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Wednesday, 24 June 2015
[No] Growing Conspiracy On Facebook Claims NFC Stickers On Smartphone Batteries Are Government Surveillance Devices
Sometimes, people are willing to believe some incredible things about technology because they have an understandably low interest in the inner workings of said technology. It happens. Sometimes, though, these people are willing to believe some really dumb shit. (No, Uncle John, they have not finally discovered a way to create a perpetual motion device that the oil companies don't want you to know about, and I do not want to invest in it.)
Tod ay's classic case of "I read it on the internet, therefore: it is true" comes from Facebook, as do many of the internet's best conspiracies these days. Basically, there's a video of some guy claiming the Samsung NFC sticker wrapped around his Galaxy S4's battery is a government or corporate surveillance device placed there to steal all your photos and monitor all your phone calls. It is completely, utterly false and also surprisingly bigoted (!), so please note that this video is probably best tagged NSFW for language / anti-Semitism. With that in mind, here's the (auto-play warning)link to it.
If you don't want to watch (can't blame you), the short version is that this guy pulls the NFC sticker off his Galaxy S4's battery, mumbles about it stealing all your photos and videos, says something offensive, then continues being dangerously misinformed about the short-range antenna he's now probably broken for about 30 more seconds (this is the entirety of his evidence). At this time, the post we've seen has over 250,000 shares on Facebook and has likely spread its viral wings into the feeds of many tens of millions of users by now. So if you see someone post it, maybe do everyone a favor and calmly let them know it's a hoax.
If they won't take you at your word or the so-obvious-it-hurts stupidity of installing an easily removable (LITERALLY A STICKER) "spying" device, it's probably time to step away from the feed and remind yourself that you're probably arguing with someone who believes that the US government is spraying us with classified pharmaceuticals using jetliners.