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Bluetooth Surveillance Tested In the UK

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the turn-the-darn-thing-off dept.

Crime 85

KentuckyFC writes "If you live in the city of Bath in the UK and carry a Bluetooth-enabled device, your movements may have been secretly monitored in an experiment designed to test surveillance techniques in prisons. Researchers from Bath University recorded the movements of 10,000 Bluetooth-enabled devices during their 6-month trial. They say the experiment was a test of a technique for monitoring the interactions between prisoners in jail that could be used to work out which inmates have become closely associated. The work was prompted by revelations that the Madrid train bombers who devastated the city in 2004 first met in a Spanish prison (abstract)."

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I've been experimenting with this a while. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23161804)

Since I got my bluetooth dongle about 2 years ago, I've been working out ways to scan and exploit devices in range. I wrote about it here [notlong.com] . The only trouble I find is increasing the range =(

Re:I've been experimenting with this a while. (5, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23161962)

Don't click notlong.com link in parent. Nasty stuff.

Re:I've been experimenting with this a while. (1)

zedlander (1271502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162346)

Since I don't actually want to click the link, what's actually on this slashblog.notlong.com that keeps getting troll-linked?

Re:I've been experimenting with this a while. (4, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162870)

It redirects to a link on nimp.org which is the last measure - a load of shock sites and a loud samples. If you have flash or javascript enabled it will crash the browser with essentially a forkbomb. I opened it in Opera with flash and javascript off and it looks like it's trying a Java exploit too.

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Last-Measure [nationmaster.com]

Re:I've been experimenting with this a while. (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162482)

How many cups where there, and how many girls?

Re:I've been experimenting with this a while. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23165970)

repetitive troll is repetitive, meh.

mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (2, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 6 years ago | (#23161818)

expect civil liberties to really hit the roof over this one... whatever happened to the right of free association?

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23161944)

expect civil liberties to really hit the roof over this one... whatever happened to the right of free association?

You give up certain rights when you are sentenced to prison. Now, granted, my only knowledge of the U.S. prison system is from watching plenty of Oz [amazon.com] , but it seems that few crimes happen in prison with just one prisoner against another. Prisoners build up networks for mutual defence and revenge, and if Prisoner A gets slammed by Prisoner B, it's possible that Prisoner B had accomplices. Tracking the social networks of prisoners would allow prison staff to find all the people responsible for plotting a crime, not just the guy who did it (who might even just be a fall guy). When a lot of prison murders are happening because one dude wants initiation into a gang, it's important to uncover the whole criminal enterprise if you want to stop future crimes.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23162098)

firstly, you don't give up the rights, those charged with protecting them stop doing that job (the effect, of course, is much the same).
Secondly, the point is that this experiment was run in public without the knowledge or consent of the innocent people who were its subjects. Now, at the moment this is just academics doing what academics do, but mark my words, the police will try to get hold of this technology. My advice to the researchers is to publish their results, then destroy all the equipment and schematics.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162100)

Wouldn't it be easier to just look at their gang tattoos? Even then, you can't prove guilt based on association, so it's kind of pointless.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162334)

When it comes to suicide bombers theyre unlikely to have gang tattoos, but i may be wrong. More importantly you dont want to wait till a suicide bomber is guilty, you want to monitor them before theyre guilty and stop them. Youd have to be some sort of religious nut [wikipedia.org] to care if he was guilty or not after hes dead [wikipedia.org] .

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

conan1989 (1142827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23168106)

maybe it's just a intermediate step, soften the people up under the pretense of terrorists, think-of-the-cildren, etc. the direction humans are heading, won't be too long before we're all chipped for tracking, the credit card [or any other form of money transaction] is done through this chip. Keep the people fed and entertained and they'll never revolt!

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162314)

Couldn't they just put up cameras with night vision everywhere?

What, you expect privacy in prison? When you're in prison, you've lost your rights.

Even so, prisoners have been shown to be very ingenious when it comes to creating weapons, booze, etc. One blog that gave me a lot of insight into the matter is Fire On The Line [fireontheline.com] (although right now it's done and they are looking for a new author).

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23162056)

never takes long for an alarmist slashbot to appear.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (3, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162212)

mandatory bluetooth collars next???
Yes. The obvious next step to analysis of open-air traffic is electronic tagging and tracking of free citizens. Of course, that will just be to get us to drop our guard while they prepare to implant their dream-recorders to preemptively stop terror by arresting us for thought crime.

Want to buy some tin-foil? Your head looks cold.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? BUTT, (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165124)

for prisoners, they will be implanted with double-inner-outer sphincter gateway THRESH HOLDS to determine which have conjugal relationships that might INspire acts of violets, ummm, violence outside the walls of the pre-sons.

Now, we need to come up with a new ANAL LOGGY for "You've got BLING AROUND THE CALLER". Does that make the prison "bitch" a fish, a thresher, or a threshing fish?

Hmm, that only shows who's being conjugated UPON. So, maybe the guards and administrators need them, too. Bluepoo Chastity Devices.. BCDs... Bad Conduct Detection devices?

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (3, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162244)

expect civil liberties to really hit the roof over this one... whatever happened to the right of free association?
You do not, and never have had that right in the UK. It's just that until recently it was rarely enforced.

It's already too late. The sun is setting on democracy in the UK.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163622)

Setting? Pfft. It set a long time ago. Mind you I live in Bath and I can imagine they got plenty of data because on the rare occasions I turn on BT on my phone (usually to give or get some 'humourous' file from a mate while drunk) there are absolutely loads of devices around all called things like "Mr Gorgeous" or "Sexy Bitch". Classy place, Bath.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164298)

It's already too late. The sun is setting on democracy in the UK.
Heh.
You let me know when they do something about that hereditary monarchy.

Just because the monarch doesn't exercise a lot of their powers, it doesn't mean they aren't there.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23168934)

The British people can have a monarch if they want, who are you to decide their form of governance? Britain was a republic for several decades during the 1600's before deciding to reinstate their monarch.

Personally, I'd rather a king I trusted and who had his realm's best interests in mind then a bunch of corrupt politicians willing to change laws for whichever companies 'donate' to their campaign fund.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23175276)

>>>"the 1600's before deciding to reinstate their monarch."

I don't think they "decided" to reinstall the monarch. The ruling class decided they didn't want the "mob" taking-away their power, and so they killed the republic on purpose, despite protests from the people.

BTW:

People keep talking about democracy. Democracy is simply "tyranny of the majority to squash the minority underfoot". A republic that protects the individual's rights & is ruled by the law (not a king or a parliament) is a better form of government for everyone. The Law makes everyone accountable for their crimes, and protects even the weakest of citizens.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23169986)

While the monarchy continue to do things like:
- say funny things that the media can laugh at ("Nanotechnology will turn the world to grey goo!")
- give advice to the Prime Minister (who all say their weekly meeting with the Queen is very useful -- after all, she's been in international and domestic politics for at least 50 years)
- bring together all the countries of the Commonwealth, which includes e.g. Canada and Austrialia, but also a lot of small countries that otherwise would be pretty obscure
Then I think we're fine. If the Queen actually /did/ anything then people might get a bit annoyed.

Several European countries still have a monarchy, e.g. the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain. They seem like good examples of democracy to me -- most are better than the USA.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23166920)

Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, with which the UK claims to be fully compliant, guarantees exactly that right. So nyah.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

Prisoner's Dilemma (1268306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162844)

Who needs a mandatory collar? 90% of the population has a cell phone glued to their ear anyway. And they already have a unique identifier, mandatory GPS (for your protection of course), and most(if user is the owner with account) are linked to all your other information like SSN and Address.

Which give all your financial information (credit reporting companies and banks, thanks FCRA and Patriot Act).

And is also already linked to all your medical information (MIB)

And soon, to your Google genetic predisposition to browsing goat porn.

Look on the bright side. We're getting close to where they will stop eroding your privacy. Too bad it's because there won't be any privacy left to erode.

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23165702)

hah it's hard enough to get anyone in this country to understand the consequences of phorm let alone anything on this level

Re:mandatory bluetooth collars next??? (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23198662)

whatever happened to the right of free association?
Whither, Timmy Mallett?

I suspect the guards. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23161852)

This project is going to discover that the GUARDS have contact with prisoners that go on to commit crimes.

Prisoner-A and Prisoner-B commit a terrorist act of child pornography and BOTH of those prisoners will have had contact with Guard-C in Prison-D. Therefore, every other prisoner who had contact with Guard-C is a potential terrorist child pornographer.

