WikiLeaks founder claims iTunes flaw allows for covert iPhone surveillance

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims that an iTunes "flaw" allows surveillance companies to introduce a trojan horse onto users' computers, subsequently selling the sensitive data to government agencies.



In an interview with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London on Thursday, Assange purports that governments are using backdoors to access and store sensitive data from every single citizen in entire cities, including a new flaw in iTunes, reports the International Business Times.



"iTunes has a flaw in it and that flaw is automatically used by some of these [surveillance] companies to take over whatever computer system is running iTunes," Assange said. "And there are these sorts of backdoors into every popular phone, into every popular computer and every popular computer program."



Assange also spoke at City University in London about WikiLeaks' newly released documents that detail large-scale surveillance of citizens by their governments. He went on to say that handset makers monitor and record conversations, and have the ability to take control of a phone without knowledge or consent from the user.



The WikiLeaks founder asked the crowd who had an iPhone, BlackBerry, or uses Gmail. Assange said, "well, you're all screwed. The reality is intelligence contractors are selling right now to countries across the world mass surveillance systems for all those products.



The claim comes just days after news that a program called Caller IQ has been secretly logging and sending home extensive amounts of data from mobile users, like keystrokes and device location, though the company that develops the software says the information is used solely for analytics.



"They are selling Trojans so if you go to some website or if someone sends you an email and bang, it infects your phone with a Trojan and it records what you're saying in the room even when the phone doesn't appear to be active," Assange said.



Phones built by HTC and RIM are running Carrier IQ, and Apple recently acknowledged that although it used the software in earlier builds of the iOS platform, access to user data was limited. German regulators are currently investigating the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant's claims.



It is unclear if Assange has found a true flaw in iTunes, or is merely lumping iOS devices in with products affected by the Carrier IQ software as he has yet to detail the security breech.



Mobile user privacy has been a hot button topic in Congress as of late, with the specter of large corporations colluding with government agencies likened by Assange to an Orwellian "Big Brother" society.



Most recently, Apple found itself under the scrutiny of the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee on Privacy involving geolocation tracking in what the media dubbed "Location-Gate."



Julian Assange speaking at a news conference at the City University in London | Source: Russia Today



"We may end up in an Orwellian totalitarian surveillance state, of course that sounds bombastic but that's literally the surveillance system that we are in," Assange said. "It's total surveillance. It's a worrying situation for Western democracy."



The new claims from Assange purport that security firms are secretly selling surveillance "equipment" to states around the world, allowing governments to locate mobile phones to within 50 meters. Once again, however, it is unclear what the WikiLeaks founder meant by "equipment" as his accusations mention only software.



The iTunes backdoor has not been confirmed by a third party and Apple has yet to issue an official statement regarding the accusations.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 104
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    This guy a big douchebag.



    Isn't he supposed to be in jail by now for raping multiple women? What's up with that?



    And when he's done with the jail sentence for being a degenerate rapist, then he should be tried for illegally stealing information that's not his. He's a simple thief and nothing that he claims can be taken seriously.



    I wouldn't be surprised if somebody takes him out eventually.
  • Reply 2 of 104
    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Don't forget to bring the proof, Assange.
  • Reply 3 of 104
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    All articles about Julian Assange should start off, "James Bond villain and Wikileaks founder…"
  • Reply 4 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Don't forget to bring the proof, Assange.



    Even ordinary proof would do. Doubt we'll see it.
  • Reply 5 of 104
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,477member
    How utterly bogus
  • Reply 6 of 104
    Yeah, where's the supporting documentation? No good, Julian.
  • Reply 7 of 104
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Isn't he supposed to be in jail by now for raping multiple women? What's up with that?



    And when he's done with the jail sentence for being a degenerate rapist, then he should be tried for illegally stealing information that's not his. He's a simple thief and nothing that he claims can be taken seriously.



    I wouldn't be surprised if somebody takes him out eventually.



