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Hack Your Phone, Go to Jail 577

thodu writes: "This bill [Mobile Telephones (Re-Programming)] in the UK aims to make it illegal for anyone to change a GSM phone's IMEI number. Though the intention in this case is seemingly for the good (to track and prevent stolen phones from being used), the line between legitimate mods and illegal hacks is increasingly becoming blurred. What next - a bill to disallow modifying your PC ?"
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Hack Your Phone, Go to Jail

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  • by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @09:52AM (#3991620)
    Do you know of any, because I sure don't.

    Why shouldn't something that only serves theives (as far as I can see) be illegal?
    • by Queuetue ( 156269 ) <queuetue AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 01, 2002 @09:59AM (#3991687) Homepage
      Why shouldn't something that only serves theives (as far as I can see) be illegal?
      Because it's already illegal to steal phone service. Removing freedoms without cause hurts everybody.

      Also, a silly counter-example - I'm a hacker, and in my basement lab, I've set up my own shielded, isolated cell network, just for kicks. And I want to have phone# 000-000-0001 (Those not in the US, please translate into your own localized version). Just because I *want* to. Or as a scientific experiment, a science fair project, or to learn more about the world around me. Why should that be illegal?
      • by AlgUSF ( 238240 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @10:17AM (#3991826) Homepage
        It is not like changing your Phone #, it is more like changing the VIN number of your car. Which is very illegal. Sure you own the car, but why would you want to change the VIN # except for illegal purposes.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          It is *not* illegal to change the VIN of a car. It is quite legal in the UK to grind the VIN from a vehicle or trailer and stamp in another (and you can make a number up), assuming you make it clear to any potential purchaser and the DVLC.

          What is illegal is to change the VIN of a car, not notify the DVLC and put it on the road. This is often done to pass a car as a "ringer" w/the same VIN as another similar car.

          It the same vien, a fraud involving changing the IMEI as the modus operandi is illegal. Changing the IMEI for the hell of it and not connecting the the network (comp. putting car on road) should not be a crime.

          • In the United States at least VIN numbers actually have information encoded into them. Mine starts with 1HGEM......, and from just the 1H part you know that my car is a Honda made in the United States. When I insured my car, and gave the company the VIN, they instantly knew that I bought a Silver 2002 Honda Civic LX Coupe.
    • One Reason (Score:3, Insightful)

      by squaretorus ( 459130 )
      Why shouldn't something that only serves theives (as far as I can see) be illegal?

      Because your average JUDGE can't think of any legitimate reason to do ANYTHING!

      There ARE legitimate reasons to take almost every drug known to man. From hash to E to charlie. At this point in history we are making a few token laws to specifically allow these uses - against a default background of criminality.

      As soon as we cross the line of YOU having to prove you're NOT breaking the law by doing something - rather than THEM having to prove you ARE breaking the law, I get a bit worried.

      I might have a cool system where I can have 4 phones act as one by changing IMEIs, which lets me log on on my bike - or something (and please - all you anals out there - chip in with how this wouldn't work - because THATS the point here!!!)

      But in a background of this NOT being legal Im breaking the law until I prove Im not a thief exporting phones to Yemen.
      • Re:One Reason (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 )
        I understand your point about guilty til proven innocent, and with many of your points it's true, but this really doesn't apply to this situation.

        If you want to mod your phone that badly, I'm sure there must be some legitimate channels, or maybe even a license to do so, the point and purpose of this law is quite obvious, and IMHO really does serve its purpose quite well.
      • It makes no sense to let 4 phones "act as one".

        Your SIM card makes a phone act, not the IMEI number. The SIM card identifies YOU to the phone company, not the IMEI number.

        IMEI identifies the PHONE to the phone company - and they would rather not have to check if the phone is stolen or not. They don't make a profit on that.

        The IMEI number has one use, only, to make stolen phones easy to track.

        Don't waste everybodys time making funny analogies, they simply do not apply. Stick to the facts, please.
    • There arent any. This has been discussed to death on all the Usenet forums.

      Nothing to see here.
    • Why shouldn't something that only serves theives (as far as I can see) be illegal?

      Because you can't see everything. Maybe there is a legitimate use, which you aren't able to see.

