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Edward Snowden says secret Apple spyware is the reason he won’t use an iPhone

Published Jan 20th, 2015 10:46AM EST
iPhone Spyware

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Is Apple’s wildly popular iPhone series hiding spyware that can collect information about users without their knowledge. As thoroughly as developers have dug through Apple’s iOS code over the past seven and a half years, one would think functionality like that would have been unearthed by now. According to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, however, iPhones are capable of activating “special software” behind the scenes that collects information about users, who are completely oblivious to the fact that their phones are gathering this sensitive data.

DON’T MISS: This great iPhone app squeezes an entire music player into one iOS widget, and it’s free

Edward Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena recently spoke with Russian news agency RIA Novosti, and their conversation spanned several topics. As Russian news site Sputnik noted, however, the iPhone was among the topics that were discussed, and Kucherena’s comments were quite interesting, to say the least.

“Edward never uses an iPhone; he’s got a simple phone,”Kucherena said. “The iPhone has special software that can activate itself without the owner having to press a button and gather information about him; that’s why on security grounds he refused to have this phone.”

Does Snowden know something we don’t? The notorious whistleblower certainly has access to plenty of spy agency documents, and recently published files he stole from the NSA revealed that British agency GCHQ indeed uses Apple’s iPhone UDID system to track users.

We haven’t seen anything new in the Snowden documents that suggests Apple itself has secret software on its iPhones that collect personal data without users’ knowledge, however, so it will be interesting to see if Kucherena or Snowden himself will elaborate on these comments in the coming days.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.