Friday, January 23, 2009

Blackberry Like Me

In "The BlackBerry accord of 2009," the Los Angeles Times explains how President Obama has been allowed to keep his Blackberry to stay in contact with distant friends, keep current on online culture, and do Internet research independent of his advisors. Many who study digital culture see this as a very good sign for the new administration, given how the Bush White House far too frequently used national security as an excuse for excessive secrecy and justified bizarre e-mail practices and a hermetically sealed deliberative sphere on those grounds.

Former President George W. Bush gave up personal e-mail upon entering office, fearing he would create a public record with every touch of the "send" button. Bill Clinton has been reported to avoid e-mail even today.

However, security officials did voice some legitimate concerns about the vulnerabilities of this third-party commercial device to malicious external activities by hackers, including "malicious software" that "can transform the device into a miniature radio transmitter, allowing eavesdroppers to hear conversations near it" and a program that "can detect the phone's location by way of signals it sends to nearby cellular towers, turning it into a homing device." As the LA Times explains, "According to a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, at least 16 potential chinks in the BlackBerry's security armor have come to light since 2004."

Nonetheless, like many of his age and education, Obama apparently told reporters that he would be unwilling to part with a device to which he was so intimately connected on a minute-by-minute basis: "I'm still clinging to my BlackBerry. They're going to pry it out of my hands."

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home