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Radio News: Snowden announces surveillance-warning phone for journalists

Jul 24, 2016 11:41 pm
The New York Times reports that Edward Snowden, who worked for the National Security Agency before leaking government information, last week announced he will help develop a modified version of Apple’s iPhone for journalists to ward off government surveillance. The announcement was part of the “Forbidden Research” conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, with Snowden joining by video link from exile in Russia. Snowden teams with Andrew Huang, a computer hacker known as Bunnie, to modify a smartphone to, "alert journalists working in dangerous environments to electronic surveillance." Snowden is also on the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and said journalists need to operate without government oversight. He specifically cited a mortar attack in 2012 by the Syrian government that killed Marie Colvin, an American journalist who was reporting in Homs, Syria, for The Sunday Times of London. “The radio frequency emissions of her communications that she used to file those news reports were intercepted by the Syrian Army,” he said. If their plan works, journalists would get modified phones, "in a special case with a separate display that would provide an alert when the phone was active and transmitting data at improper times."