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Innovation

For national security, Trump gets a new secure 'smartphone'

The phone comes with "state-of-the-art" security, but does it come with Twitter?
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Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

Yep, that's a Samsung Galaxy phone. (Image: file photo via Twitter)

Donald Trump's phone was a national security risk. Now he has a new one.

With just days before his inauguration, the president-elect was handed a new locked-down device, just like his predecessor.

Per a note in The New York Times, Trump has traded in his Android phone for "a secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service," with a new phone number that very few know.

It's thought that Trump was pushed to turn over his Android phone -- reportedly a Samsung Galaxy phone and believed to be his personal tweeting phone -- as well as his phone number, which was widely known by the press.

Little is known about the phone. But it's likely to be the same or similar to the model President Obama had during his final years in office.

Last year, Obama was given a new phone to replace his aging but heavily restricted BlackBerry. But his new unnamed "state-of-the-art" smartphone was almost featureless, without the ability to take photos, play music, or send text messages -- all of which were barred by the president's security team.

It's not known if the president-elect will be able to tweet from the device -- something he has said he will continue to do when he takes office.

For the Secret Service and Trump's staff alike, the move was a win-win -- even if Trump himself may not have been thrilled by it.

"The official rationale was security," said the Times report. "But some of Mr. Trump's new aides, who have often been blindsided when a reporter, outside adviser or officeseeker dialed the president-elect directly, expressed relief."

That may be one security problem resolved, but there's more to go -- not least his Twitter account.

A report by BuzzFeed News called Trump's Twitter account a "security disaster waiting to happen." With shy of 21 million followers, the president-elect's Twitter account has "no known special security protections," which if exploited, could lead to financial gain or geopolitical instability.

The stock markets have already shown how off-the-cuff remarks can have sudden economic consequences.

A report by the Associated Press said Obama had "a phone in his control that he used to tweet" with, so that doesn't rule out errant early-morning tweetstorms from the incoming president.

Obama's gadgets: What tech does the president use?

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