September 23, 2016 9:18 am

According to a projection by Statista, the number of people using smartphones worldwide in 2016 is expected to be nearly 2.08 billion.  While the advantages of smartphones are numerous, they also present numerous opportunities for harmful attacks.

Malicious apps can transmit metadata to ad agencies, cyber criminals and identity thieves.  Hackers can access your phone’s native functions, such as the camera and voice-recorder.  These are merely a few examples.  There are numerous ways in which your phone can make your information vulnerable.  That said, there are several steps you can take to make your data more safe.

For example, recently Edward Snowden, and Andrew “Bunnie” Huang launched a malware detecting smartphone case, that can help protect your information and make you aware if your phone is at risk of unwanted surveillance.

In their paper titled “Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance,Snowden and Huang discuss the implications of smartphone attacks with specific regard to journalists, stating that surveillance and access to metadata from unwanted third-parties “leaves journalists, activists, and rights workers in a position of vulnerability.” – Snowden, Huang 

Snowden and Huang developed an open-source tool called the introspection engine, to be attached to a phone and used to determine if the device is secure.

“As the project is run largely through volunteer efforts on a shoestring budget, it will proceed at a pace reflecting the practical limitations of donated time.” – Snowden, Huang

According to the article, Snowden and Huang plan to prototype throughout this year.  Although the introspection engine was designed specifically with regard to the iPhone, the processes involved could potentially be applied to other mobile devices. Snowden and Huang proposed that in the future these processes could be more quickly retrofitted for other operating systems.

References: Andrew ‘bunnie’ Huang, Edward Snowden.  “Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance.”  PubPub, (2016)

Featured Image Source – Flickr

April 28, 2016 6:00 am

Trapped in Moscow and bored out of his mind (snowed in?), NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden got busy with some turntables. The resulting track is “Exit,” and I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s incredibly frantic, high-energy EDM, reminiscent of that moment in movies when shit gets real and everything explodes. But just because I don’t want to listen to it doesn’t mean it isn’t legit af.

Legendary electronic music pioneer and longtime French celebrity Jean Michel Jarre collaborated with Snowden during his ongoing politically charged exile from the United States. Snowden, of course, released classified information about the National Security Agency in 2013, and has been a vocal opponent of government surveillance ever since. After the first three-ish minutes of manic house music, “Exit” slows down for Snowden’s passionate voiceover:

“Technology can actually increase privacy. The question is: why are our private details that are transmitted online, and why are private details that are stored on our personal devices, any different than the details and private records of our lives that are stored in our private journals? (Stored in our private journals?) I think, you know, saying that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. It’s a deeply antisocial principle, because rights are not just individual, they’re collective. And what may not have value to you today may have value to an entire, you know, population, an entire people, or an entire way of life tomorrow. And if you don’t stand up for it, then who will? (And if you don’t stand up for it, then who will?)

Then it returns to it’s pulsating house vibe, repeating and if you don’t stand up for it then who will a few times for good measure. Powerful question indeed, what with the NSA and all, but the real message is something more personal, more immediate: Snowden would like to leave Russia. In case the music isn’t crazy, stressful, “get-me-out-of-here” enough, the name “Exit” should also give it away. He’s even offered to go to jail in the US if it means seeing his family. Fuck all the noise and bullshit, this human being just wants to go home.

Speaking of which, Academy Award®-winning director Oliver Stone & company just released the trailer for their new biographical political-thriller. Snowden is scheduled to be released September 16th: