Former CIA employee and contractor for the United States government, Edward Snowden is reportedly working to build a hardware tool to protect journalists and whistleblowers from state surveillance and government-sponsored hackers.
Edward Snowden, who fled into exile after leaking hundreds of copies of classified US government information from the National Security Agency in 2013, has been slyly serving as president of San Francisco-based Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), and is now stepping up the trade with niche tools that he argues will make the game fairer for the journalists.
“Newsrooms do not have the budget, sophistication or skills to defend themselves in this environment,” Snowden told Wired in an encrypted video call.
“We’re trying to offer a few niche tools that will make the game a little fairer.”
Edward Snowden’s visionary blueprint involves working with hacking guru Bunnie Huang to create a hardware modification to the iPhone to improve its security
The modification will be able to detect malware in the phone and tell whether it is transmitting unauthorized information to unauthorized destinations.
Likewise, Edward Snowden and FPF have been working on new privacy software as well.
The software will be called Sunder, and will make it difficult even for the user himself, let alone remote hackers, to retrieve stored information.
It will use codes written by Frederic Jacobs – one of the programmers behind the Signal app – and will allow journalists to store sensitive information that can only be retrieved by use of a combination of passwords from multiple parties.
It will also be equipped with a plug-and-play version of Jitsi, the encrypted video chatting app used by Edward Snowden himself, to facilitate secure communication between journalists and their respective news agencies.
For now, the foundation uses a Tor-based system called SecureDrop, which works in the same way as WikiLeaks to upload data anonymously.
SecureDrop has been adopted by several media outlets including The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The New York Times.
FPF gained worldwide recognition for being the first recipients of Edward Snowden’s stolen data back in 2014.
Shortly thereafter, Edward Snowden received an invitation to join the foundation as a member of the board by co-founders Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald.
Snowden accepted the invite and helped make amendments to the foundation’s bylaws on his first online meeting with his new colleagues.
A year later, Edward Snowden was elected president due to his practical experience and knowledge – a position that has given him more say on how the Foundation conducts its business.
A series of leaks Snowden has publicized as an individual since joining the foundation have befittingly been his main case in justifying his imminent move to help protect journalists and whistleblowers from the government and hackers.
Two years ago, he exposed the British government for unlawfully interceptingcommunications from virtually all major newspapers.
Late in 2016, Edward Snowden resurfaced again, this time taking the wraps off Montreal police for allegedly tracking a reporter’s phone calls and text messages in a bid to identify and track anyone nit-picking the department.
What’s more, the new US President’s tendency to question and disagree with mainstream media outlets has had reporters allegedly worrying about their online safety.
According to the FPS’ executive director Trevor Timm, there has been an influx of calls from journalists requesting for training since Donald Trump took the helm in January.
Although Edward Snowden admits that it was Obama’s administration and not Trump’s that forced him out of the country, he is well aware of the threat that is the current administration.
“We cannot fix the surveillance problem overnight,” Snowden said.
“But maybe we can erect a shield to protect anyone standing behind it.”
Clearly, his motive is to help potential whistleblowers come out without the fear of being rounded or turning into fugitives like him.