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The Smartphone That Spies, and Other Surprises

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-see-what-you-did-there dept.

Security 132

GMGruman writes "As smartphones become ubiquitous accessories, unexpected consequences can result. In this blog post, InfoWorld's Galen Gruman looks at some of the unintended consequences of mobile technology's ubiquity, in which very useful technology can also raise issues. For example, the US Army has put out a training video to tell troops how to disable the location detection on iPhones and Androids so they can't be tracked when on deployment. That's just one example of the behavior and awareness that most people haven't yet grokked. Others involve cameras, microphones, and USB drives."

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any chance (2)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632084)

someone will put out a phone with built in privacy?

Re:any chance (2)

thewils (463314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632128)

For sure, but then only "terrorists" would want one.

Re:any chance (2)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632196)

For sure, but then only "terrorists" would want one.

A good excuse for the government to put a secret tracking device in all "untrackable" phones.

Re:any chance (1, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632162)

Yes. It's called a brick.

Honestly, a phone is designed for social interaction, you can't have 100% privacy while audibly conversing with someone, they are bound to at least know the sound of your voice...

You want a phone that doesn't have a GPS built in to track you, a camera to be logged, or a microphone to listen in on, go to a shady pawn shop, find a flip phone from 2001, call your telco about setting up the new phone, it might be as simple as moving the sim card over and having them change the device ID they have listed.

Seriously, strong privacy options are out there but most people want to be able to snap a pic and upload to facebook right away - so of course you don't get phones designed with privacy in mind.

Re:any chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634102)

"... you can't have 100% privacy while audibly conversing with someone..."

Audibly? You must be an old fart like me, the kids only do >3000 messages and umpteen tweets a month but no talking.

Re:any chance (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634394)

Eventually, TSA will require all phones to scan through clothes and broadcast an updated image every 4 minutes to Hot or Not.

Re:any chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632174)

I'd like privacy, but I would also like the option to record a phone call on demand.

Are there any phones, or apps for phones that allow one to record phone calls on a cell phone?

Re:any chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632214)

Probably not.

The people who talk to you like privacy, too, so there are pretty serious laws about recording conversations.

Re:any chance (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632402)

Depending on the state where you live, and generally the laws are about secretly recording conversations. All you have to do is tell the person you're recording them before they say anything.

Re:any chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633198)

Where I live, you don't even have to tell the person unless you aren't a party of the conversation yourself.

Re:any chance (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632418)

Probably not.

The people who talk to you like privacy, too, so there are pretty serious laws about recording conversations.

Those laws vary from state to state. Some states, for instance, only require the consent of one of the parties, not both.

Re:any chance (1)

Gunkerty Jeb (1950964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632726)

That didn't stop Linda Tripp.

Re:any chance (1)

NerdyLove (1133693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632702)

I believe Google Voice can record calls, and my old Nokia 4400 (I think, was a little slider) had an option to record like 6 minutes of a call. It made a very annoying beep on both sides when you activated that feature, though.

Re:any chance (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633086)

Google Voice has the option of recording a call. You can route your GV number to your cell phone, and presto...

Re:any chance (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632388)

someone will put out a phone with built in privacy?

Yes, it's called two tin cans and a piece of string.

Re:any chance (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632786)

Sorry. One problem: Google Maps. You need to add: duck while you're doing it.

Re:any chance (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633758)

someone will put out a phone with built in privacy?

Yes, it's called two tin cans and a piece of string.

If you tie another string with a can at the other end to the string between the first two cans, you can overhear or join the conversation.

Re:any chance (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634022)

Seeing as how the lines need to be taut to work, you would need to pull on your end, letting the other two parties know there was an eavesdropper.

Re:any chance (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634336)

Maybe, if I used a small lightweight paper cup and hung it on the line and stuck some really high tech mic into it... Maybe the pull would be small enough for the others not to suspect anything.

Re:any chance (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634582)

Or you could use a line tied to mine at the center and pulled in both directions with the same force. Damn it, I just undid my own example.

