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Best Handset For Freedom? 232

Posted by kdawson
from the start-with-android dept.
Father Thomas Dowd writes "The images we are seeing of Iran are being captured on cell phones and the text is being twittered over SMS. Still, the government has some control over the networks, and we are all familiar with fears of wiretap technologies to spy on users. If the cell phone is the new tool of freedom, what would the best 'freedom handset' contain? I'm thinking of a device with an open OS, where each phone could be a router for encrypted messages passed through Bluetooth/WiFi/whatever, thereby totally bypassing physical infrastructures when necessary. Of course, some sort of plausible deniability encryption a la Truecrypt would also be good, in case the secret police catch you with your phone. What else might we need?"
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Best Handset For Freedom?

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  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@emaELIOT.il minus poet> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:08PM (#28407143) Journal
    ...and that choice is the Neo FreeRunner [openmoko.org]. :p

    Or, for a more capable cell phone, I would believe that any phone with Android would do.
    • by sznupi (719324) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:20PM (#28407203) Homepage

      Step 1: Get cheapest phone you can find with GPRS and USB. Right now that would be probably LG KP100 - a little over $20 without contract. Use this phone only for "secret" communication, with prepaid SIM cards.

      Step 2: A netbook. Usual rules of secretiveness apply - make sure it doesn't transmit any identifiable information, keep "secret" OS separate and on a microSD card, transmit through Tor, and so on...

      • by MrCrassic (994046)
        I thought the summary was referring to phones that are "free," so the first thing that came to mind were the open-source phones mentioned above.

        As far as being a dissident, I also recommend a super cheap phone, or at the very least one that can anonymize him or her...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          And prepaid cards. For the love of God, don't forget to limit yourself to PREPAID cards. And, needless to say, buy them in reasonable quantities, not too large so the store clerk remembers you, not too small so they have 20 datapoints (shop locations) giving away your location. Buy them in different stores, but make sure your home is not right in the middle of those shop locations. Preferably limit yourself to shops lying in a single direction. Do not recharge the cards if you can avoid it. Communicate usin

      • Tor has been shown to be less secure than some people believe. True, it's better than nothing, but today's standard is I2P. I won't waste space here - google is your friend - check it out. Be warned, the sickos who used to inhabit Tor and Freenet have moved to I2P, but I have found that if I don't look, I can't be terribly offended. It's actually cleaner than freenet, unless you go searching for child porn. Enjoy . . .

      • by homer_ca (144738) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @03:28AM (#28408617)

        There are three parts to security: Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability, C.I.A. If the C part is most important, then a netbook with encryption and OS on removable storage makes sense. Availability isn't so good because you can't leave it on all the time to receive messages. Once the revolution has started, availability is more important because the government will be trying to shut down networks, and there is the element of hiding in plain sight if there are a hundred thousand other people in the crowd. In that case, adapt your plans to whatever communications you have left.

      • by houghi (78078)

        Why the cheap phone for communications if you have a netbook.

        1) Take pictures with phone or camera
        2) Put the (micro)SD from the camera in the netbook.

        No need for a second phone.

      • At the moment it and email run over tcpip, but before that, both ran just as well over UUCP which meant connectionless and completely decentralised. The flood fill nature of usenet means that it only takes a single transfer to completely bypass all centralised control.

        You could run a similar content (text, documents, photos, videos, etc) sharing architecture over wireless or bluetooth, completely bypassing the centralised networks. It would have to be something store and forward, similar in concept to usene

      • by RDW (41497)

        'Get cheapest phone you can find with GPRS and USB.'

