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Government rents hundreds of gadgets from Telia for EU presidency period

Telia. Source: (Telia Estonia)

The Government Office is renting smartphones from Telia for the time of the upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union. The phones will be used by liaison personnel and drivers. Telia won a €40,000 tender and will supply 260 Huawei phones, five tablet computers, 80 hands-free sets and 80 phone holders for cars, 150 phone cases, and 100 power banks, daily Eesti Päevaleht reported on Monday.

Apparently there have been issues using phones built by Huawei, as the company is facing accusations by U.S. authorities of using its phones in cooperation with Chinese intelligence.

Huawei has rejected the accusations as baseless and called U.S. objections to their products nothing but protectionism.

Commenting on the fact that all 260 phones to be rented are identical, the presidency's communications manager, Tiina Urm, said that the chief reason for it was security. Märt Lepik, who is responsible for the presidency's IT systems, explained to Päevaleht that this way security updates could be placed on all phones at once, and a central system would also be in control of the phones' settings to the extent that no malware could be placed on them.

According to Lepik, the Government Office has conducted an analysis looking into the sensitivity of the information that will reach the phones while they're in government use. Also, the rented phones won't be used by anyone close to or directly involved with the prime minister or other high-ranking government officials, but instead by all those who support the presidency by arranging events and the like, Lepik said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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