    • Two phones (Score:3, Interesting)

      by morcheeba ( 260908 )
      Hang glider pilots... (hopefully me soon)

      I spend most of my time in and near a city with decent digital coverage. I want the smallest phone possible, so I use a single-band digital phone for 99% of my phone calls.

      When I'm in the countryside, towers are further apart and I need analog compatibility and as much power as possible. A many-watt multi-band phone is needed to make sure I have a ride back home.

      What can I dO?
      1. Two phone services. I can sepnd an extra $20/mo.
      2. Clone the serial number, using both phones on the same service, neither at the same time.

      Before anyone claims that cloning the phone is stealing service, it's not: I would be paying for the airtime because it's a clone of my other phone. There used to be a time when adding another phone to your land-line was illegal, but courts ruled that, although you get the additional benefit of having multiple people talk and listen, you still only have one line to use.

      Now, I will leave open one uncertainty: using a closed phone may not be allowed in my contract with a phone company. If so, then fine - I'll move to another provider. Outlawing cloning would stifle competiton from compaines that choose to provide this benefit, and would be anticompetative.

      How about enforcing the existing laws? Surely it's illegal to help trade stolen phones. If the phone companies made it easy to identify stolen phones (like, they would get a "stolen phone" message instead of a dial tone, or even better, constantly ring), then it would be much harder for illegal reprogrammers to claim they didn't know the phone was stolen.
  • A good thing... (Score:4, Informative)

    by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @09:55AM (#3991644) Homepage
    While I generally don't agree with restrictions on the use of hardware I buy, this is a special case. The law is intended to reduce the amount of phone-thefts in the UK (the phones are then reprogrammed and re-sold). There is currently a huge problem with phone theft over here which is driven by the fact it's so simple to give a stolen phone a new identity, so I don't think this legislation is over the top...
    • While I generally don't agree with restrictions on the use of hardware I buy, this is a special case.

      Is a special law really needed. It is already illegal to steal things, traffic in stolen goods, misidentify stolen goods as not stolen, etc.

      The law is intended to reduce the amount of phone-thefts in the UK (the phones are then reprogrammed and re-sold).

      Over specific laws tend to be bad laws, especially if they require constant tinkering to keep updated. Since the bill specifically mentions GSM and IMEI, which is an indicator of the legislation being too specific.
    • Re:A good thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by liquidsin ( 398151 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @10:18AM (#3991832) Homepage
      But it's already illegal to steal. Think hard. Does this law actually do anything more to deter thieves, or only make things illegal for tinkerers? If the only place this law will be applicable is on stolen phones, and stealing them is already illegal, then this law ultimately serves no purpose that couldn't be served by enforcing stiffer penalties on thieves.
      • Re:A good thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mpe ( 36238 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @10:55AM (#3992109)
        But it's already illegal to steal.

        It's already also illegal to traffic in stolen goods, misrepresent stolen goods as legitimate, defraud telephone companies, DOS legitimate mobile users.

        Does this law actually do anything more to deter thieves,

        The bill states that it is expected to have litte effect of policing, prosecutors and courts.

        this law ultimately serves no purpose that couldn't be served by enforcing stiffer penalties on thieves.

        It's apparent purpose is to present the impression of a government "doing something". With passing redundant laws being a prefered option to something like more police...
  • er no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2002 @09:55AM (#3991651)
    the line between legitimate mods and illegal hacks is increasingly becoming blurred.

    No this is not the case with this law. There are no legit uses for hacking mobile phones. There are a huge number of people who do this (I think there was an article on the bbc website a while back but I am too lazy to look it up for referencing). This should indeed be stopped and it is nice to see a very focused bill instead of something that would do something stupid like outlaw EPROM burners altogether.

  • by ProfKyne ( 149971 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @09:55AM (#3991653)

    I don't mean to troll here, but isn't this similar to laws against removing VIN (vehicle id numbers) and serial numbers from high-cost goods in the US?

    Of course, if this law extends to prohibit other modification of the phone that interferes with fair use, I suppose that's different....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2002 @09:57AM (#3991673)
    Mobile phone theft is a real problem in the UK, and has caused violent crime to rise sharply over the past year. Understandably, politicians and police in the UK are concerned, and are trying their hardest to stop the problem.

