• July 15, 2024

FBI Seeks ‘Secret’ Control Of Your Cell Phone

The FBI wants the ability to surreptitiously turn your smartphone into a video- and audio-recording device without your knowledge, and it is calling on the high-tech industry to supply it with an app to perform those surveillance functions.

According to a planning document that WND obtained via routine database research, the app would enable the FBI to capture sounds and images near a targeted phone, and not simply intercept communications taking place through the phone.

The contents of the draft Request for Information, or RFI, document, “Smartphone-based Audio Recorder Technical Requirements,” reveal more than the title suggests about this desired capability.

Although the FBI, on the one hand, also wants to give agents the ability to use their own phones to overtly record field interviews, upon closer inspection the document reveals a desire to remotely tap into another person’s phones via “stealth mode.”

“In this mode, the room audio will be streamed to another device for live/post monitoring,” the draft RFI, Solicitation No. DJF-16-1200-N-0007, says. “The basic capability will be audio, but GPS location information is also desired and eventually video capability.”

The FBI wants to insert the app “without having to ‘jailbreak’ the phone,” as the draft document describes it. Likewise, targeted phones having Android, iOS, or Windows systems will continue to function normally after the app is loaded.

“Thus, the app turns the phone into a covert recorder to surreptitiously capture audio and video while also allowing live monitoring.”

It remains unclear how the FBI would preload the app onto phones, but once a device is loaded and “the app is running, a person controlling the scenario will be able to remotely enable recording, effectively turning the phone into a local microphone/recorder.”

An interview request for clarification on this and other points was sent via e-mail to the procurement officer handling this endeavor, which the FBI Engineering Research Facility in Quantico, Virginia, is coordinating. There was no response.

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