It is nine years since I published in Murder in Samarkand that the security services can listen to you through your mobile telephone, even when it is apparently switched off. You could only prevent this by removing the battery. Shortly thereafter many mobile phone manufacturers started producing sealed phones from which you could not easily remove the battery. That was not especially a result of my publication. But I know for certain that the western security services had cooperated with the mobile phone companies in securing the software backdoor which enabled them to switch on the microphone when the phone appeared to be off. I am therefore inclined to believe the development of phones where it was hard to take the battery out was also encouraged by the security services.
Knowledge of the remote switch on was disseminated more widely after I met Richard Stallman, a hero of mine, and was able to tell him about it. He publicised it to the tech-savvy community. Eventually Edward Snowden released precisely the same information, and the mainstream media finally started reporting it, seven years after I first published it. Now, the security services themselves have admitted to having this capability, rather to the horror of extreme right wing commentators.
I learnt that the security services can bug you through your mobile phone, even if it appears to you switched off, in the course of my official duties. I was among those allowed to know, and could tell it with 100% certainty.
I have now been told something new for which I cannot give a 100% guarantee of truth, though I have no reason to doubt the good faith of the person who gave me the information, and I can say for sure they would have the access to know this officially. I am told by a good source that the security services can now activate the microphone, even if the battery has been removed and there is no power source in the phone.
To a non-technological person like me, that sounds impossible. How do you remotely power something? If it is true, will I not need a cable for my television one day? I find the notion fascinating. I have taken on board that removing the battery may not be enough, but would welcome thoughts on the plausibility of this information.