Tag Archives | Cell Phones

China Plans to Track Beijing Citizens Through Their Cell Phones

Motorola L7

Photo: Kristoferb (CC)

Tania Branigan writes in the Guardian:

Government claims technology will ease transport congestion, but experts warn it could be used to control dissent…

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.

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Spam Kills: A Text Message Blows Up Russian Suicide Bomber By Accident

SpamWow, can’t believe I didn’t read this story before. From Andrew Osborn in the Telegraph:

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt on a busy square near Red Square on New Year’s Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Security sources believe a spam message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her but nobody else.

She was at her Moscow safe house at the time getting ready with two accomplices, both of whom survived and were seen fleeing the scene.

Islamist terrorists in Russia often use cheap unused mobile phones as detonators. The bomber’s handler, who is usually watching their charge, sends the bomber a text message in order to set off his or her explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.

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South African Thieves Steal Traffic Light SIM Cards To Make Free, Untraceable Calls

traffic_1An impressive slice of outlaw ingenuity: criminals have discovered that SIM cards used in high-tech traffic lights can be harvested and used in mobile phones to make free, untraceable, unlimited calls. Via the Guardian:
Hundreds of lights have been damaged by thieves targeting the machines' SIM cards, which are then used to make mobile phone calls worth millions of South African rand. More than two-thirds of 600 hi-tech lights have been affected over the past two months, according to the Johannesburg Roads Agency, causing traffic jams, accidents and frustration for motorists. The traffic lights use sim cards, modem and use GPRS to send and receive information, a system intended to save time and manpower by alerting the road agency's head office when any lights malfunction. According to Thulani Makhubela, a spokesman for the agency, the robberies have been "systematic and co-ordinated", possibly by a syndicate. An internal investigation has now been launched.
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New Mobile Phone App To ‘Spot Pedophiles’

If you’re going to rely on a phone app to keep your children safe, I suppose this is a good one. BBC News reports:

A mobile phone application which claims to identify adults posing as children is to be released.

The team behind Child Defence says the app can analyse language to generate an age profile, identifying potential paedophiles.

Isis Forensics developed the tool after parental concerns over children accessing sites on their mobiles.

But child protection experts warned against such technology lulling people into thinking they are safe.

Child Defence project leader James Walkerdine, based at Lancaster University, said: “This software improves children’s chances of working out that something isn’t right.

[Continues at BBC News]

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Cellphones Gain Population In Prisons,Though Banned

Photo: United States Department of Homeland Security employee confiscating a cellphone during a pat-down inspection

Photo: United States Department of Homeland Security employee confiscating a cellphone during a pat-down inspection

What do prisoners do for fun? Play games on Facebook, text their friends, and organize strikes via their smartphones. Though prisoners are locked up and cut-off from the outside population, they are finding ways to become and remain part of the digital society. The New York Times reports:

A counterfeiter at a Georgia state prison ticks off the remaining days of his three-year sentence on his Facebook page. He has 91 digital “friends.” Like many of his fellow inmates, he plays the online games FarmVille and Street Wars.

He does it all on a Samsung smartphone, which he says he bought from a guard. And he used the same phone to help organize a short strike among inmates at several Georgia prisons last month.

Technology is changing life inside prisons across the country at the same rapid-fire pace it is changing life outside.

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Former Jet Blue Flight Attendant Steven Slater Becomes Rapper

Jet Blue flight attendant, Steven Slater, received time in the spotlight aboard a flight for quitting his job and exiting on an inflatable slide. However, his fifteen minutes of fame didn't seem to be enough. In a country where fifteen minutes can be stretched into 3 seasons worth of fame, he has now decided to become a rapper. Line 2, a cell phone app that provides in-flight texting ability on airplanes that have Wi-Fi, has formed a contract with Slater. Steven Slater's rap single, "I'm A Rapper Bitches":
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What’s That Itch?!? Go Ahead And Pee On Your Phone to See If You Have an STD

CellphonesWelcome to our brave new world. (I’d like some soma, please if I ever have to do this…) Denis Campbell writes in the Guardian:

Mobile phones and computers will soon be able to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases under innovative plans to cut the UK’s rising rate of herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhoea among young people.

Doctors and technology experts are developing small devices, similar to pregnancy testing kits, that will tell someone quickly and privately if they have caught an infection through sexual contact.

People who suspect they have been infected will be able to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes, telling them which, if any, sexually transmitted infection (STI) they have. Seven funders, including the Medical Research Council, have put £4m into developing the technology via a forum called the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.

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Cell Phone Time Traveler In Charlie Chaplin Film?

With the DVD release of Charlie Chaplin's 1928 film The Circus, people have noticed a puzzling detail: a woman passing through the background of this scene appears to be speaking on a cellphone. Could she be a time traveler? The whole thing is even more unsettling than Chaplin's toothbrush mustache.
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Flirting in the 21st Century, Brett Favre Style

Brett Favre in 2006.

Brett Favre in 2006.

Via the First Church of Mutterhals:

Everyone knows I’m not exactly keen on manners. But in some ways I am downright old fashioned. For instance, if a man I was vaguely acquainted with took a liking to me and decided the best way to win my favor would be to forward a hastily snapped pic of his, oh, how should I put this, his wang; well let’s just say there is a very short list of people who could get away with such a thing without my taking out a restraining order.

You know where I’m going with this. Proving once and for all that he is a congenital retard, Brett Favre did the above to a comely female member of the sporting press, thusly taking a bad idea and making it monumentally worse. I know, I know, allegedly. Brett Favre allegedly stuck his cell phone down his shorts and allegedly snapped the most unspectacular and tepid alleged dong pictures I have ever had the displeasure of seeing.… Read the rest

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Facebook is Building an Android-Based Smartphone

Reports are surfacing of a Facebook-backed smartphone running Google’s Android system, built by INQ (who also manufactures a phone for Skype). GigaOm’s Om Malik says he’s been aware of the project “for quite some time,” and Bloomberg News reported that Facebook Inc. will release two AT&T smartphones in 2011, first in Europe and then in America. (Adding that 25% of Facebook users access the social networking site with their wireless devices.)

“Like some people would love to have a Hello Kitty phone or a Batman phone, there are undoubtedly buyers waiting with bated breath for a phone that says Facebook on it…” notes one technology blog. “The buying public seems to be entranced with the idea of the phrase ‘Facebook phone’ so rumors persist.”

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