Of course. What else could they possibly be for? Conspiracy Paranoia Update: “Al-Shabaab Says Smartphones Used ‘To Spy On Muslim People,'” by Dahir Jibril for AllAfrica.com via HispanicBusiness.com, November 14 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
In a move that further prevents residents of Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region from accessing news and information, al-Shabaab is intimidating people who use smartphones, saying the hi-tech mobile devices could be used for spying.
The militants began their intimidation campaign October 10th, shortly after US commandos stormed a beach house in Barawe, targeting al-Shabaab commander Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, who goes by the alias Ikrima.
Al-Shabaab operatives have since been asking residents gathered at public places and business establishments in the towns of Barawe, Bulo Burde and El Bur what kind of mobile phones they use. The militants interrogate anyone who possesses a smartphone, such as the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Blackberry devices, local residents told Sabahi.
Compared with regular mobile phones, smartphones allow users to surf the Internet, send and receive e-mails, and play videos.
Whenever they catch someone with a modern smartphone, al-Shabaab members will inspect the device, said Hassan Farah, a 35-year-old pharmacy owner in Barawe.
“About four young men came into my pharmacy and saw my Samsung Galaxy phone while it was charging,” Farah told Sabahi. “They ordered me to hand over the phone and immediately began searching my text messages, while asking me unnecessary questions about how I acquired the phone or if I send text messages abroad. I answered them with the answer they liked and told them I do not communicate with anyone outside the country.”
The militants instructed Farah to never to use his phone again, threatening severe punishment if he is caught with it.
“When I asked them why I was being ordered to stop using it, they told me that smartphones are used to spy on Muslim people,” he said. “I was really surprised.”
Now, instead of his Galaxy, Farah said he uses a cheap mobile phone to avoid the prospect of a harsh punishment for using his smartphone….