Re:any chance (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634954)

I don't know... I've heard that these things get really finicky when you add enough cups. With some angles and number of cups you'll be able to hear just some parts of the conversations. I have a feeling directions perpendicular to the original line would be problematic, but maybe if both pulled in opposite directions from each others, but not at 90 degrees from the original line, and maybe the eavesdroppers would need to combine their notes...

And, obviously it would be a good thing if both the original speakers would be blind or in a dark cellar... Come to think of it, I think I heard these things can be used around corners.

Damn. The more I think about it the more I find I don't know about this technology and I really don't think anything but experiments or asking an expert can help at this time.

 

Re:any chance (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632616)

Anti-Smartphone Phone Launched For Technophobes [slashdot.org]

"A Dutch company has launched what it calls 'the world's simplest phone [johnsphones.com] ,' targeting users who are sick of new-generation models. Only capable of making and receiving calls, John's Phone is dubbed the world's simplest mobile phone, specifically designed for anti-smartphones users. It does not provide any hi-tech features. No apps. No Internet. No camera. No text messaging. All you have to do -- in fact, all you can do -- is call, talk and hang up."

Re:any chance (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632710)

It does not provide any hi-tech features. No apps. No Internet. No camera. No text messaging. All you have to do -- in fact, all you can do -- is call, talk and hang up.
 
You don't have to be crazy to want a phone like that but you do have to be crazy to pay 79.95 EUR ($105) for it.

Re:any chance (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634648)

You don't have to be crazy to want a phone like that but you do have to be crazy to pay 79.95 EUR ($105) for it.

This price seems pretty reasonable to me - By comparison, an unlocked, carrier-agnostic entry-level iPhone is over $500. Even a baseline LG GB250G is $150.

Re:any chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634932)

And yet I got a contractless 'pay-as-you-go' flip phone for $10 five years ago, and it is _still_ more advanced than I want.

I would gladly trade out the crappy LCD screen and trade it for a 10x4 character display. The fanciest I want is a clock and a battery indicator. I bet such a phone would cost ~$5 and have a battery life measured in weeks.

Re:any chance (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635396)

And yet I got a contractless 'pay-as-you-go' flip phone for $10 five years ago

If it was a TracFone or one of their ilk then while it was contractless, it was still locked - So that's not a fair comparison. TracFones are locked because they're subsidized based on the *expected* future revenue from the purchase of airtime.

See more -

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080714/0053011666.shtml [techdirt.com]

Re:any chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633910)

Doesn't E-911 on cell phones require that the location be sent? Is this required on new phones? I know this can be turned off for everything but 911 calls but can this feature be turned on without a 911 call for situations where the person is missing, etc.?

This battle may have already been lost.

luddite?! moi?! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633596)

maybe you're ready there for a Jitterbug, pops, with you quaint ideas about privacy and such...

Re:any chance (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633686)

but then how would social networking work? The functionality behind the smart-phone drives the lack of privacy. The motivation of the supplier is not to give us privacy, quite the opposite. Bottom-line, we can only buy what they decide to sell and they will sell what makes them money. The true question is are we the driving revenue or is the collected information the biggest revenue? Then you can figure out who is the true customer and who are the cattle.

Re:any chance (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634472)

Any chance someone will put out a phone with built in privacy

At least the Iphone gives you the option to disable location services for some or all apps requesting it. It's not much but still it's more than I expected.

Re:any chance (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635838)

At least the Iphone gives you the option to disable location services for some or all apps requesting it. that is something

Re:any chance (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636170)

The N900 is the closest modern phone to what you want, but even the cell network tracks your location, so no phone is private until you even disable the cell radio.

same old story (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632106)

It really is the same old story again.

When the first iPhone was launched, one of the showcase apps was something where you could see where all your friends are. The first iPhone didn't have GPS, so it was WiFi and GSM triangulation and not very accurate, but my first thought was "do I want that?".

Shouldn't it have a toggle - a hardware one even, just like the mute one - where I can decide whether I want my location shared or not? It should be quick and easy to toggle between those states. I would be off most of the time, other people would be on most of the time, but everyone has reasons, times or places they don't want to be located.

Re:same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632210)

http://chmag.in/system/files/permscreen3.png

Install programs that don't ask for that, and you won't be tracked? Seems simple enough for me.

