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(InformationWeek)   Democrats push bill that mandates a "kill switch" for all smartphones sold in the US. To protect consumers, of course   (informationweek.com) divider line 124
    More: Scary, kill switches, barriers to entry, federal law, smartphones  
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2908 clicks; posted to Politics » on 16 Feb 2014 at 3:23 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



124 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-02-16 06:09:12 AM  
I say "go for it".  There is no way will this be abused by the government.
 
2014-02-16 07:55:01 AM  
You're missing the big picture, subby. Consider the bill's sponsers: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) . All women (Blumenthal is obviously a dupe).

It's not the Dems who are doing this for nefarious reasons. It's women. Be afraid, gentlemen. Be very afraid.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-02-16 08:40:43 AM  
a kill switch is no good if it's reversible because thieves would presumably be able to use the same recovery tools as theft victims.

You can design a system that fails if it is reversible. You can also design a system that is reversible but not cheaply by an ordinary gang of thieves.

For example, if there's a permanent hardware radio ID it can be blacklisted by the network.  A phone could have a chip that needs to be physically replaced.

Or how do they do it in countries where phone companies don't play along as accessories to theft?
 
NFA [TotalFark]
2014-02-16 09:16:27 AM  
How about this idea.

Instead of giving the government absolute control over everything you own, how about a permanent serial number which is searchable in a national database?  Before you buy, you check the serial number.

When a phone is stolen, you call the phone company and they list your phone as stolen and the permanent serial number can no longer be connected to a service until it's returned to the owner.

You can't register a stolen car, you can't register a stolen gun.  Why not cellphones???  Does it make since that the government would turn off your car remotely if it's stolen or you don't pay the registration on time?
 
2014-02-16 09:32:02 AM  

NFA: How about this idea.

Instead of giving the government absolute control over everything you own, how about a permanent serial number which is searchable in a national database?  Before you buy, you check the serial number.

When a phone is stolen, you call the phone company and they list your phone as stolen and the permanent serial number can no longer be connected to a service until it's returned to the owner.

You can't register a stolen car, you can't register a stolen gun.  Why not cellphones???  Does it make since that the government would turn off your car remotely if it's stolen or you don't pay the registration on time?


It's called the IMEI and all cell devices already have them.

The carriers could already do this but they like to make money selling new devices.
 
2014-02-16 10:07:46 AM  

BizarreMan: NFA: How about this idea.

Instead of giving the government absolute control over everything you own, how about a permanent serial number which is searchable in a national database?  Before you buy, you check the serial number.

When a phone is stolen, you call the phone company and they list your phone as stolen and the permanent serial number can no longer be connected to a service until it's returned to the owner.

You can't register a stolen car, you can't register a stolen gun.  Why not cellphones???  Does it make since that the government would turn off your car remotely if it's stolen or you don't pay the registration on time?

It's called the IMEI and all cell devices already have them.

The carriers could already do this but they like to make money selling new devices.


THIS!

Cell carriers can do as they wish your smartphone already.  They can live monitor your traffic, throttle data usage, track your location in real time and have a history of where you have been, and simply disable it's ability to access the network all using your IMEI, IMSI, or even your MIN.

I once diagnosed an LTE network issue live with Sprint as I drove within a market.  I gave them my MIN and they were able to watch the activity of my device live on their network.  They knew my geographical location, cell tower, technology, throughput etc.

All carriers can do this on the fly at a whim.
 
2014-02-16 10:08:09 AM  
They're going to get angry letters if the shut them down.
 
NFA [TotalFark]
2014-02-16 10:41:49 AM  

BizarreMan: The carriers could already do this but they like to make money selling new devices.


Sounds like THEY need to be regulated, not the general public.
 
2014-02-16 02:46:55 PM  

NFA: BizarreMan: The carriers could already do this but they like to make money selling new devices.

Sounds like THEY need to be regulated, not the general public.


Uuuum, no.  They're Job CreatorsTM and should be free from job-killing regulationTM.
 
2014-02-16 02:58:06 PM  

ZAZ: a kill switch is no good if it's reversible because thieves would presumably be able to use the same recovery tools as theft victims.

