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Moscow Subway To Use Special Devices To Read Data On Passengers' Phones

Soulskill posted 1 year,29 days | from the they'll-know-how-much-time-you-waste-on-bejeweled dept.

Cellphones 163

dryriver writes "'The head of police for Moscow's subway system has said stations will soon be equipped with devices that can read the data on the mobile telephones of passengers. In the July 29 edition of Izvestia, Moscow Metro police chief Andrei Mokhov said the device would be used to help locate stolen mobile phones. Mokhov said the devices have a range of about 5 meters and can read the SIM card. If the card is on the list of stolen phones, the system automatically sends information to the police. The time and place of the alert can be matched to closed-circuit TV in stations. Izvestia reported that 'according to experts, the devices can be used more widely to follow all passengers without exception.' Mokhov said it was illegal to track a person without permission from the authorities, but that there was no law against tracking the property of a company, such as a SIM card.' What is this all about? Is it really about detecting stolen phones/SIM cards, or is that a convenient 'cover story' for eavesdropping on people's private smartphone data while they wait to ride the subway? Also — if this scheme goes ahead, how long will it be before the U.S., Europe and other territories employ devices that do this, too?"

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163 comments

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Tin-foil... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429243)

...pockets. Coming to your next pair of pants.

Re:Tin-foil... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429657)

Good luck with the reception in there though.

What you need is a 100% passive system. Much like the radar in modern war planes / helicopters has a passive mode.

Or, you know, storm the government, replace the assholes, etc. The only actual solution. But that would require *actually* doing something. As opposed to just protesting or bitching on-line.

Re:Tin-foil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44430297)

Try doing that there, you fool!

Re:Tin-foil... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44431241)

Violent revolt sounds good and all in comics, but in reality, you're now stuck with a government headed by someone who, most likely, sees murder as a valid method to obtain what they want. History keeps a handy track record to see what result you can expect in the long run.

Re:Tin-foil... (3, Interesting)

Russ1642 (1087959) | 1 year,29 days | (#44431017)

I have a steel business card case that I use as a wallet. The readers commonly used on door locks in office buildings have no problem reading my cards through the case.

asd wtwsg (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429247)

najskl qew thw thoe qwg asdknw asd wenas we as

note to self. (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429271)

note to self: When visiting Moscow, pack mylar bags.

Re:note to self. (2)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429299)

Mylar does nothing to stop RF. Are you going swimming?

Re:note to self. (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429339)

They're for holding helium, as an alternative form of transportation to the subway. Duh.

Re:note to self. (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429375)

Presumably MoFoQ meant aluminized mylar. It will attenuate RF, and if the bag is sealed, will act as a Faraday cage.

Re:note to self. (2)

MoFoQ (584566) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429453)

the resealable kind are nice...they can do double-duty: block spies and allow me to go swimming.

Re:note to self. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429655)

I actually tried this - it doesn't work on cell phones. A steel cookie tin works.

Re:note to self. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429905)

The mylar bags commonly used for protecting electronics have a thin layer of metal between the layers and do make reasonably good electromagnetic shields at RF.

Re:note to self. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44430451)

They'll read your English information and think it's all encrypted.

Re:note to self. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,28 days | (#44432027)

5 meter remote sim card reading needs special sim card anyways..

Obligatory (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429293)

The Return of Soviet Russia
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xyfjp3_simpsons-return-of-the-soviet-union_fun

Re:Obligatory (1)

interval1066 (668936) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429999)

Yep. This time they're going to do it right and use the US as a model. Technology, technology, technology!

can it be disabled ? (1)

Naut (211748) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429301)

What if the phone is turned off , or if the battery was removed ?

Re:can it be disabled ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429415)

Also, why the fuck would anyone be using the sim that came with the stolen phone? If I were to steal a phone, the first thing I would do would be to toss the sim into the nearest garbage or storm drain or whatnot, and put a new one in. It's not like they're expensive or hard to get. Where I'm from I can get a sim for €10 with €10 credit. So, effectively, it's free.

