Nicolas Sarkozy given 'impenetrable' superphone
Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has been presented with a super-phone with "impenetrable" encryption levels compared to commercial handhelds such as the Blackberry.
President Sarkozy got to grips with the Teorem phone, which looks like a regular smartphone, while on a visit to the Thales Communication factory in Cholet, western France.
Some 20,000 such devices will be distributed to the president and his entourage as well as government ministers and their advisers early next year. Top military officials will also use them.
The superphone's designers said the phone "guarantees a very high safety level," and has the added advantage of being able to use commercial mobile networks or fixed secure lines.
"It's beautiful", the president could be heard saying during the visit.
Shortly after Mr Sarkozy's election in 2007, workers in the offices of the president and prime minister were reportedly ordered not to use handheld BlackBerry devices, amid fears that foreigners could spy on them.
Security services were said to be worried because BlackBerry phones use servers based in Britain and the US, which they feared could be intercepted.
The ban was reported to be only a partial success.
Research In Motion, or RIM, BlackBerry's Canadian makers, responded that its encryption system was "the most secure wireless data solution available", saying that it had been approved for the transmission of sensitive data by the UK government and by Nato.
Last January, Mr Obama successfully persuaded his security staff to let him keep using his BlackBerry, but only to keep in touch with a select group of staff and friends through the device, for which he had famously developed an addiction.
White House officials said its security had been "enhanced" without providing details.