U.S. President Barach Obama may be the most famous fan of the BlackBerry smart phone. But, as we reported last week, he almost lost his trusty wireless assistant, which was at his side throughout his tumultuous Presidential campaign, when he took the oath of office last Tuesday.


Obama and his BlackBerry on the Campaign Trail.

The Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the U.S. President, and the security agencies charged with keeping his communications private and unhackable insisted that he give up the BlackBerry because it was simply not secure enough for a President to use. Officials at Research In  Motion, the Canadian company that makes and supports the BlackBerry, insisted the phone was as secure as any such device available. But that still wasn’t good enough for the President’s security people.

Security experts and political observers immediately pointed out that the President might leave himself open to myriad hacks and personal dangers by using any wireless device.

Nevertheless, the President and his handlers finally cut a compromise. Obama has his BlackBerry back – but with some strategic modifications.

“The security is enhanced to ensure his ability to communicate, but to do so effectively and to do so in a way that is protected,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said yesterday. Not surprisingly, Gibbs demurred from going into details.

Media reports, quoting insiders, say Military-grade encryption has been implemented. And Gibbs noted that Obama’s personal wireless communications will be limited to senior Presidential staff and “a small group of personal friends”.

Unofficial reports also say that the ObamaBerry may be the most expensive BlackBerry ever made, quoting a price tag of around (US)$3,000 for the modified phone.

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