Thursday, January 08, 2009

Will he say goodbye to his BlackBerry?

'Mr. President, please hand it over.'

President-elect Barack Obama is promising a fight to the finish - not over his economic plan, but to hang on to his BlackBerry. He is trying to avoid the fate of President George W. Bush, who gave up e-mail when he took power in 2001 because his lawyers determined any such electronic communications would have to be preserved for posterity as presidential documents. The Presidential Records Act puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas.

For years, like legions of other professionals, Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry. The device has rarely been far from his side — on most days, it was fastened to his belt. For the incoming president, there are concerns that someone might hack into presidential electronic communications - just for the thrill of it or for more malicious reasons.

Obama has said that keeping in touch by e-mail was a way of escaping the trappings of power and staying in touch with regular people.

The chief executive of the U.S. may have plenty of perks and power. However, law dictates that he be deprived of some of the very tools that other chief executives depend on to survive and to thrive. Obama, however, seems intent on bring some technology into the Oval Office. He hopes to have a laptop computer on his desk. If that happens, he'll be first American president to do so.

During his campaign, he set some groundbreaking precedents with his strategic use technology. Obama made U.S. political history by placing the first presidential campaign ads in online video games. Also, last November, when the Obama broadcast the weekly Democratic radio address, it came with a twist. For the first time, it was also videotaped and will be archived on YouTube.

But back to his BlackBerry. At last report, Obama was holding on to it.


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2 comments:

Shirazi said...

I don't think so. He has to leave so many other things while in White House so he should keep his BlackBarry on.

Deb S. said...

Shi: Mr. Obama amusingly reminds us that Washington is full of attorneys, and attorneys tend to view the world differently than the rest of us.

If he keeps his BlackBerry, I'm sure that there will be so many restrictions that he may wonder if it's worth it. The BlackBerry can also be a time-burner. We'll see who has the last word.