        Yes, but not just one. Buy several and dispose of them regularly (if you're paranoid or at real risk, after a single use). But don't bulk-buy as that tends to attract attention:

        http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1499905 [go.com]

        To minimise the risk of tracking, keep the phone switched off when it's not in active use and make sure that 'off' means 'off' - if in doubt, remove the battery:

        https://ssd.eff.org/wire/protect/cell-tracking [eff.org]

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:23PM (#28407227) Homepage Journal
      But consider what would happen if the secret police catch an Iranian rioter with a FreeRunner. For me it might be better to carry a cheap commodity dumb phone. For secure communication use a simple voice code committed to memory. Send messages by voice or SMS. Relay through an innocent cutout. Somebody who you legitimately would talk to, but who can't be easily be pulled in for questioning.
      • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @12:24AM (#28407617)

        All of this is kind of a moot point to me. If you need all of this encryption what you really need a few dozen million of your closest friends to demand change. The Iranian Revolution took place with no cell phones or internet. The Berlin wall fell without twitter. China still has Twitter and YouTube but it hasn't facilitated a popular movement for mass change.

        Twitter has been fun for CNN to browse all day but as far as an organizational tool and effective means of rebellion I imagine its actual use has been extremely overblown. People could have just as easily emailed these news posts directly to news organizations, bloggers and friends. And considering most of the important ones have been longer than 140 characters I suspect emailing is still the preferred means of communicating the current state of Iran.

        I hear a lot of about twitter but I haven't heard any useful news with it cited as a source.

        • by tsa (15680)

          Great post. Thank you for keeping your head straight. We need people like you on this planet. If I had mod points I would mod you up.

        • by DragonWriter (970822) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:14AM (#28407957)

          The Iranian Revolution took place with no cell phones or internet.

          The regime they were rebelling against had less technology and ability to coordinate response, too. If only one side is advancing, the balance shifts in favor of that side.

          I hear a lot of about twitter but I haven't heard any useful news with it cited as a source.

          There's plenty of useful news that's been reported there, but most of it hasn't been picked up by any of the major TV news outlets that I've seen. They are more interested in putting up compelling (or confusing) video from the scene than anything else. The NY Times has been following a lot of the non-traditional sources (Twitter, et al.) and culling real news from them on their own blog that's been updated frequently every day.

          • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:25AM (#28408019)

            I've been following the NY Times and Huffington live blogs all day. Here are representative posts:

            Twitter Source:
            "People are very angry...they are screaming like a banshee...this ain't aloha akbar anymore"

            "unrest today confirmed in Tehran, Esfahan, Rasht, & Shiraz."

            Email Source:
            "There were thousands of people out on the streets the police were using tear gas - the whole experience was terrifying. Towhid (Unity) Square looked like a battle ground.
            There were lots of female protestors - I saw a guard attack one women and then she went back up to him and grabbed him by the collar and said 'why are you doing this? Are you not an Iranian?' - he was totally disarmed and didn't know what to do but her actions stopped him."

            "...I don't know where this uprising is leading. I do know some police units are wavering. That commander talking about his family was not alone. There were other policemen complaining about the unruly Basij. Some security forces just stood and watched. "All together, all together, don't be scared," the crowd shouted.

            I also know that Iran's women stand in the vanguard. For days now, I've seen them urging less courageous men on. I've seen them get beaten and return to the fray. "Why are you sitting there?" one shouted at a couple of men perched on the sidewalk on Saturday. "Get up! Get up!"

            Another green-eyed woman, Mahin, aged 52, staggered into an alley clutching her face and in tears. Then, against the urging of those around her, she limped back into the crowd moving west toward Freedom Square. Cries of "Death to the dictator!" and "We want liberty!" accompanied her.

            There were people of all ages. I saw an old man on crutches, middle-aged office workers and bands of teenagers. Unlike the student revolts of 2003 and 1999, this movement is broad. [...]"

            • I also know that Iran's women stand in the vanguard. For days now, I've seen them urging less courageous men on. I've seen them get beaten and return to the fray. "Why are you sitting there?" one shouted at a couple of men perched on the sidewalk on Saturday. "Get up! Get up!"

