Why? Kill switches can be used for other purposes than disabling *stolen* phones. Do you trust your government?
US law enforcement is calling for a mandatory kill switch on all mobiles, enabling the shut down of stolen phones in the hope of rendering them worthless. Mobile phone theft keeps rising, with one in three US robberies involving mobile kit, apparently. A coalition of US law enforcement agencies calling itself "Secure our …
"Do you trust your government?"
To do what? To carry out the primary duty of government, which is to create an environment within which we can reasonably seek a good life for ourselves, by it in part combatting crime and terrorism? Well every time I read that it's been doing this, such as by properly snooping on internet users, I trust it more; and every time I fear it may listen to people like you who would forego and protest against every protection against a Hobbesian state of nature, I trust it less. Why should an object or transmission portal being high-tech render it somehow sacrosanct as though it were some sovereign space beyond the reach of any state?
"you will put a kill switch in this phone or we will make it impossible for you to live."
Just remember that every diktat from government comes with a "or we will make it impossible for you to live" attached to it, and you'll see that dictating this over a fucking phone is perhaps a little bit psychotic.
But then this is a government we're on about. They are good at using sledgehammers on nuts.
Does the police really expect that the desperate robber turns his life around simply because he can't use/sell the stolen phones? How about forbidding / regulating the other risk factors:
- Jewelry is only legal if worn with a gun.
-Wallets must incinerate their content when they are opened by unauthorized persons.
-Expensive sneakers and clothes are not allowed to show distinct 'brand features' that would identify them to robbers.
Really, it should be between the seller and customer to distinguish between useful and superfluous functions. Keep it simple.
"-Expensive sneakers and clothes are not allowed to show distinct 'brand features' that would identify them to robbers."
Actually, I support that one. I refuse to buy any clothes where you pay extra for the brand name AND for the privilege of advertising it for them.
The next stage is to ban advertising of these brands aimed at children.
I don't like the idea of the kill switch, though.
"I refuse to buy any clothes where you pay extra for the brand name AND for the privilege of advertising it for them."
Yup. A discrete label or logo I'll accept. But "MEGA-CORP ULTRA TOGS" across....not so much.
I am reminded for a MAD cartoon with a guy wearing a T-shit that said: Meet a schmuck who pays to give free advertising to a multi-billion dollar company.
(Or something like that)
Discrete or Discreet? Both can be applicable, but I'm not too sure which is better.
I'm in the discrete bin myself; if I think the clothes are good, I'll tell people that. Although a small logo isn't the end of the world, especially if the clothes are in fact well made and comfortable.
And the tags sewn into shirts always seem to be made to dig holes in the spine anyhow.
I just buy clothes that fit, I like, and that I am willing to pay for, but I am ‘brand aware’, for instance the last 3 pairs of trainers (3 over 6 years that is) I have brought have all been Nike, for a number of reasons, for some reason Nike size 10s are slightly wider than other main brands size 10s, without being big clunky skater shoes like DC’s or Airwalks, but still on the ‘comfort’ side of things.
Because it’s Nike you can guarantee 90% of shoe stores will have some, so I can go in to any store, find a pair of size 10s Nikes that look like my old ones and buy them without bothering to try them on. I have never paid more than £25 for a pair, and for £25 I know they will last around 3 years, that’s £8.30 a year for a decent good looking comfy pair of trainers that I can wear every day, even when they have been in the washing machine a couple of times. I spent £30 on some airwalks once and they lasted about 6 months before they looked terrible.
As I said I have brought 3 pairs in 6 years, but that’s due to a shoe from one pair being lost at a music festival, and the replacement pair being eaten by a German Shepard two years later, I am now on my 3rd pair of shoes in 6 years.
Btw I dont work for Nike
your pricey mobile was terminated by Federal authorities.
We took good note that it wasn't stolen (or so you say), alas, in this case your 5 years warranty won't work as it is not a product or service fault.
We encourage you to see this matter with the involved authorities.
