Thursday, January 22, 2009

The First BlackBerry President

As I predicted a couple weeks ago, President Barack Obama gets to keep his BlackBerry. To quote me: "My guess is that Obama wins this battle--he's going to be the president after all."

According to CNET: "White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that, thanks to a 'compromise,' his boss will be able to keep a security-enhanced BlackBerry and use it for e-mail....Gibbs didn't offer details, but the contours of the compromise seem to be: official, work-related e-mail messages will be subject to the Presidential Records Act and the possibility of eventual disclosure. But strictly personal communications--with family, for instance--will be exempt. This makes sense. As we reported last week, federal law explicitly exempts 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, the Freedom of Information Act prevents files from being released if the disclosure would significantly jeopardize 'personal privacy.'"

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