Vice President Kamala Harris reportedly insisted on using wired earphones because she fears that Bluetooth pods represent a security risk.
At a time when many users have moved on to the near-invisible buds and pods, Kamala Harris is often seen conducting remote television interviews with a telltale cable dangling from her head.
And in a viral video clip showing the moment she spoke by phone to Joe Biden after they secured their 2020 election win, she has a tangle of white wires in her left hand.
Now former aides have explained that the reason is not some kind of retro-chic, but concerns that someone could intercept her communications.
They told Politico that the vice president has long been cautious about security and technology.
Some said it was a prudent measure for someone handling classified data while others told the outlet it verged on the paranoid.
As well as using wired headphones to avoid Bluetooth, she also apparently prefers texting to email and doesn’t allow her guests to wait in her office alone.
And a former aide said staff were told to have her visitors wait for her outside her office during her time as attorney general in California.
A request for comment on why the vice president chooses wired earphones went unanswered, but Kamala Harris isn’t alone in the retro look.
Celebrities including Bella Hadid, Lily-Rose Depp and Zoe Kravitz have been spotted with corded earphones.
Fashion writers say the ubiquity of buds has led some trendsetters to look for something more distinctive.
When Liana Satenstein, a fashion writer at Vogue.com, saw Hadid with a wired headset in 2019 she described it as strangely luxurious.
Cybersecurity professionals say there might be something in the vice president’s approach.
Although security has improved since Bluetooth was developed in the 1990s it still adds an additional possible point of attack, and cybersecurity researcher and writer Kim Crawley told a newspaper outlet that if Kamala Harris is using wired earbuds, then the communications going between her phone and her ears can’t be intercepted there.
She said that she would presume that Kamala Harris is privy to a lot of top-secret and classified information and that top secret and classified information could be going through her phone, so no she didn’t believe she was being excessively paranoid.
Other presidents have chafed at security restrictions on their phone use.
President Barack Obama said in a 2013 White House event that he wasn’t permitted, for security reasons to have an iPhone.
Perhaps Kamala Harris is scared she’ll get caught saying something smart, but it definitely won’t be her usual cackle that nobody wants to hear, but Bluetooth isn’t a secure wireless protocol, and if you’re listening to anything more than just music or podcast, it’s most definitely a security risk.
But it also begs the question. What is she trying to hide? Mind you, you’ve actually got to feel sorry for the person who’s listening in on her conversations.
Does Kamala Harris not realise that her phone could be cloned so that whatever she’s saying can be listened to, or is she amazingly foolish?
Perhaps she even believes that when someone takes a photo of her they’re stealing her soul.
Personal cell phones shouldn’t be used for classified calls, or emails. Classified should mean classified and should be kept or discussed in a room built and certified for that level, or on an electronic system that’s fully separate from commercial systems, which should be encrypted, tested and certified for that level of information.