Snowden Warns Smartphone Owners About Danger of Personal Data Scanning by Phonemakers
© AP Photo / Armando FrancaFormer U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden addresses attendees through video link at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019
© AP Photo / Armando Franca
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Smartphone owners should be wary of phone producers, in particular Apple, trying to scan personal data and files on devices, former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden said on 2 September.
The remark, related to Apple's new controversial scanning system for iPhones, was made during the annual New Knowledge conference in Russia, which is running this year from Wednesday to Friday. The technology is set to be installed on users' devices with the upcoming iOS 15 update, and is said to scan photos for child pornography.
"[Apple] breaks down this barrier between service and your phone, and now they start scanning on your phone. They can scan for anything, they can scan for political criticism, they can scan for financial records, they can scan for really anything," Snowden said, noting that once Apple has established the precedent of using this type of scanning, it loses the ability to say the company will never use it.
The new technology has caused privacy concern among people around the world, even though it is said to be coming out only in the United States and used for security reasons, he said.
"Once Apple proves that it is possible for them to scan for some kind of forbidden content ... once they say you can have this file on your phone, we developed a system to detect it. They cannot decide in future what kind of files be searched for ... it is government question ... that is dangerous," Snowden said.
The whistleblower added that devices should be made more secure, as now there are private companies that do nothing but create ways to hack into smartphones and sell these hacking methods to governments around the world.