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Obama Staffers Followed Palin's Email Lead On Inauguration Day

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the why-mess-with-success dept.

Communications 407

theodp writes "Using Yahoo's free e-mail service to conduct government business was good enough for Sarah Palin. And now the Washington Times reports that Obama staffers turned to Gmail on Inauguration Day to conduct their business. Those wishing to contact members of the incoming Obama administration were instructed to contact staffers at wh.LASTNAME@gmail.com until official White House e-mail addresses became available."

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407 comments

Am I missing something? (5, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573291)

Are they kicking & screaming about it being a private account or something? I mean it doesn't sound like they are hiding anything by publicly asking people to use it to contact them temporarily.

Re:Am I missing something? (4, Insightful)

Madball (1319269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573349)

Yes, you are. There's free email available, free! And people have actually used it. This is a momentous occasion.
Seriously though, I found this to be perhaps the least interesting ./ item ever, and that's saying a lot. The only sort of interesting (barely) part is that the staffers have now had 4 email addresses in 4 months (barackobama.com, ptt.gov, gmail.com, who.eop.gov).

Re:Am I missing something? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573559)

What is this dotslash of which you speak?

Re:Am I missing something? (4, Funny)

Madball (1319269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573609)

It's a close relative of slashdot, dedicated to typo's.

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573691)

typo's

I'm hoping that was irony, but on Slashdot, I know it probably wasn't. Sigh.

Re:Am I missing something? (5, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573765)

Seriously though, I found this to be perhaps the least interesting ./ item ever

You haven't been to the idle section, have you?

Re:Am I missing something? (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573903)

______ - insert whichever politician you dislike, McCain, Palin, or Obama

"It's not a great idea to run a government using web e-mail accounts. That's the word from experts, anyway, reacting to news that ______________ used web e-mail. The practice is dangerous, said experts, and can run counter to laws ensuring government is open and accountable -- By using non-governmental email systems, "Your information is out there available, beyond the official mechanisms there to protect it," said Amit Yoran, the nation's first cybersecurity chief. Yoran is now CEO of Netwitness Corp., a computer security firm for government and private entities.

"_______'s use of the private account to discuss public business - a practice reportedly shared by top aides - also raised concerns from open-government advocates, who fear the practice could impede the spirit of laws designed to preserve government communications and documents. Recently, the office has fought to withhold some emails from public release, saying they were exempt from disclosure because state law protected certain categories of communication, such as those related to the "deliberative process."

"Lawyer Meredith Fuchs of the Washington, D.C.-based National Security Archive has experience on this issue, having fought with the Bush White House over how it preserved emails, and why it allowed key personnel to use private email accounts controlled by the Republican National Committee. She believes ______'s email habits echo the worst practices of the Bush administration. "Maybe they did it because they thought the records wouldn't be disclosed," said Fuchs. "That raises issues possible destruction of evidence issues - if they expected litigation."

- http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=5830813&page=1 [go.com]

Re:Am I missing something? (3, Interesting)

MollyB (162595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573351)

I agree, but I can see a scenario someday whereby someone files a Freedom of Information Act request to Google. Must they comply?

Re:Am I missing something? (3, Insightful)

Madball (1319269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573517)

I agree, but I can see a scenario someday whereby someone files a Freedom of Information Act request to Google. Must they comply?

Firstly, something tells me that 99.999% of emails to/from staffers directed to this account on this particular was logistical/planning. Secondly, unlike the Bush/RNC, they aren't going to continue using the accounts in an effort to hide anything. Thirdly, Obama has already made it clear that this White House is going to be much more transparant. Finally, pretty sure FOIA would be served to the White House, not Google. His answer, should someone want the emails, "pfft. Take them."

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573857)

>unlike the Bush/RNC, they aren't going to continue using the accounts in an effort to hide anything. Thirdly, Obama has already made it clear that this White House is going to be much more transparant.

From: http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/23/obama-spokesmans-debut-marked-by-discord/

"Although President Obama swept into office pledging transparency and a new air of openness, the press hammered spokesman Robert Gibbs for nearly an hour over a slate of perceived secretive slights that have piled up quickly for the new administration. It wasn't pretty."

Meet the new Boss... Same as the old Boss...

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

htnmmo (1454573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574153)

Yeah probably someone that can't let the election go and still has a hardon for Palin.

It is unfortunate though. With all the work they were able to do for the website, would ahve been nice if they could get email online too.