(Or if you already have, use the provided power widget and
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_C5a2qH8Y_jk/TL-BlBFZdTI/AAAAAAAAA9I/O37rcMBrV2o/s1600/AndroidEnableGPS_01.png )

Re:same old story (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633136)

Install programs that don't ask for that, and you won't be tracked? Seems simple enough for me.

Exactly.

If deployed to an overseas location, simply remove any such tracking apps from your phone.

The military could force app developers to reveal any data collected and shared, and those apps have to be removed before deployment, or have controls that turn it off.

Of course it would make more sense if Google/Apple started controlling the markets a little tighter and make app developers justify collecting and revealing location data.

Currently it just indicates it can access the data, not what it does with that data.

Re:same old story (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632292)

Off/Airplane mode.

Re:same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632596)

With some phones, you need to remove the battery, the microphone may still be active even if the phone is switched off.

Re:same old story (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633014)

Nonsense.
Name one such phone. [gauntlet]

Even if the mic were active, with no radios running there would be no risk of your position being revealed or your conversation being over heard.

Re:same old story (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633248)

There have been several stories regarding smartphones that drained the battery even while switched "off". It was discovered that the phone was simply switching off the interface, and going into a low power mode, but was still capable of data transfer (via the radio) in the background. The last report I recall had something to do with people receiving large bills for data use while roaming -even tho they had not used the phone.

Perhaps someone who is not as lazy as I am will google the references...

Re:same old story (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633496)

Several stories do not a citation make.

Re:same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634176)

Several stories do not a citation make.

No, but Bull Lea and Hydroplane do.

Re:same old story (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634352)

And Chevy used to.

Re:same old story (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636254)

What's true is that phones have varying definitions of "off" and on some you may have to pull the battery to disable the cell radio.

Re:same old story (2)

Tynin (634655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633804)

Hi, I'm not up for going to deep on this one, but here is the /. article [slashdot.org] that says the FBI has these kinds of toys. You might have to dig hard to find the phone make/model... not sure.

Re:same old story (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634328)

Nope. Doesn't say a thing about working when the phone is off.

Furthermore, back in 2003, (the date this Ardito bugging went down) we would be talking about a Razr most likely. When Razrs (like all phones) are off they have no radio's running.
(That's the law).

So Ardito never turned his phone off. Its a lot easier when the subject of surveillance dutifully charges your bug's battery every night.

  http://www.nysun.com/new-york/buster-ardito-hunts-for-bugs/34885/ [nysun.com]

Shouldn't it have a toggle - a hardware one even, (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632384)

what an excellent idea!

Re:same old story (2)

drcheap (1897540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632416)

Well you can have a fairly quick and accessible toggle via SBSettings if you jailbreak an iPhone. Users of some other phones aren't so lucky.

I agree that there needs to be a quick and easy way to toggle it, but at the same time you are going to need a few of those toggles, not just location but things like wifi, 3g, etc. But wait, that's going to get confusing/annoying to be constantly flipping toggles on the side of your phone (or even in software). That will actually detract from the device useability, and people will think negatively about it. Just look at laptops that have a hardware wi-fi radio toggle...in my experiences about 90% of people who have them do not use them, and of those at least half probably don't even know what the switch does.

The truth is people (read: general public, read: where the $$ comes from) don't care enough about the security, or at least don't weigh it higher than the inconvenience factor of having it. For this reason, the device and/or OS manufacturers don't spend R&D as well as production costs on it because that would increase the retail price. In otherwords it doesn't make business sense to the creator of the tool to make a better tool, so why bother?

Another problem with toggles like this is that they only have two states...ON/OFF. Well what if I want to be able to use "location services" to find myself on teh googlemap, but I don't want my coordinates stamped into my EXIF data? Nope, sorry, all or nothing Mr. Consumer, sucks to be you.

Re:same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34634206)

Already modded so I have to post AC, but if your on a jail broken iphone try LocSpoof. It lets you white list and black list individual apps or set apps to ask every time.

Very useful little program.

-dp

Re:same old story (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632474)

You claim that everyone has reasons, times or places they don't want to be located.

