He may soon be the 44th President of the United States, but security concerns and record-keeping laws mean that Barack Obama is unlikely to become the first e-mailing president.
When the President-elect is sworn in 64 days from now, we expect that his advisers will insist that he hand over his favorite little gadget, his BlackBerry. Not only are there serious concerns about e-mail security (if it’s connected to the internet, it can be hacked), he also faces the Presidential Records Act, which means that all correspondence must be put in the official record and is ultimately subject to public review and possible subpoenas. Although he could, theoretically, craft an Executive Order allowing BlackBerry use — or e-mail in general — there are plenty of aides who can deal with electronic communication for him, likely making presidential BlackBerry use unnecessary.
Obama is, however, sending a clear signal that he is venturing into new, uncharted territory; for the first time, the weekly Democratic radio address has been released as a web video on YouTube (up top) — it will also continue to air on the radio and the President-elect plans to publish these weekly updates through the transition and then from the White House. We’re hoping this will encourage more Americans to take an active, well-informed role in the political process — and rumor has it that in those future presidential videos there will be one previously absent device gracing the historic presidential desk: a laptop computer. Only time will tell.
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