The (Not Very) Magical Properties of Obama's BlackBerry

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 2, 2009

Coverage of President Barack Obama’s BlackBerry keeps ascribing what seems to be great technical prowess to government wizards who have managed to add all sorts of extra security features to the handheld. For example, a story by Peter Baker in Saturday’s New York Times said: “To minimize the risk, the government technology gurus have made it impossible to forward e-mail messages from the president or to send him attachments, people informed about the precautions say.”

Baker and others writing about the BlackBerry ought to do a little basic research into the security features of the BlackBerry service. The standard security options available to IT administrators include ability to disable message forwarding and and attachment downloads, along with hundreds of other features that can be turned on or off by policy settings. It is precisiely this fine-grained control that has made the BlackBerry so popular in situations with strict security and compliance requirements, especially government, health care, and the financial services industry.

BlackBerry security options are laid out in mind-numbing detail in the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Security Policy Guide.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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