I claim that is not true, as an example, people who read slashdot do not have illicit sex.

Re:same old story (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632824)

I keep my GPS turned off.. not because of this issue, but because of battery drain... and if I recall correctly, you have to opt-in to share your location, and then only to people you know.. which I would never do without a specific reason (say perhaps visiting some strange city with family/friends where we all go our own way exploring).. Further I also believe that even when you have this enabled, you can disable it any time you want... I am too lazy to look it up, and as I don't use it anyway, haven't needed to look it up.

Re:same old story (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633076)

Alright I spent a minute looking it up... http://google.about.com/od/mapsanddirections/p/Latitude_WhatIs.htm [about.com]

Location Sharing:
Latitude allows users to share their physical location with other users on their contact list. Likewise, they can see the location of their contacts.
Privacy:
Your location is not broadcast to the general public. In order to share your location, both you and your contact must agree to the service and explicitly turn Latitude on. You can disable Latitude at any point and either selectively or globally turn location sharing off.

Re:same old story (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633246)

GPS is not that much of a battery drain. Its a very low power receiver. It only is switched on when something asks for your location.

Turning GPS off often drops the phone into a mode where it has to fire up radios (hint: very high battery drain) to find where you are by triangulation with the towers. Usually this is when you are using the radio anyway, but it lengthens the transmissions with additional traffic.

If the APP says it uses your location, and you install it anyway, you pay the price.

So you are being pound foolish and penny wise by powering down the LEAST battery drain receiver only to force the use of the worst battery drain transceivers.

Re:same old story (4, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632996)

I agree- There is a lot of room for improvement. For example, in the Android realm, when you download a new app, it tells you which permissions it wants - if you click the OK button, you've granted all those permissions. This is backward. It ought to be that you tell an app which of the requested permissions you'll allow. Second, there is no firewall on Android devices, unless you decide to root your tablet or phone. This should be standard. Finally, it's missing some other key tools that make for a more secure environment - for one, more control over things like Javascript.

There is a toggle (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633558)

You can turn off location services in settings, either generally or by app.

Also when you are using a new application, you are asked two times when the application requests position, if you are OK with giving your location. It's not like applications can get your location without you knowing pretty well they are doing so.

Re:same old story (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633648)

My first thought at seeing the title of the article was "who is really surprised ?" I mean it is not like we have been talking about that for more than a decade...
You have a microphone linked to a radio-emitter with a behavior you can not verify and everybody wears one. If you told that to a citizen of a democracy in 1980, it would tell you it is a potential Orwellian world. I mean people who call that a "surprise" are clearly lacking any sort of insight.

Re:same old story (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634146)

'but my first thought was "do I want that?"'

Since your ID is 822, it's not for you, it's for your granddaughters.

Re:same old story (1)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634294)

When the iPhone was launched, it didn't have 3rd party apps. I don't know what this showcase app you're talking about is/was.

Loopt, Facebook, etc let you check in so your friends can see where you are using the device's GPS, however the only way an app can access the GPS is through the API (otherwise your app won't get accepted to the app store). When the API is called, it asks the user if it wants to let the app use the GPS or not.

This is an important benefit of the app store + approval model that Apple has chosen that I think a lot of the "apple's walled garden" crowd seem to forget.

Getting tired of this... (4, Insightful)

S77IM (1371931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632236)

Am I the only one who thinks that when I buy a piece of hardware it should be mine to control, and that the company that built it should not be allowed to control it via software? For example, I want full and explicit control over whether programs can read my location -- like, a physical switch or something. Or the stories about how the FBI can remotely activate your phone's mic and listen to your conversations. That's kind of crap.

Then this article comes along and... they want to give my boss control over my phone? Sorry, but that sucks too.

  -- S77IM

Re:Getting tired of this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632718)

> Am I the only one who thinks that when I buy a piece of hardware it should be mine to control,

No, but there aren't very many who agree with you. I am one who does agree with you, but then, I haven't bought one of the current smart phones for the very reason that it does not become mine to control after purchase.

But don't for a minute think that we have much company. I'm guessing less than 1% of the populace cares.

Re:Getting tired of this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633036)

Yes. You are, in fact, the only one. Now shut up.

