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Column: Obama Should Forfeit His BlackBerry For White House

This story was written by Megan Lynch, The Daily Campus


Every American is well aware of President-elect Barack Obama's plans for change, including economic plans, health care and his BlackBerry. Each of these pressing issues will greatly affect our nation's future, right? So what's the big issue with the president's choice of phone, and why are we even talking about this when we're in the middle of an economic crisis and a war?

The New York Times reported how precious Obama's BlackBerry is to his everyday life and how this may change when he is inaugurated. With e-mail continuing to grow as a source of communication, Obama wishes to help drag the White House into the 21st century. It's starting to look like the only way Washington will follow him is kicking and screaming, and America should hope it stays this way.

The main reason to confiscate the use of Obama's BlackBerry is for national security. E-mails can easily be hacked into and as the president he would be putting thenation at risk. In addition, according the Presidential Records Act, any correspondence is put on the official record and open to public review. Washington's plan to take away Obama's BlackBerry privileges is for the good of the nation and also for his own privacy. While Obama may feel comfortable having his conversations aired to the general population, the people he is talking to may not. The fact still remains that e-mails can be hacked regardless of how heavy the firewall around them may be.

Try to imagine how many times you look at your cell phone per day, or even in one class. Multiply that by all of Obama's endorsements and it should be about equal to his number of quick phone peeks. During the last stages of the campaign, BlackBerrys were to be banned from important meetings. All officials, including Obama, were forced to place their lifelines in the middle of the table to avoid distractions, and for good reason. Most people with cell phones, especially BlackBerrys, fiddle with them constantly. It may be in class, at work, on the bus, etc., but it is easy to admit how distracting phones are. As president, Obama needs to put America over the importance of his e-mails to make sure the nation is running properly.

Can you imagine him on the phone with Joe Biden and saying, "Hey Joe, hold up, I just got a text." This is not exactly what we want our president doing while he should be leading our country.

Obama is correct in discussing the increases in technology; however, this should not directly affect him and his BlackBerry because of the neverending security conflicts. Even though we are getting very good at securing information, the fact remains that hackers are just going to continue to get better to keep up with us. Washington officials are correct in being wary of Obama's messages being intercepted. Obama should actually be glad that there will be fewer opportunities for the public to obtain his personal information because there are so many ways that it can be construed. Just think of how much sooner we would have known about the Monica Lewinsky scandal if someone looked through Bill Clinton's phone.

This issue should be worrisome because of Obama's skill in getting exactly what he wants. Just from the start of his campaign Obama has somehow made giant leaps in the political world, including the ridiculous amount of money his campaign raised and endorsements from well known political figures. As president, persuasion will come in handy. However, Obama should be watched so it doesn't go too far. Washington has already allowed him to be the first president to use his laptop in the Oval Office and we need to make sure he doesn't get his way on everything. He will be the president, so it should be obvious why he has restrictions on his personal life. If Obama is going to put America before himself, he needs to abandon the Blackerry.

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