October 7, 2015
Former intelligence contractor and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told the BBC’s Panorama that the UK intelligence centre GCHQ has the power to hack phones without their owners’ knowledge
- “Dreamy Smurf”: lets the phone be powered on and off
- “Nosey Smurf”:lets spies turn the microphone on and listen in on users, even if the phone itself is turned off
- “Tracker Smurf”:a geo-location tool which allows [GCHQ] to follow you with a greater precision than you would get from the typical triangulation of cellphone towers.
- “Paranoid Smurf”: hides the fact that it has taken control of the phone. The tool will stop people from recognising that the phone has been tampered with if it is taken in for a service, for instance.
Snowden says: “They want to own your phone instead of you.” It sounds very much like he means we are being purposefully encouraged to buy our own tracking devices. That kinda saved the government some money, didn’t it?
The danger for law-abiding citizens who say they have nothing to fear because they are not terrorists, beware: many peaceful British protesters have been arrested under the Prevention Of Terrorism Act since its introduction in 2005. Edward Snowden‘s disclosure confirms just how far the attack on civil liberties has gone since 9/11 and the London bombings. Both events have allowed governments the legal right to essentially wage war on their own people, through the Patriot Act in the USA and the Prevention Of Terrorism Act in the UK. In Britain, as in the USA, terrorism and activism seem to have morphed into one entity, while nobody really knows who the real terrorists are any more. A sad but absolutely realistic fact of life in 2015: if you went to a peaceful protest at weekend and got detained, you’re probably getting hacked right now.
It’s one more reason to conclude that smartphones suck. And as much as we convince ourselves how cool they are, it’s hard to deny their invention has resulted in a tendency for humans to behave like zombies, encouraged child labor, made us more lonely than ever, turned some of us into narcissistic selfie–addicts, and prevented us from communicating with those who really matter (the ones in the same room at the same time). Now, Snowden has given us yet another reason to believe that smartphones might be the dumbest thing we could have ever inflicted on ourselves.