We gently remind you that in any case this is a good opportunity to renew your hardware and confidence in us.
your pricey mobile was terminated by Federal authorities
remarkably similar to the note someone I know got from the US TSA after they mistakenly checked in a locked case onto a transatlantic flight - at other end it arrived on carousel wrapped in a plastic bag as the locking catches had all been broken to open the case. In side was a letter saying something along the lines of "Dear traveller, for your added safety and security we've just broken your case"
"we've just broken your case"
Yes, I've had that happen. They didn't break the unlocked case, though. The fuckwits just cut the metal zip toggle that the padlock was dangling from. The actual "lock" was a twist-tie, just to stop the zip coming adrift when the baggage monkeys were throwing it around, but noticing that was clearly way above the IQ of a TSA inoperative.
Similar thing here at SFO. The morons pried the catches off the wife's instrument case because they must have been stymied by the push buttons. The TSA padlock on the center locking eye they managed just fine though and it was the only thing holding the case shut when she went through customs.
Heh. That happened to my dad; he had his luggage arrive at the other end in a similar fashion. By the way, the note also said something along the lines of "You had a non-compliant lock, so we had to break it open and it is all your fault. TSA won't pay up anything if you are missing stuff."
So not only do they break open your stuff, they basically give anyone else a free pass to steal your stuff!
The reason they want this is obvious - its so that if they discover a phone is going to be used as a remote trigger for a bomb they can remotely kill it and stop the detonation. Or if there's an attack the can kill all the terrorists phones and stop them coordinating.
Seriously el reg you swallow this "its to stop stolen phones" line?
As if the Feds give a flying what happened to your shiny iphone...
No, that can't be it. If they believe that a phone is going to be used as a trigger for a bomb, all they have to do is ask (or require) the phone company to disconnect that phone number (or better, for evidence-gathering, to divert the phone number to their evidence-gatering facility). If they can't do this today, it's a relatively uncontroversial bit of legislation to fix it so they can.
On the other hand I can see why they might want to permanently kill every phone within 100m of a demonstration at which police brutality was happening. Other things like that. And of course, it's completely impossible that some hostile foreign government might get its hand on the kill switch for every mobile phone in the USA. Isn't it?
"all they have to do is ask (or require) the phone company to disconnect that phone number"
It's unlikely they would know exactly which phone was being used as a trigger and far easier to just jam the signals in an area to prevent the call from coming in. I agree that bricking every nearby device to eliminate the possibility of evidence of police misconduct being posted to youtube is a better possibility.
Actually, there is scope for more painful stuff to happen. A LOT of coordination is done via mobiles - imagine someone coming up with a box that snarfs everything in the vicinity, then pushes out a kill signal to what it finds.
Don't like the idea? Then leave well alone. Kill switches are IMHO a bad idea.
"The reason they want this is obvious - its so that if they discover a phone is going to be used as a remote trigger for a bomb they can remotely kill it and stop the detonation."
They'd be a bit buggered if the bomb was set to detonate automatically if it didn't get called regularly with 'cancel' codes!
Here in the US the biggest push has been from Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier. She has been having well publicized 'power meetings' with wireless carriers and device manufacturers for a couple of years. She's on the radio at least once or twice a month talking up her progress. She's got big public safety and awareness programs about keeping your iPhone concealed as apparently the iPhone is the biggest target for hoodlums to deliberately target so she has been extra focused on Apple for years: 'Cracking Down on Apple Picking' she calls it. Stealing mobiles even has a special charge associated with it.
I have a Windows phone (WP 7.5), which I happen to like too, and guess what? It already has such a feature which I can also chose to turn on or off: "Find your phone". It sends my phone identifier to Microsoft, optionally along with some other information I can opt in to send them (search results, spoken text results, etc.).
The next part is my Microsoft account or ID. I can attach my phone to my Microsoft account thus giving me direct remote access to my phone using their Windows phone website.
This access can then be used for all sorts of things. I can browse their app store using my PC and after I decide that I want something I can tell it to send the app to my phone straight away. But I can also tell my phone to ring, lock or even format (erase) itself.
Why would I need the government for that?
I don't think this is for the better good; it's for their own good. Maybe I'm paranoid, could be, but I wouldn't be surprised if the next step would be attaching said kill switch to voice recognition software. You know: you're mentioning "let's bomb the bass tonight" and all of a sudden your connection is gone and 5 minutes later you got police all over you for suspicious activities... "But I was going to a dance party? Acid you know, stuff from the 90's?" "Oh, poison is involved too? Tell it to the judge you damn terrist!".
