First there was “Thanks, Obama!” Perhaps we should move on to “Thanks, Russia!”, because the country is getting blamed for the lion’s share of the recent major hacks against government entities. In fact, just this past week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence officially accused Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computer network in an effort to sway the November presidential election.
Now, Russia has drawn the ire of the United Kingdom, and mobile devices are caught up in the crossfire. British prime minister Theresa May has already banned smartphones from being brought into cabinet meetings, but now that ban has been extended to the Apple Watch as well. According to The Telegraph, officials are worried that Russian hackers could use the Apple Watch’s built-in microphone to spy in on matters of national security or other confidential policy discussions.
According to a source for The Telegraph, government officials are concerned that "The Russians are trying to hack everything."
Interestingly enough, the Apple Watch is also not welcome in Australian cabinet meetings, with a report this morning confirming that no electronic devices are allowed behind secretive closed doors. "It has long been standard practice, on both sides of politics, that no electronic transmitting devices, including Apple Watches, be allowed in the cabinet room," said a spokesman for the Cabinet Secretary.
"In a world in which it is necessary for government to have conversations that truly have no electronics in the room, there are going to be more and more items that will have to be locked away in cabinets," added Alastair MacGibbon, a cyber security advisor for prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
While both reports specifically call out the Apple Watch, we would assume that the ban in both countries would also extend Android Wear devices like the Moto 360 or Tizen-based devices like the Samsung Gear S3 Classic.