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Government Cellphones Security

Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone? 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-both-worlds dept.
MojoKid writes We're often told that having a kill switch in our mobile devices — mostly our smartphones — is a good thing. At a basic level, that's hard to disagree with. If every mobile device had a built-in kill switch, theft would go down — who would waste their time over a device that probably won't work for very long? Here's where the problem lays: It's law enforcement that's pushing so hard for these kill switches. We first learned about this last summer, and this past May, California passed a law that requires smartphone vendors to implement the feature. In practice, if a smartphone has been stolen, or has been somehow compromised, its user or manufacturer would be able to remotely kill off its usability, something that would be reversed once the phone gets back into its rightful owner's hands. However, such functionality should be limited to the device's owner, and no one else. If the owner can disable a phone with nothing but access to a computer or another mobile device, so can Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia or Apple. If the designers of a phone's operating system can brick a phone, guess who else can do the same? Everybody from the NSA to your friendly neighborhood police force, that's who. At most, all they'll need is a convincing argument that they're acting in the interest of "public safety."
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Smartphone Kill Switch, Consumer Boon Or Way For Government To Brick Your Phone?

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  • by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @10:14PM (#47717749) Homepage Journal
    Re ". . . if you're that paranoid."
    We saw the free UK offer of wifi to attempt get to phones of interest under
    "UK spy agency reportedly intercepted email of delegates at G20 meetings in 2009" (Jun 17, 2013)
    http://www.pcworld.com/article... [pcworld.com]
    "... set up Internet cafes at the G20 meetings in order to extract key logging information and credentials from foreign delegates, giving the agencies “sustained intelligence options” against the targets even after the events ended."
    "...allowing the reading of people’s emails before or at the same time as they do"
    A few sites kept open to herd the press too, with CCTV and dat collection? All other easy to find sites closed thanks to tame telco help?
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/... [theguardian.com] 17 June 2013
    "Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates' use of computers"
    "Penetrating the security on delegates' BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls"
    "Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit"
    In any city for local police work soon :) You connect, the gov pushes some extra software out too.

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