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Can the NSA spy on your phone when it's turned off?

Can the NSA spy on your phone when it's turned off?
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Whether you consider Edward Snowden a traitor or a patriot, before he hit the news most people didn’t give much thought to government spying on everyday citizens. During a recent interview, he said that the NSA has the ability to spy on your smartphone, even if it's turned off.

Yes, this is exactly what you think it means. The NSA can listen to your conversations and use your camera when you power off your phone. Sounds crazy, but it can happen.

The most likely way is with a type of invisible spying app. Spying apps aren't anything new; everyone from corporations to hackers to jealous exes use them.

This spying app, though, doesn't just steal your surfing history, text messages and photos. It also gives the NSA full access to your phone's microphone and camera.

Your phone basically becomes a bug that tells the NSA everything going on around you. Any conversation you have or any embarrassing thing you do, the NSA will have it recorded.

The worst part is that even if you turned the phone off to be safe, it wouldn't really be off. The app makes your phone pretend to be off - it turns off the screen, ignores incoming calls and doesn't respond to button presses - but the spying will still be going on.

Now, if you wanted to have a sensitive conversation without worry, you could remove the phone's battery. Then the phone would really be off. But, some phones, like the iPhone, don't have a removable battery.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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