You can design a system that fails if it is reversible. You can also design a system that is reversible but not cheaply by an ordinary gang of thieves.

For example, if there's a permanent hardware radio ID it can be blacklisted by the network.  A phone could have a chip that needs to be physically replaced.

Or how do they do it in countries where phone companies don't play along as accessories to theft?


Trying to prevent people from reusing stolen hardware is a losing battle.  Protecting data would be the only important reason to have a kill switch.
That said, it's easy enough to make that reversible.  Encrypt the entire contents of the phone, but store the key in the phone's memory.  Flipping the kill switch encrypts that key, quickly rendering the rest of the data unreadable.  The guy who flipped the kill switch retains the only copy of the key.
That's more or less how Apple's kill switch service works, from what I understand.
 
2014-02-16 03:30:34 PM  
Oh woe is us!  That evil government is making us job-creators do something 'else' that will cost us money!
 
2014-02-16 03:34:31 PM  
it's not scary, It's just not a very good idea.
 
2014-02-16 03:35:47 PM  
If you're worried about someone stealing your phone and getting the data off it, then why not just install a really good password / locking app?

I mean, I don't worry about it on my, so you just have to move the ring to the center of the screen to unlock it.  But I've got a paranoid co-worker and his requires a 16 digit alphanumeric code if it's been idle for more than two minutes.
 
2014-02-16 03:37:29 PM  
Welcome to Obama's America
 
2014-02-16 03:38:48 PM  
Meh, if cellphone theft is eliminated the replacement will likely be more dangerous. They can take the damn phone, my wedding ring is more valuable (in dollars, not just to me) and would hurt a hell of a lot more ripping it off my hand. People who think this kill switch would somehow reduce crime in general are stupid.
 
2014-02-16 03:38:48 PM  
As if smartphones weren't already trying to kill us on their own, now the government is going to require it?
 
2014-02-16 03:40:10 PM  
I wonder how long it will be before some hacker locks off a bunch of these phones for the lulz.
 
2014-02-16 03:40:48 PM  

BizarreMan: The carriers could already do this but they like to make money selling new devices.


They also like to make money from a new contract for your stolen phone.  The industry could easily implement a system that locks out stolen phones, but they don't want to do it because it would cut into their profits.
 
2014-02-16 03:42:14 PM  
I know subby, I know. Common sense can be very scary to some people.

But don't worry, it is not your fault.

It is your parents fault. Stupid parents have stupid kids.

Seriously though, why didn't the free market already fix this problem? It is an option I would want, even pay more for on my phone. But I guess the free market makes more selling the victim a new phone at full price, and getting a new contract from the perpetrator.
 
2014-02-16 03:44:17 PM  
I got this functionality, or something very close to it, by flashing Cyanogenmod. I can't imagine why anyone with the technical ability (which isn't saying much - I'm certainly no geek, no matter how much I sometimes wish I were) would ever run a stock ROM.
 
2014-02-16 03:53:29 PM  

serial_crusher: ZAZ: a kill switch is no good if it's reversible because thieves would presumably be able to use the same recovery tools as theft victims.

You can design a system that fails if it is reversible. You can also design a system that is reversible but not cheaply by an ordinary gang of thieves.

For example, if there's a permanent hardware radio ID it can be blacklisted by the network.  A phone could have a chip that needs to be physically replaced.

Or how do they do it in countries where phone companies don't play along as accessories to theft?

Trying to prevent people from reusing stolen hardware is a losing battle.  Protecting data would be the only important reason to have a kill switch.
That said, it's easy enough to make that reversible.  Encrypt the entire contents of the phone, but store the key in the phone's memory.  Flipping the kill switch encrypts that key, quickly rendering the rest of the data unreadable.  The guy who flipped the kill switch retains the only copy of the key.
That's more or less how Apple's kill switch service works, from what I understand.


My Windows Phone also has two different ways it is can remote locked and wiped. I can either log into my work Exchange account and trigger the remote lock and wipe, or I can log into Windowsphone.com with the Microsoft account on the phone and lock, wipe, or ping the phone for a GPS location. Also, the phone will wipe itself if the PIN code is entered too many times.

