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Why Can't Barack Obama Use a BlackBerry or Laptop?

Definition: Presidential Records Act

In 1978 Congress passed the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which gave legal ownership of official presidential records to the American people. Thanks to the law, presidential communication is obtainable to the public via the Freedom of Information Act, and can also be subpoenaed by a court.

As a result, a US president must keep his fingers idle while his aides fire off necessary electronic messages. This weekend, some pondered whether Barack Obama, a BlackBerry addict, will find a way to become the first emailing president. Yet, concerns over public scrutiny under the PRA, in addition to security considerations, probably mean Obama will be forced to go email-free.

Does US law handicap the country's chief executive by forcing him to remain in the 21st century without the agility provided by technology?


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