Edward Snowden co-designs an iPhone case that alerts user to surveillance activity

TODAY  WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT A REVOLUTIONARY I PHONE CASE THAT IS CODESIGNED BY THE INFAMOUS EDWARD SNOWDEN.

REMEMBER Mr Snowden, who made headlines in 2013 after leaking a cache of documents that exposed the NSA (National Security Agency) spying on American citizens, famously asked lawyers advising him to “hide their cellphones in the refrigerator of the home where he was staying, to block any eavesdropping.”

YES THAT SNOWDEN AND AMERICAN HACKER ANDREW HUANG LIVING IN SINGAPORE Wh0 ALSO HAS A PHD IN electrical engineering from MIT.  THEY BOTH BEEN SECRETLY WORKING ON A I  PHONE 6 CASE.

 

WHATS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS CASE YOU ASK? It doesn’t block cell phone signals, but it does make sure the device stops transmitting data when you put it on “airplane mode.”

 

Most people think that “airplane mode” pulls a smartphone off the grid. It doesn’t. On the latest iPhones, for example, the device still transmits GPS signals when it’s in “airplane mode.”

 

Governments can take advantage of that by hacking phones. (That’s how the NSA can “turn on” your phone remotely.)

 

And governments do it regularly. It’s suspected that’s how the Syrian government tracked, targeted and killed American journalist Marie Colvin with a mortar barrage.

 

In a research paper, Snowden describes a sleeve that slips over the bottom of an iPhone, connects to the SIM card port, and watches for outbound signals. An alarm would chime if it detects an unwanted signal, plus it provides extra battery juice. They say that they are also considering to add a “kill switch” option that would forcibly disconnect power to the phone in the case that a radio is found to be errantly transmitting

 

“Front-line journalists are high-value targets, and their enemies will spare no expense to silence them,” Snowden wrote. “Unfortunately, journalists can be betrayed by their own tools. Their smartphones, an essential tool for communicating with sources and the outside world — as well as for taking photos and authoring articles — are also the perfect tracking device.”

 

 

In their paper, they describe how they explored the Hua Qiang electronics markets in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. Surrounded by iPhone repair stations, they found lots of spare parts and repair manuals — which included detailed blueprints of the iPhone 6.

The pair presented their findings at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab on Thursday morning.

They expect to develop a prototype of this case in the next year. But don’t get your hopes up. This is a tiny, experimental effort.

“The project is run largely through volunteer efforts on a shoestring budget,” the duo wrote.

 

The device is currently just an academic project and still far from the mass market. The pair is hoping to develop a prototype within the next year and say they may then seek to create cases for other smart phones as well.

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