This morning I happened upon this AP story from CNN.com where the author suggested President-Elect Obama may have to give up his Blackberry handheld because his emails could be subpoenaed and made public, not to mention the fact that consumer cell devices are rather easily tracked. As a technology expert and enthusiast, I have to take issue this this arguement.
The rule of thumb for corporate America is simple: do not put anything in a work email that you wouldn’t want to appear on the front page of The New York Times. The same should hold true for any public official utilizing “official” equipment. While there are matters of national security to take into consideration, but most electronics manufacturers (let alone contractors to the Department of Defense) offer secure encrypted versions of their regular products for official use. Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the popular Blackberry handheld offers a secure version of their product.
In the end, it really comes down to judgement. People should not be afraid to use these technologies They just need to include common sense with their execution. It would be a shame fore the President-Elect to cease using his productivity-boosting devices. His campaign was revolutionary in its communications methods to its supporters, leveraging the best in social media (Twitter & Facebook) and email marketing. This is a key ingredient in this day and age if his administration whishes to contiune the transparency they’ve touted throughout the campaign.
One key security issue I will agree with is cell signal triangulation. However, one would think that the military would have figured out ways around that. After all, that’s their job.