View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
3 July 2018updated 04 Jul 2018 8:22am

Is Gavin Williamson’s phone jeopardising our national security?

“Siri? Tell Vladimir Putin to shut up and go away.”

By Media Mole

The job of the Secretary of State for Defence is a relatively simple one. Ensure the security of the realm and, er, that’s it. 

Sure, Gavin Williamson might spend most of his time leaking stuff to newspapers, but surely that basic task isn’t beyond even him. Surely the Defence Secretary himself isn’t a potential national security risk? Surely?!

Your Mole is sorry to have to break it to you, but the answer is definitely maybe. Updating the Commons on the fight against Daesh with customary gravitas this afternoon, Williamson’s iPhone went off.

For the first time ever, the unmistakable metallic brogue of Siri boomed out from the despatch box. “Hi Gavin, I found something on the web for: ‘In Syria, democratic forces supported by coalition…”

Always game for a laugh – and definitely modest enough to have one at his own expense – Good Time Gav hooted: “What a very rum business that is! It’s very rare that you are heckled by your own mobile phone!”

So, Williamson’s phone is listening to him speak. Rum indeed! What larks! What else does he use his virtual assistant for?

“Hey, Siri? Send the contents of my red box to the defence correspondents of every national newspaper.”
“Hey, Siri? Where can I buy tarantula food in South Staffordshire?”
“Hey, Siri? Text Vladimir Putin: Shut Up And Go Away.”

Jokes aside, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s not like he ever talks about anything important or classified. Right? Cybersecurity expert Rodolfo Rosini tells Computer Business Review: “In itself leaving Siri on is not a huge risk.”

Phew! Oh, wait. There’s more.

“What it shows [though] is that the guy has no OPSEC [operational security] so if he sets Siri on always listening, he may have s*** security on his home computers, download dodgy apps etc. It’s inexcusable for someone in his position. Basically the problem is that he signalled he is an easy target with no clue.”

Gavin Williamson? Clueless? Next you’ll be telling me his colleagues don’t like him and he isn’t going to be prime minister.

Content from our partners
Labour's health reforms can put patients first
Data science can help developers design future-proof infrastructure
How to tackle the UK's plastic pollution problem – with Coca-Cola

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU