Feature Article

January 29, 2016

Opinion: Hillary Clinton Showcases BlackBerry's Killer App

When President Obama first took office one of the hopes for him was that he would be the first ‘technology president’, not only showcasing the proper use of technology but also applying it to fix the country’s major problems, like the out-of-control Veteran’s Administration and cyber security. Instead he used it most effectively to get reelected and then seemed to be hell bent on forcing the U.S. out of the technology business by making every buyer distrust American products due to government spying efforts. What is particularly ironic is that it is clear the government isn’t effectively using the data they now get, so their problem -- at least at the moment -- is more of a quality than quantity issue. 

This week it was made clear that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, not only used a BlackBerry, but she used one that wasn’t authorized by the US Government, suggesting even she was concerned about keeping things she was doing secret from her own government. It is funny to see that folks are saying Clinton’s BlackBerry is less secure from foreign attack than a U.S. BlackBerry would have been, not realizing that her concerns, which likely also drove her use of a personal email server, had to do with concerns about her own government. 

I think it is pretty amazing and just a tad telling that the biggest supporter for the current administration currently running for president showcased a distinct distrust for that administration while she was in it.  But this points to BlackBerry’s killer app, security that even the U.S. government can’t break. 

BlackBerry is doing a huge announcement today, but I want to focus on what their killer app is. 

Secure Communications – Why Do We Care?

There is a common argument that people who have things to hide must be doing something illegal, yet we have laws on the books that protect an individual’s privacy aggressively, particularly when it comes to job history or medical information. I’d tend to agree that in a perfect world a transparent life should be the best life, but we don’t live in that world and information can be used against us particularly if it is taken out of context.  

When we are young we don’t particularly want our parents or future employers to know what level of experimentation we explored. As we grow older our hobbies and personal interests should remain just that, and our religious or political affiliations, by law, aren’t supposed to impact our career paths.  Things as simple as our position on abortion, the sports team we support, or our favored charity (if they were in conflict with out manager’s opinion) could have a negative impact on raises or promotions.

For businesses, information on new products, acquisitions, or undisclosed problems fall under the heading of insider information, and trading stock with that information is illegal and potentially criminal. Conversations surrounding much of what in business needs to stay confidential should remain so, because the temptation to sell this valuable information or trade on it is incredibly high. 

For governments, leaked information could start a war, destroy a diplomatic mission, or compromise a spy. In this case the implications of a breach could be life-threatening on a massive scale. 

BlackBerry’s Killer App

The main benefit is really not security or encryption; it is largely because they are headquartered in Canada not the U.S. and Canada, while an American ally, is strongly unwilling to give up control of one of its crown jewels to the U.S. Not to mention that the Canadian Government isn’t a big fan of the U.S. spying on them, assuring efforts by the American government to open up BlackBerry’s secure platform will fail. So BlackBerry’s killer app isn’t just security; it is security that the U.S. can’t breach.

I Agree With Hillary Clinton on One Thing

I likely agree with her on more things than one, but one thing is for sure and that is I really don’t want anyone who I don’t intend to communicate with reading my communications. Personally if I’m concerned about my employer spying on me I’d change employers, because not trusting my company wouldn’t be great for my career but, regardless, this showcases BlackBerry’s sustaining advantage. They are not only the most secure mobile solution, they can defend against foolish efforts by the U.S. government to compromise the security that the government itself desperately needs.

As a side comment, when your own Secretary of State doesn’t trust you, maybe it’s time to do something a tad different. I’m just saying.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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