President Obama will soon have unfettered BlackBerry access thanks to software developed by Genesis Key and Research In Motion. According to The Washington Times, the president shortly will be able to access data up to the Top Secret classification level via his BlackBerry 8830.
Obama's penchant for BlackBerry garnered international headlines; shortly after his election he warned his handlers that they would have to "pry" the device from him, which security experts said was necessary due to the vast amount of sensitive information the president receives. However, Obama stood his ground and insisted that the device he used to communicate with family, friends and advisors during his years on the campaign trail stay with him during his tenure in the White House.
The National Security Agency is in the final stages of testing the refurbished 8830. Iit could be ready for presidential thumbs within a few months. Once in use, the device will be able to send texts and email and make calls to others carrying devices with the same software, which will include top aides and first lady Michelle Obama.
The Obama-BlackBerry issue became somewhat of a double-edged sword for BlackBerry maker RIM. On one hand, marketing analysts estimated the president's tacit endorsement of the product was worth tens of millions of dollars in brand recognition, and suggested a nod from an extremely popular, newly elected president was perhaps the most valuable celebrity endorsement of all time. On the other hand, Obama's trusted BlackBerry was deemed not secure enough for the president to continue using. He currently must connect his BlackBerry to an NSA-supplied Sectera Edge smartphone, running an OS from RIM's arch-rival Microsoft. According to The Washington Times, the General Dynamics-made Sectera must be plugged into the presidential BlackBerry, creating a somewhat unwieldy setup for the tech-savvy commander in chief.
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