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Notorious public whistleblower Edward Snowden and famous hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang are co-developing a smartphone case that aims to protect users from wireless device snooping.
According to the duo’s paper “Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance“, the device will prevent journalists falling foul to their “own tools”.
“Front-line journalists are high-value targets, and their enemies will spare no expense to silence them. Unfortunately, journalists can be betrayed by their own tools. Their smartphones are also the perfect tracking device,” they add.
The device, called the introspection engine, will clip onto a device, and checks if a phone is transmitting radio signals. Snowden and Huang note that this is especially important for when devices are switched to airplane mode, which still leaves them open to tracking.
The introspection engine would act as an oscilloscope, which will attach itself through the SIM slot (your SIM would then reside in the case). The device would then read the signals from your phones antennae which connects to your GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi and cellular device.
Once the engine picks up any form of transmitted signal while your phone is not supposed to be transmitting anything, you’d get a notification or audible alert. The engine could also potentially be fitted with an automatic kill switch to shutdown the source of the signal automatically.
The device is not yet ready for commercial production, but I’m assuming that if it ever gets through the red tape, government will do whatever they can to squash it.