    The UK telecoms operators have mobilised their SIM management systems to allow them to disable mobile phones according to the ID on the phone; previously only one or two of them did this.

    Now saying this; I don't see how this Bill will do anything to stop the situation. The phones are stolen already, and are in the hands of the criminals. No doubt they have a stack of them in a warehousr; anything else just isnt' profitable. Anyone who thinks the piddling little threat of extra jail time that this Bill adds will stop the bad guys from modifying the phones are out of their heads. Do they really believe that the criminals care what this Bill says?

    Its nothing but a quick headline grab, something for grining-Blair to point at and say "We're doing something about it, look!" and then allows him to get back to inventing rating schemes for various shitty public services, and cutting funding to the police forces.

    The real answer is simply to pay the police more, recruit more, and put them out on the streets where they can stop the phones being stolen in the first place. Like that'll ever happen.
    • I'm willing to bet it's a two-step process - make changing the numbers illegal, then make devices that change ids (Since they can now only be used for illegal activity) illegal. Then, go after id-changing hardware manufacturers, and try to starve the black market phone industry.

      And to heck with whoever gets trampled in the process.
      • don't know if this was a joke or not... but anyway, the device used for changing the number is a cable that goes from the bottom of the phone to a computer's serial port (or it can be done through straight IR if your computer and phone both have IR ports) The cable itself has many legitimate purposes, unlike changing the number which has none.
    • > Mobile phone theft is a real problem in the UK

      But not as big a problem as has sometimes been claimed. A year ago the papers were running stories on the mystery of where all the stolen mobile phones were going - being exported to India perhaps? But the current theory is that many (maybe most) mobile phones reported stolen have not been stolen at all - their owners are just claiming on insurance and buying newer models.
  • Other than copyright of the internal code of the phone, there is no reason why changing the IMEI number of a phone should be illegal (and the copyright reason is a dubious one at that).

    However, there should be a law in place to prevent phones with an incorrect IMEI number being used on GSM networks.

    As has been pointed out, there is no genuine reason, other than research, to want to change the IMEI number of a phone - usually, the reason is to avoid blacklisting by networks such as Orange and T-Mobile (Vodafone and O2 do not operate such a scheme currently.)

    If there are problems with people changing the IMEI number of a phone, perhaps the IMEI should be hard-coded into one of the chips in the phone - it would then make it a lot harder to successfully, and transparently, change a phone's IMEI number.

    Essentially, what those who are attempting to introduce this law are saying, is that there is a need to do something about people changing IMEI numbers. And this remains the case.
  • Too many laws... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SealBeater ( 143912 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @10:01AM (#3991710) Homepage
    What ever happened to using already existing laws? If it's already illegal to sell stolen phones (which I assume, perhaps incorrectly that it is), why do you need an additional law covering this? This reminds me of the added penelty of using a computer to commit a crime. If the hardware is mine, it should be mine to do with as I please. Arrest me for selling a stolen phone, not changing a few bits on equipmetn I already own.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2002 @10:04AM (#3991731)
    Sorry, but I have no problems with this kind of law.
    When your mobile phone gets stolen, all mobile phone operators who are enforce IMEI-based disabling will disallow phone calls. (Not all of them do this...)
    This reduces the incentive to steal a mobile phone immensly.

    It can have some unpleasant consequences though: some years ago, a batch of Nokia mobile phones was stolen, all of them with the same IMEI number. Those phones eventually ended up in stores, where they were, legally, bought by consumers.
    Unavoidably, one of those phone got stolen and that IMEI number got blocked. As a result, thousands of people ended up with a disabled phone. Nokia refused to do anything about it, since they can be hold responsible for phone that were bought through 'grey' channels.

    • As somebody else pointed out already, what is the point of this bill ? If somebody steals a mobile phone, they're already risking jail time, so they are very unlikely to be put off by the idea that changing the number is illegal.

      In fact you've even provided an example of where changing the number might have a legitimate use - for those people that bought one of the Nokia phones you mentioned.

      So tell me again, what is the point of this bill ?

