According to a recent report from The New York Times, China and Russia are regularly spying on President Trump when he opts to use his unsecured iPhone to call his friends. China is said to be using the information it gathers while listening in on these calls to keep the administration’s trade war from escalating further by making a list of the people who Trump speaks with on a regular basis and using them to influence the president.
China was quick to dismiss the charges levied by the New York Times article. South China Morning Post reports that Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, said that if Trump is worried about his iPhone being tapped, he should switch to Huawei (the implication being that a Huawei phone would be more secure).
“Seeing this report, I feel there are those in America who are working all-out to win the Oscar for best screenplay,” the spokeswoman said at a foreign ministry briefing in Beijing on Thursday. She also referred to the report as “fake news,” employing one of the president’s favorite tactics to discredit the idea altogether.
Regarding her suggestion that Trump use a Huawei instead of an iPhone, this appears to be a sly reference to the US government forbidding its agencies from using any technologies or services from the Chinese company. The heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA went as far as to warn Americans against using Huawei products.
“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” FBI Director Chris Wray said at the time in regards to American citizens continuing to use devices from Huawei.
Former and current officials who spoke to the New York Times said that Trump has three iPhones: two that have been altered by the NSA “to limit their abilities and vulnerabilities,” and then a third personal phone that is no different from the one that might be sitting in your pocket right now. The New York Times also points out that, since the calls are being intercepted as they travel between cell towers, calls from any phone could be vulnerable.