Media Freaks at E-Chip in Soccer Ball Putin Gave Trump, Don't Realize It's for Ads
During the joint media briefing at the conclusion of the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki, Finland, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered President Donald Trump an Adidas brand soccer ball from the World Cup tournament, which Russia had just finished hosting as a sort of friendly gesture of goodwill.
Immediately, a number of media figures and elected officials issued stark warnings — some quite jokingly, others rather seriously — that the ball could have been “bugged” by Russian intelligence officials and might potentially be used to spy on Trump upon his return to the White House.
To wit, Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham stated at the time in a tweet, “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.”
As it turns out, the soccer ball does indeed contain an embedded electronic chip that is capable of exchanging information and interacting with smartphones, which prompted some in the media to absolutely freak out and suspiciously cry foul, as evidenced by an article published by Bloomberg.
Except, the chip was not inserted into the soccer ball subversively by Putin’s shady intelligence agents, but by Adidas themselves as part of a marketing ploy intended to spark interest in the game and 2018 World Cup tournament.
According to a November 2017 post from SoccerBible, the chip is a featured element of the 2018 Adidas Telstar NFC ball. The “NFC” stands for a technology known as “Near Field Communication.”
The technology works by sending radio frequencies from the ball’s chip to a smartphone equipped with an NFC app that is placed nearby, which will unlock special features and information on the phone from Adidas about the ball itself, the game of soccer and the World Cup tournament.
It also unlocks a variety of special contests and challenges, and allows for the uploading of video of the ball being used to complete said contests and challenges.
It should be pointed out that this is the exact same sort of increasingly common RFID technology that is used for contactless payments, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay or other cards with an embedded chip that are simply held near a reader instead of swiped or inserted.
Yet, even as Bloomberg noted the rather mundane reasons behind the embedding of a chip in the soccer balls, they nevertheless proceeded to speculate about how Russian hackers could theoretically “hack” into the chip and reprogram it to send links to malicious software to the president’s phone.
This, even as the article at the same time noted how highly unlikely such an attempt would even be in the first place, much less actually succeed in installing malware on Trump’s phone.
Adidas didn’t comment specifically on the possibility that Russians could have hacked the chip in the soccer ball, but have asserted in prior statements that the chip has minimal security vulnerabilities, as it cannot be modified and “It is not possible to delete or rewrite the encoded parameters.”
Furthermore, the suspicion that Russian intelligence officials either hacked the chip or removed it and installed some other sort of chip that could be used to spy on the president operates under the ridiculous assumption that the Secret Service wouldn’t thoroughly inspect the ball for just such a thing.
Indeed, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders stated in an email to Bloomberg that “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.”
To be sure, it is not entirely unwarranted to suspect that Russia might try to find a unique method to spy on the leader of their biggest rival, the United States, but a bugged soccer ball seems a bit extreme even for the former Soviet KGB spy agency.
In the end, this is little more than a display of the laughable liberal mindset that supposes a complete lack of any intelligence and common sense on the part of Trump and those who work for him, which is merely the latest example of how they have consistently underestimated him since at least 2015.
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