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573939)

Thirdly, Obama has already made it clear that this White House is going to be much more transparant.

Your faith in a politician's ability to follow through with things they say is...naive, at best.

Re:Am I missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573985)

From: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0109/17831.html

"President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question.

Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a Deputy Defense Secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face.

"Ahh, see," he said, "I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here.""

So, asking a legitimate question is "grilling". So much for transparency and a new tone.

Meet the new Boss... Same as the old Boss...

Re:Am I missing something? (5, Insightful)

FireStormZ (1315639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574057)

"Thirdly, Obama has already made it clear that this White House is going to be much more transparant. Finally"

And Bill Clinton Promised to be the 'most ethical administration in history', W promised to 'change the partisan tone', ..., ...

Its frightening that you take a politician *especially one from the Chicago political machine* at his word..

Re:Am I missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574115)

From: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090123/D95SR0K80.html

So, no more photojournalists, only "official" White House provided photos. So this is transparency...

Meet the new Boss, WORSE than the old Boss (on this issue)

email transfer (1)

yogi192 (1444697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573307)

Will those emails then be transfered to the official email server?

Re:email transfer (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573487)

Will those emails then be transfered to the official email server?

Most likely, yes. FTFA:

In addition, Cherlin noted that any e-mail sent to the Gmail accounts "could be forwarded to White House accounts and subject to the Presidential Records Act."

politicians != understand IT security (0, Troll)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573309)

It's not just Republicans using insecure communications? Politicians don't consider or understand IT security? Go fig...

Re:politicians != understand IT security (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573387)

Yes, email sent to gmail addresses is insecure, unlike email sent to regular whitehouse.gov addresses, which is magically encrypted by the NSA's army of highly trained ninja code monkeys as it leaves the senders' machines.

That thing that just went over your head... (2, Interesting)

FireStormZ (1315639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574129)

that was the real problem, you missed it...

This is not about a technical protocol being more secure this is about an organization.

How many employees does google have world wide? how many have been screened to the same level that folks in the federal government have? You are putting mail from executive employees onto a mail server read by people not vetted to be/not to be security threats from more than a half dozen nations...

Re:politicians != understand IT security (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573521)

Because whitehouse.gov mail is more secure? It's e-mail, people. You know. SMTP. It's sent in plaintext over the wire through SMTP servers.

That's why stuff like PGP, GPG, etc. exist.

Re:politicians != understand IT security (5, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574089)

It's not just Republicans using insecure communications?

The issue was never security. Dude, it's unencrypted e-mail, there's no such thing.

The issue was an attempt to dodge records retention laws that allow "we the people" to keep an eye on what our employees - public officials - are doing.

Since 1) the official e-mail accounts are not yet available, 2) it seems to be only for a few hours, and 3) in TFA, an Obama staffer notes that "could be forwarded to White House accounts and subject to the Presidential Records Act," these concerns don't seem to apply. (Though I wonder WTF these folks couldn't either be provided with the new e-mail addresses earlier, or hold the transition accounts a little longer.)

Kind of a side note... (0)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573317)

They don't already have e-mail addresses?

Is it me or does it bother anyone else that an institution like the White House doesn't have a dedicated IT staff?

I would like to think that there would be a staff to handle this kind of thing independent of the administration. Having a team who knows the ins and outs from administration to administration would cut down on transition time as well as maintain a set of standards. This also would certainly be a big boost in keeping things on the honest side.

Re:Kind of a side note... (1)

crmartin (98227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573453)

Yes, it's actually just you, because the number of dopes who think the White House doesn't have an IT staff is very small.

Now, for a little puzzle, ask yourself how long it would normally take to create hundreds of email accounts in a secured system?

Re:Kind of a side note... (2, Insightful)

silanea (1241518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573543)

Now, for a little puzzle, ask yourself how long it would normally take to create hundreds of email accounts in a secured system?

About as long as it would take to create them in a regular system? Unless the person entering the account data has to do on-the-fly RSA encryption in their head.

Seriously, that security for @whitehouse.gov is (hopefully) tighter than for, say, GMail does not mean that accounts are not likely managed by a few folks via a sleek administrative GUI, just like it's done at any well-managed IT department at medium-sized to large organisations.

Re:Kind of a side note... (4, Insightful)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573613)

The delay is not in clicking 'create account' on the administrative interface, or running a list of names through a Perl script; it's in processing the paperwork that ensures that the people getting accounts are who they say they are, and that their account access is appropriately restricted.

