“Bill Clinton sent only two e-mail messages as president and has yet to pick up the habit. George W. Bush ceased using e-mail in January 2001 but has said he’s looking forward to e-mailing ‘my buddies’ after leaving Washington, D.C.,” Declan McCullagh reports for CNET. “Barack Obama, though, is a serious e-mail addict. ‘I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry,’ he said in a recent interview with CNBC. ‘They’re going to pry it out of my hands.'”
“One reason to curb presidential BlackBerrying is 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,” McCullagh reports.
“Fortunately for an enthusiastic e-mailer-in-chief, some handheld devices have been officially blessed as secure enough to handle even classified documents, e-mail, and Web browsing,” McCullagh reports. “One is General Dynamics’ Sectera Edge, a combination phone-PDA that’s been certified by the National Security Agency as being acceptable for Top Secret voice communications and Secret e-mail and Web sites.”
McCullagh reports, “The price is $3,350 with a two-year warranty, a princely sum that’s reflected in the Pentagon-worthy price tags for accessories: a simple adapter for a lighter plug costs $100. (Never again should you complain about how much your civilian analogue costs.)”
MacDailyNews Take: Actually, Mr. McCullagh, we will continue to complain about our “civilian analogue costs,” thank you very much, but not as loudly we do about the government pissing away taxpayers’ money.
McCullagh continues, “The Sectera runs a mobile version of Microsoft Windows, including versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player. The NSA claims that the installed versions of Internet Explorer, WordPad, and Windows Messenger are good enough for data that’s classified at a level of Secret. Presumably the federal spooks have found a way to protect IE from the numerous security flaws that continue to plague the Internet’s most popular browser.”
MacDailyNews Take: We wouldn’t presume a damn thing except that if you follow the money, you’ll probably find out why the company that’s stolen the most is the one that just so happens makes the software for the government’s fugly mobiles. For reference:
• US Department of Homeland Security’s border screening system was crashed by Windows Zotob worm – November 03, 2006
• US Department of Homeland Security: patch Microsoft Windows now or risk complete system compromise – August 10, 2006
• CCIA wants U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to reconsider buying ‘insecure Microsoft software’ – August 29, 2003
• U.S. Department of Homeland Security says Windows vulnerable to attack – August 01, 2003
• Department of Homeland Security chose Microsoft due to time and money limitations – July 21, 2003
• U.S. Department of Homeland Security awards enterprise agreement to Microsoft – July 15, 2003
So, follow the money to figure out how one department can recommend against using Windows due to insecurity, then buy Windows PCs, then six weeks later again warn against using Windows due to insecurity only to get infected and crash systems designed to protect the very citizens who paid for the piece of crap Windows PCs in the first place.
Blago’s not the exception; he’s the rule. And the government at the highest levels is incompetent because the truly smart people have real jobs, they’re not damaged idiots who crave the spotlight and/or feel the compulsion to make rules for everyone in lame attempts to self-validate. Yes, there are good, smart people in government jobs; too bad they’re too smart to run for higher office. In government, the higher you go, the more incompetent they seem to be. Truly intelligent people don’t run for major political office and put themselves and their families through complete hell at the hands of people who are even more damaged than themselves (national media types) in order to land what are – even at the highest levels – mediocre-paying (relatively speaking) government jobs.
McCullagh continues, “Even though President Bush enjoys the same access to NSA-certified handhelds, he has never resumed his daily e-mail habit from the days went he went by the humble moniker of G94B@aol.com. At the time, Karen Hughes, one of Bush’s closest aides, said that the president chose to abandon e-mail because of public records laws. That includes the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, and the Presidential Records Act of 1978.”
“Federal law does explicitly exempt from disclosure any “personal records” that do not relate to the president’s official function. Those include electronic records that are “of a purely private or non-public character” and don’t relate to official duties; the law lists diaries, journals, notes, and presidential campaign materials as examples. Similarly, FOIA prevents files from being released if the disclosure would significantly jeopardize ‘personal privacy,'” McCullagh reports. “In other words, Obama could choose to keep e-mailing judiciously, and trust his lawyers and the law to fend off overly nosy journalists and historians.”
McCullagh reports, “If nothing else works, Obama can always turn to Bush for some tips. Not his immediate predecessor, but former President George H.W. Bush, a late-in-life convert to the joys of e-mail. Bush the Elder has been quoted as saying: ‘I’m what you might call a black belt wireless e-mailer.'”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rob” for the heads up.]