Re:can it be disabled ? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429865)

Also, why the fuck would anyone be using the sim that came with the stolen phone? If I were to steal a phone, the first thing I would do would be to toss the sim into the nearest garbage or storm drain or whatnot, and put a new one in. It's not like they're expensive or hard to get. Where I'm from I can get a sim for €10 with €10 credit. So, effectively, it's free.

Exactly.
And the headlines are also misleading. The technology can read your phone's sim number (which is broadcast to the towers anyway), but there is nothing in the article that indicates it can read ANY data stored on the phone. Nobody stores even their contacts on a sim anymore, so all they get is the sim number (IMSI), and maybe your phones IMEI.

Re:can it be disabled ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44430017)

Which is enough to track your movements which is what this tech is really about.

Re:can it be disabled ? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | 1 year,29 days | (#44431731)

It is enough to track the sim cards movement, not your movement. Pre-paid is a good example of discreet movement. It is looking pretty much like the first thing you should really start considering with a smart phone, is when off and means 'OFF', so you only switch it on when you want to use it or when you specifically want to answer calls. As for tracking your movement, how many smart phones have gps and how readily can that be hacked, activated and broadcast.

So a shift in social consciousness with regard to smart phones. Take a deep breath and turn them off. Only turn them on when you are in the mood to answer a number messages and calls or you wish to make a call. It is beginning to seem like the best way to use a smart phone would be to mostly send and receive emails.

Re:can it be disabled ? (2)

temcat (873475) | 1 year,28 days | (#44432255)

The answer is that stolen or lost SIM cards are not tied to your identity. In Russia, when you buy a SIM card, most of the time you have to present your passport, and your identity data are recorded.

Re:can it be disabled ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429435)

The "special device" is basically a very small portable cell tower (at least to the extent that the phone will connect to it and identify itself), presumably with a highly directional antenna. Removing the battery is probably fine. Turning the phone off is probably fine unless you're highly paranoid.

Re:can it be disabled ? (2)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429949)

The "special device" is basically a very small portable cell tower (at least to the extent that the phone will connect to it and identify itself), presumably with a highly directional antenna. Removing the battery is probably fine. Turning the phone off is probably fine unless you're highly paranoid.

Exactly, except the phone doesn't have to actually connect to that tiny cell, in fact it can be complete passive.. The cell station can read your IMEI off of any transmission your phone does in response to normal cell towers. Your phone checks in with the towers every 4.615 ms, so listening to these packets should be very precise with a very directional antenna.

Tracking stolen phones? Come on. Its more like a license plate reader, and I suspect this technology is already in use in many countries.

tracking - pure & simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429303)

How is this any different from license plate readers tracking where your car goes? Sure it takes special equipment to read your SIM, that takes a special camera. This is public information. Just because you cannot read it with your eyes doesn't make it public. (If you phone happens to answer anyone that asks for it's identity that is public)

It might recover a few phones, it also lets the operator of the device know where everyone is.

As for this being done elsewhere, who says it isn't being done? It is not like they will put up a sign on the doorway saying "we are scanning your SIM cards." This is a little box, does not even take a camera lens to be hidden.

Re:tracking - pure & simple (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429981)

How is this any different from license plate readers tracking where your car goes?

Its quite possible that Plate readers also read every cell phone in the car, because they are always broadcasting their IMEI and IMSI every few milliseconds. A simple directional receive only antenna is all that is needed.

FRAUD ALERT! Ignorant person wants attention. (3, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429319)

"The head of police for Moscow's subway system..."

He knows NOTHING about technology, but wants to make decisions about it.

As someone said above, electromagnetic signals can be stopped by wrapping a phone with aluminum foil. People would not be able to use their phones on the subway, which is probably not possible anyway unless antennas have been installed in the tunnels.

Re: FRAUD ALERT! Ignorant person wants attention. (2)

isorox (205688) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429447)

Slahdot mobile has broken again. No way to copy text on an iPhone, no quote button

To answer your points. Much of mpscows subway has 4g (and aircon) underground. The bbc did a live broadcast with a live-u a couple of months ago.

