Russian authorities have discovered pre-installed wiretap devices inside imported clothing irons, the Industry and Trade Ministry’s top radioelectronics industry official said Wednesday.
Vasily Shpak warned that bugged appliances and electronic devices are a commonplace reality but did not specify the countries in which the irons were allegedly manufactured nor the potential motives for wiretapping.
“They are bugged. We have seen a couple of irons with [pre-installed] microphones. They look ordinary from the outside [...] but there must be a [transmitting] mechanism,” the state-run TASS news agency quoted Shpak as saying at a press conference.
Under a Russian law adopted in 2019, the distribution of devices that can transmit or store personal information without the owner’s consent is punishable by up to four years in prison.
Shpak also advised iPhone users to avoid storing sensitive information on their devices.
“This [surveillance technology] is inherent for iPhones. While the [manufacturer's] intentions are good, the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” Shpak said.