    I am taking anything Assange says at face value, nor his opposers. Here is another side of the story, "Swedish prosecutors charge that while Mr. Assange did have consentual sex with his two accusers, he allegedly did not use a condom, which, according to The Herald Sun, is against Swedish law. Thus, Swedish authorities are in the process of re-issuing the once-closed arrest warrant for Assange."Now did the women know he wasn't using a condom or did he convince them otherwise. That charge is certainly deceitful penetration but not what I'd define as rape.
  • Reply 8 of 104
    As a security hole that can be exploited by private hackers, I'd find it scary but the ability of a government to search or eavesdrop is not new and is, in fact, codified into the U.S. constitution. Assuming that there is any truth to his claim whatsoever, then so long as you'd need a search warrant to legally intrude how is this different from any other point at which a phone can be tapped or a room bugged? It may make it easier, but then so did the tape recorder and the wire tap and we didn't lapse into a totalitarian state when those innovations replaced the stenographer or the envelope steamer.
  • Reply 9 of 104
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,000member
    "The iTunes backdoor has not been confirmed by a third party and Apple has yet to issue an official statement regarding the accusations."



    And it won't be confirmed either. Once again Apple is singled out because of its dominant status in the tech industry. Assange is constructing the typical boogieman. This guy is truly paranoid.



    The sad part is that he attacks the very institutions that protect his right to do what he does. If Assange had released this kind of information from Russian, Chinese, or Israeli sources he would already be dead.
  • Reply 10 of 104
    Regardless of your zealous patriotic hatred of Assange, I doubt he would be claiming these things without merit. WikiLeaks didn't win Australia's equivalent of the Pulitzer because he is "bogus."



    This sort of claim flows with what we've been seeing with things like Carrier IQ. Hopefully it won't persist, but it's worth noting as a possibility.
  • Reply 11 of 104
    Julian Assange is one of the leading, self-promoting creeps of our time.
  • Reply 12 of 104
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    And it won't be confirmed either. Once again Apple is singled out because of its dominant status in the tech industry. Assange is constructing the typical boogieman. This guy is truly paranoid.



    The sad part is that he attacks the very institutions that protect his right to do what he does. If Assange had released this kind of information from Russian, Chinese, or Israeli sources he would already be dead.



    If I were being accused of rape by Internet blogs I would think going after the company with the most mindshare as my best chance to move the attention away from myself. Then again, that story is a month old and this is just now coming out.
  • Reply 13 of 104
    moxommoxom Posts: 325member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    All articles about Julian Assange should start off, "James Bond villain and Wikileaks founder?"



    lol!
  • Reply 14 of 104
    Does anyone even have proof Assange raped someone?
  • Reply 15 of 104
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,011member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tuds Terkel View Post


    Regardless of your zealous patriotic hatred of Assange, I doubt he would be claiming these things without merit. WikiLeaks didn't win Australia's equivalent of the Pulitzer because he is "bogus."



    This sort of claim flows with what we've been seeing with things like Carrier IQ. Hopefully it won't persist, but it's worth noting as a possibility.



    Of course there is a possibility but he says it exists right now today and is used by many companies to do surveillance.



    Regardless of your blind loyalty to Assange (see, it works both ways), the man is a member of the tin-foil hat wearing club and is about 30 cards short of a full deck.
  • Reply 16 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tuds Terkel View Post


    Regardless of your zealous patriotic hatred of Assange, I doubt he would be claiming these things without merit. WikiLeaks didn't win Australia's equivalent of the Pulitzer because he is "bogus."



    Who cares what prizes WikiLeaks has won? Assange has made quite the habit of publishing information to the internet and I see no reason why he wouldn't publish something such as this. Until he provides even a shred of proof to back an extremely remarkable claim, he's an ass liar.
  • Reply 17 of 104
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    That charge is certainly deceitful penetration but not what I'd define as rape.



    Whatever he did, it seems to be illegal in Sweden, so he should be arrested, brought to Sweden and tried for his crimes.



    Deceitful penetration, LOL.
  • Reply 18 of 104
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tuds Terkel View Post


    Regardless of your zealous patriotic hatred of Assange, I doubt he would be claiming these things without merit. WikiLeaks didn't win Australia's equivalent of the Pulitzer because he is "bogus."



    Those prizes are often politically motivated and it means nothing.



    Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize and Milli Vanilli won a Grammy too.
  • Reply 19 of 104
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rugby_kid View Post


    Does anyone even have proof Assange raped someone?



    The answer appears to be "no" (read the previous post by SolipsismX, and the story he links to).



    Or just believe what the American press and government say.
  • Reply 20 of 104
    tinman0tinman0 Posts: 168member
    Knock Knock



    Who's there?



    Man in suit: Apple's lawyers; here's your summons for defamation.
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