Word out of Russia is that whistleblower Edward Snowden refuses to use an Apple iPhone over fears that the handsets are built to remotely track and transmit data about users.
The famed engineer-turned-leaker's attorney apparently told Russian state media that Snowden believes the Apple handset contains remote management and tracking tools that could be used to compromise his privacy.
"Edward never uses an iPhone, he’s got a simple phone," attorney Anatoly Kucherena told the English-language Sputnik News, a division of state-run news agency Rossiya Segodnya. "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."
The attorney did not elaborate on just what this tracking software is, whether security experts are aware of it, or who would have the capability to view the "information" gathered – and there may be a bit of an agenda behind his comments.
Authorities in Russia have taken issue with the iPhone recently over security concerns. The Apple iCloud platform has drawn the ire of the Kremlin and spurred new laws that require data generated in Russia to be stored within the country's borders.
To be fair, Putin and company aren't the only ones taking offense to the iPhone's security policies, although not all critics see the matter the same way. Authorities in the US have complained that the strong encryption on the Apple handset make spying on citizens too difficult for local and federal police.
Apple, meanwhile, has been reluctant to offer its devices for sale in Russia, temporarily suspending sales for a week last month due to concerns over currency fluctuations. Russian media have criticized the company's decision to hike prices in response to the plummeting ruble.
The Sputnik News article – which we remind you, dear reader, was generated by state-run media – goes on to cite Kucherena as saying that "on the whole, Snowden is satisfied with his life in Russia." ®