Really. That's all that you're going to find from this. This is a waste of money.

Re:I suspect the guards. (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 6 years ago | (#23167260)

What the hell is "a terrorist act of child pornography"?

That explanation smells like bullshit (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23161858)

Tracking prisoners? With Bluetooth devices? Horseshit.

RFID is a far better choice - it's passive (no batteries) and it's cheap. I bet the purpose of Bluetooth tracking is to track non-imprisoned people.

Re:That explanation smells like bullshit (2, Insightful)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162080)

If you're going to broadcast your music, your cell phone conversations, and whatever other data people transfer by bluetooth to anyone in a ten meter radius I don't see why you should be so up in arms about someone happening to receive and record that information.

Re:That explanation smells like bullshit (3, Insightful)

BlueshiftVFX (1158033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162546)

If you're going to broadcast your television programs, and whatever other data people transfer by satellite to anyone in the whole continent I don't see why you should be so up in arms about someone happening to receive and record that information.

The problem is the Corporations don't like it and they have more power then a bunch of un-herded sheep. Together the sheep have the power but with so many rumours and misinformation it's easier to divide and conquer them then the few CEOs that hold all the power of the corporations.

I do agree though this is horse shit fluffed up and polished to appeal to the sheep.

Re:That explanation smells like bullshit (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163356)

Satellite providers try to stop you.
Its also easy to stop with Bluetooth.

Whats your point?

Re:That explanation smells like bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23165462)

The difference between TV programs and bluetooth data is that TV programs are protected by copyright and the bluetooth data that is being recorded likely isn't copyrightable. Though if you do believe this data is copyrightable, why not let them record your data then sue them for copyright infringement?

Re:That explanation smells like bullshit (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162324)

The tracking algorithims would be the same, abit with a different input.

Re:That explanation smells like bullshit (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23163194)

Well, if they're not testing the sensors, but are actually testing the software that calculates the associations between ppl, then using it on an unknowning population who are already broadcasting is a good test. Wether it's bluetooth or rfid is really irelevant, you can plug in any type of sensor that can distinguish that an individual is in range.

Re:That explanation smells like bullshit (1)

onedotzero (926558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23168722)

I know it's bad form to RTFA, but, FTA:

Their idea? Fit inmates with RFID tags that allow their positions to be monitored, and then number crunch the resulting data sets to see who spends the most time with whom.

Re:That explanation smells like bullshit (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23169058)

RFID is a far better choice - it's passive (no batteries) and it's cheap.
and causes cancer [slashdot.org]

Not even pretending. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23161874)

So I guess Britain's not even pretending anymore that there's a difference between free people and imprisoned criminals.

Who wants to bet that this data will be subpoenaed in a case in the future?

Re:Not even pretending. (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162278)

Who wants to bet that this data will be subpoenaed in a case in the future?
And stored on a DVD, laptop or external drive that ends up gone missing. (again) [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Not even pretending. (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162322)

There were so many things wrong with that comment that I'm struggling to pick a place to start.

Let's start with the fact that you subpeonas don't exist in the UK, to the fact that the research was carried about by students and not the government. We'll then move on to the fact that the ideas of 2 non-entity university students does not represent the opinions of 60 million British citizens as you seem to think. Then, we'll finish with the assertion that your comment is a nonsensical knee-jerk reaction to a complete non-issue.

How did I do?

Re:Not even pretending. (3, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163066)

Right, right. Apparently, they're called "witness summons" now for people, though I have no idea what you call subpoena duces tecum nowadays. I'm sure that you have some procedure for compelling potential witnesses to a crime to appear and present documents -- like this data.

While two university students don't represent your whole population, the tolerance you people have of being watched by cameras all day does. Frankly, I find your countrymen somewhat distubring for supporting 24/7 pervasive surveillance.

And it's not a non-issue. It's a demonstration of a technique to track the coming and goings of non-criminal citizens for the purpose of determining who they associate with. So what if they claim the ultimate goal is tracking actual prisoners? They've demonstrated a far more useful purpose for it for a nanny state. Can you not imagine the utility this would have in tracking down members of protest groups? This is so much easier to sort through than video footage.