Re:Kind of a side note... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573643)

About as long as it would take to create them in a regular system? Unless the person entering the account data has to do on-the-fly RSA encryption in their head.

So... A couple of weeks as new-hire paperwork is processed and filed before the email department is notified of exactly which addresses to create?

Re:Kind of a side note... (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573865)

Now, for a little puzzle, ask yourself how long it would normally take to create hundreds of email accounts in a secured system?

If the system wasn't designed by chimps, about as long as it takes to create and upload a csv.

Re:Kind of a side note... (5, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573463)

I know this is /. and I know people can't be bothered to read...

However, if you'd been following the story, you'd know the White House IT people dropped the ball. When the Obama staff walked in at 12:01 to take over, they had phones that didn't work, computers that didn't work, users couldn't log in, and the e-mail servers, for which the White House is infamously known, seemed to be down.

What bothers me is that, knowing this was coming, they didn't have everything tested and ready to go at the throw of a switch (or literally, the click of a mouse). I'm not even going to get into the whole, the staff isn't familiar with the Windows platform and wants Apple issue, because that was covered extensively a few days ago, except to say, it's not as if they haven't had since November to plan for this transition...

Re:Kind of a side note... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573635)

I went to school with someone who was on the Bush IT team. Nice guy btw. Anyway while Bush did actually work with Obama from a security standpoint, there was no such working together when it came to IT. Not implying anything malicious either, it just didn't happen. Bush's people were VERY busy making sure nothing that wasn't supposed to be there would be hanging around for the Obama people to come across.

Why would Bush have anything to hide? (3, Insightful)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574097)

Only criminals require privacy. The Obama team has as much clearance as Bush did and should have access to everything.

Re:Kind of a side note... (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574107)

There was no working together because from what a little bird told me, the entire white house IT infrastructure is being replaced. I think, in the second term of Bush Jr. things were allowed to stagnate and rather than go around updating the old PCs, they felt the best thing to do is scratch it and start over. Small wonder there's delays then.

Re:Kind of a side note... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573679)

I know this is /. and I know people can't be bothered to read...

Nice. What about my post says that I didn't know that:

However, if you'd been following the story, you'd know the White House IT people dropped the ball. When the Obama staff walked in at 12:01 to take over, they had phones that didn't work, computers that didn't work, users couldn't log in, and the e-mail servers, for which the White House is infamously known, seemed to be down.

What I was saying is that if there was a dedicated staff (ie. independent of the administration) that this kind of thing wouldn't have happened.

Re:Kind of a side note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573823)

There is a IT dedicated staff that is under the Office of Administration. There was also an independently contracted transition team.

Re:Kind of a side note... (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574117)

Actually, there is. The White House is an institution upon itself. The security, logistics, kitchen, cleaning, groundskeeping, engineering and, yes, IT staffs work for the Government but are not administration appointees.

The problem isn't a lack of staff.

The problem is a bureaucracy. Part of this is good: institutional pushback that serves to protect the White House and Executive Branch by not being overly concerned with the state of the art.

Part of this is bad: forcing the WH to stay in a perpetual 15-year time lag.

Many of their systems can't be upgraded by law. The can't just upgrade software that hasn't been approved by whatever Govt office is in charge of approving it.

Again, that's not all bad: Imagine it was public that the WH used, say, Novell Groupwise for their email server. If a foreign gov't was so inclined they could recruit a Novell programmer (or infliterate their own) and write code that will silently transmit copies of their emails. That sorta thing.

Re:Kind of a side note... (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573999)

>>>the White House IT people dropped the ball. When the Obama staff walked in at 12:01 to take over, they had phones that didn't work, computers that didn't work, users couldn't log in
>>>

So things have improved.

When the Bush staff walked-in 8 years ago, they had phones that were glued "shut", computer keyboards with keys missing, users forced to stare at walls covered with offensive language, and messages etched into wooden desks and cabinets with knives. $17,000 dollars of damage.

The Clinton IT staff didn't just drop the ball - they left behind vandalism and chaos. Obama had it much easier, thanks to a cooperative president.

Hello, Captain Obvious (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574113)

...the e-mail servers, for which the White House is infamously known, seemed to be down.

Well, duh! You can't really expect a server to boot immediately after someone runs shred /dev/hda.

