I'm not sure if you all have heard, but President Elect Barack Obama is a Blackberry junkie. He carries it with him all the time and loves it. I know many people with blackberries and they all say the same thing: the phones are addictive. You are able to always be in touch, send and receive emails, and communicate with friends and family. However I just read here that the Secret Service is saying he will have to give up his Blackberry the first day he enters office. I know from previous articles that it is a newer model (possibly a blackberry 8700c) from the pictures and that his Cell Phone Carrier is Verizon. If I had to make a guess, I would think there are several security reasons the Secret Service is making him get rid of it. Firstly, all cell phones when actively connected to a cellular network, can be located through triangulation of the towers they are using, or the gps chip built into the phone (all phones since 2003 are required to have some form of gps built in for new 911 emergency standards nationwide.) Having the POTUS carry a hackable location device probably doesn't make the Service's protection job any easier. Secondly, the blackberry's files and information are available to just about any Verizon Customer Service representative that can access customer files by phone number. Obama's other phone, a flip from Verizon, was already illegally accessed by curious Verizon Employees late last year. While those workers were fired, who is to say that someone else wouldn't be able to do the same thing?
Obama has already gone on record as saying that "They would have to pry it from my hands" so it is apparent he is not fond of the notion of giving it up, and, I can't say I blame him. Talking to Michelle or text messaging with the girls would be a luxury for one of the busiest men on the planet, and having that taken away from you probably would personally upset me if I was him. It also seems counterintuitive that the most technologically advanced president we have ever had wouldn't have some way of connecting to the internet and keeping up to date on things while he is on the go from a PDA of some sort. This does have precedent, though. The Secret Service didn't even allow President's Clinton or Bush (W.) to use E-mail. Can you imagine? Someone with such an important job not having an email account to use for business or pleasure? I have problems believing that our intelligence community couldn't put together a secure email account for our President to use.
Which brings me to my solution. Let the President carry a modified Blackberry. It would not be in his name or have any connections to his job; it would also be outwardly unbranded of any company affiliation. It would be carried and cloned if necessary to a few other models which would be scattered in other locations to avoid pinpointing his location (acting as decoys). The Blackberry would also run a modified software (from the NSA) which would at the very least encrypt outgoing text messages and emails using 512 bit protocols. Voice would be iffy because it would probably still use a national network. If one could help it, let it be GSM so that the SIM could be removed when necessary for security issues. With my solution, eager employees of the Cell Phone carriers wouldn't be tempted to break Federal Law, terrorist who would love to ambush him would not be able to see where his call signal really is emanating from, and, just for good measure, make it against the law for the National Broadcast companies to video or photograph him while on the phone, similar to the current law in place banning them on taping him take off in Marine One (not able to substantiate that claim). Also, RIM would have their hands free of the whole situation, only delivering the base model phone to the Secret Service before it is stripped apart and rebuilt, much like how Cadillac delivers the new model to them to be custom built into the Presidential Limo.