In an interview with the BBC’s ‘Panorama’ which aired in Britain last week, Edward Snowden spoke in detail about the spying capabilities of the UK intelligence agency GCHQ. He disclosed that government spies can legally hack into any citizen’s phone to listen in to what’s happening in the room, view files, messages and photos, pinpoint exactly where a person is (to a much more sophisticated level than a normal GPS system), and monitor a person’s every move and every conversation, even when the phone is turned off. These technologies are named after Smurfs, those little blue cartoon characters who had a recent Hollywood makeover. But despite the cute name, these technologies are very disturbing; each one is built to spy on you in a different way:
“Nosey Smurf”: lets spies turn the microphone on and listen in on users, even if the phone itself is turned off
“Tracker Smurf”: a geo-location tool which allows [GCHQ] to follow you with a greater precision than you would get from the typical triangulation of cellphone towers.
“Paranoid Smurf”: hides the fact that it has taken control of the phone. The tool will stop people from recognising that the phone has been tampered with if it is taken in for a service, for instance.
- “Dreamy Smurf”: lets the phone be powered on and off
Snowden says: “They want to own your phone instead of you.”It sounds very much like he means we are being purposefully encouraged to buy our own tracking devices. That kinda saved the government some money, didn’t it?