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UK bans Apple Watches from cabinet meetings over hacking fears

13 October 2016

The UK government has banned Apple Watches and similar devices from being carried by ministers and officials for the cabinet meetings as concerns mount that they could be hacked.

According to reports, ministers have reportedly been asked to not wear smartwatches in cabinet meetings over concerns that they could be hacked by Russian spies and used as listening devices.

However, the cabinet policy is not specific to Apple devices and applies also to other smart products that are vulnerable to attack.

The Telegraph reported citing a source, ''The Russians are trying to hack everything'' and specifically mentioned the Apple Watch, but mobile phones also stood banned from the cabinet rooms over similar concerns.

According to commentators, the concerns over security threats from Russia were not unfounded after Russia was blamed by the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security in the US for stealing and publishing archived emails from the Democratic National Committee earlier this year.

The data dump was published by WikiLeaks on its website in July.

Julian Assange had also revealed that more material related to the US presidential election would be published on the site over the coming weeks.

Mobile phones were banned in the cabinet after David Cameron became prime minister in 2010, and his successor, Theresa May has now banned smart watches, as well.

It was reported that similar protocols had been put in place in Australia.  An advisor for Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told Fairfax Media that communications security deserved greater attention in view of the increasing number of devices from glasses to running shoes that offered internet connectivity.

The advisor said, "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," The Verge reported.

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