Re:Not even pretending. (2, Interesting)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163742)

Right, right. Apparently, they're called "witness summons" now for people, though I have no idea what you call subpoena duces tecum nowadays. I'm sure that you have some procedure for compelling potential witnesses to a crime to appear and present documents -- like this data.
The presenting of data which was legally gained to a court of law is not an invasion of privacy. There's nothing personally identifiable in the data they've collected, so it would be challenging to actually link this to a potential crime.

While two university students don't represent your whole population, the tolerance you people have of being watched by cameras all day does. Frankly, I find your countrymen somewhat distubring for supporting 24/7 pervasive surveillance.
Good combination of exagerration and an absolutely ridiculous generalisation that isn't substantiated by a single fact. I'm going to hazard a guess that you only get your information about the UK and security issues from Slashdot articles, which is a pretty sure-fire way of getting overblown and inaccurate information.

And it's not a non-issue. It's a demonstration of a technique to track the coming and goings of non-criminal citizens for the purpose of determining who they associate with. So what if they claim the ultimate goal is tracking actual prisoners? They've demonstrated a far more useful purpose for it for a nanny state. Can you not imagine the utility this would have in tracking down members of protest groups? This is so much easier to sort through than video footage.
Wow, you've worked out a tool that can be used for good can also be used for evil and that it all depends on who is doing the work. You're so caught up in your default attitude of hostility that you can't see past the end of your own nose.

In all this you forget that if the government really wants to track citizens to that level, it's trivial to triangulate someone's cellphone position even if they're not using it using existing technology, not to mention that recording someone's phone calls is far more useful than collating encrypted Bluetooth data and trying to work out who is saying what.

Re:Not even pretending. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23166902)

The presenting of data which was legally gained to a court of law is not an invasion of privacy.
I assume that you're hinging that argument on a rather self-reflexive definition of "legally gained?" i.e. If it's legal it's not an invasion of privacy because privacy is only a legal term?

I think most people would disagree. By that standard, anything the government approves of isn't a violation of your rights.

There's nothing personally identifiable in the data they've collected, so it would be challenging to actually link this to a potential crime.
Doesn't mean that it's not a potential target for a fishing expedition. If you find out that a criminal used a Bluetooth phone in the area, then it sounds like fair game to me if you think they might have ties to other criminals (e.g. street gangs, drug dealers, etc.)

If you've got their Bluetooth IDs you can confirm whether or not they've met with certain people. Naturally, you have to check the personal devices of each person you suspect.

Good combination of exagerration and an absolutely ridiculous generalisation that isn't substantiated by a single fact. I'm going to hazard a guess that you only get your information about the UK and security issues from Slashdot articles, which is a pretty sure-fire way of getting overblown and inaccurate information.
A Telegraph poll [ukpollingreport.co.uk] showed 65-97% acceptance of CCTV in varying situations.

Not that my own country is much better [go.com] .

Wow, you've worked out a tool that can be used for good can also be used for evil and that it all depends on who is doing the work. You're so caught up in your default attitude of hostility that you can't see past the end of your own nose.
Oh, wow -- and that fact that it could possibly be used for good completely overshadows the fact that *to test it*, they used it for evil.

In all this you forget that if the government really wants to track citizens to that level, it's trivial to triangulate someone's cellphone position even if they're not using it using existing technology, not to mention that recording someone's phone calls is far more useful than collating encrypted Bluetooth data and trying to work out who is saying what.
This is your best argument. While triangulation isn't *that* exact AFAIK, nearly every Bluetooth device you're going to care about relates to a cell phone, and cell phones can't be switched into "non-discoverable" mode.

But really, Bluetooth is incidental to what they're actually testing. In the paper, they point out that RFID is more practical inside a prison. The real innovation here is that database to correlate who associates with who.

This technology is equally useful with any and all means of tracking that work on a fine-grained enough level. That they decided to use this on random, involuntary bystanders shows a depressing lack of concern for privacy.

Re:Not even pretending. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23169848)

If you find out that a criminal used a Bluetooth phone in the area, then it sounds like fair game to me if you think they might have ties to other criminals (e.g. street gangs, drug dealers, etc.)
This is running in Bath in the UK. The closest you'd get to street gangs are blue-rinsed old ladies buying tea and shortbread.

Re:Not even pretending. (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162668)

These radio signals are floating round a public space, exactly what is wrong with this? If you don't like it, read your phone's manual.

