Obama to be banned from using his BlackBerry
Before barack Obama can enter the White House, he will be forced to face the moment that every self-respecting master of the universe probably dreads: he must surrender his beloved BlackBerry personal data assistant.
The President-elect learnt yesterday that security concerns and America's open government laws mean he is unlikely to be able to use the device, pinned to his belt throughout the campaign, after taking office in January. Under the Presidential Records Act, all Mr Obama's personal correspondence becomes part of the official record after he is sworn in, making any emails open to public review and subpoena. Since this makes it impossible to communicate freely by electronic means, The New York Times reported yesterday that Mr Obama was "doubtful" that he would be America's first emailing president.
Despite having changed his mobile telephone number, Mr Obama's email address has remained the same for years, allowing him to remain in touch with old friends, and providing a direct line for political reporters throughout the campaign. He will not be the first new president to be required to stop sending emails. Eight years ago, President George Bush emailed friends to reveal that the address email@example.com would be entering retirement, since: "I do not want my private conversations looked at by those out to embarrass."
Mr Obama's Democratic Party campaign staff are luckier, though. They will receive an extra month's pay, and be able to keep the laptops and BlackBerries they were issued with, by way of a victory bonus.