So then along comes the Norks with a preemptive strike. Do they launch nukes, mobilize their army.. no , they hack the kill switch function of all modern phones, leaving only the folks in India with the Asha, Chinese Android clones and that dreadful Tesco mobile with big buttons my mother uses as viable communication devices.
The western world goes into temporary meltdown. Not because their phones have been 'killed' but people are no longer getting their commutes worth of liking video's of kittens playing the piano on Facebook and Stephen Fry irrelevancies on Twitter.
Much to the dismay to the Norks the positive side effect of killing mobile infrastructure is that for a couple of months, westerners start talking to each other and reading books once again - until the mad scramble for new un-kill-able smart phones is release in short order by MicroNokia and we all start sporting Windows Phone 8 devices as it'll take Apple a year to bring a new device out and Samsung don't give a crap.
Thus the moral of the story is , If they install a kill switch into our phones WinPho8 becomes market leader.
Let's fight this outrage before we all have to start reading books again and buying Finnish.
This makes little sense. What's to stop the crooks just buying an unlocked phone using a false name/address? It will never be reported stolen, and not associated with a criminal, so there would never be occassion or reason to kill it.
Unless, of course, they plan to ban the sale of any phone unless proof of identity is provided. Tantamount to requiring you to have a license for your cellphone. I can see them trying it, I can't see it working.
Do we trust the comms service providers and manufacturers to not abuse these rules? i.e. Is this really the first phase in 'renting' your phone, where a corp can disable the phone on a whim? What if they start selling packages that give you 3 years with a phone before it is shut off remotely? What if you leave your Telco and move elsewhere, can the provider then kill your phone? Or what if you buy a cheap subsidized iPhone in the USA, then bring it elsewhere and have it unblocked. Can the Telco then remotely kill the phone from the USA? ... What if mistakes are made and the wrong phone is killed? Can that phone receive a reactivation or is it dead permanently? ....Lots of questions... Few answers....
Obviously they already control it so they want to extend that to Android.
We know why IOS location tracking is stil there and only ahd partial removal.
Is that important when many Android phones are sold without the marketing markup?
IMEI blocking should be enforced round the world via a stolen register !
We dont need big brother for that!
You'd think anyone nicking a phone wouldn't think to bring a Faraday bag like people use to get nicked clothes out of department stores and the like. If it can't get the kill signal, it can't be killed. And you can't use cell phone reception as a vigilance control. One big blackout or trip to the sticks would kill the phone.
"You'd think anyone nicking a phone wouldn't think to bring a Faraday bag like people use to get nicked clothes out of department stores and the like. If it can't get the kill signal, it can't be killed. And you can't use cell phone reception as a vigilance control. One big blackout or trip to the sticks would kill the phone."
A few anti theft apps available to rooted Android phone owners can brick the device if the sim is changed, no signal needed. Avast antitheft has this option if I recall.
"A few anti theft apps available to rooted Android phone owners can brick the device if the sim is changed, no signal needed. Avast antitheft has this option if I recall."
But if they work in a radio dead zone, they don't NEED to change the SIM. They just manually install a backup program through ADB or sideload or just manually copy everything of value, then change the SIM and perform a factory wipe on a reboot, before the bricking software can kick in (the feature is part of the Android bootloader itself and doesn't check the SIM at that stage).
Quite aside from the obvious "what a remarkably shoddy idea that provides the end user with nothing they need, while providing operators and government bodies with convenient new powers" comment, I'd like to highlight the following:
"The purpose of stealing the handset and then discarding it is to delay pursuers, thus providing more time during which stolen credit cards and other spoils can be turned into cash."
Is there a basis for this statement, or a citation from the police? Because on the face of it, it sounds like nonsense to me - if my wallet and phone are nicked, I'm cancelling the cards ASAP regardless of whether I think there's a chance of getting the phone back.
The reason I say this is that I also call Great Big Hairy Nadgers on your assertion that thieves don't want the phone when mugging someone. A new iPhone 5 or equivalent-level smartphone, unlocked, costs around £500. You're smoking something fun if you think muggers and thieves don't want in on that action, even if the resale value of a hot one is only a fraction of the full retail price.
