The Donald can’t seem to keep his hands off the phone while in the White House, but the same rules may not apply to his staff in the near future. The White House is mulling a personal cell phone ban for employees and possibly visitors, citing cybersecurity concerns.
A handful of administration officials have been chatting with the press about the ban in the last couple of days, including White House chief of staff John Kelly, whose smartphone was reportedly hacked by foreign operatives.
Kelly noticed his phone wasn’t working properly and handed it over to White House tech support, only for them to find it had been “externally breached,” according to a segment in October where Rachel Maddow detailed the incident.
All mobile devices have since been banned in the West Wing.
The new ban is just a proposal for now, according to Yahoo News, and it’s not clear when or if it would be imposed. However, if it does go into effect, it would apply to the personal mobile devices of all White House staffers.
The ban would also mean no one would be able to send texts from the White House as official White House-issued mobile devices are not capable of sending texts.
While that might cut down on some of the leaks coming from inside, which Trump has been vocally upset about since taking office, it also would place a hardship on staffers needing to communicate with family members. Some have expressed concerns the ban would have “unintended consequences” or they could be accused of wasting government resources for placing outside calls on staff-issued phones, according to Yahoo News.
Also note that any calls, personal or otherwise, on a White House mobile phone are required to be kept as a government record and would eventually be archived and made public.
Opponents of the ban have raised concerns over violations of their personal privacy. However, national security concerns may win out in the end. We’ll just have to see if the White House goes through with the ban.