Re:Not even pretending. (1)

tattood (855883) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163368)

Agreed. I always turn off bluetooth on my laptop and phone unless I am actually using it. The only time I use bluetooth on my phone is if I am going to be driving a long distance and do not want to fiddle with holding the phone if I get a call.

Re:Not even pretending. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163378)

Yes, it's fixable. That doesn't mean it wasn't a scandalous disregard for the privacy of private citizens by a bunch of people doing research under a government grant.

(And one for urban design and pervasive systems -- not for anything having to do with correctional facilities. Odd, that.)

Workaround: Ditch bluetooth devices... (1)

Toasterboy (228574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23161888)

As if people up to this sort of nefarious thing would carry bluetooth devices, or use non-disposable cell phones.....

Obviously prisons are a poor solution to the "undesirable waste persons" created by our economic system.

Perhaps more resources should go into fixing the socio-economic situation that drives the behavior that gets people into the prisons....

Re:Workaround: Ditch bluetooth devices... (1, Interesting)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162062)

If anything, a criminal would carry a bluetooth spoofer. All it has to do is capture the signal of another bluetooth device, and just broadcast it as your own.

Maybe even set it up so you press a button, and it randomly picks another bluetooth signal nearby and starts broadcasting that one. Would entirely defeat the system, and cost maybe 20$ and a bit of time at radioshack.

Re:Workaround: Ditch bluetooth devices... (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162284)

But, where are they going to hide a bluetooth spoofer during a strip search?

Oh, wait, it's a prison... never mind, sorry I asked.

Re:Workaround: Ditch bluetooth devices... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162246)

The work was prompted by revelations that the Madrid train bombers who devastated the city in 2004 first met in a Spanish prison

Obviously prisons are a poor solution to the "undesirable waste persons" created by our economic system.


No, they do their job well. A pot farmer goes to prison and learns how to rape children and bomb trains. As far as teh government is concerned, growing pot is far worse than rape and murder.

It's a matter of a government's priorities.

Re:Workaround: Ditch bluetooth devices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23162842)

Why would anyone want to rape a bomb train? Aside from being uncomfortable, it would seem pretty dangerous...

Re:Workaround: Ditch bluetooth devices... (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163922)

Why would anyone want to rape a bomb train? Aside from being uncomfortable, it would seem pretty dangerous...
250m of Virgin Train [virgintrains.co.uk] doesn't appeal then?

Re:Workaround: Ditch bluetooth devices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23169156)

250m of Virgin Train doesn't appeal then?

Just because it says 'virgin' on something doesn't make it so. I hear these trains have 'been around a bit' and none of them have been virgins for several years...

Hey faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23161910)

Fuck you. [twofo.co.uk]

Aren't Bluetooth devices for communication? (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23161972)

Why not giving cellphones to the prisoners?
I mean, what kind of devices you give to prisoners so they are not able to hack and communicate without being close to each other?

hmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23161998)

What does the case study prove really? Only that prisoners talk to other prisoners. I fail to see how this proves intent.

Sure while in prison a prisoner may talk to someone who may have ties to a terrorist organization. But if/when they get out and they do not commit terrorist acts, the hours spent on tracking him would be for not.

Re:hmm (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162136)

Yeah but you can see if new groups form, remember if your in jail then you've already lost your liberties, so they're free to watch you as much as they want in there.

Re:hmm (1)

azadrozny (576352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162588)

You are correct. I don't believe that it would show intent; however it could reveal networks in the making. If John and Mark have no known ties to each other, but are observed spending an abnormal amount of time together, you could reasonably infer that they have become friends. It does not mean that if John is a known terrorist that Mark will become one too. But it could be useful information in the future, so if Mark were to be found with a trunk full of explosives, you could investigate John, to see if he supplied them.

Oh puhleeeese! (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162018)

If you live in the UK, (especially London) you know your movements are being monitored - there's a bloody video camera every 12 feet.

Re:Oh puhleeeese! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162268)

We have a few here, too. Unfortunately they never got around to posting the "big brother is watching" posters here in the US.

Re:Oh puhleeeese! (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162294)

I wonder if anyone has thought of tagging prison uniforms with a machine readable prisoner ID? I guess prisons have vast numbers of cameras and microphones, you could hook them up to a computers and track people without any bluetooth bug. You could split the communal areas into smaller units and make the prisoners show their machine readable prisoner ID to enter.

