Apple Watch Banned From U.K. Government Cabinet Meetings Over Hacking Fears

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Government ministers in the United Kingdom have been banned from wearing the Apple Watch to cabinet meetings over fears the device could be hacked, according to The Telegraph.

Several cabinet ministers reportedly wore the device to meetings while serving under former Prime Minister David Cameron, however new PM Theresa May has apparently banned the smartwatches over fears that they could be used by Russian spies as listening devices. One source told The Telegraph: "The Russians are trying to hack everything."

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The Verge notes that the Apple Watch has been banned from Australian cabinet meetings as well. An advisor for the Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull said that more attention needed to be paid to communications security as an increasing number of devices, from glasses to running shoes, offered internet connectivity.

The bans follow serious concerns over the potential reach of clandestine state-sponsored hacker groups, after U.S. officials pointed the finger at Russian hackers following the release of confidential emails from the Democratic National Congress during the U.S. election.

Russian hackers have also been implicated in the release of private medical files of some of the world's most famous athletes. Smartphones have also been barred from the Cabinet because of similar worries that the devices could be used to listen in on meetings.

Top Rated Comments

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50 months ago
Not much point when ministers walk around with their briefings cleary visible.

Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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50 months ago

Are mobile phones baned as well?

Don't know about the U.K., but when you walk into a scif all personal electronic devices are supposed to be left outside. Unless there is a need for it inside it don't go in. It's called being smart.

One of the few things we all need to wrap our heads around is that journalism is nothing more than whoring these days. Forget accuracy, facts and all that jazz. Come up with something that sells. You can always post an apology on page 47 a few weeks later. If you go into reading news with that mentality it will save you a lot of aggregation. Find the facts and ignore the idiotic sensationalist BS.

Fact is that the watch is a networked device with some onboard memory and a microphone. It's not hard to imagine a way that it can be corrupted to record and then upload as soon as it has a network connection. When you're potentially dealing with peoples lives and national security you generally don't wait till you are penetrated to close the door. Sort of like buying insurance after the fire or putting on a condom after sex. Both are retarded.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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50 months ago
This makes complete sense and anyone who disagrees hasn't been paying attention to what's going on with tech today.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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50 months ago

Why would you wait until it had been proven? All devices belong in a box outside the room. Aids concentration too.

Hey I have no problem with the policy, it's smart.

My problem is the sorry state of reporting (in this case technology reporting) that takes a sensational stance one what was likely just a blanket ban on smartwatches....but singled out the Apple Watch for the clicks (and because I doubt anyone at that level is actually wearing and Android watch to begin with).
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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50 months ago
So basically governments are finally starting to follow the same security protocols as corporations. It's about damn time.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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50 months ago

I'm sorry, have you been shown a case of the watch being compromised to be used as a listening device? I haven't, and I watch things like the Defcon conferences and CCC. This seems like one of those gin'ed up stories about how all smartwatches are banned because of the shady **** that goes on with malware on Android, and the Apple Watch taking the headline due to the laziness of tech reporting today.

Why would you wait until it had been proven? All devices belong in a box outside the room. Aids concentration too.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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