Your main point though, People do not wrap their phones in tinfoil.

Re: FRAUD ALERT! Ignorant person wants attention. (1)

Threni (635302) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429503)

Slashdot mobile is a crock of shit. What's that read icon at the top left with the 1 in it? I click on it and I get a random selection of messages going back a year. The box containing them doesn't fit on the page, so I scroll the page and immediately the box vanishes. What a joke.

Re: FRAUD ALERT! Ignorant person wants attention. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429659)

You're a dumb faggot for using Slashdot mobile anyway. Get over your homosexuality and accept that Slashdot is a shithole for shit eating queers.

Anyone not wanting spying will use aluminum foil. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429729)

"People do not wrap their phones in tinfoil."

Obviously, they can, and that prevents the usefulness of that method of spying.

Re:Anyone not wanting spying will use aluminum foi (-1, Flamebait)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430023)

Power switch is more effective.

Tinfoil simply tricks your phone it transmitting with more power, trying to reach that cell tower it can just barely hear through the foil. Each transmission includes your IMSI number. So your phone is screaming at the top of its lungs wrapped in tinfoil which simply acts as a large re-radiator. Totally ineffective.

Re:FRAUD ALERT! Ignorant person wants attention. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429751)

Several mobile operators do have antennas in the tunnels - MTS even has free Wi-Fi on the 5th line.

Re:FRAUD ALERT! Ignorant person wants attention. (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430465)

"The head of police for Moscow's subway system..." He knows NOTHING about technology, but wants to make decisions about it. As someone said above, electromagnetic signals can be stopped by wrapping a phone with aluminum foil. People would not be able to use their phones on the subway, which is probably not possible anyway unless antennas have been installed in the tunnels.

If they have cell repeaters in the subway they probably already have the ability to track phones.

Its obvious (4, Insightful)

Stumbles (602007) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429325)

To say their reasoning is thinly veiled is to say Santa Claus is alive and well at the North Pole. Tracking "stolen" phones not is it about.

Re:Its obvious (2)

grcumb (781340) | 1 year,29 days | (#44431289)

Tracking "stolen" phones not is it about.

Thanks for the insight, Yoda.

All my base are belong to you now. :-)

Who framed Comrade Rabbit? (2)

Schrockwell (867776) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429333)

And what happens when a thief steals a phone and plants it in the bag of an unsuspecting commuter?

Re:Who framed Comrade Rabbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429535)

The same thing that happens when a thief wears gloves specially treated to deliver fingerprints of an unsuspecting victim, or cuts out an eye to fool an iris scanner, or controls his breathing to pass a lie detector, or slips a wallet into somebody's bag without these detectors but yells "Stop thief!" and points at him - technology doesn't help against everything.

It's would just suck for the first few dozen people mistakenly caught by this unless the police already have a healthy dose of skepticism (which, of course, they should anyway).

Re:Who framed Comrade Rabbit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429733)

The same thing that happens when a thief wears gloves specially treated to deliver fingerprints of an unsuspecting victim, or cuts out an eye to fool an iris scanner,

I know you are trolling, but some of these things are not like the others

Until the day we have fingerprint readers and eye scanners installed in subway system (to mass-scan every passenger), you would also have to direct suspicion to that unsuspecting victim. That's not so easy to do.

Re:Who framed Comrade Rabbit? (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429711)

And what happens when a thief steals a phone and plants it in the bag of an unsuspecting commuter?

Or, even more likely, a representative of the Moscow police force plants a "stolen" phone.

It may be illegal to arrest unsuspecting commuters, but a vile thief (suspect) is fair game for anything. And the magic box will catch him right away.

Re:Who framed Comrade Rabbit? (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429741)

Im predicting a sudden spike in "stolen" phones being found on people who publicly denounce Putin.

in soviet russia (5, Funny)

maliqua (1316471) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429335)

trains track you

Re:in soviet russia (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,28 days | (#44431993)

So in the US you train tracks?