Re:Getting tired of this... (2)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633142)

The day we as users found connectivity convenient to "locate" things on the web... corporations and governments realized the same thing, where s/locate things/locate YOU/. We allowed ourselves to be put in a game where we all want to play, and the price is that we must allow 2-ways tracking --otherwise our products never see the light of day.
That the tracking leans heavily against us, even the paying customers is what the public is just discovering with Facebook (paid apps), governments versus Wikileaks and digital cellphone services.

Getting tired of this...Other's rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633286)

Am I the only one who thinks that when I buy a piece of hardware it should be mine to control, and that the company that built it should not be allowed to control it via software?

Correct, now that we've addressed YOUR rights, here's the rights of those who's premises you enter. YOU can't come onto said premises with YOUR hardware, end of story. Ain't FREEDOM grand?

Re:Getting tired of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633460)

iphone settings -> general -> location services.

You can control which apps can access your location.

Re:Getting tired of this... (3, Informative)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634524)

Didn't you know, you don't BUY a piece of hardware? You LICENSE it. That means you have the right to use it only how they say you can use it. That allows Microsoft to brick your XBox if you mod it, Sony to remove features (Other OS), Apple to dictate which networks you can use your iPhone on, etc., etc.

Re:Getting tired of this... (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634598)

If it is a company issued phone, your boss already owns it. (If you don't want your boss to see your extensive porn collection, don't surf porn on the company phone.)

Being able to have your provider remotely access and/or wipe your phone is a feature that most people actually want. If you lose your phone and it can't be remotely wiped, what do you do about your private data? Grin and bear it becasue you smartly locked your phone down so that if it isn't in your hands, you are powerless? That sucks too. So turning off any and all remote access would be a dangerous thing to do.

Re:Getting tired of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635122)

Am I the only one who thinks that when I buy a piece of hardware it should be mine to control, and that the company that built it should not be allowed to control it via software?

Don't buy hardware that does things you don't like. You will find that this means not buying hardware at all, because the number of people who want this "feature" is two orders of magnitude too small to be worth building custom hardware for.

I have an idea ... (5, Funny)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632264)

says a General:

Let's give every soldier a smartphone.

Oh, and, to insure 100% privacy and OPSEC, let's have our Chinese suppliers build a "do not track" button into the device, which we'll tell the troops to activate when going out on a mission.

Re:I have an idea ... (2)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632472)

This is not about any army issue equipment. That's all made in the USA and the soldiers are trained in its use. It's about the soldiers' own personal phones.

Re:I have an idea ... (4, Insightful)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34634002)

Which doesn't at all change the point the parent is making... you don't have many options to verify that that button actually does what it claims to do, whereas it is a pretty well known fact among those who ever digged into the technology for a little bit, that a cellphone can be located to within a couple hundred meters, smartphone or not, location services or not.

If the military wants to make sure soldiers aren't trackable during deployment, forbidding cellphones alltogether is the only option.

Re:I have an idea ... (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635792)

only if you are using civilian towers. The military can, and has, put up their own 'towers' There not really towers since they can be redeployed easily.

Re:I have an idea ... (1)

digit1001 (1009191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635316)

Don't be ridiculous, an outsourced software group in Russia will be hired to review the specs to make sure everything's legit...

taking phone on deployment? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632296)

Hang on, I thought you did not take identifiable stuff with you when on deployment?
Name and rank is all that is given? (according to tv anyway!)

"Oh sorry Mr Torturer, I got a call from my girlfriend, can we stop the beatings whilst I take this?"

Re:taking phone on deployment? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633388)

Your definition of deployment is not the one presumed here.

It doesn't mean when on a combat mission in a war zone.

It merely means when stationed somewhere other than the US where your phone is running on networks not owned/controlled by friendly companies, and where there are elements in the general population what would love to put a bullet in your ear.

Even wandering around in supposedly friendly countries (with a certain level of enemy sympathizers) with your phone reporting your position to facebook or some of the "check-in" applications that desperate young people tend to use puts you at risk.

