A Digital President? Not entirely…
Perusing the digital Sunday papers (albeit a week late) I couldn’t help but notice that fellow digital gadget addict Barack Obama may have to surrender his Blackberry. Why? The Presidential Records Act puts all correspondence that Obama has in the public spectrum, possibly making him susceptible to subpoenas. There is also the fear that using email, especially via a mobile device, is not secure.
This raises a couple of questions in my mind: If email security is that important to his aides, why was it not an issue on the lead up to the Presidential election, with Obama using his Blackberry to not only contact friends, but to check over speeches and other documents? Maybe the Republicans did in fact have someone hired to try and hack his Blackberry?
The intent of the Presidential Records Act was to create a historical record of Presidential decision making, and ultimately transparency (read : keeping the crooked on the straight and narrow?). Something the outgoing administration is evidently none too keen on. Yet if Obama was to be subpoenaed for any wrong doing, surely evidence would not be exclusively derived from emails or electronic messages. Can we not gather evidence from phone or mobile or people testifying?
Keen to bring the Senate and the Whitehouse into the 21st century – Bill 2.0 Anyone?, the ironic twist of this story is that Obama may essentially be removed from the very technologies he is such a strong advocate of.