Cover for what? (1)

maliqua (1316471) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429361)

Is it really about detecting stolen phones/SIM cards, or is that a convenient 'cover story' for eavesdropping on people's private smartphone data while they wait to ride the subway?

Why would they bother when they can just force the local cellular providers to let them access this data directly and easily

Re:Cover for what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429577)

Maybe they developed this while anticipating that the option to do so would go away shortly?

Re:Cover for what? (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430037)

Is it really about detecting stolen phones/SIM cards, or is that a convenient 'cover story' for eavesdropping on people's private smartphone data while they wait to ride the subway?

Why would they bother when they can just force the local cellular providers to let them access this data directly and easily

You've been duped by the title. There is no ability to read your data off of the phone.
All it does is capture Sim numbers (IMSI) of phones that move past the detector.

How does this work? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429363)

??????

We need to take control of the networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429365)

There will be no secure communication until we, the people, take control of the networks, both wired and wireless. Mesh networks should replace the centralized infrastructures that we use today.

Re:We need to take control of the networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429475)

You can't prevent cell phone tracking. Every device needs a unique ID so that it can be reached. If you can connect a call, you can find a device, because required step one in connecting a call is to find the recipient.

There is no way around it other than to just go without a cell phone.

Re: We need to take control of the networks (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429677)

Every device on a mobile phone network as we know it must and does have a unique ID which is visible to the operator of the node that is in range of the phone. That isn't the only way to design a phone network. The current networks were simply not designed to protect the subscriber from a malicious network.

In America the subway runs on tracks... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429371)

In post-Soviet Russia, trackers run on subway!

How long before? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429379)

How long will it be before the US employs a system like this? Pfft. The US has probably had a system like this in place for a while.

SIM tracking? (5, Interesting)

bikin (1113139) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429383)

Tracking the SIM is ridiculous for detecting stolen phones. A thief that is not brain dead will turn it off immediately and discard the SIM, if they don't do so already. If you really want to stop mobiles from being stolen, the simple solution is IMEI blocking at phone company level. The IMEI cannot be changed since it is normally written in write-once memory, and it may even be illegal to change. The wikipedia article is super clear in the first lines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mobile_Station_Equipment_Identity [wikipedia.org] . A phone blocked at IMEI level is useless since it cannot be used even with a different SIM, so the sale value is almost nil, only valuable for parts. Tracking IMSIs can be used for other purposes, like tracking non-stolen phones or more interesting the owners. The article is quite scant on details, so not a lot can be assumed.

Re:SIM tracking? (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429603)

The IMEI cannot be changed since it is normally written in write-once memory, and it may even be illegal to change.

Won't argue how easy/hard it might be to change the IMEI, but do you REALLY think a thief is going to be deterred from changing it because it's illegal????

Hint: stealing it in the first place was illegal too.

Re:SIM tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429867)

Perhaps changing the IMEI is super double secret illegal?

Re:SIM tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44430127)

Well, I think it'd only be illegal to use it with a fake IMEI. At least in non-DMCA countries.

There's a grand total of two things to make... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429627)

A stolen phone resalable.

Change the IMEI for phones that need it (There was an article here a while back with a number of chinese phones having the *SAME* IMEI and thus cutting... what tens to hundreds of thousands off when the IMEI from one of them was blocked? Since the phone companies worked by SIM ID not IMEI the phones had all worked fine on the network until the IMEI blacklist happened.)

And secondly: Either wiping and reprinting, or simply reprinting the device ID sticker inside the battery case.

While the former may be difficult I'm sure the latter would be well within the abilities of most criminals involved in fencing of stolen cellphones.

Given the shoddy quality of some of the PRODUCTION labels, you might not even be able to tell the difference.

Re:There's a grand total of two things to make... (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430105)

What the hell do the labels have to do with it?

