Edward Snowden and his partner have revealed plans of a smartphone add-on that blocks government surveillance.
(CCM) — On Thursday, at the MIT Media Lab, National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower Edward Snowden and hardware hacker Andrew Huang unveiled designs for a smartphone add-on that can block radio signals that may be used to spy on the phone's owner. According to Wired reports, the case-like device, which the duo is calling an "introspection engine," would implant directly into the phone's system to keep track of the electrical signals sent to its internal antennas, allowing users to know at all times whether their phones' microphones or cameras are transmitting. The device would include a series of wires that, when inserted into the smartphone's circuitboard, would read the signals transmitted by radio forms like GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi and alert users with a message or an alarm if the radios are found to be actively transmitting when they are supposed to be disabled. Huang has suggested that a sort of automatic kill switch may also be included.
Snowden, who came under fire in 2013 for uncovering extensive government surveillance in the United States being carried out by the NSA, where he worked as a cyberstrategist, has spent the years since his self-imposed exile attempting to duck government surveillance efforts. The duo has expressed a primary interest in using the device to protect journalists on location in corrupt or dangerous areas, but the device may also prove useful to average civilians who hope to guard their privacy against skilled eavesdropping third parties. Over the next year, Snowden and Huang hope to develop an official prototype and, eventually, create a supply chain in China to provide journalists and newsrooms with smartphones modified with the device.
Image: © Andrew Huang & Edward Snowden.