  • There are laws in place about stealing phone service...just enforce them. Don't create new, more specific ones. If we continue to let the government infringe upon our rights...it's never going to end.
  • by zapfie ( 560589 )
    I really don't think they care what you do to your phone- it's yours to do what you like. I think what they do care is how you present yourself to the cellular network (the IMEI number). To do that, it happens to involve changing the phone, but I don't think the phone is the real issue here- it's the network.
  • In my special world, anyone who download "Barbie Girl" as their ring tone would be sent to jail.

    and if they had their ring set to the max volume, death.


  • The problem here is that they are not just stopping you hacking the IMEI. I know of no legitimate reason to do this.

    As far as I am aware though, this bill also stops you hacking things that there is good cause to. Things like unlocking your phone so that you can use it abroad with other networks.
  • But how will making a law stop a thief?

    If they're planning on fencing a stolen phone anyway, will one more law stop them? They've already broken one law by stealing the phone.

    • Your average mobile phone thief is not a technologially inclined guy. They are street toughs, no more.

      The only reason that they steal the phones, is that they can sell them on. If the IMEI number isn't changed, then the networks will block the phone, giving a useless item, and no cash. So they take the phone to the local friendly techie, who, legitimitly, will change the IMEI number.

      The law would allow the police to move against the people who facilitate the crime, in an effort to stop it being profitable, rather than directly at the criminals. If there's no profit in the activity, it should just stop.

      Whether it will work, remains to be seen.
      • You cannot legitimatly modify a stolen device/object/PHONE.

        It's stolen.

        We could as simply change the law to allow anyone to modify the IMEI unless it is tagged stolen. And then only to an AVAILABLE IMEI.

        Which, by the way, is virtually impossible to do properly since almost anything could conflict with some others companies number space...

  • Law (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Evro ( 18923 )
    What next - a bill to disallow modifying your PC ?

    Isn't this the purpose of the DMCA? To ensure that if "copyright protection measures" are included in your PC (or other "digital device"), it's illegal to remove them?
  • The lazyness of the Technology Companies amazes me, instead of developing safe protocols avoiding users to do whatever they don't want to, they try to solve this problem by creating laws and acts that legaly prohibit the users to user their equipament the way they want to.

    IMHO Tech Co. should be treated just like us, regular citizens that must adapt ourselves to the new technology to keep employed.

    It is really sad to see all this "moneyfull" companies doing whatever they want to the people of countries that call themselves democratics.

    Something must be done...

  • It's illegal to steal a phone, right? If I've stolen a phone, I'm probably not gonna be vastly upset to have to break another to make it usable.
    The only people who'd want to change the IMEI (that I can think of anyway) would be hackers etc who want to either learn some stuff or develop some stuff. Nothing too harmful there IMHO, and if the phone isn't stolen I can't really see the phone co. saying anything more than "sorry, your warranty's just gone bye-bye" if you do this. Fair enough.

    I can see one point to this law though. At the moment, I can take any phone into any phone shop, and have the IMEI changed in 10 minutes, no questions asked. This law will stop this happening. It means theives will have to get the equipment and knowledge to do this themselves. In that sense, it will slow down casual mobile thefts. It'll never stop it, cos there'll always be people who can do it, and shops which will do it under the counter. But hey, it's a start.

    Personally, I'm quite happy with my IMEI number, so I'm not overly fussed about not being allowed to change it :-)
  • The bill is sufficiently vaguely worded that it covers changing the unique identifier of any wireless communications device. Of course, "wireless communications device" isn't defined in the bill, but it might cover wireless ethernet cards in a laptop for example. And using ipconfig to change the MAC address would be an offence. Possibly, owning a copy of ipconfig or supplying it could be an offence. I can think of several reasonable uses of changing a card's MAC address.

    Also, I just checked parliament's website and this isn't a bill, it has been passed as an act! Soon to become law no doubt.

  • Yes. It will be the bill that makes it illegal for computer owners to bypass intellectial property protection software on their computer. This includes, but is not limited to, installing Linux.
  • It's already illegal to change the ESN on a phone in america. dunno if it applies to the IMEI, because that isn't actually used for billing, but why in hell would you want to change it anyway?
  • Uhh, directv sent letters [slashdot.org] to over 100,000 Americans telling them not to illegally modify their smartcards to pirate TV. They estimate (quite rightly) that there are over 1 million directv receivers in America that are hacked illegally. That's almost 10% of all satellite receivers.

