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kore wrote (edited )

The USA government can see everything you type into your smartphone.

can you explain how this works? a link to an authoritative leaked document perhaps? I guess I just wonder why many pro-privacy organizations (like the EFF) don't really seem to talk about this. I guess this also gets into threat models. Like, if you're just trying to keep intimate conversations private or something.


celebratedrecluse OP wrote

Google Play Services. That's it, you're done, anything on the phone will be uploaded to Google servers, where it will be transferred to NSA's historically massive Nevada databases, unprecedented in world history. If you become of interest, they look through all the data. Why else would they build such a huge data center.

Apple's proprietary root OS has very similar characteristics, but we know less about it because of the secrecy.

EFF doesn't talk about this because, there's nothing to be done. People aren't going to stop using cell phones, not most people anyway, so talking about it would turn people off.


kore wrote

i dont have google play services installed on my smartphone.


celebratedrecluse OP wrote

oh, a great step! most do not take. but i am not surprised, the average technical competence of people on Raddle is much higher than the norm.

However, does everyone you communicate not have it on their phone? Otherwise, any communications involving those parties who do, is going to be compromised, because the screen can be read directly and keystrokes are logged. The data collection capacity is basically infinite.

And moreover, what of the cellular baseband? There are backdoors in the firmware of every GSM modem, which is proprietary and tightly guarded information (especially for newer cell networks, certainly including but not limited to the 5G capable products that will be rolling out). what's worse, most modems are either known to not be well isolated from the rest of the device, or are unknown whether they are well isolated from the rest of the device.

Like with all common CPUs and GPUs, cellular modems are not free or safe from determined state-level actors.