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"Crazy Conspiracy Theorist!"

Roughly ten years ago, at a conference (one of these from 2015) a discussion ensued about government surveillance and activism. Five or so of us discussed activism in the age of mobile phones. Generally, it was a good discussion. Like all discussions, someone brings up the more obvious government programs. I suggested that any smart government agency would focus on something mundane and ubiquitous. We bantered it about for a while, and then decided we were getting into conspiracy theories. 

In the spirit of a red team, we started down the pathway of using Google and Apple as the access mechanism to track down activists. One of the things that came up was the new acquisition by Google of Firebase. A single service that every Android connects to is too juicy of a target for a government hunting down activists. A larger group of people was hanging out nearby, and one exclaims, "you're a crazy conspiracy theorist! Google defends activists the world over! They fight governments!"

Quite the passionate plea by an activist. Turns out, it wasn't that crazy. Just took ten years to prove it. It turns out "Apple and Google confirm governments spy on users through push notifications".