Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Tinker, Tailor, Rambler, Spy.

The BBC's Panorama programme broadcast an interview with Edward Snowden last night. Snowden, who revealed how agencies such as NSA and GCHQ were using modern technology to obtain data from electronic communications and devices, provided this fascinating nugget
Mr Snowden said GCHQ could gain access to a handset by sending it an encrypted text message and use it for such things as taking pictures and listening in.
I wonder what's in my file? There's bound to be one, I've said some pretty subversive things about London Transport in my time.  I think I have some idea

Secret File 26RRdd222. Subject: Ramblings (Ruislip, of) (Commuter, Ruislip, of)

28 March. Attempted to photograph subject. Turned on camera but nothing visible.
29 March. Tried again. Still nothing. Are sophisticated anti-hacking measures in place?
30 March.  Agent Snetterton suggested the phone might be inside a cover. Hadn't thought of that. Tried later and obtained short video of subject looking bemused whilst apparently typing on a keyboard. Sending secret message to foreign power?
31 March. Rear-facing camera shows unchanging view of a wall inside a house. Why has he left his phone propped up? Mystery. Sent pictures to Photographic Analysis, marked 'Urgent'.
1 April. Monitored phone call from unknown caller (number withheld). Transcript follows
...Caller    "Thousands of people are claiming PPI refunds...". The call was cut off by subject. Forwarded transcript to Decrypt Division for analysis. Front-facing camera showed subject looking exasperated. Clearly message is unwelcome. Sinister forces at work? Increased surveillance recommended.
2 April. Neither camera shows anything. Is he on to us? Agent Snetterton suggested phone might be inside a jacket pocket. Hadn't thought of that.
3 April. Subject calls wife to say he will meet her at the station. Camera confirms he is at the station. But is he really there? What does this mean? Is she part of the conspiracy? Recommend increased surveillance. Photo of station sent to Photographic Analysis, marked  'Very Urgent, kindly identify location'.
4 April. Monitored phone call from unknown caller (number withheld). Transcript follows.
...Caller  "Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest and HSBC have paid out millions...". The call was cut off by subject, who was seen to be visibly tut-tutting and shaking head. Recommend increased surveillance of the afore-mentioned persons.
5 April. Decrypt Division unable to decode transcript (see 1 April). Must be new and highly secret code. Need more resources. Must work harder.
6 April. Subject makes phone call to wife. Transcript follows
...subject; "Hello, where are you?"
...wife "I can't hear you"
...subject "Sorry, bad line, I'll call back".
Front facing camera shows close up of subject's ear and chin. Rear facing camera shows interior of house. But which house? Agent Snetterton suggests it may be subject's own house. Hadn't thought of that. Sent transcript to Decrypt Division and pictures to Photographic Analysis, marked 'Extremely urgent, where the hell is this?'
7 April. Decrypt Division unable to decode transcripts of calls. Photographic Analysis Division refuse to process any more pictures of subject's chin or interior of house. Agent Snetterton refuses to speak to me in canteen. File closed.

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