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Anxious White House Mulls Banning Staff From Using Personal Cell Phones

Anxious White House Mulls Banning Staff From Using Personal Cell Phones

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is said to be leading the push for the ban.

The White House may ban its employees from using personal mobile phones while at work, raising concerns among some staff that they will be cut off from family and friends, according to seven administration officials.

The purported proposal isn't final, and neither are important details like when to impose the ban, and if all executive office staff would have to comply. One official said too many devices were connected to the White House wireless network and that personal phones were not as secure as those issued by the government.

The White House took precautionary measures, and employees are now required to leave their phones in cubbies when attending meetings that involve sensitive matters. However, if it does go into effect, it would apply to the personal mobile devices of all White House staffers. While some lower-level officials support a ban, others worry it could result in a series of disruptive unintended consequences. White House staff said they feared being accused of using government resources to make important personal calls, and that personal calls made on work phones could potentially be made public because of record-keeping procedures.

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Another issue is the privacy of staffers' personal communications.

The White House did not immediately respond to inquiries. Trump raised security concerns in May when he handed out his personal number to world leaders in Mexico, Canada and France, breaking diplomatic protocol, the Associated Press reported. His personal phone was discovered to be compromised by hackers a few months back.

The move is reportedly driven not because of President Donald Trump's concerns of administration officials leaking sensitive information to the press, but because of cybersecurity concerns.