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UK Police Roll Out On-the-Spot Mobile Data Extraction System

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the doing-it-faster dept.

Cellphones 145

Qedward writes "The Metropolitan Police has rolled out a mobile device data extraction system to allow officers to extract data 'within minutes' from suspects' phones while they are in custody. 'Ostensibly, the system has been deployed to target phones that are suspected of having actually been used in criminal activity, although data privacy campaigners may focus on potentially wider use.'"

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Too cumbersome (5, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40024999)

Why not just have all cell phone communications pass through government servers where everything can be easily skimmed and saved?
Seems like it would save a lot of trouble.

Re:Too cumbersome (-1, Troll)

thomsonjones (2639465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025247)

A few weeks ago, I foolishly ran a strange executable file that one of my acquaintances sent me by email. As someone who doesn't know much about computers, at the time, I thought nothing of it. "Why would my acquaintance want to hurt me?" Following this line of thought, I ran the file without question.

How naive I was. Despite having what was supposedly the best anti-virus software out right then, a virus took over my computer and held it hostage. It was pretending to be a warning from Windows telling me to buy some strange anti-virus software I'd never heard of from a company I'd never heard of to remove the virus.

This immediately set alarm bells off in my head. "How could this happen? My anti-virus is supposed to be second to none!" Faced with this harsh reality, I decided to take it to a PC repair shop for repair. They gladly accepted the job, told me it'd be fixed in a few days, and sent me off with a smile.

A few days later, they called me and told me to come pick up my computer. At the time, I noticed that they sounded like whimpering animals, but I concluded that it must just be stress from work. When I arrived, they, with tears in their eyes, told me that the virus was so awful and merciless that they were unable to remove it. "Ah," I thought. "That must be why they sounded so frustrated and pathetic over the phone. Their failure must have truly ruined their pride as professionals." I later found out that two of them had committed suicide.

After returning home, I tried to fix it myself (despite the fact that even the professionals couldn't do it). After about a day or so, I was losing my very mind. I stopped going to work, stopped eating, was depressed, and I would very frequently throw my precious belongings across the room and break them; that is how bad this virus was.

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MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my system, and increased my speed! If you're having computer problems, or even if you aren't having any obvious problems, I recommend that you use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . As a user, it did more for me that any so-called "professional." It'll even boost your PC & internet speed!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

FUCK YOU AND YOUR SPAM (-1, Troll)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025269)

FUCK YOU AND YOUR SPAM

Re:FUCK YOU AND YOUR SPAM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025567)

About six months ago, I was overexerting myself trying to get rid of a terrible virus on a client's PC (I own a PC repair shop and have been fixing computers for over 10 years). Given my level of expertise, I thought I'd be able to get rid of it fairly quickly and without hassle, but as was made evident by my colossal failure, I was horribly, horribly wrong.

I couldn't remove the virus no matter what method I used. I tried all the latest anti-virus software and all the usual tricks, but it was all in vain. Failure after failure, my life was slowly being sucked away as I spent more and more of my time trying to get rid of this otherworldly virus.

Frustrated and stressed by my own failure, I began distancing myself from my wife and children. After a few days, I began verbally abusing them, and it eventually escalated into physical abuse. I was slowly losing what remaining sanity I had left. If this had continued for much longer, it is highly probable that I would have committed suicide. A mere shell of what I once was, I barricaded myself in my bedroom and cried myself to sleep for days on end.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] ! I installed MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] right on the client's PC, ran a scan, and it immediately got rid of all the viruses without a single problem. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] accomplished in record time what I was unable to accomplish after a full week. Wow! Such a thing!

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MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Re:Too cumbersome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025271)

ACs start at moderation score 0 but this crap starts at 1?
Way to get your priorities straight, Slashdot.

MyCleanPC is Dangerous (-1, Offtopic)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026301)

I installed MyCleanPC and it converted all my great porn to gay porn! When she saw this, my wife left me. Now I have no wife and only gay porn to wank to. Don't install MyCleanPC!

Re:MyCleanPC is Dangerous (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026407)

I'm sure that's what you tell all your relatives.

Fuck the UK police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025261)

Also, unban ethanol-fueled

Re:Too cumbersome (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025275)

And I, for one, welcome our ne.....err...current overlords.

Re:Too cumbersome (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025347)

Already happens.

Everything sent through Cell phones, or land lines goes through a switch site, there it is mirrored, basically copied to giant memory banks for Government use. They may not access it without a search warrant, but you can bet that it's all there. Calls and texts.

