Edward Snowden Designed an iPhone Case to Guard Against Radio Snitching

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]


    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has helped to design an iPhone 6 case that detects if a handset is transmitting data when it's in Airplane Mode.

    The project was announced yesterday by design collaborator and American hacker Andrew "Bunnie" Huang, the founder of Bunnie Studios and best known for being the first person to hack the Xbox and for legally challenging the DCMA act.

    [​IMG]
    Mockup of Edward Snowden and Andrew Huang's iPhone case (Image: Huang & Snowden)

    The concept for the case is described in a paper titled Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance, which explains that the design is to protect journalists, activists, and rights workers from being tracked by governments.

    The case features probe wires that access the phone's antennae through the SIM slot to monitor signal transmission, while audible alarms and a display on the outside of the case inform users of their phone's status.

    Snowden and Huang write that using Airplane Mode is "no defense" against radio transmission, which makes such a case necessary:
    [​IMG]
    Concept design for the iPhone case (Image: Huang & Snowden)

    The paper cites the case of American reporter Marie Colvin, who is reputed to have been tracked by the Assad regime in Syria and killed for covering stories about civilian casualties.

    According to a lawsuit filed by Colvin's family this year, the Sunday Times journalist's location was discovered in part through the use of intercept devices that monitored satellite-dish and cellphone communications.

    You can find out more about the project by reading the white paper at Pubpub.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Edward Snowden Designed an iPhone Case to Guard Against Radio Snitching
     
  2. farewelwilliams macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2014
    #2
    i'd buy it just to see if i was interesting enough for the government to check me out. not like i give a crap about what they do though.
     
  3. iapplelove macrumors 68040

    iapplelove

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast USA
    #3
    Eventually one day I can see myself going back to no phone at all. I know it's a thought most can't comprehend. But I'm promising myself, little by little that I don't need a smart phone anymore.
     
  4. JarScott macrumors 68040

    JarScott

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    Well I've always been suspicious of Airplane Mode anyway. Can a software setting actually block all incoming signals? Surely the hardware is still receiving/transmitting?
     
  5. CFreymarc Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    #5
    You don't need to get so hardware mod to do this. Just have an RF pick up in the case and monitor the iPhone RF traffic.
     
  6. Pakaku macrumors 68000

    Pakaku

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    #6
    Just to play devil's advocate: how do I trust this case if I can't trust airplane mode?
     
  7. H2SO4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #7
    I’m absolutely flat out flabbergasted to know that being in Airplane mode doesn’t actually mean the radios are off.
    TIM! I thought you were a champion of privacy yet this is the crap I find in the manual;

    1. While airplane mode is on, you cannot make or receive calls or use features that require wireless communication.
    2. Turn off cellular services: Go to Settings, turn on Airplane Mode, then tap Wi-Fi and turn Wi-Fi on. Incoming phone calls are sent to voicemail. To resume cellular service, turn Airplane Mode off .
    3. Airplane mode disables the wireless features in order to reduce potential interference with aircraft operation and other electrical equipment.
    4. When airplane mode is on, * appears in the status bar at the top of the screen. No phone, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth signals are emitted from iPhone, and GPS reception is turned off .
    Left some details out when it suited you to be a white knight?
    (Details from an older iOS).
     
  8. CFreymarc Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2009
    #8
    Open hardware, one source code and a third party performance audit.
     
  9. cableguy84 macrumors 6502a

    cableguy84

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Location:
    Essex
    #9
    What is the point. If you are walking around with your phone in airplane mode, you might as well not carry a phone
     
  10. Benjamin Frost Suspended

    Benjamin Frost

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Location:
    London, England
    #10
    I had no idea GPS was on in Airplane Mode!

    What else is still on in Airplane Mode? I must adjust my use of my iPhone. This news makes me suspicious of Apple.
     
  11. vooke macrumors 6502

    vooke

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2014
    #11
    The point is you may need the phone to be off for some time.

    The case would sell only because restarting a phone takes some precious seconds. But what about removing the sim tray temporarily? Serves the same purpose as this case.

    What I don't understand is why Apple can't put the phone completely dark
     
  12. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Location:
    Portsmouth, NH
    #12
    I hate your avatar. In scared to death of greys.
     
  13. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #13
    I have to admit, airplane mode is not what thought it was. Wonder if it's the same for android
     
  14. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #14
    Probably..
     
  15. blackcrayon macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    #15
    I have no idea why you're yelling at "TIM!", when the article specifically states that it would likely be malware or a hacked device that could prevent the switch from working properly. It doesn't say that Airplane Mode on a properly working device will not turn the wireless radios off. It simply says as a user, there is no way to know for *sure* if what the phone says is true so having an external monitor is the only foolproof way.

    Leaving GPS on in Airplane Mode is a recent change and was done as a feature to help preserve battery life while you're simply trying to find your way somewhere. There's a second switch for Location Services if you want that turned off, which is probably for the better as a passive GPS receiver is in a different category than bluetooth, cellular, and wifi which transmit.
     
  16. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #16

    That's exactly what it says

    "For example, on iPhones since iOS 8.2, GPS is active in airplane mode. Furthermore, airplane mode is a "soft switch" - the graphics on the screen have no essential correlation with the hardware state."
     
  17. blackcrayon macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    #17
    Did you read far enough where I acknowledged that GPS stayed on in Airplane mode, why it should be that way, and why GPS has a separate switch?

    And heh, of course airplane mode is a "soft switch", everything you do in software from the graphical user interface on a computer is a "soft switch". That's really a revelation? Even the physical buttons on an iPhone mostly toggle software functions, it isn't as if the mute slider electrically cuts the connection between the sound chip and the speakers :D
     
  18. needfx macrumors 68040

    needfx

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    macrumors apparently
    #18
    gps is probably always on for find my iphone
    not negating that this can't be used for other obscure stuff of source
     
  19. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #19
    Many disagree with you're assessment.. that also has nothing to do with it being malware to cause the switch to allow nothing like it's supposed to.

    People screaming Tim are right if I hit airplane mode it needs to transmitting and receiving need to stop even for the GPS
     
  20. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #20

    ....Airplane mode on cell phones can be spoofed to still allow communications. If the device is NOT being spoofed, Airplane mode works exactly how you think it does.
     
  21. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    #21
    Looks like Snowden is looking for work.

    Anyone who "needs" this, doesn't need a phone. If your life depends on not being tracked....don't take electronics with you. There is no reason to trust any phone that you can't take the battery out of. If you have to disable a phone....why take it?

    Some simple solutions:
    1. Dont carry a phone
    2. Remove the battery (use a phone with removable battery
    3. RF blocking bag/case

    I don't trust Snowden anymore than I trust a guy selling watches on the streets of NYC. Despite how you feel about him and his intentions....he did steal our countries data, gave it to everyone, and then flew to Russia with it.
     
  22. needfx macrumors 68040

    needfx

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    macrumors apparently
    #22
    ΛΛΛ
    interested to know your feelings if Snowden was Russian, probably named Snowdin, stole Russia's secrets and flew to the US
     
  23. ThunderSkunk macrumors 68020

    ThunderSkunk

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado & Ontario
    #23
    I did. Went from standing in line overnight for the first iphone, to cellular ipad w/skype, to wifi ipad w/skype, to office phone only. + it's like getting a bonus trip to hawaii every year.
     
  24. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    #24
    I still wouldn't buy a security device from him.:D

    I don't trust any of this junk. When I want to drop off "the grid", I just leave my phone at home. Just sayin..,
     
  25. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    #25
    I'm busy making a suit out of aluminum foil.
     

Share This Page