good enough for me.

First "who gives a fuck" post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559219)

Seriously, does this matter? Because its not news for nerds. Unless they changed the definition of nerd to "trendy mental midget".

Personal, explains itself (3, Interesting)

StrifeJester (1326559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559271)

If your wife was shooting you a text on your personal phone about waiting for you naked when you got home would want that sent out to a company wide distribution list. Give the man his personal belongings let him worry about using it properly and trust him a bit. I didn't even vote for the guy but this has been one of the stupidest arguments since the initial debates. We deal with this everyday at work, not on a grand scale like the presidency but the same principal, maybe worse we are always so scared of HIPAA around here.

Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559311)

Great, now I can track him. Anyone know his number?

So is Slashdot turning into... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26559361)

...the number one ObamaFanBoy site?

Second stupid article about his Blackberry. What's next?

Why is this news? (1, Flamebait)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559379)

More specifically, why the hell is this on slashdot? Personally a large portion of America could care freaking less what device Obama uses. Not to mention, I could care less what he DOES regardless. Unless, of course he swallowed his blackberry and choked to death. Then it might be news.

Oh goody! (1, Troll)

Evildonald (983517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559457)

Just what we need! Another story about Obama's BlackBerry. No doubt I'll be modded Troll for stating that this topic has been covered to death. ENOUGH!

Spam filter optimization - Suggestion (1)

mynickwastaken (690966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559513)

The guys should adjust the spam filters on Presidential email account, especially the filters regarding "Viagra" and "Enlarge your penis" messages. They make no sense anymore, now that there is a black young president!
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