Even the Russians never ask to see "Your Labels Comrade".
Changing the SIM (IMSI) still leaves your phone transmitting its IMEI with every tower connection.

While its not impossible to change your IMEI [youtube.com] , most thieves don't bother. They just resell the phone quickly.

Re:There's a grand total of two things to make... (3, Interesting)

citizenr (871508) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430617)

IMSI tracking is impossible, all that if floating in the air is TMSI - automagically random generated when you turn on your phone (unless they also install gsm blockers and force phones to lose connection in a chokepoint somewhere).
IMEI changing is trivial, thieves dont do it, fences/repair shops do (in countries where imsi block lists are active)

This whole article is stupid and written by clueless person interviewing another clueless person :(

Re:There's a grand total of two things to make... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,28 days | (#44432039)

I'm guessing they're installing rfid on the simcard itself.

it sounds super stupid and would be much easier to just do the imei blocking. the simcard is going to be shut down and subsequently thrown out pretty fast anyways.

Re: SIM tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429661)

You are right.... whats the point, if i throw the sim. Tracking imei is much better. But again imei can be duped, as there cases wiyh duplicate imei...thick head Russians

Re:SIM tracking? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429713)

The IMEI *can* be changed with special software. In several countries, there are shops that offer the "service" of changing the IMEI number of an stolen phone for a new random one, in order to avoid the blocking.

Re:SIM tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429923)

... and it may even be illegal to change.

I'm sure that's going to stop the thief.

Re:SIM tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44430587)

The absolute best out come for phone companies is to say that they use IMEI to people who get their phones stolen, but not actually use IMEI. On one hand, the customer is likely going to be forced to buy a new phone at full value if they're still in their two year contract. On the other hand, the thief or whoever they sell it to will likely end up paying for service with that company, so that's a paying customer for them. In the end, with no IMEI, they end up with two paying customers. The first person MUST pay because they're most likely under contract, and getting your phone stolen doesn't let you out of it. The second person probably isn't going through all the shit involved with stealing a phone just to turn it into spare parts.

Re:SIM tracking? (1)

Suhas (232056) | 1 year,29 days | (#44431503)

The IMEI cannot be changed since it is normally written in write-once memory, and it may even be illegal to change.

I just had to ask, even at the cost of modding a different thread again. You really think that a person who steals a phone would not change the IMEI (if possible) because changing the IMEI may be illegal? Really? I am struggling to understand the logical thought process which led you to this conclusion.

Re:SIM tracking? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,28 days | (#44431997)

The article is quite scant on details, so not a lot can be assumed.

On the contrary, with today's governments, you must assume the worse, especially when insufficient details are provided.

Or have they already... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429387)

Who is to say that the US is not already using this technology. If not for police surveillance, then in grocery stores to see how many times you walk past the cigarettes before buying Tylenol...

Re:Or have they already... (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430347)

A crude version of this happens in China. Certain locations trigger text messages to my phone.

Re:Or have they already... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | 1 year,29 days | (#44431537)

A crude version of this happens in China. Certain locations trigger text messages to my phone.

Does it SMS you things like "You are in a restricted area. Leave now. Use of deadly force authorized."

Re:Or have they already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#44432009)

That's funny. Mine says, *Hey mister, wanna party? Me love you long time*

Redundant? (1)

Ragnarok89 (1066010) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429391)

Not sure what this would accomplish... tracking of an individual? The moment the target steps out of the subway, they could track them via cell towers. Read data off the SIM card? Go for it, I don't store any data on my SIM... my phone's internal memory has all the space I need. Also, if I'm a thief, the first thing I do after I steal a phone is remove the battery, and possibly throw away the SIM. What else could they hope to accomplish with such a system?

Re:Redundant? (1)

bmk67 (971394) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429441)

What else could they hope to accomplish with such a system?

Track people in the subway system, where they cannot track them by triangulation from cell towers.

It's likely the bit about tracking and recovering stolen phones is nothing but a cover story to keep the proles from complaining too loudly.