Oh Goody! (2)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025427)

Touchscreen just broke on my damned phone. Maybe if I drive over there they can tell me who these last 4 texts are from.

Re:Oh Goody! (2)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026195)

Touchscreen just broke on my damned phone. Maybe if I drive over there they can tell me who these last 4 texts are from.

Your mom, you mom, your mom and your mom: please come up for dinner and for once stop with that damned computer of yours!

Re:Too cumbersome (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025819)

Why not just have all cell phone communications pass through government servers where everything can be easily skimmed and saved?

In Europe, they have realised this already and implemented what is called the "FRA law" for warrantless wiretaps of everything. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FRA_law

Re:Too cumbersome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026321)

Yeah , but the real burning question is when are these silly fops going to have enough abuse, revolt, and hang Parliament , the royals and the tabloid journalists from the lampposts?
If not, maybe they just like the pain. Hey, maybe some English are just dying to be tied up and have the hide waled off their backsides. Bet they get a stiffie.

Re:Too cumbersome (2)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026547)

Yeah , but the real burning question is when are these silly fops going to have enough abuse, revolt, and hang Parliament , the royals and the tabloid journalists from the lampposts? If not, maybe they just like the pain. Hey, maybe some English are just dying to be tied up and have the hide waled off their backsides. Bet they get a stiffie.

Last time that happened England ended up with Cromwell. In any case it's worth waiting to see how the experiment in USA turns out after the terrorists there revolted. So far its not looking promising.

Re:Too cumbersome (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027517)

"Why not just have all cell phone communications pass through government servers where everything can be easily skimmed and saved?" ..

What do you mean 'have`, it's already in place it's called Echelon [wikipedia.org] .

Michigan (3, Informative)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025043)

It's not "the UK". (3, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025339)

The Metropolitan Police are in London. That's one city. It's the capital city, and it's a pretty big city, so there is a police force that deal with pretty much just that. They don't even deal with the outlying parts of the Greater London area.

If the police in Washington DC rolled this out, would you say "US Police"? No, because that would be stupid. It's one city, not the whole country.

Yeah, because... (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025387)

Yeah, because the USA doesn't have something like laws that are valid through the entire country and is able to uphold those. If it can and is done in Michigan, it will never happen anywhere else in the USA, or is it just the first city and will it only be a matter of time for the rest of the USA to have this equipment available as well?

Re:Yeah, because... (5, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025493)

Bear in mind that the UK consists of four different countries and a bunch of principalities, and at least one country - Scotland - has entirely different laws and indeed an entirely different legal system to all the rest. About the only thing we share with the rest of the UK is our currency and our mains voltage.

Re:Yeah, because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025733)

and our bitter sarcastic sense of humour.

Re:Yeah, because... (1)

GodGell (897123) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026123)

I've been regretting my decision to travel to Scotland more and more as every single story related to the UK seems to indicate that they want to bring the American definition of "Freedom" into Europe, which is Not Cool (see: SAM sites in freaking London, the Olympics scandal, this story, ...).

Your comment gave me a great deal of relief though; but realistically, how much safer are people in Scotland? Doesn't the central UK Ministry of Peace have a way of slowly forcing its rot into its member states, like it happens in the USA (and sometimes even in the EU)?

Don't rely on /. articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026165)

People here seem to get a kick out of making the UK seem as Orwellian as possible. Some of the stories are accurate, many of the summaries aren't, but we're not the oppressed, constantly spied-upon people /. would have you believe.

I don't have a problem with SAM sites in London during the Olympic Games; if there were an attempt to fly a plane into a packed Olympic Stadium I'd prefer it was shot down, as doing so and it instead crashing elsewhere in London would probably save hundreds if not thousands of lives. I'm confident they'll be removed after the games (the residents don't like it; they're in the wrong place for anything else; the government won't want to waste money deploying them and housing troops nearby to operate them when they're not needed). I'd note that compares favourably to the permanent employment of missiles in DC - though I'd question whether it really makes much difference whether fighter aircraft are used to intercept aircraft out-of-contact or SAMs are used. I suppose fighter aircraft have the personal touch.

I don't know what the 'Olympics scandal' is. The cost of the thing is a scandal, but then these things always are expensive.

Re:Don't rely on /. articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026613)

In fairness, we've got both for the Olympics. They've moved a squadron of Typhoons to RAF Northolt, just west of London. The UK has excellent radar coverage (given our role in developing it that's not surprising), so my guess is that the SAM sites are really just a last-ditch precaution, the Typhoons should get to anything fast enough to not need them.

