Wow, talk about click-bait. Lots of people who didn’t read the article sure were triggered by this tweet by The Hill Wednesday:

Whoa! That’s huge! Vladimir Putin gave President Trump a bugged soccer ball so he could spy on his cell phone calls, or maybe track his movements by GPS?

Um, not quite. The Hill reports:

[Bloomberg] noted that photos of the ball show a logo for a near-field communication (NFC) tag, a chip that is included in the Adidas 2018 FIFA World Cup ball. Russia hosted this year’s World Cup.

Adidas AG soccer balls, similar to the one Putin presented to Trump during a joint press conference last week, contain a small chip that can send content to mobile devices. Users can hold their phones close to the ball to access videos and competitions, according to Bloomberg.

So it’s not quite a spying device, although it did undergo a routine security screening, the Secret Service said.

Yeah, reading the story helps tone down the international intrigue factor.

We’re sure Trump has the soccer ball on his desk in the Oval Office too.


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