Why Edward Snowden won’t use an iPhone: Secret Apple spyware?

“Is Apple’s wildly popular iPhone series hiding spyware that can collect information about users without their knowledge. As thoroughly as developers have dug through Apple’s iOS code over the past seven and a half years, one would think functionality like that would have been unearthed by now,” Zach Epstein reports for BGR. “According to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, however, iPhones are capable of activating ‘special software’ behind the scenes that collects information about users, who are completely oblivious to the fact that their phones are gathering this sensitive data.”

“Edward Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena recently spoke with Russian news agency RIA Novosti, and their conversation spanned several topics,” Epstein reports. “‘Edward never uses an iPhone; he’s got a simple phone,’ Kucherena said. ‘The iPhone has special software that can activate itself without the owner having to press a button and gather information about him; that’s why on security grounds he refused to have this phone.'”

“We haven’t seen anything new in the Snowden documents that suggests Apple itself has secret software on its iPhones that collect personal data without users’ knowledge, however,” Epstein reports, “so it will be interesting to see if Kucherena or Snowden himself will elaborate on these comments in the coming days.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Something lost in translation? This seems specious, to say the least.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Eric24601” for the heads up.]

30 Comments

    1. Won’t use an iPhone – yeah right, Android’s operating system is far superior for privacy ( sarcasm ) – get one of those Edward, plus who really cares what phone he uses anyways ??

  1. The iPhone is a full computer with fairly standard UNIX OS – so given physical access, serious spyware can be installed on it. With spyware, it’s a GPS equipped always on microphone, with records of internet activity, contact info, health info, and more – all open over its network connection.

    If I was Edward Snowden, I wouldn’t carry around an iPhone either. I’d want some kind of a cheap dumb phone with limited computing / hack-ability, that can be frequently and cheaply replaced.

  2. Translation error my a$$..
    This is translation manipulation.
    It should say “he doesn’t use iPhone or any smart phone” . How conveniently that it (the article) doesn’t mention android or Nokia when we are sure that even if he uses one of them, is not using the other one.

    1. Being confronted with uncomfortable, but true information about the misdeeds of our government all being done in secret, does not make him a traitor or scum. The applies to the people in government who pull these stunts. Your vitriol is aimed at the wrong person(s).

      1. I think Fan’s real point is that there isn’t so much truth in the later “news” from him. Not that it is untrue, but that it doesn’t have much gravity anyway. Your points are certainly valid, too, but also pointed at the wrong person. Maybe. That’s the way I read his post, at least. 😕

      2. Ever had a security clearance?

        I have. Mine was a couple of tickets above Top Secret. Part of the process of obtaining said clearance is that you enter a contract that you will never. EVER divulge information labelled as classified to persons not cleared to receive that information.

        Violation of that commitment, BY DEFINITION, is treason, and therefore BY DEFINITION, makes one a traitor.

        Whether or not you’re glad Snowden divulged classified information to our enemies, that opinion does not change the fact of what he is: A traitor to his former country.

        1. If you’re employed by the government, or even just a responsible citizen, you’re obligated to protect the Constitution and what it stands for.

          So which obligation would you uphold, and which one would you betray, if you were in Snowden’s situation? Would you uphold your employment contract, and betray the Constitution of the United States and the rights of all your fellow citizens? Or would you uphold your employment agreement, and betray the Constitution?

          If you have more than one obligation that directly contradict another, it’s a no-win situation, and you are some sort “traitor” no matter what you decide to do.

          I bet if you were in Snowden’s situation, you would betray the Constitution and all your fellow citizens, and uphold your employment agreement. You smell like the kind of anti-American traitor who values their own safety above the values of his country.

          1. You’re presenting a false dichotomy. It isn’t just A) defend Constitution and breach contract or B) abide by contract and betray the Constitution. There’s a third option: C) Take what you’ve found and go to an independent third party (OIG, DOJ, or even Congress).

            Yes, the third option breaches contract, and yes he’d still be in trouble, but at least he wouldn’t have immediately made so much classified information public (and available to the entire world, including our enemies).

            But, Snowden didn’t do that. He left the country and went to the press. He is ipso facto, a traitor. I don’t like some of what’s going on in the federal government either, but that doesn’t change the fact that Snowden is a traitor.

            1. The how is the federal government a “third party” here? That is a completely absurd assertion. Congress and the DOJ authorized all this shit (and still do!). They are the “first party”. That’s like reporting a mugging to the guy who mugged you! He’s not going care.

              The media is a legitimate third party here, and exactly who Snowden went to. And it wasn’t just a blanket leak of everything he found either (in clear contrast to how WikiLeaks operates.) He and a select few journalists carefully sift everything to leak, for safety and relevance to Americans, while Snowden’s complete trove of documents are kept safe, encrypted, and out of everyone else’s hands. That’s as much as anyone can do, short of staying completely silent about this colossal injustice.

    2. He is technically a traitor. But a traitor-hero to many of us. (Think Robin Hood. Thief? Yes, but hero to the people.)

      But I, too, have noticed a lot of “news” from him lately that is meaningless. I wouldn’t call him scum for it, but I think you have a point. Sorry everyone else seems to disagree.

      1. No, not a hero…just a traitor. While NSA may cross the line sometimes, i think Snowden’s leaks have done the average American far more harm than good.

        But as a traitor, it’s no wonder he’s paranoid. I’m half surprised he has a mobile phone at all, at this point.

        And as a former junior “analyst,” his job was barely, if at all technical, so his opinion on whether Apple collects personal data is just that. An opinion, no more valid than that from a random person on the street.

    1. I was going to post on this as well. Recall that Apple has just raised App Store and iTunes store prices in Russia because of the devaluation of the Ruble. In addition, Russia has been actively discouraging the population from buying iPhones and iPads by a campaign of disparagement. I think this is more of the same old, same old propaganda from the masters of propaganda. Note it really doesn’t come from Snowden. . . it comes from an interview with a RUSSIAN REPORTER who interviewed his ATTORNEY. This is hearsay of the worst kind. There is obvious intent here to spread FUD about Apple. The fact is the phones with malware installed are Android.

  3. how long before the simple feature phones disappear? they’ll be around for a bit, of course, but they’ll go the way of pay phones (try finding one of those now…)

    H. Dediu (Asymco) talked about how parts and manufacturing will get progressively more expensive for fading tech products as they start losing scale and market share. I think we’ve been seeing that already with the old feature phones

  4. Snowden is not some mythical god of spy knowledge. I don’t believe half the stuff he says, and spy agencies don’t dare say anything at all, without spilling the truth. IE: How they knew N.Korea hacked Sony. I mean, it’s the same thing when the British broke the Enigma system. You can’t say anything, because one little detail will reveal the next.

    Snowden is a snow job, and loves getting attention. His authority ended the day he spoke out. What ever truths he spoke, stopped being true from that point on.

    If you want to know what’s going on with the iPhone, listen to all the rhetoric and all the spilt tears for all the future missing children, if Apple doesn’t produce back doors to iOS8+. That’s the truth people, If the DA is crying, then there’s good reason to believe they can’t get in.

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