Small Is The New Large: Presidential Edition - InformationWeek

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Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
11/19/2008
10:36 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
Commentary
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Small Is The New Large: Presidential Edition

bMighty likes to say that small organizations enjoy plenty of benefits compared to larger outfits, and the curious case of Barack Obama and his Blackberry is a perfect illustration.

bMighty likes to say that small organizations enjoy plenty of benefits compared to larger outfits, and the curious case of Barack Obama and his Blackberry is a perfect illustration.Next to his favorite White Sox cap, Obama's Blackberry is apparently his most cherished possesion. Like millions of other busy executive types, he uses the device to stay in touch with friends, colleagues, and family whereever he goes.

But now that Obama is about to ascend to the most poweful office in the world -- and be even busier than the rANT, if such a thing is possible -- he's reportedly going to be forced to give up his Blackberry.

The culprit? Security concerns and the Presidential Records Act, which according to the New York Times, "puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas." This situation could even put the kibosh on Obama using email at all! (That's apparently what happened when George W. Bush signed off from [email protected] three days before his inauguration. And no, The rANT doesn't see any irony in that AOL address, so don't even ask.)

The rANT says that there's really no excuse for this ridiculousness, apart from the hypnotic attraction that rules and regulations seem to hold for big, ossified bureaucracies. And, of course, there's no organization more ossified and bureaucratic than the federal government.

The reality, as Dana Blankenhorn points out in his blog, is this:

Can we maintain text records on phone calls? Yes we can. Can we do the same on cell records? Yes we can. Can we make people testify to private conversations? Yes we can. Can we put this President, and all future Presidents, back under the restraints of the law? Yes we can.

The rANT says that if we really think Presidential effectiveness is important, we had better find a way to let the best interests of the country trump technical issues. Isn't there anyone in the White House smart enough to figure out a way to make this work? If not, techies will have to take solace in the fact that at least Obama will have a laptop on his desk -- a pathetic Presidential first.

Oh, and here's a final question. Hillary Clinton is also said to be a Blackberry aficionado. Will she have to turn over hers if she becomes Secretary of State?.

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