Re:It's not "the UK". (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025589)

That makes it worse. Rather than being a national policy decided by our elected representatives the Met is just doing it alone. Once they have it up and running all the other forces will want it too and have lots of nice statistics to show how effective it is. We will get it by the backdoor, in both senses of the phrase.

Re:It's not "the UK". (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025935)

Or you could turn your time machine off and wait and see what happens before crying the sky is falling.

Re:It's not "the UK". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026697)

Despite the name, they also do national counter-terrorism.

Re:It's not "the UK". (1)

mahju (160244) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026987)

Actually, I a particularly English way, there is a separate force, City of London Police, for the City. But the City is quite small, and apart from St Paul's you'd be lucky to have anything a random outsider to London would consider London in it... Like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace etc... They are covered by the Met. The City Police cover the square mile and not much more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_London_Police [wikipedia.org]

Hack your phone (4, Funny)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025053)

Can they verify the extracted information?

Why yes, I HAVE been on the phone with Barack Obama recently, and YES I REALLY DID receive a phone call from the prime minister, only 15 minutes ago. So why don't you uncuff me and let me go before they call back?

Re:Hack your phone (5, Funny)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025377)

Can they verify the extracted information?

Why yes, I HAVE been on the phone with Barack Obama recently, and YES I REALLY DID receive a phone call from the prime minister, only 15 minutes ago. So why don't you uncuff me and let me go before they call back?

Yes, that's working well for Rebekah Brooks.

Re:Hack your phone (3, Interesting)

coder111 (912060) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025397)

Agreed, hack your phone. Install cyanogenmod + LUKS encryption for user data + sdcard, and you are good to go (it's all alpha quality for now, but possible. With more active users it could be made convenient). I wish meego/maemo/tizen would succeed so that we have some alternatives to this...

Of course, there are issues of UK police forcing you to hand over the encription keys (they have a legal right to do that in UK). And GSM/mobile network drivers are binary and probably a huge rootkit- your mobile can be forced to run any code by your mobile network operator. And your calls and texts are logged by mobile operators/government anyway. So you won't be able to hide much.

--Coder

Re:Hack your phone (2)

grantek (979387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025939)

Of course, there are issues of UK police forcing you to hand over the encription keys (they have a legal right to do that in UK).

What would be nice is an encryption setup mode where you have your password/authentication plus 4k of random data (like a big salt). When you set up the encryption or subsequently boot the system decrypted, it regenerates the random data and re-encrypts the internal final decryption key with your password+new random salt. When you shut the phone down normally, the salt is saved in cleartext and you're ready to go upon next boot, but if you yank the battery or shut down in "panic mode", the salt isn't saved and the phone is unrecoverable by you or anybody else. If you're worried about losing data, you could also have "saved salt" as the default mode, and the only way to render the device unusable would be to shut it down in some sort of "panic mode"

Re:Hack your phone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026175)

You will be a sad panda the first time you drop you phone, or it kernel panics, or...

Perhaps better to have a system that will self-wipe the encryption headers on disk if it has been toggled into high paranoia mode and you haven't unlocked it in, say, the last two hours.

Of course, the LUKS based encryption should be fine against attacks even if they got the cipherdata. More likely, you have more to be concerned about wrt your carrier's data they have on your usage. Best first step there is to get a vpn service from, say, Sweden and have your phone pipe all data through that (eg. Via OpenVPN support in CyanogenMod).

Re:Hack your phone (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026341)

No, what would be nice is truecrypt for android. Let me give them the password to the plausible deniability section of the phone, while my nefarious uses section stays hidden.

Re:Hack your phone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026439)

Police officer: Give me the password to all that scrambled data on your phone.

You: I can't You see, I had it encrypted with a random salt file that is regenerated every time...

Police officer: Don't play hard to get with me, sonny. Give me the password, or you're going to accidentally fall down the stairs a few times.

You: But I can't, when I pulled battery, the keys necessary to decrypt...

Police Officer: You're stubborn, I'll give you that. Well, I'm off to get a cup of coffee for about, ooh, twenty minutes, I'll leave you in the care of Officer Knuckleduster here. We'll talk more about this password of yours when I get back.

Re:Hack your phone (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026489)

Under the moronic RIPA laws, they'd just throw you in jail for 5 years for being unwilling or unable to decrypt the data (they don't really care if you can or not and you'd struggle to prove that you couldn't).

Or just use Ice cream sandwhich (3, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026157)

ICS has FDE built in, and it is very slick and simple to use.

Re:Or just use Ice cream sandwhich (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027391)

FDE is Full Disc Encryption.