Re:Kind of a side note... (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573581)

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
IANAL, but:
Even a few hours before inauguration, using a whitehouse.org email address could be considered impersonating or forgery. I suspect most of these people had email address ending with @democrats.org (or even @rnc.org) which could be considered bad taste to use in an official use out of a campaign. Yeah, the best solution would have been a @change.org. Gmail comes second.

Anyway, it is disturbing that Google could potentially spy this.

Re:Kind of a side note... (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574175)

I wonder what context-sensitive ads they were seeing?

"Extreme Rendition? Come enjoy all EXTREME sports at Vale."

"Global Thermonuclear War? Get WARGAMES on DVD for $1.99 at Overstock.com"

Re:Kind of a side note... (2, Informative)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573607)

FYI: It looks like the White House IT Team was doing a good job. But, the transition team was not; note I am assumes the "White House IT Team" was not the "transition team". Tim S From the Article

Google's free Gmail accounts to work around the fact that their transition emails will go dark at 11 a.m. Tuesday, at least an hour before they will have access to their new government accounts.

WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573673)

Having a team who knows the ins and outs from administration to administration would cut down on transition time

So you are saying that the IT changeover takes the longest amount of time for the transition? Or, the transition is wholly dependent on the IT changeover, and nothing can be done until the changes are made? Either you have some inside information, or your reasoning is flawed.

Re:Kind of a side note... (0, Flamebait)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573915)

Is it me or does it bother anyone else that an institution like the White House doesn't have a dedicated IT staff?

How can you trust an IT staff that have lost emails during Bush's presidency ?

This submission is a troll (5, Insightful)

Hays (409837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573319)

This is clearly a transitional measure, and not a concerted effort to hide communications from mandated records keeping procedures as Bush and Palin are accused of.

Parent is troll (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573375)

It doesn't matter if you are accused of something if the accusation is not credible. Otherwise: I hereby accuse the Obama team of trying to hide information from public record.

In the case of Palin, a single email was found sent from someone on her staff to her account. It was not even shown that she had replied to it using that address. To simply describe this as "she has been accused of using her private email to hide records" is misleading to the extent of trolling. I would argue it should be even less controversial than the incident described here.

Will Obama be punished if a single one of his staff sends a public business to his private blackberry? Palin has been, in the media. I look forward to Obama getting the same punishment - "has been accused of criminal intent" might even make it to his Wikipedia page.

Re:Parent is troll (0, Troll)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573407)

Closet Republicans are funny.

Re:Parent is troll (1, Troll)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573781)

So, someone presents a rational argument, and it's mocked because they're defending Palin? Nice. Maybe you think his facts are BS. That's fair. Attack his facts, provide a reputable source of evidence that things are not as he claims they are.

If things are as he says they are (and I have no idea if that's the case), his statement is very reasonable. If you refuse to counter his statement with fact, then you're just spouting partisan drivel.

Re:ACs are trolls (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573675)

I should know, I am one.

Hold on.

Here we go.

STFU you little lost puppy sheeple blind following the blind self righteous little Republican cock weasel Bushite. Just because a Nazi like Bush uses your tongue for toilet paper does not give you the right to open your yap when nobody has pulled the string in your back. Bitch.

Brought to you by Trollcom.

Re:Parent is troll (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573677)

Interesting post. Except that it wasn't a single email it was around a dozen and she had replied to them.

Re:Parent is troll (5, Informative)

jmauro (32523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573777)

When this was started it was noted in official White House policy that these email accounts will be archived with the rest of the official White House email. The issue with the previous administration was that they were using RNC accounts precisely because they wouldn't be archived and therefore can remain hidden from the press and future historians trying to delve into what made the Bush White House tick.

It's the archiving that is the problem, not the private mail service.

Suure they'll be archived... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573959)

Of course we won't get into the fact that it's ALWAYS been legal to have personal (IE unarchived) correspondence.

But hey, we suddenly "trust" the government now because they're Democrats.

Just like Kevin Mitnick did.

Re:Parent is troll (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573927)

It doesn't matter if you are accused of something if the accusation is not credible.

So you don't think there are any missing emails, despite the millions found after Bush and Co. said there were no missing emails?

Re:This submission is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573511)

And exactly how is your post not a troll?

Please Stop All the Obama Stories (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573329)

Seriously.. this place is turning into slashkos.

We can find political news anyplace else. This stuff really is not news for nerds and does not matter here.

Re:Please Stop All the Obama Stories (0, Offtopic)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573471)

And now time for another strangely apropos /. meme
Seriously.. this place is turning into slashkos.
"You must be new here".

