Did President Obama Get a Blackberry or a Sectera Edge?

Posted on January 23, 2009

Sectera Edge

The White House has said Barack Obama will get to use a smartphone but it's unclear whether he is keeping a modified BlackBerry device or a more expensive smartphone like the Sectera Edge (pictured above), which costs over $3000. PC Magazine says BlackBerry devices are not cleared for access to SIPRNet - a super secure Internet - but the Sectera Edge is.
Most BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile devices can work with "sensitive, but unclassified" data, according to Tom Liggett, the Sectera Edge product manager at General Dynamics. Those smart phones work with the FIPS 140-2 standard, which encrypts both data traffic and voice calls to a certain extent. And there are a lot of government functions, even in war, that aren't classified. In Iraq, for instance, FIPS 140-2-certified Windows Mobile devices are used for battle triage, roadside bomb detection, and even as sniper aids, Siegel said.

But about 300,000 Americans have access to a secret, controlled Internet called SIPRNet, the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. What's on there? It's classified. And the Edge and the Guardian are the only smartphones that can tap into it.

"The BlackBerry device and the Windows Mobile devices currently are not cleared for SIPRNet communications," Siegel said. "This is the type of communication that a General Petraeus is giving, or many State Department officials, or many DHS officials."
CNN shows you the Sectera Edge in the video clip below. The PDA can surf the web like a regular smartphone but when you press a special red button it accesses a special highly-secure private network. The NSA and the White House would not tell CNN which device Obama is using. The Wall Street Journal also has an article explaining the Sectera Edge.

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