Be fearful of your smartphone as it is spying on you.
In a second surprise talk in Las Vegas last week, security veteran John McAfee spoke at the Def Con conference warning users to be wary of their smartphones. McAfee said smartphones are spying on American consumers who don’t bother to read user agreements, and asked for a show of hands of every delegate who had read the permissions for applications; less than one per cent raised their hands.
McAfee said: “The most promising privacy thing is stupid phones. I’m dumping all my smart phones.” He said he started brownlist.com, to collect complaints against large corporations and has an app for Android phones that tracks privacy permissions for various apps, but admitted that he doesn’t “know much about technology anymore”.
The appearance followed an earlier appearance at BSides Las Vegas where he claimed that anti-virus was working on an outdated algorithm, that privacy was key and related this to his experiences in Belize and how he was unable to leave his house without armed guards.
In another panel, members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation talked about the recently settled Riley case. In this, Kirk Opsahl said that an individual demanded that police needed a warrant to search their smartphone, and this will help establish precedence for other cases. But in June 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the search incident to arrest exception does not extend to a cell phone and that police need to get a search warrant in order to search an arrestee’s phone after arrest.
He said: “The case has good language in the brief and the Government says that your whole life is in your phone, so you need to protect that information as technology has made things easier to have in person, but it should make it safe in your pocket.
“Yet the Supreme Court rejected this as smartphones are connected to servers elsewhere, and it deemed that you have given up privacy as you gave up information. This case put forward rules in the order and manner that the court said, and the founders didn’t fight the resolution for regulations and rules from the Government. But we now have a mission statement for other cases.
“Does the Riley case protect me, or just technology? Something like a tablet is so similar to a phone and it came to the same conclusion and it forms precedent and as far as borders are concerned, your rights are lessened at international border.”