Tag Archives | Cell Phones

SF Transit System Blocks Cell Phone Service To Thwart Protests

0816-bart-protests-Transit-Phone_full_380Mobile technology may be a powerful tool for grassroots organizing, but the flip side of the coin is that authorities can block such technology when they wish to crack down on dissent — case in point, San Francisco’s public transit system. SF Weekly writes:

This might just be a first in the annals of Bay Area transit agencies’ political suppression (such as those annals are). BART has fessed up to jamming cell-phone signals yesterday at downtown stations in San Francisco in order to disrupt protests over the death of Charles Hill, who was shot by BART police on July 3.

Here is what BART had to say in a statement on its tactics that was released today:

Organizers planning to disrupt BART service on August 11, 2011 stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police. A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

John’s Phone: Subversive Mobile Technology

john01Via Media Underground:

Saturday afternoon and I’d been sitting in my local pub for at least an hour drinking the remains of my second pint of beer. The local clientele were doing their usual: scrutinising their hand-held devices as though they were personal life-support machines requiring constant tweaking and attention.

Meanwhile, on the pub TV, the sordid details of News International’s phone hacking scandal were unfolding live before my very eyes.

“Jesus H. Christ!” I exclaimed out loud. “This isn’t just affecting a small cross-section of the population, this is a goddamned epidemic of massive proportions!”

The fat lawyer sitting in the corner briefly glanced up at me from his iPhone with an expression that suggested a mixture of contempt and confusion, before taking another quick swig of his drink and refocusing his attention on his brightly lit touch screen.

“Whatever happened to coming to the pub to engage in social interaction!?” I exclaimed.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Can The Police Search Your Digital Devices?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a “Know Your Rights” guide regarding police search and seizure of digital devices. Remember, law enforcement isn’t allowed to search your phone or computer without a warrant, your permission, or solid reason to believe that they will find incriminating evidence. Most important, only a judge or a grand jury can pry your password from you, so set one and you’re golden. Read the guide for more information.

know-your-digital-rights-32021-1309464402-3Read the rest

Continue Reading

Video: Witness Filmed Miami Police Shooting, Hid Memory Card In Mouth To Save Footage

Pretty incredible — after Narces Benoit and his girlfriend witnessed a deadly police shooting, officers put guns to their heads and smashed their cellphones in an effort to destroy the video he had shot. However, Benoit had managed to slip the memory card out of his phone and kept it hidden in his mouth throughout the ordeal, even while interrogated, CNN reports. Footage below:

Continue Reading

An Origami Phone You Can Fold And Use

Photo: Weii Designs

Photo: Weii Designs

Via Inventor Spot:

The Origami Handset is a sublime expression of lightness crafted by Chengyuan Wei (魏呈远) of Weii Design.

Currently living and working in the city of Hangzhou, Wei has been putting his education at Zhejiang University to good use, designing a number of esthetically pleasing items such as a self-balancing, Segway-style scooter for the INNO company and the eco-friendly, solar powered Light Gap clock.

It’s Wei’s minimalist telephone handset, however, that perhaps most succinctly expresses the artist’s rejection of “a unified system… created by big commercial corporations.” After disassembling a telephone handset one day, Wei discovered that “all the functional parts only took a small space inside the handset. So I thought maybe I can design a unique handset which has a light and material-efficient structure.”

Looking at the Origami Handset, you can see that these kinds of electronic devices really have very few parts and most of those are comprised of thin, flat circuit boards.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

World Health Org Study Says Mobile Phones ‘Possibly Carcinogenic’

Last week I was at the BookExpo trade show and a couple of dubious characters manning an outlying booth tried to sell me an ugly looking sticky thing to place on my iPhone and supposedly cut down harmful radiation. They measured the radiation coming from the iPhone on some sort of scanner and of course the needle jumped off the scale. But their device, whatever it was, made my iPhone ugly so I didn’t buy it.

I might have to track them down in the wake of what seems like a convincing study that the radiation from cell phones really is hazardous for humans. Labeling them as “possibly carcinogenic,’’ a panel of 31 WHO scientists deems them to be in the same category of harm as certain dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides.

Continue Reading

Why Do Gadget Makers Wield A ‘Kill Switch’?

Photo: Stahlkocher (CC)

Photo: Stahlkocher (CC)

Mark Milian writes on CNN:

When you buy a video game from Best Buy, you don’t give the retailer the right to barge into your house whenever it wants. So why do we give that permission to software companies?

Most popular smartphone operating systems and other electronic gadgets include what security researchers refer to as a kill switch.

This capability enables the company that makes the operating software to send a command over the Web or wireless networks that alters or removes certain applications from devices.

Apple, Google and Microsoft include this function in their platforms, along with a few lines in their usage agreements describing the policy. Google and Apple executives say this feature is important in order to protect against malicious software.

“Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs told The Wall Street Journal in 2008.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Department of Justice Asks for More Data from Apple and Other Smartphones

Crap Futurism Today the United States Department of Justice took an alarming stance on the subject of data collection during a Senate hearing on mobile privacy.  Rather than chastise Apple, Google, and other smart phone manufacturers over their data collection practices, the DOJ felt it was a better idea to encourage MORE data collection. Kashmir Hill writes on Forbes:

During a Congressional hearing today about how much privacy you deserve when it comes to your smartphone, senators made clear that they were uncomfortable with the sensitive location and personal data that iPhone and Android phones are collecting and to whom that data gets passed along.

During one panel, the senators grilled Google and Apple. During another, they had representatives from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission give the government perspective on data collection via mobile devices. While Jessica Rich of the FTC hinted that her organization would be investigating Apple soon, and urged companies to minimize the data they collect to protect the privacy of their users, Jason Weinstein a deputy assistant attorney general from the DOJ’s criminal division had a very different message: “MOAR DATA!”

More on ForbesRead the rest

Continue Reading

Michigan Police Device Can Reveal Drivers’ Phone Data, Texts and Pictures

Photo: Cellebrite

Photo: Cellebrite

CNET reports:

The Michigan State Police have a handful of portable machines called “extraction devices” that have the potential to download personal information from motorists they pull over, and the ACLU would like to know more about them.

The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information.

The problem, as the ACLU sees it, is that accessing a citizen’s private phone information when there’s no probable cause could create a violation of the Constitution’s 4th Amendment, which protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures.

To that end, it’s petitioning the MSP to turn over information about its use of the devices under the Freedom of Information Act. The MSP said it’s happy to comply, that is, if the ACLU provides them with a processing fee in excess of $500,000.

Read the rest

Continue Reading