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Secure Cell Phones

By Steve Jones,

President Obama has been reported to widely use his Blackberry over the last year or so as he was on the campaign trail as a way to keep in touch with friends and get his own information. It seems that he works in a manner similar to many people I see at TechEd, PASS, etc. They carry on a conversation with you while checking something on their phone, multi-tasking at every opportunity. I'm not sure if I like that or not, but it's a reality in today's world.

However because of national security concerns, people are recommending that he not use a Blackberry and rely upon aides for information. This is the first time we've had a President that has really grown into the information age, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

Secure Cell

However he has some choices. No Blackberrys, but there are some choices. Both the Sectera Edge and the L-3 Guardian are secure PDAs according to the NSA. However the very, very interesting thing is that both of these devices run Windows Mobile, including Word, Excel, and IE.  Surprising given the various security issues we've seen with these products over the last few years.

The specs say there's a version of Windows Mobile being used, so presumably these have been altered in some way. I'm not surprised, since I would guess if the NSA wanted your source code, you'd license it to them, unless you're, say, a Canadian company like RIM. What I'd hope is that the changes made would be fed back into Microsoft somehow, perhaps a reverse license of some sort.  Good security in code shouldn't depend on secrecy of the algorithm.

Heck that's something Microsoft should do. Spend some of that money that didn't go to Yahoo on making Windows Mobile secure. Secure enough for President Obama, secure enough for you!

I've love to have a secure cell phone, something that couldn't be scanned or eavesdropped on, but at $3,000+ a copy, I'm not sure I'd get one of these anytime soon. Especially given the fact I broke 4 last year.

Steve Jones


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Steve Jones