BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has enjoyed some of the biggest name as its fans in the past and American President Barack Obama has been one of them. In an interview with CNN Money, former NSA technical director Richard “Dickie” George, remembering that rough day in 2008, when President Obama asked for a smartphone, said that the authorities did not want to give a gadget to the president that was not fully secured. George was entrusted with reviewing the engineering diagrams for the device.
Highly secured one of its kind BlackBerry phone
NSA established a lab, where experts performed tests on a BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) phone, which was being prepared so that Obama could use it. The main target was to bring in some changes in the software of the phone so that it stays clear of any potential threats to secure communication. In the process, the presidential BlackBerry had the fun parts wiped out, meaning the president could not play Angry Birds.
“You try to get rid of any functionality that’s not really required. Every piece of functionality is an opportunity for the adversary,” George says.
George said that Mr. President wanted a smartphone to communicate with his advisors. He said that President was a fan of BlackBerry at that time, but the model given to him was the NSA’s and not Obama’s. Functionalities and features of the Presidential BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) are not disclosed, nor there have been any confirmation by the NSA on whether the president can use the phone to send message or emails.
Not easy to develop such phones
“There was a change at that point in time from taking whatever the government could build in the way of security equipment … to a guy who said, ‘ya know, I’m used to using this, this is great, I’ve got to be able to take advantage of this,” George said.
The president’s number of contacts was limited to just 10 from his BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) device, but the technology was not that easy to develop. George said that both the phones must have same encryption algorithms or use a gateway that would decrypt and encrypt the communications.