Re:Hack your phone (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025693)

The UK police don't bother verifying stuff like that, they just arrest you and hope to get something from the interrogation or by searching your person/house/Facebook/Google history.

[citation needed] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026201)

Not a one off. Evidence of this being common practice. Or sthu, tbh, and stop spreading your poison.

Re:Hack your phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026639)

https://xkcd.com/538/

Relevant.

Re:Hack your phone (1)

monktus (742861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026713)

As mentioned in some of the earlier comments, there is no such thing as the UK police, any more than there is a national US police force (Scotland may be legislating for a national police force soon enough though, however its legal system is entirely different from England/Wales and Northern Ireland. The Met may be a big force and anything London based tends to hog the news, but that does not mean it applies to anywhere in the UK other than London.

Re:Hack your phone (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027179)

Hack your phone.. and install a series of quick-discharge, ultra-high capacity batteries.

Citizen, relinquish your phone! I scan now!

{plug} {zzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZ*pop*}

Using a phone in criminal activity? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025057)

As in pretending it's a gun and pointing it at somebody?

How do you know someone is a "suspect"? If there's already some other evidence, however light, that someone is a culprit (such as a witness statement), then fine, arrest him and take the phone, too.

Otherwise, I think this is just one of those circular reasoning things: he's a suspect because there might be incriminating information on his phone. We're checking his phone for incriminating information because he's a suspect. (Oh, and, he's a suspect because we suspect there might be incriminating information on his phone.)

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025145)

How do you know someone is a "suspect"? If there's already some other evidence, however light, that someone is a culprit (such as a witness statement), then fine, arrest him and take the phone, too.

That is how you determine someone is a suspect, you have some amount of evidence that is not enough to prove that the person is guilty of a crime.

Otherwise, I think this is just one of those circular reasoning things: he's a suspect because there might be incriminating information on his phone. We're checking his phone for incriminating information because he's a suspect. (Oh, and, he's a suspect because we suspect there might be incriminating information on his phone.)

No, how do you think a search warrant is issued? There has to be at least some evidence for the police to suspect that someone is involved in criminal activity, hence the term 'suspect' applied to such a person.

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025195)

You mean because my skin is black or I made a statement to the effect I dislike the government, am anti-war, have some sexual perversion, or similar?
Yea- sure. One might have committed a crime although it is far from evidence that a crime has likely taken place even if the statistics suggest 90% of the time each group has.

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025207)

You mean because my skin is black or I made a statement to the effect I dislike the government, am anti-war, have some sexual perversion, or similar?

No.

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025433)

You take one quick look at them and assess whether or not they can pay for high priced lawyers. If they can, you immediately ignore them if they can't then they are suspect (rich vs poor). This really has nothing to do with skin colour apart from the assumption if they are coloured they are poor. How many coloured people in expensive suits did they molest, this is really blatantly all about a two class society rich verses poor and protecting the rich from the poor the rich create in order to exploit.

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025971)

Coloured people in expensive suits? You mean gangsters?

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026139)

More like pimps, amirite?

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025953)

Usually it's because someone is found with a bunch of cocaine or a gun or something, and they then check the phone to see if they can find the source of the illicit objects. It won't be possible to just arrest someone without reason, and expect anything to come of it.

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026317)

Well, yeah, that's what I mean.

That is, if someone is found with cocaine, then you arrest him, and you also have/take his phone. That's fine.

What's not fine is the scenario I gave above --infodump someone's phone for no other reason that that there might be something incriminating on it. And in case you're wondering if that happens, yes it does. Remember the /. story on traffic police stopping people at a roadblock and just casually checking everybody's phones?

Re:Using a phone in criminal activity? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026349)

There are an awful lot of gun apps....

Just sayin'......

A Real Shame What The UK Has Become. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025075)

They truly are the lesser sons of great sires.
The last free loving british left for America centuries ago and only those who prefer to live on their knees remained.

Re:A Real Shame What The UK Has Become. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025129)

I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.
To be gunned down in my house by the cops, when they come looking for me.
So I'll gladly give up all my rights, and betray the American way.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I don't wanna die, that's why I will obey.

Re:A Real Shame What The UK Has Become. (0)

ozduo (2043408) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025171)

Poms love to be on their knees due to their public school education where all newcomers are ""Fags" and subject to bastardisation.

Re:A Real Shame What The UK Has Become. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025221)

Actually, the problem is that we have a comfortably large rump of stodgy, thick, opinionated, fear-cultured yoemen, raised on the milk from organs like The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, The Mirror and The Daily Mail. They eat this sort of thing up but it never crosses their tiny, shrivelled minds that tools like this can and will be used against them in a Court of Law.

