Edward Snowden, the worlds most wanted geek, has helped develop plans for a smartphone case that could stop people are victims of digital surveillance.
In an online paper called Against The Statute: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance, Snowden and Andrew Bunnie Huang outline plans to create a smartphone case that is able to display a notification and spark an alarm when the phones cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other radio connections are sending and receiving data. It will also feature a kill switch that they are able forcibly disconnectpower to the phone if a signal is seen to be transmitting datum without the users permission or knowledge. The example also obliterates the rear camera lens to prevent sound recordings of videos.
The design is said to be able to work for any type of smartphone, although their paper was based around an iPhone 6. They have also made the plans for the device an open source so anyone can create it.
Snowden and Bunnie concluded the paper by saying if their prototypes are a success they will look to the Freedom of the Press Foundation to potentially fund production of them.
The inside of the modified iPhone that Edward Snowden and Andrew Huang toyed around. Image credit: Edward Snowden and Andrew Huang
It is primarily intended toprotect journalists, particularly those reporting from war zone or corresponding under regimes with strict censorship.For the many people working and living in these high-risk situations, this could be life-saving.In 2012, Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochli were killed after Syrian government forces-out were allegedly able to trace their position from their phones.
Speaking to WIRED, Snowden said that he has not carried a smartphone for three years, saying “wireless devices are kind of like kryptonite to me. In 2013, he uncovered the extent of the NSAs global surveillance programs. The former-NSA employee is still in temporary asylum in Moscow following the United States filing a criminal complaint against him under the Espionage Act. Although still under threat from the American government, Snowden now results the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a non-profit organization that hopes to raise public awareness about surveillance operations of governments and corporations, as well as offering is supportive of journalists uncovering governments.