May bans smartphones and smartwatches at Cabinet meetings over security fears

British Prime Minister Theresa May has reportedly asked ministers not to wear Apple watches while attending cabinet meetings.

The Prime Minister's decision is based on the theory that the presence of any device would allow Russians to listen in on what's being discussed during cabinet meetings.

According to the Telegraph, the ban, which extends beyond the Apple Watch to smartphones and other smartwatches, is relatively novel. Previous cabinet meetings chaired by ex-PM David Cameron did not impose such restrictions on ministers and the Apple Watch was a regular feature in such meetings during his tenure.

"Under David Cameron, several cabinet ministers wore the smart watches, including Michael Gove, the former Justice Secretary. However, under Theresa May ministers have been barred from wearing them amid concerns that they could be used by hackers as listening devices," said the newspaper.

The decision to ban communication devices inside secretive cabinet meetings makes some sense given how notorious Russian hackers have been in the recent past. Like all communication devices, Apple Watch could be hacked into and used as listening devices even if we haven't heard about Apple's watches being hacked into as of now. Similarly, other smartwatches running Android Wear or TizenOS are similarly vulnerable and have thus been banned from meetings.

In light of the decision, it remains to be seen if Apple will come forward to swear on the encryption prowess of the Apple Watch and prove that hackers cannot hack into WatchOS and use Apple Watches as listening devices. While cabinet meetings ought to be held behind closed doors, banning modern technology may signify distrust and may send wrong signals to the general public who may be led to believe that today's encryption technologies cannot be trusted for anything.

Source: The Telegraph

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