Crackberries in the Oval Office

Nov 18, 2008 10:30 · 235 words · 2 minute read

I suppose it might just be a convenient excuse to kick the habit, but I really don’t get why it’s necessary for Barack Obama to hand over his Blackberry when he enters the Oval Office:

Lose the BlackBerry? Yes He Can, Maybe

For years, like legions of other professionals, Mr. 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 — to provide a singular conduit to the outside world as the bubble around him grew tighter and tighter throughout his campaign.

“How about that?” Mr. Obama replied to a friend’s congratulatory e-mail message on the night of his victory.

But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.

I can understand the need to ensure that Presidential communications are kept for posterity, but this seems an incredibly heavy-handed way of doing so. Presumably the White House is sufficiently advanced to have moved on from carbon copies to electronic documents - so how is email any different?