I bet with a new Monday/Thursday schedule, and the touted “inauguration to end all inaugurations” now over, the first Monday post I make would be about that. Well, I’m a geek, and an introvert, so I need time to process the circus from this past weekend.
Given that all the attention has been on the inauguration, I was extremely happy to see an article published on the Presidents use of his smartphone late last week. Trump currently uses a commercially available Android device that became a massive national security threat once he became President. Any device the President uses that is connected to the Internet and not behind the government’s network firewalls is an opportunity for information to leak into the world and undermine his and most likely our countries security.
The question of what phone a president carries — and what he or she does with it — is a serious matter of national security.
Take a president who likes to make policy announcements on Twitter at three in the morning and the matter becomes even more urgent.
After all, when Donald Trump tweets, the stock market shifts. If someone were to read what he was preparing to tweet by breaking into his smartphone and using keylogging software, even with just a 30-second head start, it could make some people very rich and potentially cause serious damage to the national economy.
Considering that my current phone is encrypted, requires a pin to even boot the phone before the system is unencrypted AND requires both a pin and fingerprint to unlock, I consider my device to be relatively secure. If this same phone were in the hands of Trump right now, and a state sponsored attacker knew what it was, they could most likely crack through all that security relatively quickly. There is hardware in the phone that I don’t have control over and therefore, is vulnerable to an attack that I’d never knew happened until it was too late.
Despite having access to some of the best technology out there, President Barack Obama still uses a Blackberry.
According to the New York Times, Obama “carries a specially modified, highly secure” Blackberry, despite the fact that many White House aides now use iPhones.
SOURCE: Obama Still Uses a Blackberry
I’m sorry, but there is something wrong with the most powerful person in the United States still using a Blackberry. It’s irrelevant that it’s a specially modified version that is highly secure. Don’t take my displeasure as negative though, I loved my Blackberry and if they were still a relevant company, I’d still be carrying one. The technology being used at the White House should be the best in the world in my opinion and there is no excuse for it not to be.
Trump, 70, rarely uses a computer and sifts through stacks of newspapers, magazines and printed articles to read the news. He panned candidates’ reliance on data and technology in presidential campaigns, preferring to make decisions in part based on the reaction from audiences at his rallies. While Trump’s tweetstorms are already legendary, he utters some of his messages out loud and leaves the actual typing to aides.
No offense to the older generation out there reading this, because you’re reading this from a computer and already light years ahead of Trump in the use of technology. I actually respect that you do a lot more than I can ever put into words. I don’t see how Trump, not using a computer, will be able to continue his tweetstorms when his smart phone is locked down like Obama’s was. Trump doesn’t have a choice here as, by law, he has to accept the technology and protection given to him by Secret Service, White House Communications, and Dept of Homeland Security. To continue using Twitter, it will have to be with a laptop/desktop until a suitable compromise can potentially be made. As much as I like to see his ranting at 3am being done from the gold toilet he no doubt brought with him to the White House, as President, there is a certain level of individual composure expected from the world stage.
Sean Spicer, named the White House Press Secretary on Dec 22nd and White House Communications Director on Dec 24th, has his hands full with President Trump. Who knows, with an unorthodox President, there may be some radical changes to how the Office is handled going forward. Trump’s lean towards anti-technology in favor of human couriers doesn’t give this geek a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside. I’ve discovered that the loudest and strongest supporters of technology (and the Internet) are usually the ones that have never used and therefore don’t understand. I see that as sort of screaming about climate change and having a coal fired furnace in your house, a bit of an oxymoronic hypocrite.
We’re only in the third day of the next four years. What happens is literally in the head of Trump, cooking, ready to be served to the American people. Should we close our eyes while going over the first drop on the roller coaster or throw our hands up in the air and scream?