              Moral of the story is, women are the root of all evil?
              • Don't give them any ideas. They'll find some "evidence" in the koran that god doesn't want them to stop at the chador, but also requires foot binding and vocal cord removal for women.
    • by plover (150551) * on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:54PM (#28407409) Homepage Journal
      As a dissident, the better choice would probably be a stolen phone! Going to jail for stealing a phone will get you simple prison time and probably a beating or two. Going to jail for spying and sending videos to Western Agents could get you disappeared. Having an openmoko phone would be highly suspicious from a technology point of view (although it would probably be easy enough to hide stuff in from a bunch of police thugs.)
    • As others have said, this would probably get everyone killed, ...but still, the NeoPwn is all open moku, with bigger balls. www.neopwn.com [neopwn.com]

  • by DirtyCanuck (1529753) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:08PM (#28407151)

    Most likely the next logical step for rural and otherwise disconnected people would be satellite. However currently it is cost prohibitive for the average person.

    So the best handset for this purpose would be satellite capable.

    • by pavon (30274) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:24PM (#28407231)

      Yup, a local government will have a much harder time shutting down satellite and radio (HAM, CB, walkie-talkie) communications, and they will be infinitely more reliable than mesh networking.

      First off, for mesh networking to work at all, you would need a large number of people that have the phones - a few people buying Freedom Handsets isn't going to cut it. Even then, your signal gets to the edge of down, and where does it go from there? Assuming you can link into the network, then why not just get a network enabled device to begin with and forget this mesh crap? Plus mesh networking will increase power requirements and unpredictability, requiring as big of a battery as a satellite phone.

      • Okay how's this for an amateur satellite project? You put a bird into lowish polar orbit. It is basically a store and forward communications satellite which uses lasers for up link and down link. Ground stations can be kept fairly simple. A gun sight for aiming. Transmit data with a laser. Receive data with a photo diode.

        Users invent their own identifiers. Messages are point to point or point to multi point. To exchange data with the satellite you need to send it your identifier, then the satellite points
        • That doesn't sound amateur at all. In fact it sounds fiendishly complicated to get right, and would require highly advanced laser technology for the satellite.

          • That doesn't sound amateur at all. In fact it sounds fiendishly complicated to get right, and would require highly advanced laser technology for the satellite.

            Well many amateur satellites are fiendishly complicated right now. I don't see the laser up link being too much of a technical issue. The down link could probably be done with radio and a low gain antenna. Hiding the up link signal is the main issue I think.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sznupi (719324)

          Known orbit, easily blinded by sufficiently powerful laser.

          • by Ihmhi (1206036)

            There's a flaw in your theory, though. Sharks aren't a local species in Iran, so what would they mount the lasers on?

      • a local government will have a much harder time shutting down satellite and radio (HAM, CB, walkie-talkie) communications

        Plus you could use something like this! [atarimagazines.com]

      • by mcrbids (148650)

        You say that mesh networks are bad, and then go on to suggest that we should all use HAM radio instead. Why would you think that HAM radio isn't just another variation of a mesh network?

        1. Doesn't rely on a centralized carrier - check!

        2. Radio waves to transmit digital information - check!

        3. Equipment can be stationary or mobile for short-range coomunication - check!

        4. Digital information is repeated from point to point until its destination is reached - check!

        I think that you've been thinking about mesh ne

  • that whatever your choice of handset, it isn't very "free" as long as it is locked to a single service provider.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:13PM (#28407175)

    First off, no commercial phone will come with encryption or any sort of privacy option. This means that you will either need add-on applications, or the ability to tweak the OS.

    Secondly, you need an OS you can audit. This rules out BlackBerry, iPhone, and the Nokia N line. Realistically, you're going to end up with a Linux phone.

    Thirdly, you need one that is well documented, with a vibrant developer and user community.

