Friday, December 6, 2013

No Presidential iPhone for Security Reasons? What the Frack?!

Recently, the President told attendees at a White House Youth Summit he wasn't allowed to have an iPhone "for security reasons." President Obama was talking about the price of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). He compared cable / phone bills many young people are paying (more than US$100 per month) to health insurance at the same price, saying it is a good deal.

Then he said, “Now, I am not allowed, for security reasons, to have an iPhone,” adding that Sasha and Malia seem to be spending a lot of time on their own Apple devices.

Crikey, the President of the United States is out of touch.

As Tom Cheredar points out,

First of all, using a BlackBerry in 2013 means you’re probably out of touch with the majority of other people. That may sound like an insignificant detail, but the iPhone’s (and yes, Android’s certainly as well) UI and usability can shape a person’s perspective on how to approach and resolve new problems. So, do we really want BlackBerry OS coloring the president’s perspective, or would we rather have iOS, Android, or Windows Phone?

While it is hard to imagine decade-old technology is the best choice for the Commander-in-Chief, remember that White House mobile communications are secured with SecurVoice, a company slow to support Apple technology. One might imagine camera-phones are not allowed in the top-secret environments of the White House. But so are any other transmitting/recording devices.

I can understand wanting to get the most out of the government's investment in existing infrastructure (BlackBerry technology is on the server side), but certainly some of the money that goes into upgrades could be used for a phone from this millennium? Even at Bluedog central we use secured base stations locked to specific devices.

Quoting Tom again, a nation whose companies and entrepreneurs are leading the world in technological advancement, I’m sad that giving Obama his choice of smartphone even merits a discussion. After all, 44 years ago we put a man on the moon just to say we did it before anyone else. But in our current era, we’re struggling to keep a man on long enough to sign up for health insurance coverage and telling the commander-in-chief what smartphone he’s allowed to use.
Sigh, so much for technological leadership.

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