    Considering this, why doesn't the UK look at the stats and realise that just because its illegal doesn't mean people won't do it. Not to mention that theft of mobile phones is already illegal anyways.

    It doesn't matter wether there are legitimate reasons for chaging the IMEI number or not. The fact is that changing it because you have a stolen cell phone is the reason for this bill. It therefore in and of itself is redundant. What a waste of taxpayers money, and another reason why I don't like visiting the UK (number two would be because the law there can strongarm me into giving away keys to any data they wish, and number three because I find the virtual panopticon the UK has become quite distasteful).

    Just my 2 cents.
    • But the law will make it the manufacturers' responsibility to make it harder to change. It;s easily changed with a firmware hack (I've seen the option in GSM unlocking programs). Since the law was enacted in the USA, it's become much harder to change the ESN, but then, the ESN is used for much more than tracking here, it's used for billing, also.
    • Generally, the people changing the IMEI number are not the same people who steal the phones. So (at the moment) the former are acting legally, while the latter are criminals. This bill makes it illegal to assist criminals in this way.
  • imei (Score:2, Insightful)

    by doofusclam ( 528746 )
    This bill is needed. Now before all the geeks go on about their god-given right to impress their friends with new IMEI numbers(?!) i'll tell you something.

    EVERYONE I know here in Britain who owns a mobile has had one robbed at some point in time. People have been murdered for their mobiles as they're an easy target, especially from children, and the resell value is high. There are some places I wouldn't go with a mobile visible, not that I would go waving it around anyway.

    There are some freedoms worth fighting for but - the right to change an IMEI number? Get a grip. I'd prefer the right to walk down the street without getting the mobile robbed.

    Oh, and not being able to change the IMEI means the phone can be permanently barred or even tracked. If it's changed you're stuffed.

    • Just out of interest, where do you live? I live in Manchester, and I don't think anyone I know has had a mobile phone stolen from their person.
  • by drew_kime ( 303965 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @10:44AM (#3992044) Journal
    The law should say that simply doing this mod isn't illegal, but that it is sufficient grounds for a search warrant/wire tap/other investigative methods. After all, the IMEI was put in specifically to fight theft and cloning. It seems reasonable to assume that anyone changing it is probably going to do something illegal with it.
  • my client who runs simcard development business paid ~US$100,000 royalty and signed a NDA before any actually development started.

    So you wanna hack this damn little thing and get away with it?

    This thing is no toy. Billions dollors businesses are driven by this *damn* little thing.
  • The FCC has banned ESN, the AMPS/IS-136-alike("TDMA")/IS-95-alike("CDMA") equivalent of IMEI numbers, cloning for years. This, ironically, has actually damaged the chances of AMPS derived network systems from being able to grow much in functionality because the ESN is linked to hardware and is the only "authentication" system the networks have to validate that a particular phone number is real. In GSM, the authentication is on the SIM card, not tied to the phone hardware, so this isn't an issue.

    I've downloaded tools from the internet to remove the service provider locks on phones I've legally bought (these have nothing to do with the IMEI number, they're locks that prevent someone buying a phone with, say, BellSouth DCS, and then using it on a VoiceStream network), and the tools generally have the dodgy "change things like the IMEI and other things that shouldn't be changed" functionality as well as the useful bits. This is not, IMHO, a good thing...

    I don't see any reason to oppose IMEI number protection laws, and see every reason to support what the British government are doing, unless service providors start preventing people from using their networks who haven't bought their "official" hardware, but given that no network makes a profit from the sales of hardware, I don't see such a foot-shooting exercise occuring any time soon. If ever.

  • Though the intention in this case is seemingly for the good...