Re:Redundant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44430123)

Also, if I'm a thief, the first thing I do after I steal a phone is remove the battery, and possibly throw away the SIM.

Perfect, my iPhone is safe then, it doesn't have a removable battery!

Easy arrests for gays (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429395)

Well, now it'll be really easy to arrest all those gay people.

These work great (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429403)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cell-Phone-Signal-Blocker-Jammer-Pouch-Case-Handset-Function-Bag-Anti-radiation-/390635594777?pt=US_Cell_Phone_PDA_Cases&hash=item5af3b22419

problem solved.

... and more skimming off the bottom (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429421)

the casual thief might get caught by this, for a while. .. when I started writing this, I was thinking "SIM cards aren't RFID, are they?" I was wrong [blogspot.ca] . So maybe they're just reading RFID tags?

What's the cost of an RFID-blocking smartphone wallet these days? Passport wallets that advertise RFID blocking are about $20 us or so...

If they are just talking about it now (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429427)

It is probably been in place for some time, and they probably have far more intrusive devices they don't tell you about

And in the new James Bond movie . . . (3, Funny)

MarkvW (1037596) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429437)

I can't wait to see how James Bond gets around this one.

Can someone explain the technology.. (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429457)

I may be naive, but I was under the impression that SIM cards required electrical contact to interface with. Is there some special trick the Russian's are using, or is there a radio device in Russian SIM cards, or all SIM cards? Or are they co-opting the phone somehow?

Re:Can someone explain the technology.. (4, Informative)

DigitAl56K (805623) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429473)

I may be naive, but I was under the impression that SIM cards required electrical contact to interface with. Is there some special trick the Russian's are using, or is there a radio device in Russian SIM cards, or all SIM cards? Or are they co-opting the phone somehow?

I see there is more information in the second article than the first. They are using fake towers to collect identifying information when the phone connects, which is quite different.

Near Field Communication (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429507)

It isn't as if they hide each new stage of project 1984. You may have noticed how many new technologies BOAST about their ability to wirelessly connect to near-by receivers. The idea is simple- everything becomes some form of electronic bug.

We, the owner, should be in charge of such functionality, when it operates, and what it is allowed to share, but the trend is in a very different direction. The tiny, highly integrated SoC designs in modern mobile devices are a far cry from the old desktop PC. They are, for a start, vastly more sophisticated- the essential PC architecture hasn't had an overhaul in a decade+ and still does most things through the x86 CPU cores. In comparison, the mobile computer has a mass of powerful dedicated hardware blocks that boost functionality beyond the control of the user.

For their own reasons, Moscow is stating its intent to 'scan' all the devices on the person of all who enter the main station. This smells like security theatre propaganda- those waves of conditioning that gradual adjust how the majority think and act. Putin acts like an ultimate mob boss, and those that cross him don't tend to stay alive for long. But Putin is the opposite of a brute like Stalin. Putin wants the best of both worlds- authoritarian control of the entire empire (and yes, there is a growing Russian empire once again), with a West Europe lifestyle for ordinary citizens. In Russia, it is kinda true that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Why? Because if you have nothing to hide, you are far from being significant enough for Team Putin. Putin already controls the sheeple. It is the people with power/influence that Putin needs to remind to stay on the 'right' side.

In America, where millions of sheeple will willingly install the NSA spy platform, the Xbox One, in their living rooms and children's bedrooms, total surveillance continues at a level beyond anything from Putin's wildest fantasies, or from the history of the USSR. Obviously, when the Russians need it, they also have access to the NSA surveillance database systems (that's the problem with total surveillance- so many people are involved, controlling or limiting access is impossible).

Anyway, if you visit a nation like Russia on business, and don't take precautions to protect your confidential information, you deserve everything that happens to you. The same, of course, applies just as well to the reverse- foreign business people coming to the USA.

Re:Near Field Communication (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44429675)

(Different AC)

Don't forget that the XBox One is always listening, waiting for you to call "XBone, wake up." Even when it's off it's controlling the Kinect, and don't forget it's Always On!

