Monday, November 17, 2008

e-mails and Obama

The first president "addicted" to the BlackBerry Barack Obama, who gave up smoking before running for office, now faces a break with another habit - e-mail.

The US president-elect is likely to give it up, aides told the New York Times, because transparency laws would open his correspondence to public view. 
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush both gave up e-mail in office, but Mr Obama will be the first BlackBerry user to occupy the White House. He took mobile e-mail everywhere with him on the campaign trail. In the summer, cameras filmed him checking his BlackBerry while watching one of his daughters playing football. His wife Michelle slapped at his hands, obliging him to put it away."I think Obama is the first president who is addicted to the BlackBerry like the rest of us, and there's a lot of presidential records and archive rules on what gets stored and what doesn't," former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart told the Associated Press. 
A final decision on whether Mr Obama will become the first e-mailing president has yet to be made. He is expected to be the first to have a laptop on his desk in the Oval Office. 
One possibility reported to be under consideration is that he could continue to receive e-mails, but not send them. During the campaign, the New York Times reports, his advisers rarely printed out memos but simply e-mailed them to his BlackBerry. The paper quoted aides saying that his emails, sometimes sent as late as 0100 or 0300, were "generally crisp, properly spelled and free of symbols or emoticons". As well as the problem of the Presidential Records Act, which could open all presidential emails to public scrutiny, there are also security concerns. 
Experts say there is always a risk of digital communication being hacked into.There is also the possibility that the location of a presidential mobile telephone could be tracked. Benjamin Nugent, author of the book American Nerd, says the president-elect is a techie, who will have difficulty parting with his BlackBerry. 

the full story

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