Barack Obama isn’t allowed an iPhone, ‘for security reasons’

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

BlackBerryThe President of the United States of America says he has been told that he cannot have an Apple iPhone by his security advisors.

Barack Obama made the quip during a presentation about health care given to young people at the White House.

However, it doesn’t appear that what he had to say about his health care initiative was of much interest to the technology press.

Here’s the transcript of what the most powerful man on the planet (who is lumbered with a Blackberry) actually said:

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Now, I am not allowed, for security reasons, to have an iPhone. (Laughter.) I don’t know what your bills are. I have noticed that Sasha and Malia seem to spend a lot of time on it. (Laughter.) My suspicion is that for a lot of you, between your cable bill, your phone bill, you’re spending more than 100 bucks a month. The idea that you wouldn’t want to make sure that you’ve got the health security and financial security that comes with health insurance for less than that price, you guys are smarter than that. And most young people are, as well.

Okay, so he’s obviously making a self-deprecating joke. But I can’t help but feel sorry for Barack Obama not to be able to use the smartphone of his choice.

After all, I doubt he’s one of those twits who don’t even both to protect their iPhones with a passcode, or the kind of high-ranking politician who would choose an easy-to-guess password reminder to protect their Yahoo email account, or run a campaign team that would forget to wipe its smartphones of any sensitive information when eventually disposing of them.

But, hey… if the people responsible for security give you a nod and a wink that maybe an iPhone *isn’t* the most sensible device in the world for an American President to rely upon for his privacy and security, I guess they must have their reasons, right?

After all, the US administration is only too aware of how the mobile phone conversations of world leaders can be spied upon.

Furthermore, I imagine that one security concern for the people charged with protecting Barack Obama’s life, is that a smartphone is – at its most basic level – a tracking device. It knows where you are in the world, and – in some cases – can geolocate you with extraordinary precision.

That’s why you need to be really careful about what apps you allow to record your location, and where they might share that information.

I hope that the Obama security team have locked down the security settings of the president’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, who clearly rejected the opportunity to choose a Blackberry themselves…

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

One comment on “Barack Obama isn’t allowed an iPhone, ‘for security reasons’”

  1. David Harley

    Do Sasha and Malia know that the NSA is monitoring their calls, I wonder? ;)

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