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Barack Obama keeps his BlackBerry

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Barack Obama is to be allowed to retain his BlackBerry, after he was granted special dispensation from security forces.

As a result of the move, Mr Obama will become the first-ever US president to be allowed to access e-mail while in the White House.

Doubts had been raised over the safety of such a measure on the grounds that unauthorised people could see his messages.

However, spokesperson Robert Gibbs has now confirmed that a “compromise” had been reached which would let Mr Obama use the device to keep in touch with friends, family and senior members of staff.

Mr Gibbs said: "The president has a BlackBerry through a compromise that allows him to stay in touch with senior staff and a small group of personal friends in a way that use will be limited.

"The security is enhanced to ensure his ability to communicate, to do so effectively and to do so in a way that is protected."

News of the move comes after rumours surfaced this week that the next BlackBerry Storm OS update will feature a new enable full keyboard function when the phone is in portrait mode.

This will permit users to use a full Qwerty keyboard instead of SureType.

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