IT ALL DEPENDS


IEEE Security & Privacy, March/April 2009, pp. 67-70

A New Era of Presidential Security: The President and His BlackBerry

A New Era of Presidential Security: The President and His BlackBerry

by John Harauz and Lori M. Kaufman

Americans are addicted to their personal digital assistants (PDAs) or handheld computers (for example, MP3 players, Web browsers, cell phones, and smart phones), and President ­Barack Obama is no exception. Throughout the primaries and the presidential campaign, Obama was often seen using his BlackBerry. Once he won the election, great debate ensued as to whether he would be allowed to keep it. Initially, the Secret Service determined that his BlackBerry didn't provide the requisite security for its continued use. Of special concern was the potential that hackers could gain access to government work. Although Obama persuaded his security staff to let him keep using his BlackBerry (or a BlackBerry-like handheld device), it's not clear how, exactly, the device was modified to ensure extra security.

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