Earlier this month when Russian President Vladimir Putin tossed a soccer ball over to President Trump during a controversial press conference following their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, many political pundits on both sides of the aisle half-jokingly suggested that Trump better check the ball to see if it’s bugged. Even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted, “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.”
It turns out that the soccer ball, produced by Adidas, does in fact have a transmitter chip inside, but it’s not the kind of chip that you may have expected. It wasn’t put there by Kremlin officials looking to spy on President Trump’s every move, or any other nefarious individual, but rather by Adidas themselves.
The ball, which sells for $83, includes an NFC, or near-field communications chip, which allows it to communicate with a user’s smartphone in order to bring up content on their mobile device. When a smartphone is placed near the ball, users are able to access player videos, competitions, and much more.
While it’s entirely possible that the chip may be hacked, although Adidas says it’s ‘unhackable,’ or some other sort of device was place inside the ball by Russian officials, the likelihood that such a hacking did take place and the ball still passed the strict security screening performed by the Secret Service, prior to allowing it in the White House, is slim to none. Sarah Sanders pointed this out recently.
“The security screening process that is done for all gifts was done for the soccer ball. We are not going to comment further on security procedures.”
More than likely Baron Trump is just kicking it around on the White House lawn somewhere.