Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Wiretapping with Mobile Phones

The Guardian Unlimited has a special report on the privacy (or rather, the anti-privacy) features of mobile phones in Europe. As technical experts have long known, these little buggers have the ability to pervasively monitor their users as they walk…

The Guardian Unlimited has a special report on the privacy (or rather, the anti-privacy) features of mobile phones in Europe. As technical experts have long known, these little buggers have the ability to pervasively monitor their users as they walk around, reporting location and calls.

Recently I spoke at the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Advisory Committee. During that talk, I said that one of the things we would be able to do in the future is to remotely turn on the microphone of mobile phones to wiretap rooms without people’s knowledge.

Well, wouldn’t you know — the cell phone industry (at least in Europe) is ahead of me. According to the report in The Guardian:

According to a report in the Financial Times, the operators (under instructions from the authorities) can remotely install software onto a handset to activate the microphone even when the user is not making a call.

I’m sorry that I don’t have the original reference to the Financial Times article. However, a few moment’s reflection will reveal to any sophisticated technologist that this sort of attack is trivial as long as the phone has the ability for remote software install, and as long as the remote software that’s installed can execute call features.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

individual aging affects covid outcomes concept
individual aging affects covid outcomes concept

Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid

Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.

close up of baby with a bottle
close up of baby with a bottle

The baby formula shortage has birthed a shady online marketplace

Desperate parents just want to feed their babies. They’re having to contend with misinformation, price gouging, and scams along the way.

"Olive Garden" NFTs concept
"Olive Garden" NFTs concept

I tried to buy an Olive Garden NFT. All I got was heartburn.

Our newest issue spells out what you need to know about the dizzying world of digital money.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.