Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist

The White House vs. Modern Technology

There's been a lot of chatter lately about whether or not President Obama (*giggle*) gets to keep his Crackberry. I agree with the national security concerns that have been raised. I expect that what encryption RIM has deployed is probably weak, certainly weaker than what NSA would provide to EOP. Passing all traffic through RIM-controlled servers, most/all of which are in Canada, is not desirable, both for political/governmental reasons and for practical ones. (The US President goes incommunicado because of a backhoe accident in Toronto? FUK NO BITCH!) But this problem is solvable, and given the number of US legislators and staffers have carried Crackberries for years, I'm surprised one hasn't been deployed. The US Government is a large enough customer that RIM sells camera-less Crackberries so users can comply with the federal camera phone ban. The government is also large enough it ought to have its own servers and Crackberries configured to use them directly. This is an EASY problem to solve, and so are the demands of the Presidential Records Act.

Likewise, the White House Counsel's office insists the PRA forbids the use of instant messenger software. That needs to change. Quick communication is part of how this administration succeeded in its campaign phase. Again, the problem of archiving traffic to comply with PRA is easily solvable in software. I do not think the PRA needs to be amended to exempt IM traffic. IM clients can pass whole documents (far more easily than the unarchived voice telephone traffic, though routing data IS logged,) so an exemption would turn IM into a back-channel to avoid the archive requirements, which we cannot allow. But the software is easily modified to log everything, and to post a banner reminding users on both ends that your calls are being monitored for quality assurance. It might be useful to amend PRA to note that such traffic should be considered thoughts/works in progress, and should not be assigned the same authority as completed documents. The lawyers think the phone and e-mail are enough. They're wrong. The lawyers need to understand that the law, like software, is a TOOL and needs to evolve over time.

I am amused. The kiddies laugh at David Axelrod because he uses punctuation and complete sentances in IM. I'm not the only one who SPEAKS ENGLISH, MOTHERFUCKER!

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