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Edward Snowden to Design an iPhone Case That Prevents NSA Surveillance

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posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 02:44 PM
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www.informationweek.com...
www.wired.com...
www.newsfactor.com...

I saw this yesterday and noticed no one had made a thread about it yet so I decided to start one.


Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and government whistleblower Edward Snowden is collaborating with well-known hacker Andrew "Bunnie" Huang to create an iPhone add-on device designed to alert users if they are being spied on.

The research was announced this week at an invitation-only video webcast featuring Snowden and produced by MIT Media Lab's Forbidden Research. Snowden spoke via a video connection from Russia where he is living in exile, according to a report by the New York Times.


This should be interesting. basically Snowden has announced that he plans to design an iPhone case that will be able to detect when your phone is sending data unknowingly to a third party such as the NSA, Hackers, etc.


Snowden said that he was concerned that cellphones and smartphones serve as tracking devices that automatically create electronic dossiers that give third parties, such as governments, detailed information on the owner's location.

That's likely how Syrian forces located and killed journalist Marie Colvin, alleges a lawsuit filed by Colvin's family against the Syrian government.

Snowden's presentation included the story of Colvin, a journalist from New York, who entered the city of Homs, Syria while reporting for London's Sunday Times. Colvin reported from inside this city, but Syrian forces bombed her base there, killing her and one other journalist, and injuring two others.

A report in the Intercept, the news site startup spawned by Snowden's work with The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and others, noted that a lawsuit filed by Colvin's family says that Syrian forces may have found Colvin by tracing her phone.


Here is a rendering of what his prototype is expected to look like:


(Image: conceptual rendering via Andrew Huang and Edward Snowden)


In the Forbidden Research webcast, Snowden said it's become increasingly difficult for users to trust their smartphones. These devices may even be carrying malware that transmits location information even when the user thinks the phone has been placed into a safe "airplane mode."

And that's particularly dangerous for journalists, and should be an issue at the top of mind for the IT departments that protect them.

"One good journalist in the right place at the right time can change history," Snowden told the MIT Media Lab audience, according to a report in WIRED. "This makes them a target, and increasingly tools of the trade are being used against them."

To protect them, Huang and Snowden designed the device. The work aims to give journalists the ability to know when their smartphones are tracking or disclosing their location when the devices are supposed to be in airplane mode, according to a detailed document written by Huang and Snowden.

"We propose to accomplish this via direct introspection of signals controlling the phones hardware," they wrote. "The introspection engine will be an open source, 'user-inspectable' and field-verifiable module attached to an existing smart phone that makes no assumptions about the trustability of the phone's operating system."


So one of the issues I wanted to address here on ATS is the implication that this technology can be used by extremist groups such as the Islamic State to maintain secure and encrypted communications among its followers. This issue was the first problem that occurred to me when I read this article.

However, one could make the argument that despite the fact that Twitter & the US Government (DIA, NSA, CIA) allow the Islamic State to use social media to dissent their propaganda, so far they have not been successful in thwarting any major attacks. If Twitter justifies letting the Islamic State use its product in order to better aid the intelligence agencies trying to prevent attacks, then they are failing in the US and miserably failing in Europe.


IT organizations mostly have a vested interest in being able to track end-user devices and monitor how those devices are used. For instance, a trucking company may include dispatch apps on its drivers' iPhones.

But if an iPhone is issued to a journalist in the field in a warzone, that phone's own tracking and monitoring features can be used against the worker and perhaps even endanger his or her life. In that case, IT would most likely want to enable technology to disable tracking and monitoring. The idea takes mobile device monitoring to a whole new level.


The other issue I wanted to address, is the possibility that this is an attempt by Snowden to intentionally obscure the intelligence communities and their methods of surveillance. In other words, he's not just doing this for the average citizen and consumer. It is possible that this is a coordinated Psy Op from either the US, Russia, China, or Israel to systematically weaken the Intelligence Industrial Complex in on or more sovereign nations.

Remember, whether you are a Snowden supporter or not, there has always been the possibility of him being a double agent. After all, in his interview with Lyin' Brian he admitted that he was trained as a spy but then 20 minutes later in the interview he said that he's never worked as a spy. So then why would he be trained as a spy if he was not expecting to work in espionage? Perhaps someone with experience in the intelligence communities can correct me if I am wrong. At face value, Snowden appears to be utilizing NLP to dissent his message to the world.

What say you ATS?




posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 02:48 PM
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Great news for the common man that wants his privacy

Bad news for the law in pursuit of potential terrorists

good or bad.. perhaps somewhere in between.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 03:13 PM
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a reply to: Spacespider

Time will only tell. I am also bothered by the fact that Hollywood is making a movie about Edward Snowden. His story has only just begun so I think it's rather premature to greenlight a bio-pic about Snowden. I do like Oliver Stone, though.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 03:32 PM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom

I might be wrong, but don't you still leave a trail? I mean your phone has an ID it leaves on the servers, doesn't it? Isn't it a bit romantic to think they'd have to access your phone to gather your data? Your net provider has it all stored anyways.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 03:34 PM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom

just think abut this for one second :

do you REALLY want snowden deciding who your phone can communicate with

because - bottom line - thats what he is " offering "



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 03:45 PM
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originally posted by: ignorant_ape
a reply to: ColdWisdom

just think abut this for one second :

do you REALLY want snowden deciding who your phone can communicate with

because - bottom line - thats what he is " offering "



I think you got it backwards...
He offer you a solution to put the user in control



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 04:48 PM
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Read about this the other day. Apparently this is the prototype.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 05:04 PM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom


This should be interesting. basically Snowden has announced that he plans to design an iPhone case that will be able to detect when your phone is sending data unknowingly to a third party such as the NSA, Hackers, etc.

