If you really do want to have every single trace of you lost, then you might like to think about living under ground for the rest of your life, or up a mountain in Outer Mongolia. The chances are that you will be found anyhow. It turns out that the National Security Agency of the US can actually locate your cell phone even when it has been turned off and is no longer emitting a signal.
It was previously believed by people that you could only locate the last emitted signal and if turned off, then that signal was lost. Your last known whereabouts could only be found. Now, it seems that that’s not true. In Back-to-the Future-Flash-Gordon style, the NSA has gone beyond the bounds of technology, pushed the boat all the way out and they can find us even when you power down your phone. Is there no peace for the wicked, honestly? An even less peace for the honest, wickedly!
Are our everyday lives so interesting that I have to be monitored by the NSA? Says quite a lot for their own existence, doesn’t it? Either they are just enjoying the voyeurism of listening into my conversations or eavesdropping on my texts when I write something like “hey, where are you?” or “Be home soon, honey”, or they really do have nothing else to do.
The NSA had developed what they call ‘The Find’ by 2004, in the wake of growing anxiety over 9/11 and terrorism. The device enabled the locating of people via their mobile phones even when they were turned off. Normally, the phone loses the connection to the grid and when turned off it’s impossible to locate it. By 2006 in addition, it was also stated that the FBI was able to infect mobile phones with spyware viruses that allowed them to be located when turned off.
We will all remember when journalists were asked by Edward Snowden to turn their phones off and then put them in the fridge. Very James Bond-007-treatment, don’t you think? But, Mr. Snowden, that wouldn’t have done very much apart from keep them in a cool place for storage. Blackberry was the target in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 of the fake update that was in fact a spyware virus. Are we sure that what we download from Apple or any other such phone producer is a bone fide update, these days? Are phone companies providing access today via downloads to our cell phones and mobile devices? Hardly needs very much of an answer, does it? Bit of a no-brainer these days really.
Targeting people that are the real security issues to our countries might well be acceptable: protecting the masses by eavesdropping on the dangerous few. But, the whole problem in this story is that just possibly we have all downloaded an update from our phone providers these past few years and months, or even days. Perhaps mass infection by spyware means that the minority that is a security issue have been ‘got’. But, it also means you and I have been well and truly ‘got’ too. Anyhow, I have probably unknowingly typed one of the 70, 000 keywords that launches Prism onto my back and gets me monitored today in this article. Wonder who can get the list of them?
Just yesterday Edward Snowden finally obtained the necessary papers to leave Russia from the Russian administration. But, it looks as if he may well stay put in the country rather than taking the risk to fly elsewhere. Apparently, he has every reason to be afraid of flying right now. The chances are that the plane he boards will be intercepted somewhere along the line. It wouldn’t be the first time. Egypt agreed to allow the 1985 hijackers of the Italian cruise liner, the Achile Lauro, to board a plane after they had struck a deal. US fighter jets intercepted the flight and it was grounded immediately in Italy. The hijackers went on trial and were jailed. There’s no disputing the fact that they deserved to be tried and found guilty. But, what is in dispute is the flouting of international conventions on air travel. The Chicago Convention, regulating air traffic, clearly states that there is freedom to cross international airspace without hindrance. But, the US will probably overlook their own signature on that document in 1944, when it’s time for Snowden to take his seat on board.
There really is no hiding from the National Security Agency. What they always said about the men in black, the fact that they will find you wherever you are really is true, then. The guys dressed in black, the color of power in society, ultimate power. The color worn by judges, the lawyers, the people that can put you away and bump you off and nobody will ever know, because it will be done legally. How come it’s illegal for a person to spy on their spouse, or even intercept calls or monitor their movements via a global-positioning device, but the state can do it.