iPhone deemed a security threat, could get banned from this country’s military

iPhone deemed a security threat, could get banned from this country’s military

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Here’s a bit of interesting news. Discussions have been held by the South Korean military about banning the iPhone from all military headquarters in the country. Currently, this is a topic under discussion by the South Korean army, navy, and air force. The concern is that sensitive information can be recorded through voice recordings. 

Ranking officers who spoke with The Korea Herald anonymously told the paper that on April 11th, the Korean Air Force issued an internal announcement over an intranet server prohibiting any device that can record voices and which does not allow third-party apps to control the functions of the phone. The ban begins on June 1st and the iPhone was explicitly mentioned in the announcement which read, “Bringing in iPhones will be completely prohibited.”
While all types of smartwatches and wearable devices are also prohibited, interestingly, Android phones are not banned, especially those made by South Korean manufacturer Samsung. The internal announcement says, “It’s inevitable to block any kind of voice recording, not just formal communications including meetings, office conversations, business announcements and complaints from and consultations with the public, but also informal communications such as private phone calls (within military buildings).”

The internal announcement added, “There has been an ongoing review regarding the potential extension of this ban to all subordinate units.” If the ban does get extended to subordinate units, almost 500,000 military personnel will be impacted by it.

If you’re wondering why the ban affects the iPhone and not Android handsets, especially those made by South Korea’s Samsung, it is because iPhone models do not comply with restrictions laid out by the National Defense Mobile Security. The latter is a mobile device management application run by the military. Activating this app will disable several smartphone capabilities including the camera, Wi-Fi, microphone, USB functions, and tethering. Apple does not allow third-party apps to control these features except for the camera.

The security app, developed by the Ministry of National Defense back in 2013, is considered unreliable since the smartphone features blocked by the app depend on the version of the app used on Android phones. One military official said that this will be addressed by a future software update.

The iPhone does not support any call-recording features because it is illegal in the U.S. to record calls without the consent of the other person. In Korea, recording a phone call is legal except for recordings that infringe on the privacy of others. Many Galaxy phone users in Korea say that they continue to use Galaxy handsets because of the call recording feature. Nearly 70% of  smartphone users in South Korea use a Samsung phone.



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