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The soccer ball that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave President Trump during their joint press conference this month could contain a transmitter chip, but not one placed there by the Russians.
Markings on the ball indicate that the World Cup souvenir may contain a chip with a small antenna that transmits to nearby phones, Bloomberg reported.
The article goes on to state the following:
These chips appear on the Adidas AG ball, and are used to let fans access player videos and other content when their phone is close to the ball. The feature was included in all the 2018 FIFA World Cup balls that sold on the Adidas website for $165.
Bloomberg said it’s not clear if the chip was included in the ball Putin gave Trump, and said Adidas didn’t comment on whether the chip could be used as part of a Russian hack in any way.
When Putin gave the ball to Trump, many joked it might have a listening device on it. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted that the ball should be checked for listening devices and never be allowed in the White House.
Finally, if it were me, I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 16, 2018
“The security screening process that is done for all gifts was done for the soccer ball,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in an email. “We are not going to comment further on security procedures.”
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