    With these criteria, I can recommend the T-Mobile G1. I compiled my own OS image, I can run whatever I want (I encrypt ALL data, messages, and calls), and none of it shared with the telcos or the government (one and the same at this point).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by db32 (862117)
      You encrypt all data, messages, and calls? I suppose that is possible, but exactly how do people at the other end of these communications decrypt them? What is the point of having one of these devices if you can't actually communicate with anyone?
      • by selven (1556643) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:03AM (#28409551)
        You tell everyone you want to talk to to set up a public key. Public keys can be put on the internet, anyone who wants to contact you can encrypt his message with the public key and you use the private key (generated at the same time as the public key), which you are keeping to yourself, to decrypt the messages.
    • by MrCrassic (994046)
      I thought Blackberries can have all points of communication encrypted? Isn't that what was done for President Obama's device?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by davester666 (731373)

        Yup, they have a special build of the OS for Obama's phone, to make sure everything is encrypted. Of course, it means that the device is functionally useless because nobody else can decrypt any sent data, but he really likes how the BlackBerry's keyboard feels.

    • Or you could use Windows Mobile and a secure VPN.

    • by nxtw (866177)

      BlackBerries support content encryption, and Windows Mobile supports encrypting the entire user editable partition. I think the iPhone 3G S may also support device encryption as well. All support some sort of private channels of communication (SSL with http, imap, smtp, along with VPNs.)

    • by nxtw (866177)

      Also, hackability can be a downside. If it's easy to replace the bootloader or kernel with a modified and unsigned one from a cold boot, it doesn't matter if the software is secure; attackers can secretly install their modified kernel / bootloader on a device while the owner isn't looking.

      On devices that perform signature checking of firmware updates, this is less of an issue.

    • by david.given (6740) <dg AT cowlark DOT com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:57AM (#28408171) Homepage Journal

      With these criteria, I can recommend the T-Mobile G1. I compiled my own OS image...

      I doubt that. If you had, you wouldn't be able to make phone calls on it. The GSM stack runs on its own processor core, has its own closed-source operating system shipped as a binary blob, cannot be upgraded without the encryption key that they won't give you, and for excellent regulatory reasons even if you did have the key, turning the radio on while running unauthorized firmware would get you beaten to death by lawyers.

      Sure, you can run your own code on the applications processor, but let's face it, any modern electronics device is full if little (and not-so-little) processors running lots of code that you have no access to. You simply have no idea what any of that stuff is doing. Auditing the code running on the apps processor is a start, but no more than a start.

      • by tyrr (306852)

        Who says you have to make GSM phone calls?
        T-Mobile G1 can do VoIP just fine.

  • Satellite Phone (Score:4, Informative)

    by TFer_Atvar (857303) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:15PM (#28407181) Homepage
    If you're worried about censorship, there's no better choice than a satellite phone. They're continuing to drop in price, you're not limited to a terrestrial cellular network, and many models can be tethered to provide Internet access. The big problem for non-Western countries (where they'd be most useful) is the cost, of course. In general terms -- there are cheaper options -- airtime is $1 per minute, and bandwidth also is pricey. Still, they'd be perfect in a circumstance like what's going on in Iran right now, or for any sort of major disaster.
  • by rampant mac (561036) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:18PM (#28407199)
    "If the cell phone is the new tool of freedom, what would the best 'freedom handset' contain?"

    Seeing how the election has gone so far, ummm, an M4 or AK-47?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by linzeal (197905)
      That's silly but maybe a derringer barrel that doubled as an antenna would be good.
    • by syousef (465911) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @12:51AM (#28407801) Journal

      Seeing how the election has gone so far, ummm, an M4 or AK-47?

      There is no way an AK-47 will ever be sold on any kind of usage plan. Can you imagine how things would go if a user disputed their statement and didn't like the outcome taking it to the billing department? "What do you mean you're going to charge me for the excess bullets!? I didn't use them that month! Here take them back you scum!" *machine gun fire*

  • A nicely shielded tin-foil dome to protect my head meat from the aliens!

