The first details of Barack Obama's new high-security BlackBerry have emerged, highlighting the efforts White House officials have made to ensure that the US president does not have to go without his favourite gadget.
By Matthew Moore Telegraph.co.uk
Mr Obama revealed his devotion to the emailing device during the campaign trail but was forced to give up his personal handset after being sworn in, amid concerns that it could be targeted by foreign intelligence agencies.
The president has been forced to make do with a similar device – a Sectera Edge Smartphone created for the National Security Agency (NSA) to be virtually impregnable – but will take delivery of a specially-secured replacement BlackBerry in the next few months, according to reports.
His BlackBerry 8830 will run encryption software called SecureVoice, which has been developed by security firm Genesis Key with the NSA to ensure complete defence against hackers, the Washington Times claimed.
The software will allow Mr Obama to view documents classified as Top Secret while out of the White House, as well as letting him stay in touch with wife Michelle and other family members, who will also be issued with the handsets.
US law demands that all emails and other messages sent or received by the president be retained, so Mr Obama's staff have been working on an archive system to ensure that all his BlackBerry communications are preserved.
It has been reported that the president may have to wait up to 50 minutes to receive emails while they are scanned to ensure they do not contain are viruses.
During quiet moments in his presidential campaign Mr Obama was often seen flicking through messages on his BlackBerry, which he kept in a belt holster.
Asked about the prospect of losing his handset if elected, he replied: "They're going to have to pry it out of my hands."