Soccer Ball Vladimir Putin Gave to President Trump Has Built-In Electronic Chip
After their historic summit in Helsinki, many joked the ball was bugged.
Is the soccer ball Vladimir Putin handed President Trump days during their historic summit in Helsinki bugged?
Many joked that the World Cup ball had some sort of device implanted in it.
“If it were me, I'd check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House," Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted.
But as it turns out; the ball, manufactured by Adidas, does have a chip in it.
The official Adidas Telstar was used during every game of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Each ball comes with a built-in communication chip.
The chip is located under the FIFA logo and a special Adidas smartphone app gives you access to stats, competitions and news when your phone is held near the ball.
The ball has near-field communication, "a digital technology that allows two devices to exchange data or trigger certain actions when physically connected to each other," Adidas said in a statement on its website.
Markings on the ball given to Trump indicate that it is equipped with the chip, Bloomberg reported.
The ball retails for $165 and can be found at Upper 90 Soccer Center. It gives users “different functionalities” like “exclusive information about the product, Adidas football content, special competitions and challenges."
Scott Schober, a cybersecurity expert, who took a closer look at the chip, told Inside Edition, "It is a low cost chip or antenna."
He said that the chip would "not likely" be turned into in a spy device but would have most likely be removed and replaced with a Bluetooth-type device.
Adidas has not commented on whether the chip could be hacked or compromised, but says on its website that "it is not possible to delete or rewrite the encoded parameters."
The chip has the same technology used in payment devices such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, according to Bloomberg.
The White House took no chances with Putin’s gift, as National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said "we thoroughly checked it."
In addition, the Secret Service said in a statement to CNN: "All gifts given to the President are subject to thorough security screening. The Secret Service does not comment specifically nor in general about the means and methods of our protective responsibilities."
“The security screening process that is done for all gifts was done for the soccer ball," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
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