It'll be good preparation for the world of work even if you don't get any useful information.

Re:Oh puhleeeese! (2, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162336)

If you live in the UK, (especially London) you know your movements are being monitored - there's a bloody video camera every 12 feet.
Not just London -- everywhere in the UK. There's nearly 5 million of the things. So all you have to do is match up the video to the bluetooth signal from the (easily traceable by bank details or credit card) mobile phone. So if you have a hoodie or a baseball cap on, then they still know who you are (or whose phone you've stolen).

Re:Oh puhleeeese! (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23164006)

If you live in the UK, (especially London) you know your movements are being monitored - there's a bloody video camera every 12 feet.
Not just London -- everywhere in the UK. There's nearly 5 million of the things.
5 million? How many cameras can one person monitor? Most of them aren't monitored, and aren't even looked at unless a crime is reported.

I don't mind when they're clearly used for finding a criminal: there's an assault in a station and the criminal is on CCTV. Fine.

When they're used to track people that's a different matter (e.g. person X being detected automatically in places X, Y and Z: investigate further). AFAIK nothing like that is happening.

Re:Oh puhleeeese! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23164114)

Or better still to the cellphone number, which is being broadcast whenever the thing is switched on.

I don't know why people are so bothered by CCTV cameras. Facial recognition is extremely hard, even tracking objects is difficult (especially in crowds). But tracking cellphones is dead easy. By design, they report their positions and unique IDs frequently. No cameras required - the phone company has a record of where you went, going back as far as they want to store it.

How is this different than.. (2, Interesting)

h.ross.perot (1050420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162030)

.. the tracking feature in your current cell phone? The nature of "Cells" enables device tracking.. Thats how it works.. Cells monitor and could record differential signal strength and plot your movements easily. Even with the tracking feature "disabled" I; for one welcome ....

Re:How is this different than.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23164234)

This type of tracking is, of course, already in use. It is used to find missing persons. Naturally, it will also be used to catch criminals, and if you are paranoid you might like to imagine all sorts of ways in which it could be abused, e.g. by the stalker who gets a job at a cellphone company so he can find out where the pretty ladies live.

This tracking is unavoidable if you have a cell phone. I've no idea why people care about Bluetooth and CCTV...

Then don't broadcast? (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162118)

Newsflash: Broadcasting a signal to anyone in range is a very easy way to get yourself tracked.

Re:Then don't broadcast? (2, Interesting)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162392)

Well yes of course, but let's not assume that lack of tech familiarity is justification for getting 1984-ed by the benign government. I can't believe the general public is being used as testing grounds for civil rights abuses in jails. It's very funny if you think about it. It's also the scariest thing the big brothers in the UK have come up with in a long time.

What about battery life issues? and the devices... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162130)

What about battery life issues? and the devices may be used as a weapon as prisoners are very good with tuning just about anything into one.

So tell me why.... (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162146)

Unrelated to the article....Where the hell are our Bluetooth Star Trek combadges? Hmmm? I mean, really, how farking hard can this be?

-A PC is set up as a "server" station.

-Off The Shelf earpieces are paired up to the bluetooth dongle.

-Server keeps a record of what's paired to it.

-Remote PC's act as access points that check with the main machine to see what earpieces are paired to the system and who they are assigned to for symbolic link purposes.

In my quasi-clued brain, I can see the outline for a locater service (Vox commands like "locate bob" that query what machine bob was last paired to, or is currently paired to) and simple voice comms over Asterisk from earpiece -> station to station -> earpiece.

The shortcomings would be someone who's not in range of a bluetooth dongle is out of communication, someone who's no carrying their badge (which we've never seen happen before in any episode of star trek), and trying to split comms between two dongles that are paired to the same access point.

C'mon internet. Get off your fannies and get cracking!

Re:So tell me why.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23162700)

The Trek designers had no sense of style. The correct interface for this is a Hoff-style watch you talk into.

Seems like a dirty BIG BROTHER THING...but... (1)

rdhatch (1253652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162200)

While this seems like a dirty Big Brother thing to do, and something that many Americans would think that are government would never do, I wouldn't put it past the US to do just that. In their defense, why not? If they are _truly_ doing it for the better good (prisons, terrorist tracking, etc), is it really all that bad? You cant devise a better test case scenario... Some food for thought anyway. I have pretty strong opinions for both sides on something like this.

