Snowden designs a device to warn if your iPhone’s radios are snitching

“When Edward Snowden met with reporters in a Hong Kong hotel room to spill the NSA’s secrets, he famously asked them put their phones in the fridge to block any radio signals that might be used to silently activate the devices’ microphones or cameras,” Andy Greenberg reports for Wired.

“So it’s fitting that three years later, he’s returned to that smartphone radio surveillance problem,” Greenberg reports. “”Now Snowden’s attempting to build a solution that’s far more compact than a hotel mini-bar.

“On Thursday at the MIT Media Lab, Snowden and well-known hardware hacker Andrew ‘Bunnie’ Huang plan to present designs for a case-like device that wires into your iPhone’s guts to monitor the electrical signals sent to its internal antennas,” Greenberg reports. “The aim of that add-on, Huang and Snowden say, is to offer a constant check on whether your phone’s radios are transmitting. They say it’s an infinitely more trustworthy method of knowing your phone’s radios are off than ‘airplane mode,’ which people have shown can be hacked and spoofed.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Better safe than sorry.

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

24 Comments

    1. I remember just a few years ago when people who were that concerned about privacy were always dismissed as being part of the tin foil hat brigade.

      Snowden did, at enormous personal sacrifice, change the mentality of the technology world by confirming the Brigade’s worst fears.

  1. He also deserves the Nobel Prize for freedom for forcing governments to include their citizens in decisions about the surveillance they will be subjected to by their own governments.

    Most people in history have suffered at the hands of the own government, not international enemies. Peace must start by protecting citizens from abuse and coercion within their own countries.

  2. Actually, he should get any number of awards and then report to prison to live out the rest of his life. I give him kudos – *great* job in exposing the surveillance abuse – definitely a champion of human rights and whatnot. But recklessly disclosing information that put people’s lives in immediate jeopardy (named names of intelligence assets in countries where we have pressing interests), needlessly damaging our diplomatic relations with allies (we all spy on each other; everyone knows it, duh). And then he takes refuge in ***RUSSIA*** of all places? WTF is that about? Putin is one of the biggest threats to the freedom and liberty that Snowden supposedly espouses. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3123208/Britain-forced-withdraw-spies-U-S-high-alert-Russia-China-access-secret-files-stolen-NSA-whistleblower-Edward-Snowden.html

    Right idea (initially) and very VERY bad implementation. He did nothing but disarm our side of every conflict we’re involved in whether that’s East/West, civilization/ISIS, US v China hacking etc. and hand the others a free pass and propaganda coup. Is he really that naive to think that no other countries/forces do these things and that his actions would somehow give them pause to stop? He could have EASILY revealed the stuff about spying on our own citizens without pulling all this other stuff.

      1. And anyone too ignorant to understand that when someone obtains a disc full of information about your nation’s operational intelligence assets, releases their names publicly so thy can be hunted down and killed, and then takes that information with them to RUSSIA and believes that he can keep the really important stuff safe is delusional.

        Moreover, it doesn’t matter whether or not Russia has obtained the info that Snowden still has. We have to operate on the assumption that every source, every method, and every technique we use in our spy craft is now compromised. Which wipes out our entire pipeline of operational intelligence on a man (Putin) who ANNEXED Crimea and suffered virtually no repercussions, has all of Ukraine in his sights, is helping Bashir Al-Assad slaughter civilians, and would like nothing more than for Donald Trump to win the election so that on inauguration day he can invade Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

        And thanks to Snowden, our human intelligence assets are dried up; and with one miscalculation we’re in a shooting war with Russia instead of our renewed cold war. Snowden’s utterly naive (or perhaps it’s deliberately nefarious) disregard for the reality of world politics has made us much more UNSAFE in the International arena and may have very well set us down the path of military conflict because we’re operating an an information/human/intelligent deficit.

    1. “He did nothing but disarm our side of every conflict we’re involved in…”
      Snowden was stopping your beloved intelligence agencies from disarming this, you moron:

      “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

      1. Hey, name-caller piece of crap, go READ what I wrote. I praised him for stopping spying on our own citizens.

        But endangering the lives of intelligence assets, disrupting our relations with allies (who also spy right back on us – it’s done all the time and everyone knows it), and giving intelligence information to our enemies (yes, Putin is an enemy, and Mr. Snowden took his whole “encrypted” mother load of stuff to Russia with him) is beyond contempt.

    2. Careful. I don’t think anyone is allowed to ‘dis’ Snowden. He is a God in everyone’s eyes, especially those with no actual experience in or knowledge of security clearances and the responsibilities that come with them. Don’t get me started on the HYPOCRISY of taking such a stand and living in Russia!

        1. The Bill of Rights does not apply to foreign intelligence, legally. Practically, it is sort of difficult to get a Russian judge to authorize surveillance of the Russian Government.

          The NSA should not have been tapping domestic phone calls, but they were specifically created to collect foreign signals intelligence. Snowden not only made that a lot more difficult, but (at a minimum) threatened the lives of our human agents and assets.

          If our Cold Wars with Russia and China were a bit hotter, giving them aid and comfort would be actionable as treason. Even without a shooting war, handing out US secrets to a foreign power is espionage. I’m not in favor of rewarding spies with anything short of a prison term.

          I’m sure you think that Comrade Putin is a fine follow whose firm hand is keeping Russia’s minorities and liberals in check, but some of us disagree

            1. Wow, what a erudite and compelling argument, sir. I would expect nothing less from a follower of Trump, a professed admirer of Putin’s.

    1. Only three fake nicks today to *DING* up yourself?

      Did this self-loathing begin in childhood? Or did you only figure it out once you discovered there are people in the world, such as myself, who are NOT self-loathing? Is your obsession with me a matter of comparison? Or do you simply wish you were me?

      Sorry, but I’m not hiring myself out as anyone’s guru.

    2. What does this have to do with security. It has nothing to do with iOS security or iPhone hardware security. What it does have to do with is SIM card GPS and Carrier security. Nothing Apple or Snowden can do anything about the way GPS operates. What Snowden is doing is alerting you to when someone is using the GPS on your phone to track you. You then have two options….TURN IT OFF manually or allow the case to TURN IT OFF automatically.

      The carriers could make the SIM card more secure…..but they won’t because they are in bed with the government.

  3. This is a great idea… For about a day, maybe a month. Then we figure out that the device comes up with no leaks, no Fourth Amendment violations sent to the surveillance maniacs, ever. So, who’s gonna buy one? Still, it’s a great idea to have them around if only to keep a check on the tech.

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