White House is said to weigh personal mobile phone ban for staff


The White House is considering a ban on employees using personal cell phones, according to a new report.

The proposed ban is instead driven by cybersecurity concerns, the officials said. However, if it does go into effect, it would apply to the personal mobile devices of all White House staffers.

Phones issued by the White House are hardened by the government and aren't able to send text messages, Bloomberg reported. White House staff said they feared being accused of using government resources to make important personal calls, and that personal calls made on work phones could potentially be made public because of record-keeping procedures.

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The White House already takes precautions with personal wireless devices, including requiring phones to be left outside meeting rooms where sensitive or classified information is discussed.

The White House may be the next to adopt a "No Cellphones" policy for its staff. Mobile phone security has been a persistent issue for the White House, and at times some top officials have also anxious about staff using their personal devices to communicate with news reporters.

Indeed, one of the Trump administration officials who confirmed the proposal said that a particular cause for concern was the multitude of mobile devices routinely connected to the White House's wireless network: a personal phone could be infected outside of the White House, then hijacked once it reenters the building and used to surreptitiously collect and transmit sensitive data. Trump raised security concerns in May when he handed out his personal number to world leaders in Mexico, Canada and France, breaking diplomatic protocol, the Associated Press reported. The Trump administration has been plagued by leaks, which is one of the reasons why they want to consider banning personal phones at work.