I'd be disgusted if I wasn't so completely jaded.

Police state much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025167)

I wonder how long until we start seeing these things pop up in the US (attached to drones even):
http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-pick/wasp-the-linux-powered-flying-spy-drone-that-cracks-wi-fi-gsm-netwokrs-20110729/

So Google sniffing wifi is bad, government good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026229)

I certainly had mixed feelings reading this article for the first time just now.

Cool technology. Holy crap, governments can use this unsuspectingly. WTF? Didn't Google get torn a new one for effectively the same reason? That the government can do this but companies cannot makes it seem prosecuting Google was a distractionary measure while the government's action get to slip under the radar (pun intended).

One place where the N900/N9 would shine. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025177)

Carry the broken USB port model, and all's well unless the collection device uses a debug port(which requires the battery to be removed to access, also deactivating the SD slot on opening battery cover). In addition, the software stack allows for a lot to be altered, which can discourage people from poking at the data easily.

Maemo/Meego might be considered dead, but it puts the end user in enough control to be ahead of most of this stuff.

That said:
Could the N9's Aegis be used to consider these device probes as things that introduce the reset/malfunction condition? It seems to

Re:One place where the N900/N9 would shine. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025243)

Yeah just FYI the broken USB port model is a PITA. Broke only a few days ago. Nearly made its 2nd birthday. :(

I'd be extremely surprised if a generic phone data extractor supported Maemo.
Probably far too easy to delete on it anyway.
"Whoops I typed the wrong fdisk command because the handcuffs are too tight. Now my phone won't work until I reflash it."

Re:One place where the N900/N9 would shine. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026367)

Or carry a bastardized phone designed by retarded engineers...

I have a Dell Streak, it has a bizzare version of the iphone dock connector, but it's wired differently and if you put in a iphone cable you pretty much blow up the phone.

So my phone has built in anti police search technology!

Thanks moron dell engineers!

Re:One place where the N900/N9 would shine. (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025477)

Carry the broken USB port model, and all's well unless the collection device uses a debug port(which requires the battery to be removed to access, also deactivating the SD slot on opening battery cover). In addition, the software stack allows for a lot to be altered, which can discourage people from poking at the data easily.

I see an opportunity for an underground cottage-industry of those with electronics skills that will, for a fee, take a phone and hack it hardware- and software-wise to thwart such government/police snooping.

If nothing else, one could cut/remove the PCB copper traces that connect the data from the chips to the connectors/ports, necessitating a lengthy and expensive trip to an advanced electronics forensic facility for data extraction & decryption. Make the regular use of cellphone "data-slurpers" by LEAs too expensive and unproductive to continue, and it will die.

Strat

Re:One place where the N900/N9 would shine. (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025547)

Everyday people often choose convinience over security. They forego data encryption, they have simple passwords, and they don't think twice about their privacy implications.

Criminals are often no different.

Re:One place where the N900/N9 would shine. (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026521)

Everyday people often choose convinience over security. They forego data encryption, they have simple passwords, and they don't think twice about their privacy implications.

Criminals are often no different.

Of course, that's currently true. It will likely remain mostly true, even with the growing levels and abuse of government monitoring.

However, there *will* be some increase in the numbers of people...both criminals and others who are not criminals...who will become more security-aware because of increased intrusions and abuses, as well as the increased likelihood that they or someone they know has been personally negatively affected. I've seen two examples personally. I have two acquaintances who, each in different fields, occasionally travel to Canada for business. They've gone from carrying their laptops with them on the flight to having them over-nighted by Fed-Ex/DHL/UPS to their hotel and back. Also, many people I know that use a wireless router are now actually bothering to attempt to make them somewhat secure.

So, although slow and sluggish, such increases in government (and corporate) nosiness and abuse does eventually cause a reaction among "regular" people, with the speed and depth of the penetration into common behaviors dependent on the actual depth and frequency of the intrusions and the level of publicly-perceived offensiveness/intrusiveness/outrageousness.

I never claimed that it would be a huge business. The "cottage-industry" term I used in my OP was meant to convey "small and specialized". Like, "your friend knows a guy, who knows a guy, who "does phones" part-time on his basement workbench for friends". Or like, back in the day in the US, the cottage industry of modding CB radios for higher transmitter power, "illegal" frequencies, and forbidden modes like FM. Not that *I* would ever have done anything like that. No, sir. I also never break the speed limit when driving, and I've also never, *ever*, failed to come to a complete stop at a stop-sign, nor crossed an intersection intentionally on the "yellow" to beat the traffic light.

