The Cold War may have ended long ago but Whitehall is still concerned over Russian spies.
UK ministers have been banned from wearing Apple Watches during cabinet meetings over fears that they could be hacked.
The concern is that hackers, including Russian spies, could use them as listening devices to eavesdrop on politically sensitive conversations.
While former Prime Minister David Cameron and cabinet ministers including ex-Justice Secretary Michael Gove reportedly wore the Cupertino brand’s smartwatches in the past, a ban has been put in place under Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.
According to an unidentified Telegraph source: ‘The Russians are trying to hack everything’.
While The Telegraph’s report makes no mention of smartwatches made by other manufacturers, such as Samsung and Motorola, these could also fall under the ban.
However, the potential security flaw is not limited to Apple’s timepiece and its smartwatch rivals.
Smartphones have already been banned from cabinet meetings over fears that they could be hijacked as listening devices.
In 2015, Michael Gove was given a dressing down by Cameron after interrupting a cabinet meeting by accidentally playing a Beyonce track through his Apple Watch during his time as Chief Whip.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today confirmed that he has to remove his Apple Watch for cabinet meetings, reports the The Sydney Morning Herald.
All communication devices have been banned from the Australian government’s cabinet meeting for some time.
While former Prime Minister David Cameron and cabinet ministers including ex-Justice Secretary Michael Gove reportedly wore the Cupertino brand’s smartwatches in the past, a ban has been put in place under the leadership of Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured)
Mounting concerns from the UK government over large-scale cyber surveillance from Russia reflect those expressed by the US.
Last week, the US government formally accused Russia of being responsible for a series of cyber attacks related to the presidential election.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced in a joint statement that they were confident Russia’s ‘senior-most officials’ ordered the attacks and seemingly accused Vladimir Putin of interference in the American political system.