  • Also, Father Dowd, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:30PM (#28407267)
    as much as I hate to say it, also in light of the happenings in Iran:

    Probably the freest kind of cell phone you could have, which the Iranian people do not seem to have, is any cell phone securely taped to a Smith & Wesson.
    • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @12:56AM (#28407845)

      Right because that's what will build the sort of popular uprising that has overthrown numerous governments in the past (including the last Iranian form of government)... armed rebellion.

      There is nothing the Iranian government would love more right now than a bunch of armed self righteous knuckle draggers to start shooting police and militiamen. You instantly change it from a popular peaceful movement into a legitimate civil war and the Government has full authority to start fighting said war. The Iranian government is losing the respect of its people more and more every day due to its heavy handed over reaction to peaceful and unarmed civilians. But by all means break out the ol' Smith and Wesson and start shooting government officials. I'm certain the ensuing civil war will result in a peaceful and democratic government on top. Not a charismatic warlord.

      Soviet Union, Ukraine, India, Iran 1979... the list goes on and on of successful popular uprisings and bloodless transitions of power. It's often then violent transitions which result in unstable and repressive replacement regimes.

      • Who said anything about shooting government officials? Or anything of the sort? I think you tried to read far too much into this than I ever meant.
        • Who said anything about shooting government officials? Or anything of the sort? I think you tried to read far too much into this than I ever meant

          Probably the freest kind of cell phone you could have, which the Iranian people do not seem to have, is any cell phone securely taped to a Smith & Wesson

          Sorry my bad. I didn't understand that Freedom by Smith and Wesson meant you would use the gun to fire small little 140 character notes taped to bullets out to friends a few streets down. Silly me jumping to the conclusion that you meant use the gun to shoot people. Again. My bad.

          I'm always forgetting the about the less conventional uses of firearms in revolutions. (They also make a great place to hide messages since cops won't look down the barrel!)

      • by Neoprofin (871029)
        Excuse me?

        Which Soviet Union are you talking about? It was formed in a decade of brutal armed conflict, and its resolution is still being fought over today in Moldova, Georgia, Russia, and in a hundred little border disputes. If you think India was entirely bloodless you may want to look up Subhas Chandra Bose, he didn't get any credit but he's a national hero there every bit as much as Ghandi. Martin Luther King always had his Malcolm X. What about the fighting in Iran after the supposedly bloodless tra
  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:40PM (#28407331) Journal

    On a related note, earlier today I was wondering if it would be useful if it would be useful to send old digital cameras to places like Iran and other regions where oppression is occurring (perhaps distributed by international media offices?). Just counting myself, I have 3-4 pocket-size digital cameras which are sitting around collecting dust. As a result, many more of the protesters and bystanders would have cameras, and would be able to capture evidence of violence and oppression. Even if they don't have internet proxy access (or a computer), they could give their memory card to someone who does have one. Of course, there's already some videos being leaked out [blogspot.com] (NOTE: videos are quite graphic) in defiance of the regime, but increasing the number of available photos and videos by an order of magnitude or two would be a game-changer.

    Of course, I have no idea how you'd go about starting to organize something like that, but I wanted to seed the idea in case it's worthwhile.

    • by ZosX (517789)

      How would this be a "game changer"? Did Tienanmen Square not just have its 20th anniversary? Of course the chinese suppressed what happened, but I'm sure as a society they still know the truth even though they don't speak of it in schools. For what it matters, what effect did the event have on our interaction with China? It seems to me like greed over ideals won the day as usual. When people start getting killed en masse they usually give in. Nobody really wants to die. Society has become soft. A few hundr

      • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:17AM (#28407975)

        Society has become soft. A few hundred years ago, whole populations would gladly give up their lives for a cause they believed in. Now it seems like that this number is down to a select few.

        I think it's more cultural than temporal.

        I've been reading that Martyrdom is an important aspect of Iranian culture and mythology. One of their 'founding fathers' was martyred by a tyrannical government. As such there is great respect and emotional power to someone being killed by the government in a protest. The Iranian Revolution was largely a series of ever growing 'vigils' for the fallen martyrs taken and killed by the Government. Every person killed brings more people to the next vigil. Popular opinion finally completely overwhelms the government as it simply becomes an armed but unrecognized squatter by the people. Iran is also very young. Youngsters tend to be more active and impatient for culture and political change.