If all an attacker has to do is buy a phone and join some social meat-up (spelling intentional) site, it becomes fairly easy to find a target.

grok? really? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632338)

As much as I love Heinlein, using the term grok just doesn't work. It doesn't make you look cool. It doesn't make you look well read. It just doesn't work.

Re:grok? really? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632494)

As much as I love Heinlein, using the term grok just doesn't work. It doesn't make you look cool. It doesn't make you look well read. It just doesn't work.

+1.

Word choice is critical in making short messages easy to gro.., er, understand.

Re:grok? really? (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633538)

Word choice is critical in making short messages easy to gro.., er, understand.

Net-jargon that has failed to be approved for dictionaries will confuse readers of automatic translations --they were never perfect to begin with, but are increasingly ubiquitous.* [digitaltrends.com]

People don't think they'll reach readers whose native language isn't theirs... that'll change: see how quick we link to Sweedish translations of Assange's newspaper stories, for example. This is important enough that a certain mainstream browser goes "It looks like you were sent to a Chinese website... want me to translate it to English?"

Re:grok? really? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633078)

Using it makes you look fucking ancient. "Grok" was in fashion a LONG time ago. Time to let it go.

Re:grok? really? (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633888)

Using it makes you look fucking ancient

I'm not the submitter, but I am fucking ancient! Now GOML!

IMO anybody who cringes at "grok" has no right to call himself a nerd. It's one of OUR words; normal people have no clue what "grok" is.

Grok" was in fashion a LONG time ago

Anybody who gives a shit about fashion has no right to call himself a nerd, either. And saying "it was in fashion a long time ago", well, "understand" was "in fashion" a lot longer (and "grok" means more than just "understand").

Re:grok? really? (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633544)

I was about to make my own post about this, it's fucking irritating (i'd rank it right up there with Microsoft's 'to the cloud!' ads), and I'm glad I didn't (potentially) have to eat the loss in karma. mod AC up informative.

You mean I'm not the only one with electrical tape (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632358)

Placed conveniently over the lenses of all my netbook, laptop, and cellphone cameras?

I honestly don't care if people hear me jerking off online, but I'm sure they can do without also seeing my manboobs bouncing furiously as I wank it to intarweb pr0n.

Re:You mean I'm not the only one with electrical t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632728)

Oh please, you think we want to hear you yiffing? You furries are all the same.

Probably proud of it when people hear you getting carried away in all your role playing.

Location detection (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632398)

C'mon, this isn't exactly a secret - a lot of non-geek users know about it, and many seem to see it as a plus. Ever hear of the app "Friend Tracker", for instance?

While I personally agree this is a bad thing, a lot of non-geeks don't appear to agree. Heck, I've even got geek friends who obviously don't care about being tracked - at least it seems that way, based on the plethora of "Joe X is now at Slim's Sub Shoppe" messages I see from them on Facebook.

Re:Location detection (1)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632772)

..While I personally agree this is a bad thing, a lot of non-geeks don't appear to agree. Heck, I've even got geek friends who obviously don't care about being tracked...

I don't see what being a geek or non-geek has to do with it. I'd consider myself a geek and I think it's fun to have all those location updates when I'm out and about (especially if I can find something whitty to say about the places I go).

The difference, though, is as a geek, I at least understand what I'm sharing.

Ignorant masses. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632452)

I find several things appalling with regards to these sorts of things.

Where to start? I find it to be sickening that blackberry phones have been -known- bug devices. They can be remotely powered on, without alerting the user in any way (no lights, sound, etc) and various agencies can listen in on any private conversation the person is having, while the phone is presumably off in their pocket.

I find it really sickening that this has been known for years. *years* and so so so few people have any idea.

I find it really really sickening that most people would consider this to be some wild eyed tin foil hat conspiracy theory and never look into it, but in particular because, generally speaking, people that dismiss people as being foolish 'conspiracy theorists' are well reasoned rational mentally healthy people with a healthy amount of skepticism.... but these same people are somehow so foolish on the other end of the spectrum in that they never stop to rationally think things like this through--

Is the ability to bug the vast majority of a population a positive thing? Yeah. For alot of reasons. It could be used for good (although it, in and of itself, may be a bad thing from the standpoint of civil liberties / privacy etc).