If governments keep getting ever-more abusive, however, I could see cellphone hacking/modding for privacy become as widespread and common as game console modding/hacking, or the CB radio modding of days past.

Strat

Re:One place where the N900/N9 would shine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027579)

"One place where the N900/N9 would shine"

Implying the N900/N9/N950 is crap at most things. Sorry, but what DOESN'T the N900/N9/N950 shine at?

Ban Travel To The UK? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025213)

Sounds like the UK ought to added to the US State Department list of "unfriendly countries" where travel by US citizens is discouraged.

Wait a minute, if the US State Department did that then US citizens would have no "friendly countries" in the world to visit.

Officer, that looks suspiciously like... (0)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025285)

...a nightstick.

Re:Officer, that looks suspiciously like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025457)

Nah, he's just happy to see you!

Re:Officer, that looks suspiciously like... (1)

FlopEJoe (784551) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026627)

No... he's just happy to see you have an easily data extractable phone.

need a kill gesture (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025379)

We need a kill gesture. Some way to immediately block access to the phone's info while the phone corrupts its information beyond readability. No signing in with a login code, just do *this* sequence of key presses or gestures, and the phone initiates its info-apoptosis. Why isn't there an app for this?

Re:need a kill gesture (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025755)

Just encrypted the device and have a background process that wipes the encryption key and triggers a kernel panic the moment one of these police scanning devices is plugged in.

Re:need a kill gesture (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026329)

We need a kill gesture. Some way to immediately block access to the phone's info while the phone corrupts its information beyond readability. No signing in with a login code, just do *this* sequence of key presses or gestures, and the phone initiates its info-apoptosis. Why isn't there an app for this?

Do you really want an app that can wipe your phone? I'd hate to be a beta-tester.

Re:need a kill gesture (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027565)

Do you really want an app that can wipe your phone? I'd hate to be a beta-tester.

Aptitude has this neat feature, "-s" (simulate), where it goes through the motions of what it's going to do, reporting them all but not actually doing anything. Not that difficult.

Re:need a kill gesture (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027733)

Do you really want an app that can wipe your phone? I'd hate to be a beta-tester.

Aptitude has this neat feature, "-s" (simulate), where it goes through the motions of what it's going to do, reporting them all but not actually doing anything. Not that difficult.

I'm talking about verification.

Re:need a kill gesture (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026383)

You have one. Take the phone in both hands and smack it as hard as you can over the nearest hard object edge, in a motion trying to break it in 1/2.

Guarantee they will not recover any data from a phone you snapped the circuit board and smushed the battery so it started burning. But I also guarantee you will spend a few days in prison over the action. In the USA that action gets you waterboarded.

Re:need a kill gesture (2)

coder111 (912060) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026469)

Um, this most likely won't smash the SD card unless you take it out and snap it in half (takes too long in scenario you described). And flash chips on the phone are likely to be also recoverable after re-soldering them onto another phone or a flash reader, and you cannot remove them as easily as SD card. Flash storage media is quite resistant to physical damage- there are stories about people recovering some data from SD cards after a nail has been driven through them.

Anyway, I don't really understand why do they want to bother with physical access to the phone. They could just as easily push a rootkit via mobile operator and copy all the data remotely without even telling you. AFAIK all mobile devices have binary GSM device drivers that can be forced by operators to auto-update, i.e. download and execute a piece of code. But I suppose you need phone number or/and IMEI to do that.

--Coder

Re:need a kill gesture (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026737)

The resulting battery fire will take out that sd card.

Re:need a kill gesture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027241)

Now that makes the push from LEAs for lawful access to subscriber info without a warrant sound a lot less innocuous...

Re:need a kill gesture (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026503)

I wish for encryption with a selection of input methods and a variable lenght password.

Re:need a kill gesture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026449)

right, I have a really great way to solve the problem how about don't use the stupid phone when committing a crime, what a novel idea or just maybe don't commit a crime, ok I guess that asking way to much. How about this one, I take a nice thick phone book and beat you stupid till you tell me what I want to know.

If your worried about the police looking inside your phone then this new resource they have is the least of your worries. There are probably way more pressing issues in the country when it comes to laws. I know here in the States we have some messed up laws the christian retards are trying to pass and they take the fun out of been a citizen.

Re:need a kill gesture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026535)

On android there is a permission for that. I was always to afraid to use it. Maybe set up the emulator and give it a try.

Re:need a kill gesture (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026733)

You can use the pass code erase feature on the iphone. Type ten wrong codes fast and all is gone.

