We all know by now that President Obama has been using his BlackBerry 8830 World Edition smartphone for quite some time to make phone calls and send emails, however it’s 2016 now and not 2008, so BlackBerry is officially really dated. However, during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the President stated that he recently was granted the chance to upgrade to a newer model, but he said that the device is so secure, it’s basically the equivalent of a kid’s fake plastic “phone”.
Then I get the [smartphone], and [my staff is] like, “It’s a great phone – state of the art – but it doesn’t take pictures, you can’t text, the phone doesn’t work, you can’t play your music. So basically, it’s like – does your 3 year old have one of those phones? It’s got, like, the stickers on it? … That’s the phone they gave me.
During this interview with Fallon, President Obama didn’t mention which manufacture built his new phone. However, as pointed out by Arstechnica, the only device currently supported by DISA’s DOD Mobility Classified Capability-Secret (DMCC-S) program is the Samsung Galaxy S4, leading to the conclusion that this must be the smartphone Obama currently has in his pocket.
But why the Galaxy S4? Well, it’s probably because of Samsung’s KNOX security system built inside which measures out to be one of the most secure platforms on planet Earth. Of course, added encryption and security measures have been added to the device to make it suitable for the President to use, however it appears that the added security went a little overboard since he can’t even take a picture or listen to his music.
The DMCC-S handset sacrifices some of the Galaxy’s functionality for security purposes. While it uses biometric authentication, there’s no user-accessible camera, so there’s no selfie-snapping in secure facilities. The Android applications on the DMCC-S Galaxy are restricted to a selection from DISA’s Mobile Application Store (MAS).
The stock DMCC-S Galaxy can be used for standard domestic and international calling as well as secure Voice over IP calls. E-mail access on DMCC-S devices is provided through “secure Outlook Web Access,” according to DISA’s data sheet for the phone. However, Obama’s device appears to have even further restrictions for security purposes.
It’s pretty interesting to see what the President of the USA uses as his daily driver. I mean, I thought his phone was secure before, but now? You might as well strap a microphone and a speaker to a brick and expect to talk on it. Yeah, it’s that secure.