NSA leaker Edward Snowden refuses to use Apple's iPhone over spying concerns - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2015
Infamous former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, responsible for leaking thousands of pages of classified intelligence documents from the secretive spy organization, reportedly believes that the iPhone contains "special software" that can be remotely activated by authorities for intelligence gathering purposes.

DROUPOUTJEEP
Section of leaked DROUPOUTJEEP document. (Click for full page) | Source: Der Spiegel


"Edward never uses an iPhone, he's got a simple phone," Snowden's lawyer said in a recent interview, as noted by Sputnik. "The iPhone has special software that can activate itself without the owner, having to press a button and gather information about him, that's why on security grounds he refused to have this phone."

It is unclear whether the "special software" referred to consists of standard diagnostic tools, or if Snowden believes U.S. intelligence agencies have compromised Apple's mobile operating system.

Apple was one of the first companies accused of participation in the NSA's PRISM data mining initiative, following Snowden's release of hundreds of classified NSA documents. The PRISM project is said to have involved the extraction of "audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time."

Apple immediately denied the accusation, saying at the time that they "have never heard of PRISM" and that they "do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers."

Later leaks revealed that the NSA had created spyware targeted at the iPhone, which would have given intelligence services access to SMS messages, on-board data, live microphone feeds, and positioning information. It remains unclear how successful that program was, and Apple again denied involvement.

"Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone," the company said following news of the project. "Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers' privacy and security."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 192
    Probably better to ask Snowden himself, rather than get a guess from his lawyer.
  • Reply 2 of 192
    And it's in NSA interest to plant and spread tales like this if they wish citizens to avoid Apple's encryption.

    Just like the stories they planted about Europol - for example - being upset with the fabulous encryption inside Skype which frustrated efforts against the Mafia. Just as MSoft was completing the deal to buy Skype.
  • Reply 3 of 192
    No platform is totally secure, and it makes plenty of sense that the NSA would target the iPhone given its very large installed base. The tools are quite likely real, but unless you're Edward Snowden, I don't think the average iPhone user should be terribly concerned on a personal level. In the bigger picture, we have a runaway, power-mad government that thinks we should surrender our freedoms and autonomy for an illusion of safety from the inevitable blowback of its horrendous foreign policies.

    We need a new energy economy in order to dry out the money supply that keeps this resource war machine turning.
  • Reply 4 of 192
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    If I were him, I wouldn't be touching any phones at all.

     

    I believe that somebody needs to bust a cap in his ass.  He's a traitor, a rat, and he'll eventually get what's coming to him, when tried and convicted.

  • Reply 5 of 192
    "He's got a simple phone" Oh how I miss the simple life, very hard to get back to.
  • Reply 6 of 192
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,195member
    As Edward deposits his check from Eric. ;)
  • Reply 7 of 192
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,195member
    "He's got a simple phone" Oh how I miss the simple life, very hard to get back to.

    Pigeons?
  • Reply 8 of 192
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,034member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mutoneon View Post



    No platform is totally secure, and it makes plenty of sense that the NSA would target the iPhone given its very large installed base. The tools are quite likely real, but unless you're Edward Snowden, I don't think the average iPhone user should be terribly concerned on a personal level. In the bigger picture, we have a runaway, power-mad government that thinks we should surrender our freedoms and autonomy for an illusion of safety from the inevitable blowback of its horrendous foreign policies.



    We need a new energy economy in order to dry out the money supply that keeps this resource war machine turning.



    Did you get all the buzz words in there?

  • Reply 8 of 192
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    If I were him, I wouldn't be touching any phones at all.

     

    I believe that somebody needs to bust a cap in his ass.  He's a traitor, a rat, and he'll eventually get what's coming to him, when tried and convicted.


     

    Snowden has offended the Almighty Allah. He must be slaughtered to avenge Allah.

  • Reply 10 of 192
    apple ][ wrote: »
    If I were him, I wouldn't be touching any phones at all.

    I believe that somebody needs to bust a cap in his ass.  He's a traitor, a rat, and he'll eventually get what's coming to him, when tried and convicted.

    I'm a liberal, and I feel exactly the same way. The guy just rubs me the wrong way. Not surprizing to hear that he has streak of tinfoil-hat in him.
  • Reply 11 of 192
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,195member
    Snowden has offended the Almighty Allah. He must be slaughtered to avenge Allah.

    Come on, where is the cartoon to go with that ... :D
  • Reply 12 of 192
    apple ][ wrote: »
    If I were him, I wouldn't be touching any phones at all.

    I believe that somebody needs to bust a cap in his ass.  He's a traitor, a rat, and he'll eventually get what's coming to him, when tried and convicted.

    Couldn't disagree with you more. He exposed the unconstitutional spying and data collection that has gone on AND continues against the Anerican people. Every country spies on each other, but we as citizens are supposed to be protected against government overreach.
  • Reply 13 of 192
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

     

     

    Snowden has offended the Almighty Allah. He must be slaughtered to avenge Allah.




    Who gives a crap about allah?

     

    The fact of the matter is that Snowden leaked massive amounts of highly classified info, and he'll eventually get what's coming to him.

  • Reply 14 of 192
    The irony here is so thick you could cut it with a knife. There's a glaring disconnect between his sanctimonious concerns about being spied on and the fact that he happens to be living in Russia, a country where the government spying on its citizens is a national pastime.
  • Reply 15 of 192
    apple ][ wrote: »

    Who gives a crap about allah?

    The fact of the matter is that Snowden leaked massive amounts of highly classified info, and he'll eventually get what's coming to him.

    Ignorance is the enemy, not Snowden.
  • Reply 16 of 192
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     



    Who gives a crap about allah?

     

    The fact of the matter is that Snowden leaked massive amounts of highly classified info, and he'll eventually get what's coming to him.


     

    Info that proved the US government operates illegally [... and unconstitutionally against its own people].

     

    ... but I guess that's all okay with you. Don't do as I do... do as I say.

     

    Such hypocrisy.

  • Reply 17 of 192
    How's he going to occupy his time while he's waiting in line for toilet paper?
  • Reply 18 of 192
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post





    I'm a liberal, and I feel exactly the same way. The guy just rubs me the wrong way. Not surprizing to hear that he has streak of tinfoil-hat in him.



    I agree. I don't see this issue as liberal vs conservative at all.

     

    A country can't have low level punks deciding to leak confidential info, no matter what their supposed reasons or motivations are. He was trusted to do his job, not to betray his country.

  • Reply 19 of 192
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Come on, where is the cartoon to go with that ... image

     

    My drawing abilities would get me arrested.

  • Reply 20 of 192
    apple ][ wrote: »

    I agree. I don't see this issue as liberal vs conservative at all.

    A country can't have low level punks deciding to leak confidential info, no matter what their supposed reasons or motivations are. He was trusted to do his job, not to betray his country.

    It's because of his concern for his country that he did what he did. What he exposed to the world has already had a massive effect. We should hope the next president adheres to the Constitution better than the previous several have.
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