Re:need a kill gesture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026793)

Where are the virus writers?

Re:need a kill gesture (1)

Tarsir (1175373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026835)

Great idea! It can come with a guaranteed stay in your local prison for obstruction of justice!

Re:need a kill gesture (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026901)

Why isn't there an app for this?

Because it's basically a dumb idea. If you're going to go to the trouble to bother making phones become instantly secure upon command, you might as well just make them secure by default, instead.

Walkie Talkies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025465)

Real criminals use encrypted/scrambled walkie talkies, because cellphones are not sinister enough.

Re:Walkie Talkies (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025791)

I know you're making with the funnies, but yes, they do use these things, problem with using then is Ofcom's monitoring will flag them up for further investigation (encrypted transmissions being somewhat illegal in the UK).

Real Criminals in the UK use cheap PAYG mobile phones, as you can purchase them without having to provide any sort of ID (and they're smart enough to have other people to purchase them to avoid the old 'look-sir-we-have-you-on-camera-buying-a-phone-where-is-it?' questions if they're the sort of Real Criminal who appear on the 'usual suspects' list). The cheapest phones are less than a tenner, they're effectively one-shot/disposable devices.

Of course, the idiot criminal classes (low end drug dealers et al) who do not treat their phone as a disposable tool and still use their Crackberrys etc for all their dodgy dealings, they're screwed.

Of course, the only other class of person in the UK far too attached to their mobile phone who may keep way too much information stored on them likely to be used against them in a court of law are Mr&Mrs joe public..and they don't know it.
Just as a light example, all those 'racist'/'off colour' jokes you've been sending your friends/received from friends...say hello to my little friend the Communications Act 2003 (section 127 (1)(a))

Bear in mind, the legal test for 'offensiveness' here is whether the message/image/video/audio would cause gross offence *to those to whom it relates*, *not* the recipients of said communication.

Did I mention the fact that some of the really cheap PAYG phones don't have any sort of USB/DATA connection ports?, I suppose there's always JTAG..somewhere..

Use an obsolete OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025633)

I've got a tricked out Treo. Hack that, Coppers!

Encryption (1)

Eggbloke (1698408) | more than 2 years ago | (#40025653)

Well, looks like I'm about to encrypt my phone, I don't even have any data that I care if they see.

Re:Encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026845)

Unfortunately there's a neat little back door [xkcd.com] present in your technique.

In the Last few weeks wtf is happening (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40025809)

April came, UK internet starts being censored to protect companies that are still posting record profits while reducing their staffing head count and Avoiding taxes like every big company in the UK does lately. TPB is the big one but I am annoyed because this is the start of censoring based on what companies want over the requirements of the people that keep paying for this country. Funny thing 3 days ago we have the list of unfairly blocked websites, http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/05/14/1816217/report-highlights-10-sites-unfairly-blocked-by-uk-mobile-internet-censorship?utm_source=commentcnt&utm_medium=feed [slashdot.org] to ANYONE that is reading this going but TPB was bad, well why is the UK censoring www.biased-bbc.blogspot.co.uk on UK mobiles as hate speech? We also have the Tory MP Claire Perry who is standing in front of MPs saying the internet should be opt in to stop kids seeing porn, yet when asked about sexual based images in her old new paper she blows that off as up to the editor and harmless. So on one hand this women is saying the UK people are too stupid and need an opt in system while saying that established new papers are free to do what they want. Double standards amaze me. and Let’s not forget that this women comes from a new paper as well, the new corp had their girl brooks in with the government, i guess it’s time that a few other papers try and mould some of the government.

Now we have the police stating they will rip a copy of your phone and we all know this will happen for the most minimal event. Get pulled over for speeding, "let me check you phone" your data will be pulled, all your contacts, all your images (with EXIF info because you would not have had time to clear it (EXIF can hold GPS data about where the photo was taken)) and it’s all going to be logged (did you know the UK police are only meant to keep your finger prints for a set time if you are not charged, to day this database has never once been trimmed :/) . I just spent 15 minutes looking for a way to encrypt the hard drive of my phone, seems i will have to jailbreak it to get the protection i want out of my hardware.