Re:Please Stop All the Obama Stories (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573549)

One interesting fact about Obama is that he'll only be president for a few years, but he'll be a nigger all his life.

Re:Please Stop All the Obama Stories (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573561)

We can find political news anyplace else. This stuff really is not news for nerds and does not matter here.

It's a technology story, not just an Obama story (as was the last one involving cookies). E-mail is Internet tech, last I checked. Gmail is a state-of-the-art free Web-based e-mail service. Obama is the most technologically fluent President ever. What's not to like?

Re:Please Stop All the Obama Stories (3, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573921)

Obama is the most technologically fluent President ever.

You know, this gets tossed around a lot, and it bugs the living hell out of me. Who the fuck cares? It's irrelevant! Praising Obama for using technology is no different than something like praising him because he likes rock music. It's a completely superficial thing, and doesn't affect his ability to be president in the least.

What's not to like?

So far? Lying to us, ranging from the petty ("My grandma survived WWI, which she was born after") to the serious ("I oppose telecom immunity in the wiretapping fiasco"). Spouting elitist bullshit that implies only those pitiable poor people are religious, and favor strong gun rights (and, by extension, implying that these are things which are to be stamped out, rather than the purely personal choice they are). He appointed a man who didn't pay his fucking taxes to be Secretary of the Treasury. If you or I don't pay taxes? We go to jail. If Obama's buddy doesn't pay taxes? He gets appointed to a high government position.

The tragic part about Obama, especially his FISA vote, and Sec. Treas. appointment, is that he's shown us that, contrary to what he'd like us to believe, he's just another politician serving his ends, not ours. And yes, there is stuff to like. I'm happy he ordered the closing of Gitmo (assuming he doesn't quietly back down on that, but we'll see). I'm happy he's been pushing an open government, not a closed one (again, only time will tell if this is sincere, or mere rhetoric that is spouted while the public's eye is focused upon him).

I hope he makes our country a much better one, but so far, there's as much bad as there is good. Let's not pretend the man is unblemished. At the same time, let's not pretend he's worthless either, since he seems to be doing some good. As usual, the die-hards on both sides are wrong.

Re:Please Stop All the Obama Stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573721)

The best part is the sheer hypocricy.

Timothy had to spin the headline as "Well Palin did it, so it's okay if Obama did it" when Slashdot a> attacked Palin for it and b>the community went wild about security and email tracking.

But now, oh hey... it's not a big deal and they're using internet technology...oooh Obama's so smart and ahead of the curve.

Hypcorisy as far as the eye can see.

Re:Please Stop All the Obama Stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573941)

Reading comprehension, you should try it some time. The headline was more like "Well Palin did it and was ferociously attacked over it, so it's not okay if Obama did it."

story? (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573333)

whats with every single article on slashdot being tagged with "story" even this??

Re:story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573395)

Stuff in IDLE isn't...

Re:story? (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574023)

I've had tags disabled for a while, so I wouldn't know, but I'm guessing things like interviews, reviews, and other things that don't directly discuss an event aren't tagged as stories.

Re:story? (1)

jargoone (166102) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574147)

Can someone please tell me how to disable tags? I have the "Show Tags" box unchecked in my general preferences and they're still there. They're completely fucking useless and it pisses me off every time I see them.

what about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573345)

Mr itepower?

The fact is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573359)

Anyone who works for government for a period of time realizes that there are things you don't want to commit to public record. Maybe they aren't scandalous, but it's just cautionary to keep the official email record as professional looking as possible. Palin got exposed, but I'm sure [favorite politician] has done this too.

(I work for a government entity)

How long? (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573373)

I think it takes 3 minutes to create an account, including exchange.

How long does it take in the head office of the USA?

Re:How long? (5, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573447)

The problem is that every administration brings in their own IT staff which, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't get their hands into anything until day 1.

It's a pretty poor system, IMHO. Imagine a complete refresh of IT staff in an office. There would be chaos for weeks.

Re:How long? (5, Informative)

sampas (256178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573861)

IT staff at the White House are actually career staff (not political appointees) at the Executive Office of the President. Their infrastructure is run mostly by contractors with five-year contracts assigned by the previous administration. (You can find vacancies there on http://www.usajobs.com/ [usajobs.com] if you search "Executive Office of the President.") To get an email address there, you have to actually be employed at EOP (White House is a part of EOP) and fill out the requisite paperwork. Using non-government emails for official government business a violation of the Presidential Records Act. It's been illegal for quite some time, and Obama criticized Bush for doing it. There's also nothing to prevent me from using wh.whatever@gmail.com and sending fake orders out.

