Table of contents
- Can the government spy on your phone?
- Can the government spy on you through your phone camera?
- Signs the government is watching you through your phone
- How to avoid being spied on by the government through your cell phone
Can the government spy on your phone?
The government is notorious for spying on US citizens’ phones. The CIA is known for monitoring people on their watch lists and others. Mobile phone users are at risk of being watched by the US government.
Back in the day, internet users were monitored on their computers because that’s what most people used to connect to the internet. However, this has changed with the uptick in mobile technology.
Did you know?
According to the Online Library Learning Center, the internet originated in the 1960s. However, the first mobile phone was debuted by Motorola in 1973, and 3G technology only came about decades later, in 2001, according to BroadbandSearch.
Below are two real-life cases of government spying on people’s phones:
- The NSA files. According to The Guardian, in 2013, Edward Snowden leaked the NSA files. The leak revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) carries out mass surveillance against Americans and citizens of other countries through a program called Optic Nerves. The data collected by the agency included metadata relating to phone calls, internet traffic, emails, and unique IDs. The NSA also collected metadata from tech giants like Apple, Yahoo!, Facebook, and Google.
- NSA spyware. According to Cult of Mac, in 2013, security researcher Jacob Appelbaum revealed that the NSA uses spyware to access your iPhone through backdoors. The implant, known as DROPOUTJEEP, had been used to spy on companies like Dell and Cisco.
Can the government spy on you through your phone camera?
The government can spy on you through your phone's camera. This can be done using spyware, which allows anyone to access your camera, take pictures of you, and record videos of you.
All this would be done without your knowledge or express permission, otherwise, it wouldn’t be considered spying. Ethically, spying is wrong, even when carried out by the government. However, some would argue that it’s necessary to help government agencies monitor criminals and when it affects national security.
The right to privacy is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, not everyone respects that right, including the FBI and other intelligence agencies. Just like hackers, government agencies can infect your cell phone with spyware to monitor you. While manufacturers release software updates to help patch security vulnerabilities, security loopholes are common and can be exploited to spy on you.
The government can track your phone if you don’t follow the strictest measures to protect your privacy, no matter how expensive your phone is or what model you use.
So, what can you do about this?
One of the simplest ways to protect your privacy is using anti-spy software. Clario AntiSpy is a user-friendly cybersecurity app that protects you against spying from hackers, cybercriminals, the government, and internet service providers (ISPs). Its suite of features for the mobile app helps you protect what’s important—your data and personal information—to give you a sense of security.
Try Clario AntiSpy scan to see if anyone is spying on you:
- Download Clario AntiSpy and get a subscription to create an account
- Click Anti spy scan and wait for Clario to run a check
3. In case Clario detects spyware, follow the on-screen instructions to get rid of it.
Additional Clario AntiSpy features include:
- Data breach monitor scans the dark web to see if your personal data was leaked.
- Anti spy setup helps you adjust your device’s settings so that nobody can track you.
- Unlock catcher takes a selfie of everyone who tries to guess your phone password.
- Virtual location allows you to set a location of your phone anywhere in the world.
- 24/7 human assistance on hand is a chat with support agents who are there to help you with any cybersecurity-related issues.
- Jailbreak/root detector checks whether your phone has been rooted.
Signs the government is watching you through your phone
If you notice weird camera activity, your battery depletes abnormally fast, your phone overheats when idle, and your data gets used up faster, those are all signs the government may be tracking you through your mobile phone.
Is someone spying on my phone? Can the government see through your phone camera? Many people have asked themselves these questions. Fortunately, there are ways to tell.
Here’s a list of telltale signs the government is watching you through your phone:
- Strange camera activity. If your camera turns on by itself, this is a sign it’s being controlled remotely. It may mean that the government is activating it to watch you, take photos of you, or even take camera footage of you. When this happens, you may notice a message notifying you that your camera is in use when you try taking a photo.
- Camera light or flash. This can be another clue that someone is watching you through your phone camera. However, they can still monitor you through it without activating the flash, so this isn’t a huge sign to look out for.
- Background app activity. Many apps continue running in the background while you do other things on your phone. However, spyware can also use up a lot of resources, especially the less sophisticated kind. If third-party apps are using up a lot of resources, they may contain spyware.
- Unfamiliar files and apps. Anytime you notice apps and files you haven’t downloaded to your phone, that’s a sign your phone may have been tampered with. It’s unlikely that government officials would steal your phone and download malicious apps on it. However, they can use unsecured apps to infect your phone with malware.
- Unfamiliar text messages or emails. Be concerned if you notice text messages and emails you can’t account for on your phone, as this is one of the common signs of government spying on cell phones. Some spyware records and uploads files elsewhere without saving them to your phone. They may also be sent to your messaging apps, text messages, messaging apps, and email—including deleted messages.
- Excessive mobile data usage. Given that spyware entails data collection and uploading your files, your mobile data may take a hit. If you notice excessive data usage that doesn’t line up with your internet activity, the government might be spying on you. But it may be a while before you notice, so it helps to monitor your data usage regularly.
- Posting your whereabouts on social media. Doing this makes it easy for the government to track you, especially if you add your location to your posts. By monitoring you, government officials can figure out where you live, work, and socialize.
How to avoid being spied on by the government through your cell phone
Now that you’ve learned how to know if your phone is being tracked by the government, the next step is to take steps to avoid it.
Here are some basic tips to prevent being spied on through government phone surveillance:
- Mind your digital activity. Don’t post private information on social media sites like Facebook. Never tag your home, location, or any other places you frequent. Additionally, avoid tagging your family, friends, and colleagues, as the government can trace them back to you.
- Avoid downloading and installing apps from third-party app stores and websites whose authenticity you can’t vouch for. This will help you avoid installing apps with spyware.
- Be careful what you reveal on the phone. Although phone calls are private, the government can implement phone tapping to listen to them and hear your conversations, so it’s best to have private conversations in person.
- Use a VPN. VPN tools help you fly under the radar by masking your phone’s real IP address, so you can browse the internet anonymously. This will make it hard for government agencies to track your location.
- Cover your phone’s camera. While this is a drastic measure, it can give you peace of mind knowing that anyone spying on you can’t record your private moments.
It’s scary to think that the government spying on us through cell phones is a reality, even if we aren’t wanted criminals. And while it’s widely agreed that every human being has a right to privacy, the government can overstep your boundaries. It’s rare to be monitored by government agencies, but it could happen to anyone.
While you can’t guarantee the government will never spy on you, you can’t leave it up to chance. Protect your privacy using the tips in our article. Be mindful of how you use the internet and your phone and about installing software updates on it. Most importantly, use Clario AntiSpy scan to detect spyware, protect your personal information, and prevent the government from meddling in your business.