Correct me if I'm wrong but a signal transmitter like a phone sends out radio signals, passive listening to those broadcasts is undetectable.

Further, the shielding provided to a device protects from readers in close proximity that can enable your phone to dump its memory. Like wrapping you wallet in foil to protect against readers trying to get your personal information to steal your money.

Is that what we are talking about, an EMF shield against reading your phone surreptitiously?

edit on 23-7-2016 by intrptr because: Further



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 05:09 PM
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A simple coil with a LED will tell you if your phone is transmitting.
You can even get baubles that flash when you get a call, they pick up the increased activity as a call is coming in.
If the phone is in normal mode the led will flash about once or twice a minute, it should not flash in flight mode.
As to the server knowing where you are, that's not always 100% reliable. The closest hack that got to me was 10 miles away where the main server is.

But yes, such a device could have a back door, i would go for he LED version

edit on 23-7-2016 by playswithmachines because: Typo's




posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 05:22 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: ColdWisdom


This should be interesting. basically Snowden has announced that he plans to design an iPhone case that will be able to detect when your phone is sending data unknowingly to a third party such as the NSA, Hackers, etc.

Correct me if I'm wrong but a signal transmitter like a phone sends out radio signals, passive listening to those broadcasts is undetectable.

Further, the shielding provided to a device protects from readers in close proximity that can enable your phone to dump its memory. Like wrapping you wallet in foil to protect against readers trying to get your personal information to steal your money.

Is that what we are talking about, an EMF shield against reading your phone surreptitiously?


Well if you wrap your phone in foil you won't be detected, but neither could you receive or send calls.
Their device claims to scan the phone's OS to see if it's making 'unauthorized' transmissions. Frankly that would be difficult if not impossible without some very high tech & some root codes for all the major phone brands.

A normaly operating smartphone sends & recieves packets from nearby servers a few times a minute, just like a home based modem does (only it does so less frequently to save energy).



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 05:55 PM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom

But they will know by the big dongle on your phone that you're a spy.

tittle tatle commie rat
how I wonder where you're at
if you lie beneath my bed
the red you see is the blood you bled.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 05:56 PM
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what if it also enables someone eles to monitor you ?

bwahahahahahahhahahaha



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 06:01 PM
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originally posted by: syrinx high priest
what if it also enables someone eles to monitor you ?

bwahahahahahahhahahaha


that is the design of everything. where are you 1984 ??



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 06:09 PM
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originally posted by: Spacespider
Great news for the common man that wants his privacy

Bad news for the law in pursuit of potential terrorists

good or bad.. perhaps somewhere in between.


In my estimation it is all good.

I am much more concerned about my corrupt Government than I am terrorists.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 06:15 PM
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a reply to: ColdWisdom

Great idea (ugly freaking concept art/rendering art) but it'll be banned. They come up with some reason and most western countries will ban them. US Government will suddenly change a law or interrupt a law that says you can't have them (they'll think of a reason) and the UK Government will agree and the EU will ban it as well. The idea that any government will allow this to happen is laughable.

Side note: I had an idea of how to stop governments from spying via your phone, it's actually simple and cheap, buy yourself an old phone, a phone from say ten years ago lol that's the only way to beat them.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 06:27 PM
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Do what I do. Just don't have one. A lot cheaper too.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 07:10 PM
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originally posted by: playswithmachines

originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: ColdWisdom


This should be interesting. basically Snowden has announced that he plans to design an iPhone case that will be able to detect when your phone is sending data unknowingly to a third party such as the NSA, Hackers, etc.

Correct me if I'm wrong but a signal transmitter like a phone sends out radio signals, passive listening to those broadcasts is undetectable.

Further, the shielding provided to a device protects from readers in close proximity that can enable your phone to dump its memory. Like wrapping you wallet in foil to protect against readers trying to get your personal information to steal your money.

Is that what we are talking about, an EMF shield against reading your phone surreptitiously?


Well if you wrap your phone in foil you won't be detected, but neither could you receive or send calls.
Their device claims to scan the phone's OS to see if it's making 'unauthorized' transmissions. Frankly that would be difficult if not impossible without some very high tech & some root codes for all the major phone brands.

A normal operating smartphone sends & receives packets from nearby servers a few times a minute, just like a home based modem does (only it does so less frequently to save energy).

Thank you I can tell you know what you are about. I agree about 'unauthorized' transmissions. Difficult to see how that would work. So cell phones aren't in full duplex mode all the time like land lines?



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 07:19 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
So cell phones aren't in full duplex mode all the time like land lines?


Nothing is simplex.

like land lines? Like everything...



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 07:24 PM
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originally posted by: savemebarry

originally posted by: intrptr
So cell phones aren't in full duplex mode all the time like land lines?


Nothing is simplex.

like land lines? Like everything...

You're typing is. maybe I misunderstood you.

Simply put, full duplex mode refers to hear and speak from both ends simultaneously. I agreed with playswithmachines,
it would be difficult to protect against passive monitoring of the signals.



posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 03:31 AM
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Snowden was trained as a spy for the same reason white hat hackers and black hat hackers (if they're still called that) learn the same methods.

He's not a double agent. I would stake my life that he's one of that rarest of souls - a true patriot and an absolute genius.



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