Take a chill pill: Samsung phone batteries aren't housing spy equipment

Take a chill pill: Samsung phone batteries aren't spy equipment
In case you haven't heard, there was a ruckus worthy of a British tabloid's Sunday edition, alluding that the batteries in Samsung phones house spying equipment capable of listening to calls, and even taking pictures. The video, reposted below, quickly went viral on Facebook and other media, amassing more than 12 million views in the short period it's been up. The person making the claim strips away the sticker foil of a Galaxy S4 battery, and points the coil underneath is the alleged spy gear. "Samsung can record pictures on your smartphone and overhear your calls through the coil shaped like this antenna. So, you'd better tear the sticker that wraps the battery first and use the phone," is the sage advice.

It takes only a few minutes to look at the video and refute the claim, pointing out that the person just doesn't know where Samsung fits its Near Field Communication (NFC) contraption. The coil is just the NFC antenna, which different manufacturers put in different places in their phones. Since NFC can serve as a near-field (about four inches) identification method, and then other wireless connectivity kicks in to transfer files from one phone to another, photos included, the whole thing is just a not very elaborate fearmongering that can dupe the average user in believing their phone is spying on them. With all the NSA snooping revelations, and numerous movie plots bandied about, it's not hard to imagine why people are more than a bit weary on the matter, though.

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