Google also recent rolled out a similar service to most recentish Android phones. I think the big issue, especially with iPhones that have a high resale value, is that the thieves can often wipe the phone and then drop it off at a store or even an automated kiosk for trade in cash or credit.
 
2014-02-16 03:57:56 PM  

BMulligan: I got this functionality, or something very close to it, by flashing Cyanogenmod. I can't imagine why anyone with the technical ability (which isn't saying much - I'm certainly no geek, no matter how much I sometimes wish I were) would ever run a stock ROM.


Because some of us need functioning GPS, a functioning camera and stability. Just because a phone has CM available, doesn't mean it is the best solution.
 
2014-02-16 03:58:25 PM  
They don't want this to turn off one cellphone. They want this so they can turn of all cell phones in an area.
 
2014-02-16 04:01:44 PM  

theusercomponent: They don't want this to turn off one cellphone. They want this so they can turn of all cell phones in an area.


They could do so much easier by simply asking the cell phone company to turn off all the cell towers.
 
2014-02-16 04:02:15 PM  

BMulligan: I got this functionality, or something very close to it, by flashing Cyanogenmod. I can't imagine why anyone with the technical ability (which isn't saying much - I'm certainly no geek, no matter how much I sometimes wish I were) would ever run a stock ROM.


With inexpensive devices like the Nexus 4 and the Moto X giving you a pure Android experience without having to screw around with rooting and ROMs, it seems kind of pointless to load an ASOP ROM unless you are trying to save a few bucks on tethering.
 
2014-02-16 04:17:19 PM  

way south: I wonder how long it will be before some hacker locks off a bunch of these phones for the lulz.


In the first 24 hours.
 
2014-02-16 04:18:21 PM  
another reason I'm glad I haven't went the smart phone route yet.As long as I can call and text I'm fine with it. If I want to use a tablet I can use my ipad or fire. If I want to make a call I'll use my phone
 
2014-02-16 04:19:08 PM  

BMulligan: I got this functionality, or something very close to it, by flashing Cyanogenmod. I can't imagine why anyone with the technical ability (which isn't saying much - I'm certainly no geek, no matter how much I sometimes wish I were) would ever run a stock ROM.


It's easier for lazy people to blame the "free market" than do smart stuff (see post above yours for reference).
 
2014-02-16 04:22:45 PM  

BizarreMan: NFA: How about this idea.

Instead of giving the government absolute control over everything you own, how about a permanent serial number which is searchable in a national database?  Before you buy, you check the serial number.

When a phone is stolen, you call the phone company and they list your phone as stolen and the permanent serial number can no longer be connected to a service until it's returned to the owner.

You can't register a stolen car, you can't register a stolen gun.  Why not cellphones???  Does it make since that the government would turn off your car remotely if it's stolen or you don't pay the registration on time?

It's called the IMEI and all cell devices already have them.

The carriers could already do this but they like to make money selling new devices.


This is the law that needs to be voted through.  The resale value of a smartphone where the phone part doesn't work and can never be made to work is rather low, barring certain specific cases (early iPhones).  If that law goes in place and phone theft doesn't go down enough, then we can talk about smartphone wipe bullcrap.

It's like having a law mandating anti-theft devices in SUVs. What, cars and motorcycles don't get stolen too?
 
2014-02-16 04:23:04 PM  
This sounds too complicated! And infringes on our rights.  Yknow what, they should make it so you can't cancel credit cards if stolen either!
 
2014-02-16 04:23:32 PM  

WelldeadLink: As if smartphones weren't already trying to kill us on their own, now the government is going to require it?


I mentioned it in a different thread, but this seems like the perfect application for my tiny nerve-gas capsule in every cell phone invention. Simply wire the capsule to this kill switch, then after a phone is reported stolen, the next time the phone is activated the gas capsule bursts and then the phone's kill switch activates. People can sleep easy knowing thieves aren't accessing their personal phone data and phone companies still get to replace kill switched phones. It's win-win.
 
2014-02-16 04:23:41 PM  

Infernalist: Oh woe is us!  That evil government is making us job-creators do something 'else' that will cost us money!


Its not even about that,  The US government has absolutely no legitimate reason for having a way to shut down something I own without my consent.  This goes for cars as well.  The police do not have a right to remote shutdown something of mine.
 
