Intelligent Machines

The Trials of Barack Obama, Gadget Hound

Personal tech and presidential security don’t play well together. So the most powerful man in the world almost certainly carries around a bunch of lame gadgets.

President Barack Obama loves his gadgets. He’s the first POTUS to carry a smartphone, he’s into his iPad, and he’s been spotted with a Fitbit on his wrist.

But all that connectivity means vulnerability in the eyes of the people charged with keeping the president safe. Things like tracking the president by GPS or monitoring his heart rate have got to be nightmares for Obama’s IT team, to say nothing of the danger that his e-mails might be hacked, or a microphone surreptitiously used to spy on classified briefings.

The New York Times describes the technological travails of the commander-in-chief. They can’t say precisely how his gadgets have been modified—that’s a matter of national security—but they profile a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had to have his iPad modified by DARPA techs before it was usable in classified briefing rooms. It’s reasonable to think that most of Obama’s devices have suffered a similar fate, stripped of Bluetooth transmitters, tiny cameras, location sensors, and the like.

As for why Obama rocks a BlackBerry when makers of more stylish devices would clearly be willing to hook him up, in 2013 he said: “I am not allowed, for security reasons, to have an iPhone.” Poor guy.

(Source: New York Times)

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