Trump's cellphone diplomacy raises security concerns

Trump has urged leaders of Canada and Mexico to call him on his cellphone, former and current United States officials with direct knowledge of the issue told the Associated Press.

According to the AP, sources say that Trump has been asking world leaders, like Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and French president Emmanuel Macron, to call him on his cell phone.

Observers have criticised the controversial President's move as it is a breach of diplomatic protocol, where world leaders communicate through secure lines with a scheduled approach. Presidents generally hold conversations, using one of the several secure phone lines, including in the Oval House or in the presidential limousine.

And beyond all the typical security concerns associated with using his personal cellphone, most foreign calls for the president tend to be highly orchestrated affairs.

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"If you are speaking on an open line, then it's an open line, meaning those who have the ability to monitor those conversations are doing so", Derek Chollet, a former National Security Council official, told the AP.

The US has even surveilled its allies' unsecured communications, as was revealed when fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 showed the National Security Agency (NSA) had allegedly tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

Trump's impromptu conversations with world leaders on a direct line, however, Tait wrote, would cut out the Department of State which works closely on bilateral relations, and potentially make "U.S. policy more dysfunctional and disjointed". When Edward Snowden dumped all of his information back in 2013, one of the reveals was that the USA had been listening in on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone-as if she needed another reason to hate America.

For example, some users expressed bewilderment over the report, including drawing parallels between the situation and Trump's allegations over Hillary Clinton using private email servers.

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Former U.S. President Barack Obama was barred from using an iPhone because of security concerns as recently as previous year and instead used his more secure government-issued Blackberry.

From hugs to impromptu phone calls just to chat, Comey was repeatedly forced to put space between himself and the President, space that Trump clearly didn't want. After Nixon's Watergate scandal-there's that guy again, why does he keep coming up?-The Presidential Records Act of 1981 was passed, requiring the president to preserve any records related to the office.

"He is anxious, his aides say, that he will not be able to keep his Android phone once he gets to the White House and wonders aloud how isolated he will become - and whether he will be able to keep in touch with his friends - without it as president", the newspaper reported at the time. White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, met in December with Russia's ambassador to the US and discussed whether a secret line of communication could be used to facilitate sensitive policy discussions about the conflict in Syria, according to a person familiar with the talks.

The White House has said such back channel communications are useful and discreet.

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