        China on the other hand is/was a demographically older nation. They also have a strong tradition of respect for authority even in democratic nations such as Japan. As such I would extrapolate that there isn't the same sort of tradition of rebellion and insurrection as we have in Western Cultures. The Tienanmen demonstraters were largely students. They were largely unorganized and they didn't have the organization or precedent for change. It was a case of a culture being inconducive to revolution. But it's largely a question of details. The same eastern "people before self" mantra presents itself dramatically differently in Buddhist nations where self immolation is an accepted form of demonstration. The ego matters so little that people relatively readily give their lives for a cause (after all if you're just going to reincarnate what does it really matter?) (On an off topic this creates very very interesting traffic systems.)

        If you go back a few hundreds years in Western Cultures we also had dramatically less stomach for insurrection and opposition. The state was endorsed by God. We were good God fearing people and to question the state was the question the divine.

        I suspect the reason people are less ready to give their lives in western cultures is because our governments are relatively stable Go back a little over 100 years and I think you would find that Americans of the North and South were more than ready to give up their lives by the hundreds of thousands for a cause.

        Also patriotism sent millions of young men over seas not more than 50 years ago filled with nationalistic pride. I'm not quite certain when you think we became 'soft'.

        • by ZosX (517789)

          I was thinking about the brave men and women who served in World War II. I'm guessing if there were a greater threat to our nation that many people would again join the fight, but in actuality, I think war on that sort of massive level is probably something for the history books for foreseeable future. Anyways this is probably for the best. Can you imagine the emo kids getting drafted?

          I think the south wanted the war a lot more than the north. Its not hard to get a bunch of southerners drunk and pissed off,

      • "A few hundred years ago, whole populations would gladly give up their lives for a cause they believed in." Examples, please. I'm unaware of any such populations. I was under the impression it was always a small number of intelligent, determined, devoted people who brought about change. Like the US revolution. The majority were against the war. A minority brought it about anyway, brilliantly.
      • by sznupi (719324)

        A few hundred years ago, whole populations would gladly give up their lives for a cause they believed in.

        And you know this how? From the dead?

  • not sure how traceable this would be. could you spoof the mac address.

    I would also be more likely to film things with one of the very cheap usb video cameras and upload at an internet cafe. not sure how trackable they are, and the quality is not going to be what you get with a Flip or something like that but you could buy with cash, film and toss if need be

  • For now, ham radio is probably the best communication device in times of dexterity.

  • Go with the Flow (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:52PM (#28407393) Homepage
    Don't avoid the cellular networks just because the government controls them. If you go on your own frequency, they will just jam it. What you want to do is to piggy back on something else that would be too expensive for them to shut down. This might be too contrarian but I say use the cellular network but disguise your traffic so they can't sniff it out. In the end that leaves them with only the option of shutting down the entire cellular network, which they wouldn't be able to function without as well. Remember when Blackberry lost the patent lawsuit and how businesses and the government started freaking out? Use their tools against them. Hop on their frequencies. Guerrilla tactics! Blend in.
  • The back room boys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:53PM (#28407399)

    Of course, some sort of plausible deniability encryption a la Truecrypt would also be good, in case the secret police catch you with your phone.

    "We have ways of making you talk."

    Plausible denial means nothing to the guy with a set of alligator clips, an old-school inverter and a honking big battery.

    The real spy hates spy tech.

    Each additional layer of complication introduces new risks. If he can send a message in the clear he will. What he really needs is a method or a system so familiar and mundane that no one gives it a second thought.
             

    • Remind me to plant 4.3GB from /dev/random to some obscure location of your hard drive and label it newworldorder.iso.truecryptX2, then call the guys who hire the men with the alligator clips.

