For reasons that should be obvious, former government employee/at-large pariah Edward Snowden refers to wireless devices as his personal “kryptonite” and he hasn't owned a smartphone for years.
However, he knows most people do use them — and he wants to limit how the Feds monitor them.
At MIT’s “Forbidden Research” Media Lab, Snowden and hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang presented renderings of a case-like gadget that monitors the electrical signals an iPhone sends to its internal antennas.
Basically, the “introspection engine” device is a failsafe way to tell if a phone’s radios are transmitting information (GPS data, Bluetooth signal) that can’t be hacked the way “Airplane Mode” can.
While Snowden and Huang envisioned the device as a way to aid journalists who need to protect themselves from “governments and powerful political institutions gaining access to comprehensive records of unwittingly broadcast phone emissions,” it also offers a way to collect evidence of smartphone surveillance techniques, the exposure of which could benefit all of us.
“You need to be able to increase the costs of getting caught,” Snowden told WIRED after the presentation. “All we have to do is get one or two or three big cases where we catch someone red-handed, and suddenly the targeting policies at these intelligence agencies will start to change.”
And if anyone would know about the inner workings of federal security agencies, well, this is your guy.