Do we have the ability to do it? Yes.

When you add those two together it doesn't really have to make you a 'conspiracy theorist', it is entirely rational to infer and conjecture on this subject when we have a great amount of history to look back on and see what extent various shadowy government agencies have gone to to achieve this sort of thing with primitive means in the past. (I am referring to the fact that the CIA used to plant bugs in cats and train said cats to approach and dwell amongst people that the CIA wanted to listen to in public areas like parks etc. Noone suspects an animal of being wired.)

But mostly I find it abhorrent that, although the NSA / CIA blackberry phone tapping has been known for years- very few people know it and noone who took the pledge to uphold the constitution and the principles contained therein that is in a position of responsibility to the people of the united states is doing anything about it. There should be absolute public outrage over this, but instead, people are just happy it syncs with their computer.

When things like that can happen, in daylight, when agencies supposed to uphold the law of the land instead circumvent it blatantly and not face penalties from the people nor the government, we have failed as a society and as a nation.

Anyone that doesn't realize we are in a free fall right now is going to have a really rude awakening very soon, before they are promptly put back to sleep permanently.

Re:Ignorant masses. (1)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633212)

What Ignorant Masses? Maybe "Paranoid Coward" or "Captain Imagination" is a better name for you.

I've been admin of various BES boxes for many years, including my own personal BES at home. I've seen ways to remotely shut down/lock/erase blackberries but I've never discovered a way to remotely turn on a phone that's already off in someone's pocket. Interesting. I wonder why the battery doesn't die on these turned-off phones in everyone's pocket since of course they must still be awake ("on") enough to receive the mysterious remote-on signal that you're talking about?

Lies. All lies, plain and simple. To what end? What benefit do you gain from trying to spread this BS?

Re:Ignorant masses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633548)

I see the government shill is on top of things.
Carry on then.

Re:Ignorant masses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34633982)

Hilarious. You still haven't explained how a phone that's turned off can receive a turn-on signal.
Keep rocking the tin foil, it looks good on you.

uh... (1)

timeaisis (1679624) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632514)

...did he just say grokked?

Re:uh... (1)

ears_d (1400833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34632552)

Yeah, he (she) did. Funny how old geek speak isn't being carried on....

Re:uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632782)

Sorry, tardo but "grok" is not geek speak. You nerds may have tried to co-opt as your own, but it's not yours.

Re:uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632980)

it was stolen fair and square.

you can try and steal it back, but you and your ilk are a bunch of pussies, that make even the sunken chested slashdotter look like hercules.

Re:uh... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633262)

It never really was. Just like 'boxen', it was only used by people that wanted to sound like they knew what they were talking about.

Re:uh... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633918)

Warms the heart, doesn't it? Glad to see there are still a few real nerds here.

Among other things to cram in a smartphone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34632924)

Reminds me of a trivial paragraph of The Turing Option (by Harry Harrington and Marvin Minsky) where a business had deployed company-issued smartphones. The microphones were always on, and if the speech recognition system determined that the employee was spilling the beans to the federal investigators, it set off the plastic explosive. In the story this stunt ended up trashing half the floor of an office building as half-a-dozen phones went off roughly simultaneously in one room.

Smartphones have microphones? (1)

phlamb (1900314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34633894)

"Built-in microphone and cameras also can have unintended consequences... personal embarrassment (forgetting to end a call, then be heard talking like a sailor by a client)."

How, exactly, is this new to smartphones?

Re:Smartphones have microphones? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34635808)

or ANY phone?

If it's on it can be tracked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34635472)

Well shit the telcos are logging every cell your phone passes through and that is enough to figure out what you are doing and who you are with given a few months of data so switching off the GPS makes it a little harder to place you. Mind you an app that shoots soldiers seems pretty cool and that would require the GPS to be swtiched on and I suppose an opt-in.

How to disable the location technology (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636102)

You mean, by removing the battery? Unless the phone is OFF, it is possible to at least trace which cell tower it is closest to.

Grokked?? (1)

kenbo0422 (1567789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34636322)

Who the hell uses THAT word?? Still living in the Sci-Fi fantasy world?
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