    When you hear a /. editor saying this, you know that 99% of the rest of the people in the world will think it's great.
  • First off... A thousand apologies (and one I'm sorry) if I'm repeating an existing post. I wasn't able to read all the discussion as I am at work and can't stay on too long. Here's a quick explanation of the two things about cell phones I've seen so far. First the IMEI number. Several people have compared them to Automobile VIN numbers. This is dead on accurate! Basically an IMEI is like a serial number that states "I am Cell Phone #1101". The only really useful way I can think of to change that number would be to trick someone into believing that Cell Phone #1101 was in fact Cell Phone #11111. If anyone can think of a practical use for changing an IMEI other than that, I would honestly be interested to hear it. (And no that is not the way IMEI numbers are formatted, but who really cares). When you activate service you give the service provider this number so they can know which phone you have and also where to send the activation signal (which I usually bypass and activate the phone manually, the service people take FOREVER!!). After activation the IMEI number also tells the service provider where to send your phone calls to. BTW, some phones have an ESN instead of an IMEI. I'm a little fuzzy on the difference, someone once told me it had to do with what sort of network is used, but I'm not sure. They're essentially the same as IMEIs as far as I can tell, if anyone knows for sure the difference and doesn't mind explaining it to me, let me know. The other thing mentioned was the SIM card. This is basically a memory chip, but not for your regular storage stuff (phone numbers, ringtons, etc.) The SIM card stores your phone number and some other things (I'm honestly ignorant on the SIM cards other functions, again feel free to educate me). So that's what I know (or at least what I think I know). I may be way off base. If I am, please forgive me. From what I know, it seems that messing around with the SIM card may or may not be illegal and that might bear some looking into. Messing with the IMEI/ESN numbers unless done for illegal purposes would be pretty pointless. You could change your IMEI/ESN in your phone to one that matches an already activated phone, and have a duplicate of their phone able to make and recieve some poor guys calls. For what it's worth, Caller ID's would show calls from your phoney phone to be coming from a different number than the poor suckers'. I guess that really wouldn't matter to the thief unless he's playing some serious mind games with the sucker (and it really wouldn't be too terribly hard to fix that phone number issue). My point is, without having a law against messing with your IMEI/ESN, the only useful reason to do so is already illegal (as has been stated before), so rather than cluttering the books with duplicate laws, let's just use the ones we have. That's all for now, I hope I haven't irritated anyone too terribly much, and I hope my memory and education have served me and I haven't made too many SNAFUs. Take care
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @11:34AM (#3992442) Homepage

    It's not that hard. The link in the story is to the explanatory notes. The actual bill is here [the-statio...fice.co.uk].

    On a topical note, all the griping about "Why shouldn't I be allowed to..." is just slippery slope hysterics.

    If you actually want to build a 'phone from components, then you can do whatever the hell you like with it, because you're the "manufacturer". However, if you want to buy a 'phone and then screw around with the identifier on it, you're doing something no different from changing the VIN number on a car. There's only one reason why you'd have to do that: to enable fraud. You can argue "But I own it and I just wanna", but in both cases that's simply an argument that principles are always more important than pragmatics and that nothing should be illegal if there's no direct, immediate victim. The law has to strike a balance between freedom and the probability that an act has a criminal purpose. In this case, it's overwhelmingly likely that an actual crime with an actual victim is involved.

    The point of this bill is to enable prosecution of workshops set up to change IMEI's on stolen 'phones. It's a real problem, and it's part of a crime with a real victim, usually on the receiving end of violence. There's actually a very reasonable clause in here that protects equipment that merely could be used to change an IMEI: "The clause makes it clear that the offences are committed only if the person intends to use the equipment or allow it to be used for the purposes of making an unauthorised change to the IMEI number, or knows that the person to whom he supplies it or offers to supply it intends to use it or allow it to be used for that purpose." The prosecution has to show intent, so don't throw a hissy fit just because you've built an IMEI programmer for your self built IMEI 'phone. Not that anyone here has or intends to build such a 'phone.

    Still not seeing it? Consider your next car purchase. You inspect the car, note the VIN number, do an HPI check, and it looks clean. Two weeks later, the police turn up and tell you that you're driving a stolen car and you have to return it to the rightful owner. You're completely out of pocket. This happens all the time. Now, how would you feel if you found that the garage that sold you the car had modified the VIN number and documentation, and that this wasn't illegal? And that it wasn't illegal because of the high principled argument that once they'd bought the car, they could do anything they damn well liked to it? Would you be pissed off? I think so. So, do you think that should it be legal to modify VIN numbers? If not, why should it be legal to modify IMEI numbers?

    This is a balanced, reasonable, useful bill, and all the shrieking and Chicken Littling doesn't make it otherwise.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva