Obama getting custom Presidential Blackberry

January 22, 2009

Obama getting custom Presidential Blackberry It seems that President Obama will get to keep his favorite gadget after all, ushering the first ever digital presidency. It’s not clear which model phone the President will use, but it’s rumored to be getting a serious security upgrade.

Newly sworn-in President Obama is starting his term without the device he calls his favorite. Now rumors have surfaced that it won’t be long until he can get his fix of the device so addictive it’s been dubbed the Crackberry.

Much like his impressive custom presidential limousine, this Blackberry won’t be available in stores. An unnamed government agency is adding adding encryption to make the device more secure.

Some speculate that the uber-secretive spy agency, NSA, is working on shoring up the Blackberry’s defenses against snooping. This could make sense due to the NSA’s reputation for employing top encryption and code-breaking experts.

General Dynamics already makes a smartphone certified for Top Secret voice and Secret data transmission. Presidential access code-named Yankee White is generally considered above Top Secret.

The General Dynamics Sectera Edge is a ruggedized Windows Mobile smartphone with some added encryption. It works using the government’s Secure Communications Inter-operability Protocol (SCIP), allowing it to make calls to secure government phones.

Securing the President’s communications from snooping is really only half the battle. The greater issue here is keeping his current location secure at all times.

Cell providers can track the location of any phone on their network at all times for emergency 911 response. The challenge is securing that information on the carrier’s relatively insecure network.

It remains to be seen whether President Obama will get his favored Blackberry or have to make due with a more generic Windows Mobile smartphone. In either case, he will be more connected during his tenure than any other President in history.

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