Property (0)

puddingebola (2036796) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429563)

Yes, it is illegal to track a person without permission from the authorities, but there is no law against tracking the property of a company, such as a SIM card, and since there is still Soviet law in Russia, there is in fact no property at all except property owned by companies, so no citizen owns any property, and all property is owned by foreign owned companies under laws governing their property, and all people do not own their smartphones, and everything can be tracked on their smartphone. Yes.

Now that.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429597)

is MR. Big Brother to you, my dear tovarich :)

Old Russia Is Back! (1)

meustrus (1588597) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429641)

It really doesn't matter whether those Russians want their secret police back or they are genuinely interested only in tracking stolen phones. Either way, this is still old Russia once again: promising cutting-edge technology be designed, built, and massively deployed for a purpose that >99% of people will never see for themselves. At least if somebody figures it out the system doesn't actually exist, they're a criminal that isn't going to want to speak up for fear of giving away their criminal behavior. They used to have to make the ones who notice...disappear.

What is this for? (1)

xkpe (1842034) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429663)

I couldn't understand from TFA what information can this device retrieve that the operator antennas could not retrieve already?

It looks more like an excuse to give money to some company that provides a redundant service...

ESN (0)

Technician (215283) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429679)

All you need to track a phone is the ability to spoof a tower such as a microcell while the direct connection is broken by being underground. Easly captured is the phone's electronic serial number along with the info from the SIM card such as the subscriber number and user's mobile number.

FUD may indicate you can read all this, with photos, texts, contact lists, etc. You can't read memory with the memory powered off. Some phones do remain on even when turned off as evidenced by iPhone roaming charges on cruise ships while off and stored in luggage. This is an exception to normal off is off for phones.

Re:ESN (1)

radish (98371) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429855)

An iPhone is off when you turn it off, just like any other phone. If that wasn't the case they wouldn't be allowed on planes. If you see some story about someone getting charges while their phone was "off" it just means they don't actually know how to turn it off (hint: it's not necessarily off when the screen is black) - that or a billing error.

property of a company (1)

nurb432 (527695) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429755)

So i guess you are not allowed to own your own phone.

Article is overblown (3, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | 1 year,29 days | (#44429887)

Moscow Subway doesn't plan to "read data on passangers' phones". They are simply setting up femtocells to report if a phone with a flagged number comes close. So if someone steals a phone from you on the subway (happens all the time :( ) you simply need to inform station personnel and police would have a chance to catch a thief.

Technically, it can be used for tracking. But why bother? Cell phone companies must provide tracking records to law enforcement on request anyway.

Re:Article is overblown (1)

citizenr (871508) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430631)

If its all legal and above the board then why install hardware instead of just asking phone company where particular subscriber is logged in?

"Stolen Phones", yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44430049)

This has nothing at all to do with tracking political dissidents or LGBT activists.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44430103)

We don't spy on people, we only read the contents of computers and cell phones. We don't track people we only trace IP addresses, browsers and SIM cards and license plates.

FCC regulations require my device to (2)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430419)

accept ALL interference. Including "lost my iphone" broadcasts. Russians are such rank amateurs. In soviet america we do as we please! at least our government does, anyway.

Captain Obvious (1)

die standing (2626663) | 1 year,29 days | (#44430769)

It is easier to NOT steal something than it is TO steal something.
Besides... go get yourself arrested for NOT stealing a mobile phone.
People: don't steal. Really. It's not that hard to not do.

Not Yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44431197)

Wait. The U.S. isn't doing this already?

Sniff, sniff, smells like bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44431229)

No, they don't have a gadget which can read my SIM card inside my phone.

They can monitor the phone communications to determine the IMEI, but there ain't no "SIM card scanner".

Turn off phone in subway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44431691)

Problem solved.

Re:Turn off phone in subway. (1, Funny)

someone1234 (830754) | 1 year,28 days | (#44431911)

You can't. The NSA already developed a way to keep mobiles active even when they are turned off.

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