Edward Snowden worked together with Andrew Huang to design a device that would inform journalists of wireless surveillance.
Edward Snowden went away after leaking information on the global surveillance apparatus from NSA. On the other hand, Andrew Huang is a well-known hardware hacker.
The new device is named Introspection Engine, a type of case that would alert reporters that they are followed.
Edward Snowden and The Introspection Engine
The hardware addition will inform journalist if they are targets of a tracking device installed by kill squads or of cruise missiles. The scenario involves a government remotely installing malware on the smartphone, and then sending a message through the radio device to make it appear as a valid target.
The journalists need their smartphone all the time, and cannot protect themselves from malware.
The Introspection Engine includes an internal modification for an iPhone 6. Anyone who would like to have it installed must first pay an expert to tap into the phone’s radio through the iPhone SIM card slot.
The radio signals are then made accessible through a circuit board connected to the Introspection battery case. While providing extra battery life, the case contains an oscilloscope that detects when the radios are transmitting.
However, the great invention remains just a theoretical exercise, as the device cannot be bought online. Huang and Snowden did not even create the first prototype. However, Huang said he is very confident it will work.
The main idea is that an oscilloscope can detect the transmission coming from any radio. The design will probably be released as an open-source document, and it will comprise easy mantling instructions that can be followed through by any person, even without having technical abilities.
The War Journalists
Marie Colvin, the American journalist, killed in Syria earlier this month, was supposed to have been targeted by the Syrian government by hacking her smartphone.
Snowden and Huang explain that journalists are frequently targeted by such type of regimes. The Syrian or Iraqi governments can buy software from the black market that exploits phone vulnerabilities and then remotely install them.
A lawsuit had been filed against the Syrian government in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, asserting that the reporter had been under surveillance while she was in Lebanon. The Central Crisis Management Cell directed by Assad would have planned to intervene, and later the leader of the death-squad received a black luxury vehicle as a reward.
Colvin spent 26 years in war zones and moved over three continents. She was behind the enemy lines in Iraq in 1991, she documented the 1,000 refugees in East Timor in 1999, and in 2001 she was hurt while being in Sri Lanka.
The Syrian regime had been known for its attitude towards journalists. The local intelligence branches received requests to target journalists, and the government provided wanted lists with media critics and reporters.
In 2011, the Computer and Signals Section of Military Intelligence Branch 261 were specially designed to take action and intercept devices and cell phone communication.
The device will be able to hide the location of the person and ensure its safety. Even though the cases of war journalists are real, and there are countries in the world where the press can be exposed to threats, it remains to be seen if the device works and if it will be as helpful as the two developers pretend it is.
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