If you are the head of state of any country around the world, you need more security on your phone than a simple password to unlock the screen or keypad. With spy agencies getting more and more nosy into the matter of states of other countries, the world leaders have to make sure their phones are completely and undeniably hacker-proof.
A few years back, Blackberry reigned over all other companies as the phone of choice for all world leaders and executives of large companies. But with Apple, Samsung and LG all presenting new models that could be used by the world leaders, the already struggling Canadian smartphone company (Blackberry) is going to have a tougher time. Here are some world leaders and the phones that they use.
Despite objections from the secret service, Obama held on to his beloved Blackberry from his pre-office days. Since then, the US President has been permitted a modified Blackberry with enhanced encryption. Only family members and senior White House officials have his personal email address and he once told a group of young people, “I am not allowed, for security reasons, to have an iPhone.”
2. North Korea
Being the leader of a country that has no access to the smartphones produced by major countries and where only 2 million of the total 25 million population uses mobile phones, meant that there was a lot of speculation about Kim Jong-un’s mobile phone use. A photograph of Kim at a national security meeting in January 2013 showed the leader with what appeared to be a HTC handset. According to South Korean media, Kim most likely uses his phone to contact family members and senior officials of the Worker’s party of Korea.
François Hollande, the French President, has rarely been seen without his iPhone 5. Originally the French head of state was given a Teorem phone that was ultra-secure and had encryption capabilities, but Hollande’s predecessor, Sarkozy, found the phone cumbersome. Hollande’s presidential iPhone, however, is meant for personal use only and the President uses it to stay in touch with his girlfriend, Julie Gayet, via text messages.
Vladmir Putin has famously claimed that he does not have a mobile phone and prefers to receive reports and other information the old-fashioned way – on paper. A documentary showed that the Russian president’s office had a bank of beige telephones that seemed very old-fashioned. The Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, however, is a fan of Apple products and he was one of the first owner of an iPhone 4, given to him by Steve Jobs before the phone has been officially released.
The three-time prime minister of Pakistan, has been seen using iPhones and Samsungs. But these phones belong to members of his entourage who act as gatekeepers to their boss. His personal phone, however, is an out-of-style Blackberry Bold. Sharif is a fan of the deteriorating company’s messenger service and uses it to stay in touch with family and close political allies.
Angela Merkel owns two phones, one of which became very famous when it was revealed that it had been monitored by the NSA. The phone in question was a Nokia 6260 Slide, which the chancellor uses for party matters only. The other phone, however, is a Blackberry Z10 fitted with an encryption chip by Secusmart, used for state affairs. The company claims its product to be completely hack-proof and has even marketed the phone as the “Kanzler-Handy” (chancellor’s mobile).
The prime minister, Matteo Renzi, is not only an iPhone user, but also a huge fan of Apple. He used his phone more than just for texting, though. In 2012, when Renzi first campaigned for the leadership of the centre-left Democratic party, which promised to rottamare (demolish) the old leadership, he had a custom case made for his iPhone which had the words “Keep calm and rottama” written on it.