Tag Archives | Smart Phones

Polls Galore

Boredom_coverStarting today, Disinfo will be hosting a weekly poll. They will go live on Wednesdays, last for a week and will be tied, in some way or another, to our documentaries. I will make an announcement each week with the new topic and the results of the old topic.


This week’s poll is about BOREDOM. One of the issues Albert Nerenberg discusses in BOREDOM is whether or not smart phones are making us more bored.

What do you think? You can answer on the right hand side of our homepage.

BOREDOM will be released on August 12, but we have limited quantities available for pre-order, if you’re interested.

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The Secrets Your Phone Shares About You

HK TST East Peninsula Centre sidewalk Three 3 Smartphone shop Nov-2012It may not come as a surprise that police and other government agencies can track your location via your mobile phone, but did you realize that many local businesses are doing the same thing or more? Elizabeth Dwoskin reports for the Wall Street Journal that businesses are increasingly installing sensors to track nearby potential customers:

Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.

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When Your “Smart Home” Gets Hacked

smart home

Via Forbes, Kashmir Hill reveals that the “demonic house” horror archetype may soon be coming true:

“I can see all of the devices in your home and I think I can control them,” I said to Thomas Hatley, a stranger in Oregon who I had rudely awoken with an early morning phone call.

He and his wife were still in bed. Expressing surprise, he asked me to try to turn the master bedroom lights on and off. Sitting in my living room in San Francisco, I flipped the light switch with a click, and resisted the Poltergeist-like temptation to turn the television on as well.

Googling a very simple phrase led me to a list of “smart homes” that had done something rather stupid. The homes all have an automation system from Insteon that allows remote control of their lights, hot tubs, fans, televisions, water pumps, garage doors, cameras, and other devices, so that their owners can turn these things on and off with a smartphone app or via the Web.

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Carrier IQ: The Rootkit Tracking Everything You Do On Your Phone

carrierIf you use an Android or Blackberry phone, likely it houses a piece of hidden software which logs the content of your text messages, web searches, and other activities, and transmits the information back to company headquarters. Lifehacker reports on the unfolding Carrier IQ scandal:

Android developer Trevor Eckhart last week released information and started an uproar about a widespread rootkit, called Carrier IQ, that’s capable of logging everything you do and comes preinstalled on a ton of smartphones-including various Androids, Nokia phones, and BlackBerrys.

Last week, 25-year old Eckhart discovered a hidden application on some mobile phones that had the ability to log anything and everything on your device—from location to web searches to the content of your text messages. The program is called Carrier IQ, and unlike the

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LulzSec Hack Revealed Cops’ Least Favorite iPhone Apps

CopRecorder[Site editor's note: Even though, they seemingly have called it quits, an intriguing swan song ... ] Andy Greenberg writes in Forbes:

… I noted a new suite of police-policing apps including OpenWatch and Cop Recorder, which turn your phone into a “reverse surveillance camera” for secretly recording run-ins with authority figures. Now it appears that police are well aware of those programs and others that complicate law enforcement, and at least some cops are none too happy about them.

That’s one of the revelations … by the hacker group LulzSec, which dumped a cache of files that it stole from the Arizona Police Department, calling Arizona a “racial profiling anti-immigrant police state.” A pair of documents among the hundreds leaked show concerns about how smartphones are being used for everything from recording interactions with police to evading speed traps.

One document labelled “Law Enforcement Sensitive” lists the following apps, and warns officers to “take the time to look at an arrestee’s cell phone to see what applications they have.”

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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.

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Technology Addiction Taking Its Toll

Windows Phone 7 mockupAfter getting a smart phone last year, I too feel the effects of technology addiction. It snuck up on me. I now feel like I spend a large portion of my day moving from one of three screens: my television, laptop, and cellphone. I find myself checking my collection of news sites and blogs, as well as my social networks quite often throughout the day. I’d say at least once an hour, if not more. While it has opened up many doors to knowledge and communication it also makes me wonder what exactly the implications of such a lifestyle change will have on my generation’s future mentality and health. Keeping a phone in my pocket right next to my…sensitive areas? We’re the guinea pigs to the virtual future.

Anybody else a little cautious about the 21st Century level of connectedness? Share your views down in the comments. Discovery News reports:

Many young Asians are finding it tough to cope without a gadget in hand.

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