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During the joint media briefing at the conclusion of the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki, Finland, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered President Donald Trump an Adidas brand soccer ball from the World Cup tournament, which Russia had just finished hosting as a sort of friendly gesture of goodwill.
Immediately, a number of media figures and elected officials issued stark warnings — some quite jokingly, others rather seriously — that the ball could have been “bugged” by Russian intelligence officials and might potentially be used to spy on Trump upon his return to the White House.
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To wit, Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham stated at the time in a tweet, “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.”
As it turns out, the soccer ball does indeed contain an embedded electronic chip that is capable of exchanging information and interacting with smartphones, which prompted some in the media to absolutely freak out and suspiciously cry foul, as evidenced by an article published by Bloomberg.
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Except, the chip was not inserted into the soccer ball subversively by Putin’s shady intelligence agents, but by Adidas themselves as part of a marketing ploy intended to spark interest in the game and 2018 World Cup tournament.
According to a November 2017 post from SoccerBible, the chip is a featured element of the 2018 Adidas Telstar NFC ball. The “NFC” stands for a technology known as “Near Field Communication.”
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The technology works by sending radio frequencies from the ball’s chip to a smartphone equipped with an NFC app that is placed nearby, which will unlock special features and information on the phone from Adidas about the ball itself, the game of soccer and the World Cup tournament.
It also unlocks a variety of special contests and challenges, and allows for the uploading of video of...
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