2014-02-16 04:27:15 PM  
People are stealing other people's cell phones? Wow, I didn't see that coming.
Aren't fingerprint sensors becoming more common? Or do the thieves just cut off you fingers?
 
2014-02-16 04:27:16 PM  
But mobile carriers have resisted, according to Gascón, because they make billions annually from selling theft insurance to their subscribers.

That's kind of like saying car dealers have resisted putting self destruct mechanisms into cars because the car insurance industry makes billions annually.
 
2014-02-16 04:27:19 PM  

GardenWeasel: BMulligan: I got this functionality, or something very close to it, by flashing Cyanogenmod. I can't imagine why anyone with the technical ability (which isn't saying much - I'm certainly no geek, no matter how much I sometimes wish I were) would ever run a stock ROM.

Because some of us need functioning GPS, a functioning camera and stability. Just because a phone has CM available, doesn't mean it is the best solution.


I have all of those with one exception - the front-facing camera. If I were all about selfies, I'd probably use a ROM based on Touchwiz (obviously my device is a Sammy) rather than AOSP, but still not stock because I hate bloatwear and much prefer the performance of a non-stock kernel. Mostly, though, I get much better performance from CM - in particular, substantially prolonged battery life.
 
2014-02-16 04:29:34 PM  

voran: This sounds too complicated! And infringes on our rights.  Yknow what, they should make it so you can't cancel credit cards if stolen either!


Yeah! Those thieves worked hard to steal your shiat. Their profit is just the invisible hand of the free market rewarding them for their audacity!
 
2014-02-16 04:31:08 PM  
Sooo, a DSN/MEID check isn't enough of a way to protect oneself from crime, there's a move to be able to disable phones outright too.

I'm sure that can't be abused by a powerful entity at all, not at all, no way possible.

So the locking to particular providers isn't enough of a crippling, now I have to worry about my benevolent gooberment or the megabank that give lucre to my benevolent gooberment being able to shut off all video-recording phones at a protest, too?  Oh well, they only need one side of the story to ever make it to the propagandawaves, the one that is collected on their DVRs.

Where's Ben Richards when you need him?
 
2014-02-16 04:32:23 PM  
Why are we legislating things that people can already do themselves if they feel the need?

Yes, there's an app for that!
 
2014-02-16 04:32:48 PM  

OregonVet: Meh, if cellphone theft is eliminated the replacement will likely be more dangerous. They can take the damn phone, my wedding ring is more valuable (in dollars, not just to me) and would hurt a hell of a lot more ripping it off my hand. People who think this kill switch would somehow reduce crime in general are stupid.


Jesus christ.  This logic is everywhere and it's the worst.

"If we stop criminals from doing X, they'll do something worse than X!"

If they wanted to do something worse, they could now.  A robber can take your wedding ring whether or not your phone has a kill switch.

It's the same as "if we stop guns, mass murderers will do something worse!"

No, they probably won't.  Because they could do something worse already, and they aren't.  They're shooting.
 
2014-02-16 04:34:09 PM  
Fact 1: Unless you are obscenely rich (billions, not you pathetic losers with just hundreds of millions), you do not have enough money to control your own phone network.
Fact 2: Because of Fact 1, any remote anti-theft measure for your phone will have to be implemented through your phone company.
Fact 3: Your phone company is a faceless, emotionless, uncaring entity that only desires your money.
Fact 4: Your phone company already has the capability to remotely turn your phone into a useless brick any time they feel like it (the service is simply only available to certain consumers at this time).
Fact 5: Thieves already have the ability undo this useless-brickifying if they have the right equipment/knowledge.
Fact 6: You need to stop shiatting yourself over the fact that the government might soon give your admittedly evil phone company the ability to do a thing it can already do that you don't care about now.
 
2014-02-16 04:35:16 PM  

GardenWeasel: BMulligan: I got this functionality, or something very close to it, by flashing Cyanogenmod. I can't imagine why anyone with the technical ability (which isn't saying much - I'm certainly no geek, no matter how much I sometimes wish I were) would ever run a stock ROM.

Because some of us need functioning GPS, a functioning camera and stability. Just because a phone has CM available, doesn't mean it is the best solution.


