Soccer ball Putin gave to Trump contains Adidas transmission chip: report

As lawmakers and news pundits have speculated that the soccer ball given to President Donald Trump by Russian President Vladimir Putin might be bugged, it turns out that, in a way, c was – by Adidas.

The soccer ball is one of the company’s models that comes with a small transmitter chip already embedded under the outer layer of the ball, as the first reported by Bloomberg, giving it the ability for “two devices to exchange data.”

Vladimir Putin passed a soccer ball to President Trump in Finland on Monday. We don’t know what the goal was. That said, many Americans didn’t exactly appreciate the gesture, and in the eyes of most, Russia was the big winner of the day ⚽️ https://t.co/LFF0pgGFWq pic.twitter.com/bIFP6NcC5h

– OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) July 17, 2018

According to the Adidas website, the digital technology is called “Near Field Communication” (NFC) which allows a phone or tablet to send “radio frequency signals” that interact with the NFC chip. It allows players to access special information and online games after logging in. Adidas claims that the NFC tag cannot be changed and can only send information, not receive it.

“It is not possible to delete or rewrite the encoded parameters,” explains Adidas.

The chip, which is placed under a logo on the ball, is made by a Dutch technology company, Smartrac. According to its website, NFC tags can “carry significantly more data, are more secure, and can be password protected.” It is also the same type of technology used in the 2018 soccer world cup ball.

Adidas declined to comment Thursday morning. Smartrac did not immediately respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment on Wednesday and whether the device is likely to be hacked.

In 2015, a hacker used technology to send an Android phone a link that, when clicked, installed a virus to take control of the phone.

The White House declined to tell Bloomberg if the chip was removed from the balloon or where it was kept.

“The security screening process that is done for all gifts has been done for the soccer ball,” publicist Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Bloomberg. “We are not going to comment further on security procedures.”

Putin handed the ball to Trump at a press conference in Helsinki earlier this month following the two-hour one-on-one meeting between the two leaders that has since sparked significant bipartisan reaction. Despite being told that Putin likely personally ordered cyberattacks on the US election, Trump refused to acknowledge Russian interference as he stood next to the Russian leader.

Lawmakers from both parties expressed pause over the balloon, suggesting it could likely contain listening devices. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina expressed displeasure with Trump’s meeting, adding that he “would never allow [the soccer ball] at the White House” because he was probably bugged.

Finally, if it was me, I would check the football for listening devices and never allow it into the White House.

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 16, 2018

I just saw a US Secret Service agent pass the soccer ball Putin gave Trump through a security scanner outside the Pres. Palace. He didn’t smile when I joked about it.

— Bill Neely (@BillNeelyNBC) July 16, 2018

If Putin had implanted a listening device, it would be far from the first time the Russians bugged the Americans. In 1952, a replica of the American seal, given by the Russians as a gift years earlier, was discovered to contain a listening device. At one point during the Cold War, the US Embassy in Moscow housed 120 Soviet-era bugs.

On the same day the transmitter chip was discovered in the soccer ball, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was questioned by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about Trump’s past meetings with North Korea and Russia. . During numerous contentious exchanges with senators, Pompeo defended the president’s private meetings with both countries and tried to reassure lawmakers.

For the first time since President Trump met with leaders from North Korea and Russia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo answered questions from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. @nickschifrin reports. pic.twitter.com/PqNnKN52Ym

— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) July 25, 2018

This story has been updated to include Adidas’ refusal to comment and Pompeo’s testimony to senators on Wednesday.