Anxious White House Mulls Banning Staff From Using Personal Cell Phones


The White House is weighing whether to ban employees from using their own mobile phones at work, Bloomberg News reported Monday, citing seven Trump administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

One official mentioned that there are too many devices connected to the campus wireless network and the staffs' personal phones aren't as secure as those that have been issued by the federal government.

Employees are not allowed to bring their phones to meetings that involve sensitive or classified information, according to the report.

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The ban would apply to every staffer in the executive office, and comes in response to an administration plagued by leaks of sensitive information. While some lower-level officials support a ban, others worry it could result in a series of disruptive unintended consequences.

They can't send or receive text messages, for example, prompting concerns that White House staff would be cut off from contact with their families while at work if personal devices are banned. In addition, government record keeping rules require that records of personal calls received and made over a government issued phone be filed away and kept available for eventual release. Mobile phone security has been a persistent issue for the White House, and at times some top officials have also anxious about staff using their personal devices to communicate with news reporters.

In February, we previously saw then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer coordinating unplanned "phone checks" to control the leaks that were happening in the White House. Given the number of ways a compromised device could be used to spy on the president, a personal cell phone ban might be a crude solution, but a workable one. Trump is very concerned about leaks and people tapping on their phones when they should be listening to his pearls of wisdom.