While he fought hard to keep his BlackBerry when he entered the White House, the president says his daughters use their iPhones frequently.
While President Obama uses Apple’s iPad, he admitted Wednesday that unspecified security concerns prevent him from using an iPhone.
“I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,” Obama said during a meeting promoting his health care law with young people Wednesday at the White House. However, he said his daughters Sasha and Malia spend a lot of time on their iPhones.
An enthusiastic e-mailer-in-chief, Obama fought hard to keep his BlackBerry after his inauguration in 2009. (By comparison, George W. Bush stopped using e-mail in 2001, and Bill Clinton sent only two e-mails during his presidency.)
“I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry,” he said during an interview with CNBC. “They’re going to pry it out of my hands.”
While Obama didn’t elaborate on what those “security reasons” were, some had theorized during the BlackBerry bourhaha that in addition to keeping the president’s communications private, his security detail was concerned that a smartphone might easily reveal his real-time physical location.
The issue has taken on greater prominence in recent months with revelations that the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency allegedly teamed up to monitor cell phone communications around government buildings in Germany, including those made by Chancellor Angela Merkel. In a statement, the White House said it had assured Merkel that no active monitoring was occurring.
The NSA also reportedly has the ability to access user data on three of the most popular smartphone platforms, including Apple’s iOS. According to documents reviewed by Der Spiegel, Apple’s iPhone has been a favorite among NSA agents because of scripts that allow them to spy on 38 different features of the iPhone operating system.