President Donald Trump’s White House is considering banning personal phones while at work, raising questions regarding the administration’s obsession with putting an end to leaks.
Despite the ongoing speculation, one official who spoke to Bloomberg said the potential ban has nothing to do with keeping employees from leaking information to the press.
Instead, Bloomberg reported, cybersecurity fears are what have driven the White House to consider the ban.
Chief of Staff John Kelly appears to be concerned that the high number of personal phones connected to the White House wireless network may present a risk as personal phones aren’t as secure as the devices issued by the federal government.
Kelly’s own phone was the target of a hack earlier this year, which may have prompted him to lead the push for an all-out ban.
So far, the ban hasn’t been pursued as an official policy as top officials have yet to decide whether the benefits of keeping staff from using personal phones will outweigh the potentially disruptive consequences of embracing the policies.
Some White House staff members believe that if they are forced to use government phones, they may end up being accused of wasting taxpayer resources on personal calls as government-issued phones do not allow for text messages.
Does that include the president, because I am pro https://t.co/ANRNv6KFew— Annalisa Merelli (@missanabeem) November 27, 2017
Currently, staffers are not allowed to visit certain websites from government computers, such as their Gmail accounts. If government-issued phones are the same way, then staff members may be cut off from personal accounts, keeping them from maintaining contact with their loved ones.
Another consequence of this ban would be that the use of government-issued phones would make any call made on such devices archived as public record.
While officials are constantly concerned about the possibility that staff phones can be hacked, especially on trips abroad, Trump’s obsession with finding leakers may also be driving this push for a ban.
If that’s the case, the policy could be making it more difficult for whistleblowers to make important information available to the media, giving the Trump administration the freedom to pursue actions that could undermine our own safety and freedom.
Are Trump’s officials trying to keep staff members from speaking out when their consciences tell them it’s the moral thing to do?