You don't really want them to inherit GWB IT Staff (2, Insightful)

originalhack (142366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573911)

GWB's IT Staff managed to "lose" massive amounts of email. These aren't the career professionals that serve one administration after the next.

It looks like we may see a more technologically enlightened administration this time around. The changeover, while painful, at least should function as an effective purge of the incompetent and/or corrupt predecessors.
   

Re:How long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573979)

uhhh have you heard of the presidential transition team? they set all of this stuff up from 2 months ago. there's no excuse to use gmail. it lacks security plain and simple. the staffers could have used the old ptt.gov email addresses until their whitehouse accounts were setup.

Obama on Slashdot (2, Funny)

Obama (1458545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573381)

Thank god Obama would never use a Slashdot account to keep in touch, that would be ludicrous!

Btw, how about lunch @ 12.30pm?

wh.azzup@gmail.com? (5, Funny)

rabalde (86868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573399)

Can anyone confirm that Mr. Azzup is a staffer? :o)

Re:wh.azzup@gmail.com? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573923)

He indeed is, but the first name is bakdat

United States of Google (0, Offtopic)

Mr_Perl (142164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573625)

I support Obama, even canvassed for him, but I smell poo. This is actually worth considering because...

1) Google was Obama's #1 campaign contributor and has already received a number of "special considerations" that embed them into the Obama administration.

2) Once you start using an email address it is with you forever unless you're willing to dump all of your contacts. Not to mention force of habit.

3) Lame other reason here cause we must speak in threes to sound convincing.

Hate to be the paranoid guy when I'm usually working the opposite angle, but I don't like where this is going.

Re:United States of Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573947)

1) Oh no, Google is giving out free email addresses to Obama staff?!? Wait... they give out free email to everybody.
2) You don't have to dump all your contacts if you start using an email address. Especially if you know from the get-go that its only temporary. When I left college, I had to leave the email address I was using for four years. You know what? Wasn't that difficult.
3) Are you implying your other reasons were lame as well?

Re:United States of Google (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574013)

Once you start using an email address it is with you forever unless you're willing to dump all of your contacts.

Gmail has supported forwarding mail and exporting contacts for as long as I can remember.

Re:United States of Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26574157)

According to Open Secrets http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638 Google was not the largest campaign contributor, in fact by that metric the Obama administration should have used Live mail (hotmail, I don't know) accounts instead.

Perhaps they used Gmail because it is a good product?

They should just start calling gmail. (1, Funny)

motherjoe (716821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573659)

They should just start calling gmail, "Goverment" Mail instead of "Google" mail.

Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573695)

you suck at the news

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26573803)

you suck at the news

you fail at life.

Relax people (-1, Troll)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573769)

It's the democrats, everybody knows that they cannot do anything wrong or have any ill intent.

Re:Relax people (2, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573835)

It's the democrats, everybody knows that they cannot do anything wrong or have any ill intent.

Typically when a Dem gets into hot water, it also has a half dozen strippers in it.

There's a big difference (1)

djheru (1252580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573901)

Between using a temporary gmail account until your email server is set up and using a Yahoo mail account to conduct government business in secret without accountability or transparency.

This is not the same thing as Palin's situation (5, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573913)

Palin staff: already had government e-mail accounts, but used Yahoo accounts to conduct business that they did not want to reveal to the public.

Obama staff: losing one e-mail account before they gained their next one, so for a few hours they needed transitional addresses, and Gmail was free and easy to use.

If Obama staff continue to use Gmail for government business, THEN we can equate these two situations. But not until then.

as long as they archive it, there's no problem (2, Funny)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26573961)

The problem with Palin's Yahoo use is that it was secret, for one, and second that the emails involved govt. business but weren't recorded anywhere. So, as long as the mails sent and received using Gmail are subsequently archived somewhere, there's no problem. Whether they will be? Who knows.

Who really cares? (2)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26574151)

I argue, again, that Obama, as does any President, has the right to set up a communications infrastructure that is private and unrecordable. But, even if we put that issue aside, how far up on the priority list is this issue, versus this list.

a) jobs
b) budget deficit
c) looming entitlements meltdown
d) not one, but two wars
e) aligning tax rates and health care with NATO allies
f) trade imbalances with asia

just to throw a couple out there.

If we're going to be political, can we talk about something important?

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