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Democratic Congressman Wants to Take Away Trump’s Android Phone

Variety logo Variety 2/17/2017 Janko Roettgers
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President Trump is still using his trusty old Android phone for early morning tweet storms — and California Congressman Ted Lieu wants to put a stop to it. That’s because consumer-grade Android phones, especially if they’re dated like the one that Trump is reportedly using, can easily be hacked.

Lieu sent an open letter to the House Oversight Committee, making the case that the President of the United States should not use a phone that hasn’t approved by the Secret Service (hat tip to The Verge). “The use of an unsecured phone risks the President of the United States being monitored by foreign or domestic adversaries, many of whom would be happy to hijack the President’s prized Twitter account causing disastrous consequences for global stability,” it reads.

The letter, which was co-signed by 14 fellow House Democrats, also raises other issues of operational security, including the fact that members of the Trump administration apparently use non-government email accounts for some of their official business, as well as the reported use of Mar-a-Lago’s guest areas for private security briefings.

“We are writing to request that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hold a public hearing into troubling reports that the President is jeopardizing national security by egregiously failing to implement commonsense security measures,” the letter reads.

Trump’s continued use of his Android phone has been raising questions with security experts; the President is reportedly using a Samsung Galaxy S3, which isn’t capable of running the latest version of Android. The Galaxy S3 was also found to be vulnerable for “Stagefright,” a software exploit that made it possible to hijack phones with a simple multimedia text message.

Samsung has pushed software updates to affected phones to deal with that specific issue, but it’s unclear whether the President’s phone was patched, and which other vulnerabilities it may be susceptible to.

The Secret Service successfully talked President Obama out of using an iPhone for security reasons. Instead, Obama used a locked-down Blackberry phone throughout his presidency. Trump on the other hand has reportedly resisted calls to trade in his Android phone, and tweets written by the President still originate from the device.

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