Obama has high hopes for keeping BlackBerry

In an interview with CNN, the president-elect expresses optimism that he will be able to keep his smartphone despite security concerns.

President-elect Barack Obama is sure to face his share of hurdles over the course of his presidency. But when it comes to one of them--the possibility that he might have to give up his beloved BlackBerry--he is waxing optimistic that he will overcome.

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Obama expressed confidence that he would be able to keep his smartphone, despite well-publicized concerns over the possibility of eavesdropping by hackers and other digital snoops. While Research In Motion offers encryption, the U.S. government has stricter requirements for communications security.

As my colleague Declan McCullagh reported , some handheld devices, such as General Dynamics' Sectera Edge, have been officially blessed as secure enough to handle even classified documents, e-mail, and Web browsing.

But Obama seems determined to hang on to his device of choice.

"I think we're going to be able to beat this back," Obama told CNN's John King. "....I think we're going to be able to hang onto one of these. Now, my working assumption, and this is not new, is that everything I write on e-mail could end up being on CNN. So I make sure that--to think before I press 'send.'"

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod told ABC News: "He's pretty determined."

The matter of the BlackBerry has been widely discussed in the media, not only because it represents security challenges specific to the BlackBerry era, but because Obama describes it as a symbol of his desire to stay in touch with the world outside the presidential bubble.

"I applaud that (desire)," Paul Begala, a CNN political contributor and former adviser to President Bill Clinton, wrote in a commentary earlier this month. "And so I'm on his side in the Battle of the BlackBerry."

Research In Motion couldn't have paid for a better ad campaign.

Of course, the BlackBerry isn't the only consumer electronics device to share a headline with the president-to-be recently. Questions over whether Obama owned a Microsoft Zune had gadget watchers all aflutter late last year.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.

 

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