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.
Tag Archives | Cell Phones
Via Inventor Spot:
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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.
Trying to cultivate a traveler-from-another-era aesthetic but concerned that the look is ruined every time you pull out your Blackberry? Designer Ivan Mavrovic has a line of frightening steampunk cellphones to help stay in character. Now you’ll never have to pull out a bland businessman’s phone again.
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Mark Milian writes on CNN:
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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.
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 Forbes
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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.
Charles Arthur writes in the Guardian:
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Security researchers have discovered that Apple’s iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner’s computer when the two are synchronised.
The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone’s recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner’s movements using a simple program.
For some phones, there could be almost a year’s worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple’s iOS 4 update to the phone’s operating system, released in June 2010.
“Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – a jealous spouse, a private detective – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you’ve been,” said Pete Warden, one of the researchers.
Tania Branigan writes in the Guardian:
Government claims technology will ease transport congestion, but experts warn it could be used to control dissent…
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Human rights campaigners have expressed concerns over plans to track every mobile phone user in Beijing through global positioning technology.
Chinese media reported this week that pilot schemes were being introduced for an “information platform of real-time citizen movement” to help with traffic management.
Li Guoguang, deputy director of the Beijing municipal science and technology commission, said the project would be used to tackle congestion by allowing officials to monitor the flow of people through the transport system.
“To some degree, [it] can effectively increase citizens’ travelling efficiency and ease traffic jams,” he told the Beijing Daily.
He added that citizens would be able to buy the information, although more sensitive information – such as the location of individuals – would not be available.