A few months ago I would have said the UK is in serious trouble, I think it’s become fcuked in a very short space of time, there is no national sprit, the unemployed are restless with no hope, my generation is being r@ped for every pounds the government can get to support an aging population. I have had to stop driving because the cost of petrol is so high; my food bills have gone up 20-25% in a year. My wages are not going up but the middle class tories just tell everyone it’s time to tighten your belts. I have nothing left to tighten. I am just under 30, only a few of my friends are on the housing market, the ones that are have all had help from their parents or grandparents. I do not know one person my age that went to uni and is now in a position to afford a house in the UK without the help of someone else (caste system take 2, you don’t have to do the job of your parent but you better hope they can support you while you find your profession). Funny stat i read yesterday, in the 1960s you could buy a house for 1.5 times the min annual salary, today that number is now 6-7 times the minwage in the UK. At this rate I will never own a house, I can barely afford to drive anywhere, and i am going to spend my whole life paying for a country that spent the money before I was even really in the job market. I mean i was at school and uni while labour was pushing billions in to the public sector to improve their stats. and now why am I paying for it? why were my parents giving a chance yet I am forced to work to pay for others errors.

omg this is just a rant :/ sorry

Finally I want to say one thing, I want to introduce a tax system based on age brackets. So for example the under generation 15-25 they should not have the debts of the older generations, their tax should be basic. While the 65+ market drains more NHS resources than anyone, so why not tax this market bracket more? That way each generation is responsible for its own debts. If the 30-45 who are running banks want to buy out another bank, let them but up their taxes to do so. Why the hell am i paying to bail out northerrock so that the government can flip it to virgin for a huge discounted price? There was a document floating round that the money used to buy north rock could have been divided by the people who lost money and everything would have been covered. yet for some reason the money went to the bankers? not the people who were stolen from. IN FACT we were stolen from 2 times, once when the bank failed and people lost monies and again when we had to pay for it to be sold to Virgin.

My fingers are crossed, we have new political parties starting, the relax group shows that one person can make a difference, and I have been throwing my support behind the Pirate party. I have written to my MP a few times in recent years, all I get back is a condescending reply that the government knows what they are doing. (spending sh1t loads of money so they can force the next generations in to a modern day form of slavery.

tl:dr madness ramblings, i am a little sleeply :/

Re:In the Last few weeks wtf is happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026683)

If housing costs are a concern and you're fed up with the UK, you could always move to Detroit. Dozens [hotpads.com] of houses are still available for less than $5000USD.

Re:In the Last few weeks wtf is happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027167)

I know your feeling, being under 30 myself with no such "caste" like benefits (I was not born here), I too am finding it impossible to afford a house. Thankfully I can still drive, primarily because my car is very old (30 years) so is exempt from loads of extra taxes and insurance is a joke (as it was my first car after getting my licence, it was cheaper to insure then a Nissan Micra, despite being a large engined sports car). The savings more than offset the higher cost of petrol.

Now as for housing, have you considered talking to your local council? One potential upshot I've found out is that the government offers low-cost and "first-time buyers" housing. In my case I can get 60% off the value of a house, putting it at 3-4x my salary, which I actually have a shot at affording.

Stop and frisk...er, download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40028417)

Police in various areas of the US, particularly NYC, are using stop and frisk [wikipedia.org] , or rather, are overusing it. They must be salivating at the potential for "stop and download".

- T

lol terrorism? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026055)

where the hell is all this terrorism that they need to stop? Soooooo ONE time a few guys flew some planes into some buildings... about 3000 died... tsunamis and earthquakes kill over 10000 people at a time.

Now that we have signed away all of our freedoms, the "terrorists" have officially won.

The true terrorists are the assholes who run our governments.

Re:lol terrorism? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026395)

There are terrorists hiding behind every bush in your neighborhood, waiting to go through your wifes panties.

They hide everywhere, just waiting for you to turn your back. Hurry! give up your rights so mother government can protect you!

Openmoko (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026209)

There is a new generation of openmoko phones in the works. These phones are much more trustworthy than closed phones with binary blob OS that has been tampered with by the network provider as well. As far as I know nobody has user friendly LUKS support, but it shouldn't be too hard to add. http://projects.goldelico.com/p/gta04-main/ [goldelico.com]

Little Brother ftw (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026399)

This is exactly why we need a full linux on our phones. I want dmcrypt, I want ssh (ok, already there), I want TrueCrypt.

Countermeasures Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027745)

Someone needs to buy some examples of these data extraction devices and reverse engineer countermeasures against them. Because it will not be too long before criminals get the same devices as the police (don't put your phone down in a bar while you go for a wizz, it may be there when you get back but is the data still intact).

Countermeasures could go from simple, detecting a probe attempt and unless the unlock code is entered crash the phone / wipe encryption keys all the way to. Detect a probe, send back counter-probe, get make and model of device query online for latest master passwords and instruct probe device to wipe its own firmware.

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