Yeah, I installed CM and it killed my cat.

/some of us are able to install CM without farking up their phone. Like, by looking at the compatibility list.
 
2014-02-16 04:36:18 PM  

dynomutt: Sooo, a DSN/MEID check isn't enough of a way to protect oneself from crime, there's a move to be able to disable phones outright too.

I'm sure that can't be abused by a powerful entity at all, not at all, no way possible.

So the locking to particular providers isn't enough of a crippling, now I have to worry about my benevolent gooberment or the megabank that give lucre to my benevolent gooberment being able to shut off all video-recording phones at a protest, too?  Oh well, they only need one side of the story to ever make it to the propagandawaves, the one that is collected on their DVRs.

Where's Ben Richards when you need him?


Oh hey, it's one of Alex Jones' white knights. Haven't seen you in awhile.
 
2014-02-16 04:36:24 PM  
drawception.com


/serious moment; serial numbers are baked in the phone and while that's scary enough, they won't use them to limit access to the network and instead want to "kill" your phone because someone made a prank call?

This all sounds a like a setup for future DRM. I hate DRM, but i'm also not ignorant enough to believe there was an easy path to technological freedom. It was unlikely to begin with and the best of us keep the lights on while the rest of us just use what we're given.

I'd like to take this moment to say all hail, open-source.
 
2014-02-16 04:36:28 PM  

LittleJoeSF: Seriously though, why didn't the free market already fix this problem?


They did.  You've been able to kill Blackberries for years.  And since all the data goes through RIM's NOC if you send a kill signal and the phone is off, once you turn it back on it kills itself.  You could lock them with a new password or just wipe all the data and disable the phone completely.

Of course, the free market has rendered its verdict on that.
 
2014-02-16 04:38:10 PM  
I welcome this technology and would like to see police officers given the ability to use it to shut off cell phones being used by drivers.  If some people are unable to make handheld movies of themselves being beaten to a pulp by rogue cops, it's a small price to pay to take back our roads from the deadly handset using zombies who threaten the lives of millions.
 
2014-02-16 04:38:51 PM  
How to keep the govt from controlling your cell phone:

1) Install an app that allows you to control to fire your gun remotely

2) Your phone is now protected by the 2rd Amendment

You're welcom!
 
2014-02-16 04:38:59 PM  
It's a conspiracy1111!!!!!!
 
2014-02-16 04:40:40 PM  

spawn73: GardenWeasel: BMulligan: I got this functionality, or something very close to it, by flashing Cyanogenmod. I can't imagine why anyone with the technical ability (which isn't saying much - I'm certainly no geek, no matter how much I sometimes wish I were) would ever run a stock ROM.

Because some of us need functioning GPS, a functioning camera and stability. Just because a phone has CM available, doesn't mean it is the best solution.

Yeah, I installed CM and it killed my cat.

/some of us are able to install CM without farking up their phone. Like, by looking at the compatibility list.


I run a stock, rooted rom with an alternate launcher, and my cat was fine. Because all the peripherals work well, and I could clean out all the apps I didn't need, I don't feel the need to use any other ROM.

/don't uninstall your system android keyboard when you've also encrypted your phone
//when you boot next

///you're going to have a bad time
 
2014-02-16 04:42:06 PM  

Warlordtrooper: Infernalist: Oh woe is us!  That evil government is making us job-creators do something 'else' that will cost us money!

Its not even about that,  The US government has absolutely no legitimate reason for having a way to shut down something I own without my consent.  This goes for cars as well.  The police do not have a right to remote shutdown something of mine.


Bringing a car analogy into things is always good. Though I am surprised you didn't mention something about guns and taxes as well.

If you're using your car to break the law, and a judge orders it so, fark your consent.
 
2014-02-16 04:45:19 PM  

Warlordtrooper: Infernalist: Oh woe is us!  That evil government is making us job-creators do something 'else' that will cost us money!

Its not even about that,  The US government has absolutely no legitimate reason for having a way to shut down something I own without my consent.  This goes for cars as well.  The police do not have a right to remote shutdown something of mine.


Ooga booga, they're gonna getcha!
 
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