I've always observed that most attacks on freedom or outright attacks for the last 50 years emanate from the US and spread outwards. Greed, Power and Ignorance behave like a virus which spread to infect the weak minded. With 98% of politicians already leaning towards weak minded, greedy, power crazed and ignorant, one tends to see the initial wave spread through the various governments quickly. As they observe they get away with more than they could ever dream of thanks to media control and apathetic citizens the process speeds up ad nauseum. Hence inmho your observation...
… and the monkey behind the keyboard keys in the wrong number (gets two digits transposed, off-by-one error on the keypad, etc)… and instead of killing the target phone, it kills some innocent person's phone.
What then? Who's accountable? Does the "kill switch" get remotely turned off, reviving the phone? Do the feds responsible reimburse the victim the cost of replacing the phone with a workable replacement?
Or do they pretend the phone just magically died? I think I know the answer already.
What I dont get is why the imei isnt set in stone on every handset. On my old zte blade, changing the imei was as easy as hex editing an unencrypted file.
If the imei was hard coded, and fees to access the blocking database were waivered/subsidised for poorer countries comms providers there would be no need for this poorly thought out and almost certain to backfire plan.
Of course, the real reason they want this new kill switch function is to install a 2 way backchannel for the purpose of snooping. If you can remote brick a device, you also have the capability to open up the mic, camera, forward sms, eavesdrop on calls etc.
To reach out to a stolen phone it has to be identifiable, beyond the easily-changed mobile number. All (GSM) phones have an International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI - press *#06# to see it) number, and the majority of mobile networks subscribe to a system which blocks stolen IMEI numbers from their networks.
I've already verified this is NOT the case with australian carriers. Regardless of the fact they claim it is. At one stage there was talk of a stolen IMEI database that was accessable to all carriers - so a stolen phone could not be used on any carrier - yeah well, like I say, talk is cheap, actually doing something about it is another matter entirely.
There is no incentive for the carriers to do anything, because they don't lose anything through a stolen phone. New "owner" buys a brand spanking new SIM card (legally), and as long as they pay their bills, the carriers don't care one squat.
If, and only if, the carriers see a downshift in subscribers due to being pissed off and going to another carrier that's reputed to be more "secure", THEN we might see them actually doing anything about it.
Till then, don't lose your phone.
As I understand it (details were thin on the ground) the iOS7 kill switch is an OS-level instruction, requiring the Apple ID to do anything useful with a blocked phone. A thief could presumably change the IMEI but would still encounter the screen asking for the Apple ID in order to use it.
This is presumably about saving the police time from doing anything in the event of a crime other than tell you to get your mobile provider to flick a switch. However, it'll make no difference anyway given the number of cases I've heard of where people have tracked their stolen phone (or other goods) to an address only for the police to say they're unprepared to do anything about it.
The user should have the kill switch. I still don't understand (perhaps I'll be enlightened) by phone operators let stolen equipment function.
Sherlock, because that's what Verizon weren't. When my wife's IP4 was stolen they didn't care. But Verizon don't use a SIM card system, so presumably it was still on their network, just in the hands of a thief.
Most phones comes with a software solution to do that, and if you don't trust your vendor find a third party application designed to do just that- regardless the SIM.
Changing the IMEI is not trivial which means you will have plenty of time to track your phone. Then again, more important in a security and privacy sense is to me the ability to wipe it remotely than getting it back... Included in all those apps as well°!
Clearly this official effort has a not even so hidden agenda. Reducing phone theft is a byproduct at best.
I love the idea of a kill switch. I say put one in every piece of electrical equipment. How many people have been beaten, stabbed or murdered for the content of their wallet, house or for their phone. If a phone holds no value, why steal it. If a wallet only contains digital currency that can't be used by a theif, why steal it.
The only people who wouldn't be happy with this are the insurance companies who cover theft of electrical items. Implementing these kill technologies would be a cost for the company not the government, and as people pay tax that pays for government law enforcement, think about how much tax money goes towards dealing with theft related crime.
There's still a "grace" period between when you get nicked and when the phone's locked out. The same thing happens for credit cards. The savvy thieves know to do what they have to do during the grace period and then abandon the device (or in the case of the phone, maybe find a way to alter the IMEI or otherwise keep the phone from being locked out and either use it themselves or fence it).
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