      Just for grins, I'll encrypt the file with TrueCrypt using your wife's maiden name as the password. Since you obviously had one layer of encryption and since the decrypted file looks random, obviously there's a second layer of encryption.

      "What's the password to the 2nd layer"

      "What second layer? I have no idea what you

  • Just had an idea, you should communicate with each other in the open via botnets and spammers. Chances are that someone you want to communicate with will get the email. Use stenography and spam them across the Internet. Or if you just want to spread the word, spam in plaintext. Either you get your message through or the spam problem gets solved permanently. Either way you come out ahead.
  • "If the cell phone is the new tool of freedom..." is a faulty premise so the rest is irrelevant.

    The only effective "tool of freedom" is the one that denies your oppressor the ability to oppress. In most cases, this is effective violence executed properly against the proper target(s). Any communication that does not serve this purpose is just so much noise.

  • the future is not big brother, ie, the govt surveils you everywhere

    the future is little brother: it is your fellow citizen who surveil you, completely uncontrollably

  • With this stories posting my beloved /. has officially jumped the shark.
  • "If the cell phone is the new tool of freedom, what would the best 'freedom handset' contain?"

    All the phone is is the recorder of acts. The freedom comes from dissemination and in that regard the phone is ineffective. More could be accomplished with a flash card hand carried across the borders than relying on infrastructure that can be controlled by a hostile government.

  • The best possible way to secure your communications is through the use of pre-paid cell phones because there are virtually no records of your transactions nor communications. Simply get a new sim card periodically and add some air time. You won't be able to be easily tracked and you could list a bogus address with the cell company. It is lower tech and whole lot easier.
  • You don't need a phone, you need a television studio, preferably one previously owned by the government. With so many people demonstrating it should be relatively easy to occupy one and spread your message.

  • Let's see, the Iranian people can choose between a cronyistic theocrat or a puppet of the U.S. elite. Sound familiar?

    The best phone would be one that prevented the Iranian people from getting so worked up over sham elections in the first place -- and that's probably no phone at all.

    Knowledge is power, and knowledge doesn't come from SMS (although, on rare occasions, data [informatio...gement.com] might).

  • idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smoker2 (750216) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @03:49AM (#28408701) Homepage Journal
    If the "secret police" catch you, the fucking last thing to worry about is "plausible deniability". This isn't the White House, or the Senate. You don't get your "phone call". If the secret police catch you, you suffer. No trial, no evidence, no representation. Worrying about hiding stuff on a phone is moot. Just be glad if you are released alive.
    • The secret police? What happens when the US Army catches you walking around with a cellphone known for those capabilities?

      Well, it might be better now, but do you really want to be an Iraqi national walking around in Baghdad with one of these when a bomb goes off?

    • Who is the idiot? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)

      The idiot is the person who thinks he can secure liberty for himself alone.

      The time to worry about plausible deniability is before the secret police catch you. And make sure everyone knows the drill too. In the face of the secret police "individual liberty" has no practical utility.

      Even an oppressive state can't kill everyone. That's the game going on in the streets of Tehran today. The protesters want to nucleate into a crowd so big that it can't be dispersed without killing lots of people. The govern

  • by edittard (805475)

    Of course, some sort of plausible deniability encryption a la Truecrypt would also be good, in case the secret police catch you with your phone.

    I'm sure that will stop them from totally beating the crap out of you.

  • by Cross-Threaded (893172) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @11:38AM (#28411063)

    You have got to be kidding me."Freedom Handset"?

    If people really want to change the situation they are in, they will find a way to communicate their ideas.

    The message is so much more important than the medium used to pass the message.

    The more "security features" you add to a device, the more difficult it is for the message to get out. You have to have a device to send your encoded messages, and whomever you are trying to communicate with needs a device to receive that message.

    I would think that the less complicated you can make the delivery of the message, the better the chance of your message making it to the people that you want to hear it.

    The real "Freedom Handset" should be a Bull-Horn.

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