Two weeks ago, on March 7, WikiLeaks revealed Part 1 of the Vault 7 series (there's no Part 2 yet) — an information dump detailing the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) often-rumoured-but-unconfirmed capabilities. I wrote a (true) story about one of them: Remote vehicle hacking, which can be used for undetectable assassinations.
But there's a lot more, with their Embedded Device Branch and Mobile Devices Branch turning your electronic devices with microphones into covert listening devices.
Gaming consoles, huh? Hey, one of those JUST came out from Nintendo earlier this month. The Nintendo Switch! Did the CIA take over the Nintendo Switch?BREAKING: CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones. #Vault7— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) March 7, 2017
Let's take a look at the Nintendo Switch specifications to find out:
|There's an audio jack where you can connect commercially available microphones.|
Compare to the Wii U GamePad specifications, which state that there is an included microphone.
What does this mean? There's no internal microphone, which is important because the NSA and CIA are listening in on those to spy on you. That means there is no internal hardware capability they can exploit, unless you're dumb enough to plug one in. (Don't.)
This bucks Nintendo trends going back for over a decade since the Nintendo DS, which had an internal microphone that we used for voice-chatting in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.
Since the Nintendo Switch also doesn't have Miiverse or even an Internet browser, the CIA and NSA also cannot spy on your activities there like they were doing before.
This all comes with a major caveat: Because the Nintendo Switch bucks recent Nintendo trends and lacks an internal microphone, AND the Nintendo Switch lacks connectivity and Internet features in general, there has to be some way for users to be able to access those things. After all, they're standards in today's gaming world. Therefore, Nintendo is outsourcing all of those capabilities to a mobile app on the smartphones that, as revealed in the opening, have already been cracked by the CIA.
That's compromise for you.
Ludwig doesn't own a smartphone because he's paranoid and hates the idea of one. There's a wealth of information that he possesses that the CIA would be interested in, and he assumes that they're listening in on his Wii U and 3DS activities, systems that have internal microphones. They must enjoy how angry he can get when playing Super Smash Bros. For the Wii U on For Glory Teams. Keep in mind that since the CIA lost the technology, any hacking outfit can use it now.
Ludwig doesn't use Skype for a similar reason, especially since Skype is designed for suckers to be spied on by the NSA.
The FBI and NSA would previously try to access your older gaming consoles. But there'll be nothing to access on the Switch!