President Barack Obama’s fondness for BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) smartphones may be old news, but ever since he became the commander in chief, he does not have much of a choice, at least in picking a smartphone.
The leader of the world’s largest economy is not allowed to use an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, which is touted by many as one of the safest devices on the market, and Obama reportedly told a group of White House visitors on Wednesday that the Secret Service does not permit him to use an iPhone for security reasons. According to him, a super-secure handset from the Canadian smartphone maker is the only device that is certified to be used in his position, AFP reported.
“I'm not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,” Obama said at an event promoting his health care initiative, popularly known as Obamacare, adding that his daughters, Sasha and Malia, are iPhone users who spend a lot of their time on their devices.
Given the president’s strict security detail, the move does not come as surprise. In fact, Obama would not even have had a BlackBerry smartphone if he had not fought to keep one against the will of the Secret Service.
However, that might not be very comforting considering that the president is allowed to communicate with only about 10 individuals with his BlackBerry, which according to him, is “no fun.”
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In September, a report in the Washington Post said that presidents always fall behind the times in terms of using cutting-edge technology as “there are some legitimate security and legal constraints” that make it difficult for the country's leader to use digital services in the same way as the everyday consumer.
Although Apple’s iOS 6, the company’s last-generation mobile-operating system, was granted a Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 level 1 validation, which allowed certain government agencies to approve specialized devices powered by the software, there is still some ways to go for an iPhone to be approved for presidential use, Apple Insider reported.
While many could possibly take Obama’s remark as an indication that the federal government may rethink its policies related to the issue, it was not the point the president was apparently trying to make. Instead, as The Verge puts it, he only seemed to be admitting that he was not quite as tech-savvy as his listeners.
“Now my suspicion is that for a lot of you, between your cable bill and your phone bill, you're spending more than $100 a month,” Obama said. “The idea that you wouldn't want to make sure you've got the health security and financial security that comes with health insurance for less than that price, you guys are smarter than that. Most young people are as well.”
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