No Cell Phone Rule Should Apply to All Sensitive Meetings
As we all know, if you work in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) cell phones are a prohibited item due to the ability for someone to use it to take pictures of classified information or to record classified conversations. Additionally, our adversaries have the ability to remotely manipulate your cell phone to surreptitiously turn it on and monitor your conversations without you knowing it. The no-cellphone rule addresses both the insider threat and espionage by outsiders.
Cell Phone Safety
But what about all of the sensitive conversations and meetings that are held every day where cell phones are prevalent? New leading edge technologies; breakthrough research; contract negotiations; internal investigations; or upcoming business solicitations. These are all examples of highly sought after valuable information that someone could gain an advantage from. Think about those in your own work environment who could use this information: corporate spies, foreign entities, disgruntled employees, or those seeking an advantage to move up the promotion ladder. Venturebeat, a leading source for news, events, groundbreaking research and perspective on technology innovation, published an interesting article that described some of the indicators to look out for that might mean your phone has been compromised and some steps you can take to protect yourself.
Be cognizant of the fact that cell phones are an ingrained part of the workplace and not everyone has an equal level of technical savvy when it comes to electronic devices and protecting themselves. When discussing sensitive information, consider making it standard operating procedure to have everyone leave their cell phones outside of the room altogether. In most cases, if someone wants to record a meeting or discussion it should be announced in advance to make everyone aware, otherwise it may be a violation of the law.
Any official meeting should and must be a private cell phone free (i.e. banned) area. The SCIF rule should apply in all govenment meetings, and joint meetings with government contractors.