South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense to ban Apple iPhones

“The Ministry of National Defense (MND) plans to prohibit the use of Apple’s iPhones in two of its major buildings from August, military officials said Friday,” Lee Tae-hoon reports for The Korea Times.

“They said other smart devices will continue to be allowed after installing a mobile device management (MDM) system that would automatically disable cameras, wireless Internet and recording functions,” Lee reports. “Army Col. Yoon Won-sik, vice spokesman at the defense ministry explained that the MND is reviewing mandating people, including its staff, to leave iPhones in a safety deposit box located outside its buildings.”

Lee reports, “The colonel noted that smart devices running on Google’ s Android OS, an open-source software program, including Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note, will be excluded from its ban as they are compatible with the MDM system.”

“MND officials who use iPhones have expressed strong discontent over the move to ban their handsets as they will need to purchase a new phone and fear that their personal information will be monitored,” Lee reports. “‘I hope the MND will take a more cautious approach over the introduction of mobile device management as this may lead to infringements of our basic rights and possibly a massive leak of personal information stored on its server,’ a military official said on the condition of anonymity.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is all quite unsurprising considering that Samsung owns South Korea. It’s amazing they allow the sale of iPhones in the country at all.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “M j miller” for the heads up.]

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42 Comments

  1. Silly headline. article says “They said other smart devices will continue to be allowed after installing a mobile device management (MDM) system that would automatically disable cameras, wireless Internet and recording functions,”.
    no iphone. no android.

    1. iPhone is perfectly suitable for this if it is configured with Apple’s Configurator software: it can manage/administrate use or ban of camera and tens of other devices’ functions.

      So Defense’ staff can use iPhones easily if they would want. But visitors, whose profiles are obviously not administered by the ministry, will be banned from using Apple’s devices.

    2. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence and common sense would have understood that the intent was to secure information and not ban the iPhone outright. Apple fanboys are naturally only more suspicious and paranoid than the South Korean military and naval community. Whereas the South Koreans have a committed enemy north of the 38th parallel Apple fanboys suspect foes behind every tree and rock.

    3. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence and common sense would have understood that the intent was to secure information and not ban the iPhone outright. Apple fanboys are naturally only more suspicious and paranoid than the South Korean military and naval community. Whereas the South Koreans have a committed enemy north of the 38th parallel Apple fanboys suspect foes behind every tree and rock.

      1. And anyone with the least bit of intelligence could have made there point without insults like you did.

        You see how that works, the rest rest is just filler by a supposed individual that is only guessing.

        Oh and you lost it with the fanboy wording, but gave yourself up in the first sentence as a hater…. Entertaining Freak.

  2. I had a job interview with a company that does classified work for US military agencies. When I went into the building, I had to check my iPhone with the receptionist for the duration of the visit. The question was not “Do you have an iPhone?” it was “Does your phone have a camera?”

    Smartphones are great espionage tools.

    1. I was recently working at a reactor where they required me to check in my iPhone because it had a camera. Of course, they allowed my iPad 2 through as well as my MBP, both of which have cameras on them (and both of which were required to do the job).

  3. Where I work I’m not allowed to use my iPhone in certain areas due to personal data security concerns from clients, as we handle money, credit card details and names and addresses from all over the UK. I can’t see how this is much different, as it’s military security, and they can’t control the iPhone.

        1. I’m about to go abroad and work for Hyundai Shipbuilding starting this summer, a company connected to Hyundai Motors, but only as a part of the same conglomerate.

          Samsung Construction, in a similar fashion, is really not that affiliated with Samsung Electronics.

        2. Been doing business in Korea for almost 15 years. Go there at least three times a year.

          Next “dumbass” statement.

          The qualifier is “most”… In my travels in south Korea, I have not seen all of the buildings but I have seen many and not “most” of them were owned or designated with a big Samdung logo on the side.

          Cheers.

    1. Only if the owner of the iPhone is the South Korean Ministry of National Defense. individual’s iPhones can’t be turned off. Plus, it’s not an automatic system which turns off the camera, etc. once you walk into the building. Someone has to manually do it.

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