Snowden designs a phone case that hides owner’s location

Edward Snowden is working on an iPhone case

The case will warn users if the phone tries to transmit something that it’s not supposed to, like Global Positioning System location even when it has been explicitly turned off by the user.

Snowden and popular hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang will be presenting their designs for an iPhone case at the MIT Media Lab later today. Snowden also added that his goal in creating the device wasn’t merely to protect journalists but also to detect and expose stealthy attacks on iPhones to bring hidden smartphone surveillance techniques into the light of day. He has now designed a new iPhone case which will alert users if their phone is spying on them. The GPS, for instance, will still remain active on some handsets, like the iPhone. The add-on would constantly check on whether the iPhone radios are transmitting, and Huang and Snowden suggest that it’s an “infinitely more trustworthy method” of ensuring that no unauthorized radio signals are being sent than simply using “Airplane Mode” which can be hacked or spoofed. The device would connect to your iPhone through the SIM slot, with the regular SIM card moved into the case.

It looks like an external battery case with a small mono-color screen and is being described as an “introspection engine”.

To guarantee that no signals are sent out, the case could also built with a “kill switch” that disconnects power to the phone.

Snowden said that he designed the technology to help protect reporters working in unsafe situations. A lawsuit alleges that the Syrian government assassinated her by tracking Colvin’s satellite phone communications to find her location. He hopes to develop a prototype over the coming year.

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