First of all, I was recently reading about “solar storms”  and realized something. Certain corners of the Interwebs love speculating about how the (probably going to happen sooner or later) “magnetic pole reversal” of the Earth’s magnetic field is going to cause an EMP and destroy civilization.
Well, this is prima facie bullshit, since pole reversals don’t happen nearly fast enough to induce any kind of significant current. Pole reversals take years, not picoseconds.
But… here’s the other thing. As the solar storms article  points out, all that’s protecting us from day-to-day space weather and lots of radiation that would wreak all kinds of havoc is… the earth’s magnetic field.
The same magnetic field… which would go from +50 microtesla to -50 microtesla during a pole reversal… over a period of years.
In other words… spending a good long while at or around zero microtesla.
Where it doesn’t do any protecting at all!
Anyone know what happens to the surface of the planet when the magnetic field drops to zero? Do we all get nuked like hot pockets in a cosmic microwave? Would SUVs act like crisping sleeves?
Anyway, eschatology aside, here’s an interesting discovery  by iOS forensics researcher Jonathan Zdziarski. (holy crap I spelled that last name right without looking at the article!)
Zdziarski is an interesting fellow. Despite his main business being doing iOS forensics consulting for the US government (he is himself definitely on the conservative-authoritarian end of the spectrum, bragging in the article about his own Orwellian tendencies) he has some redeeming features… he publishes a good part of his work.
In this case, that work consists of exposing a massive, goatse-gaping backdoor in iOS which appears to be explicitly designed and artisanally crafted by Apple to enable the US government and allied n’er-do-wells to better watch your sorry ass.
Including a built-in NETWORK SNIFFER, delivered free with every one of 600 million iOS devices, so The Man can peruse passing packets and purloin your sensitive data.
As for encryption, etc, that’s supposedly built into the devices to protect your privacy… fuhgeddaboudit.
Anyone who can get access to your iOS device, or ANY DEVICE WITH WHICH IT’S EVER BEEN PAIRED, now has an “all access pass” to anything you’ve so naively entrusted to your phone, tablet, iPod, whatever.