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Obama wins the BlackBerry war

By Jimmy Orr / January 22, 2009

Jake Turcotte

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For months people have been saying there's no way Barack Obama gets to keep his BlackBerry.

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Guess what? Barack Obama gets to keep his BlackBerry.

It's good to be the king.

Stirring news

"I've won the fight, but I don't think it's up and running," President Obama told reporters on Thursday afternoon - seeming to pile on to complaints from new White House staffers that they've entered into a technological stone age.

Earlier in the day, fresh-faced White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs broke the news to giddy reporters joking that the announcement was "almost as exciting as the presidential dog".

"The President has a BlackBerry, through a compromise that allows him to stay in touch with senior staff and a small group of personal friends in a way that use will be limited and that the security is enhanced to ensure his ability to communicate, but to do so effectively and to do so in a way that is protected," he said.

I dare ya'

Just weeks ago, then President-elect Obama sent out a warning in regards to those who might want to take away his BlackBerry.

“They’re going to pry it out of my hands," he told CNBC.

Hacking

What about those pesky hackers?

Reports are that he'll have a super-duper-ultra-deluxe BlackBerry that is impervious to hacks - which means it'll be tougher to break into than merely typing "popcorn" into a Yahoo account.

(Did you forget already? That was Governor Sarah Palin's password to her ill-fated and hacked email account).

According to Network World, there is already a version of the BlackBerry which has been approved for sensitive conversations and is being used by the Department of Defense.

But Obama's BlackBerry will be different they say.

"Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, has worked with a range of government agencies and allows custom encryption schemes to be substituted for its own," writes John Cox. "That apparently is what's being done for President Obama's handheld."

On the record

Security was one issue, record keeping is another. It would seem that most presidential emails would have to be kept for the official record.

"The presumption regarding those emails are that they're all subject to the Presidential Records Act," Gibbs said. "There are, as you know, some narrow exemptions in the Presidential Records Act to afford for strictly personal communications. But, again, the presumption from the Counsel's Office is that they will be subject to the Presidential Records Act."

Shoot me an email

What's the president's email address?

Gibbs flashed a sense of humor when asked that question.

"www.noneofyourbusiness.com," he said to laughter.

VP

What about Joe Biden? Does he get one too?

After yesterday's gaffe, the Huffington Post reports he's been reassigned to Antarctica.

"The president was vague about what the mission to Antarctica would entail, but he did indicate that it could take 'up to four years,'" writes Andy Borowitz.

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