Bluetooth in jail? (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162202)

Bluetooth is so secure anyway... they're no way they could exploit it... /ROFL

We're safe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23162390)

The only thing that can save us is our government's incompetence.

Don't worry about privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23162494)

there is a terrorism angle....

But think of the children! (1)

chowhound (136628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162666)

These guys are going about it all wrong. Just come up with a child safety angle and your shit's gold, winston!

Danbury wasn't a prison.. (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23162688)

It was a crime school. I went in with a Bachelor of marijuana, came out with a Doctorate of cocaine.

Not secret, not new (1)

JoeInnes (1025257) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163306)

It certainly hasn't been secret - the project was made available as a facebook app, so you could track your whereabouts, and see who you hung out with most often (pretty shitty stuff, but still...) I would bet that most of the data weren't even collected by Bath University themselves, but by third party "hotspots" who thought it was a cool idea.

I reckon I first encountered the Facebook app about a year ago. Also, if you're wandering round with your Bluetooth on, someone seeing where you are is probably about the least invasive thing they could do. It's also almost certainly legal to pick up what someone else is broadcasting, unencrypted, within 50 yards of your current location, regardless of whether or not you feel that it should be.

Just scaremongering (1)

threeite (859963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23163468)

The author forgets to mention that the website of the research group [cityware.org.uk] , which you think might be somewhat relevant. I'm a student at Bath. I'm not connected with the research, but I have attended (highly secret) public seminars where they talk about their work, and it isn't evil or secret or somehow going to lead to the end of humanity as we know it. They are a group of computer scientists with vague, fluffy ideas about how they can understand people by logging bluetooth device interactions. The network of sensors is rubbish. I have a bluetooth phone which I have registered with the associated facebook application [facebook.com] ... In the few weeks I have been registered I have been spotted associating with two other bluetooth devices... neither of which I know the owner of. Although I'm commenting on Slashdot, I have believe it or not, associated with more than two people in the last 3 weeks!

Sounds like an extension of Cityware (1)

aj50 (789101) | more than 6 years ago | (#23165364)

After a quick read of the paper, it seems like another use for data collected in a similar way to their Cityware project (although there's no mention of data being shared between the two, they seem to use similar techniques to log bluetooth device encounters).

The crux of their argument seems to be "you can infer personal relationships by looking at which people spend time together in different places," along with a lot of stuff about how the raw data can be analysed to discern this. I can see how this could provide useful information in a prison setting where participation is enforced rather than optional, probably using RFID rather than bluetooth.

Cityware is a project looking at links between social networks online and in real life. They have created a facebook application which allows you to track who you're most in contact with around their base stations in real life (I know there's several around the Bath Uni campus). It works to an extent but is mostly limited by who happens to have bluetooth on and has gaps in their timetable at the same time.

More worrying is how else this data can be used. Last semester I, as part of a group of students, developed a prototype application for a smart phone which would scan for bluetooth devices, look up the facebook profiles of any which were known to Cityware and display a list of people, with a photograph, on the phone's screen. It could also log where you'd met certain people using GPS and store this on a remote database.

Devastated the city? (1)

SillyCON (695977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23170184)

The 2004/03/11 Madrid train bombings killed almost two hundred people, mostly commuters. Bombs exploded while trains where stopped at stations, but didn't produce many material losses. So the "devastation" was only human and animical.

Whats all the fuss about? (1)

Rexdude (747457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23174060)

Bluetooth phones can be set to function in 'hidden' mode. Doing this makes the phone visible only to another paired Bluetooth device. A paired device is one that you trust and connect to frequently-say your headset or laptop. Pairing also requires a shared key for encryption. I always operate bluetooth in hidden mode when I need it (typically i use the headset while driving), and I turn it off when not needed to conserve battery power.

How is this a problem? Keep your bluetooth turned off when you're not using it, and make it visible only to paired/trusted devices. Leaving it on and visible also exposes you to bluetooth attacks and mobile phone viruses that spread via infected bluetooth messages.

Vassilis Kostakos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23174286)

You may be interested in this follow-up article:
http://cityware.org.uk/vk/files/bluetooth_privacy.pdf
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