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This Text Message Will Self Destruct

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the should-you-choose-to-accept-it dept.

Communications 233

mwilliamson writes "Silicon.com is reporting that Staellium UK (cell provider) has created a protocol in which text messages disappear after 40 seconds. This, of course, relies on the implementation of the protocol in the device used to display the message. They're touting a future roll out for photos as well, and service in the US."

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Does anyone see a different story? (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240496)


For me, the first thing that comes to mind from "self destructing SMS" is the advertising potential. Combined with a locator, you could now receive "Eat at Wendy's!" messages that expire so you don't have to delete them.

I don't really see it happening, but advertising in the old markets (TV, radio, newsprint) is not returning as big of a response as it used to. They'll always try to find more direct ways to advertise, and I wouldn't be surprised if this move is a predecessor to more direct advertising schemes.

Hopefully I'll be able to opt-in rather than opt-out of any such programs.

FWIW, I just can't imagine that people are SMS'ing proprietary information. If its private and confidential, keep it on paper (preferably typed with a typewriter). Digital information will always be too insecure.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (4, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240537)

FWIW, I just can't imagine that people are SMS'ing proprietary information. If its private and confidential, keep it on paper (preferably typed with a typewriter). Digital information will always be too insecure.

Oh, no. You'd be surprised.

At a certain national lab I used to work at, people used to SMS system login information - of course, the presence of additional security (e.g. a Cryptocard which is basically like an RSA random number generator tag) minimized the risks of someone breaking into the system, but you'd be surprised.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (3, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240558)

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the ineptitude of general humanity. What is the point of having any passwords if people don't keep them at least minimally protected? Sheesh!

The only thing I use SMS for is contacting my employees that overslept, communicating with friends, using Google for SMS and looking up prices (froogle etc). Sending proprietary information using a text messaging service is crazy.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

psycln (937854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240784)

contacting my employees that overslept

Wow, can i work for you?

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241012)

You overslept once:

"GET UR ASS OVER HERE ASAP!"

You overslept once more:

"U R F1R3D!"

Sarbains-Oxley means that EVERY (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240883)

communication is kept. (Including this one since I'm typing this on the office computer.)

Your SMS messages are no exception.

Since there is no way to determine what might constitute 'insider codes' for stuff happening, you can look forward to your SMS messages hnaging around FOR-bloody-EVER!

Work for an outfit with more than fifty staff in the US? (Notice it doesn't say where your head office might be because it doesn't matter.)

Your documents, emails, SMS messages and every scrap of paper has to be kept for at least seven years. If your company has archives, like most companies, the retention period extends into the ridiculous.

Keep your missives strictly about the task at hand.

Ever wonder why your cell phone doesn't work in certain buildings? They don't want any communications outside of the reach of the recording devices.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240550)

FWIW, I just can't imagine that people are SMS'ing proprietary information. If its private and confidential, keep it on paper (preferably typed with a typewriter). Digital information will always be too insecure.

While it should be kept under lock and key, have you any idea how much sensitive information is stored digitally? I think you would find that going back to a paper-based society (we're talking pre-1970s terminals here, people) would be very cumbersome. Just keep a sense of proportion, I mean we have your average consumer desktop (hereby referred as 'zombie') and we have the Pentagon's server with the nuclear launch codes. Somewhere in between you should find appropriate security for your digital information.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240596)

I definitely agree there is a balance between security and ease-of-use. I personally keep all my confidential data on a portable hard drive, and it is fairly insecure. Nothing I have is really all that important to me.

For people who have unique security needs, though, I am surprised that they'd need to have SMS messages deleted. If someone sends you proprietary information through SMS, how hard is it to just delete it yourself? Why is 40 seconds picked over 30 seconds or 80 seconds? The idea that a company is spending R&D on this is bizarre to me. Why not just make a new SMS standard option called "Delete in X seconds" instead of making one preset timing?

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241010)

It all comes down to this: If a computer (or network) contains extremely sensitive company data, it should not be connected to the internet. I don't think there's much of a fundamental difference between being able to steal a paper off of someone's desk and stealing a few files and putting them on a disk.

If the papers aren't locked in the file cabinet, or if the digital info is not encrypted and kept off the net, then people are going to steal it regardless of the format.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (5, Funny)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240588)

I don't know here is what I was thinking:

Not sure what to get for the WorldCom/Enron executive on your Christmas list who has everything? Well look no further! Now available just in time for the holdidays, the self destructing SMS client!!! Works with all the speed and convience of a regular SMS client, but without the pesky audit trail those nosey SEC investigators are always looking for! The perfect gift for that special someone who just dosen't have the time to fully cover up their embezellment/fraud! Saving someone a prison sentence shows you really care.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240694)

The sad thing is that what you describe was precisely the first thought I had when I read the blurb....

The even sadder thing is that the second thing I thought of was that this would be a new way for the RIAA to shove DRMed music down our throats. Pay per listen....

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (-1, Troll)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240685)

Yea great, every five minutes or so I get an advertisement that utilizes one of my text message slots. And even if it doesn't...I am paying for the cell phone service - am I getting a discount for these ads? The beeping, buzzing and bother to read the message is not something I planned for when I purchased the phone and was not mentioned to me.



JUST A REMINDER...On December 15, cell phones numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS... To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240850)

JUST A REMINDER...On December 15, cell phones numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS... To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.

Mostly untrue. From snopes.com:

Comments: While it's true that the major wireless phone providers (Verizon excepted) have announced their intention to establish a 411 directory of customers' cell phone numbers beginning in 2006, it is not true that they plan to "publish" said directory for any and all to read. Participating companies say the numbers will be made available only via telephone to users who dial directory assistance and pay a fee, and only with customer consent. The companies swear the numbers will never be accessible to telemarketers. In fact, per FCC regulations, telemarketers are already prohibited from calling cell phone numbers using automated dialers, which are standard in the industry.

Not everyone is convinced that consumers' privacy will be adequately shielded, however, as evidenced by a privacy protection bill already introduced in Congress which would modify the plan to allow 411 callers to be directly connected to requested parties without the latter's phone numbers being given out. Lawmakers have yet to act on the legislation.

In any case, the Federal Trade Commission does allow cell phone users to add their numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry -- the same one already in force for landlines -- either on the Web or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Contrary to what some variants of the email rumor claim, there is no 31-day or December 15 deadline for adding cell phone numbers to the Do Not Call list -- indeed, there is no deadline whatsoever.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240869)

second half of parent message is a myth http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/cell411.as p [snopes.com]

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (2, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240906)

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.
Although the do not call list helped for a little while, all of the companies get around it now by "taking surveys" -- generally, their survey consists of saying "Do you want to buy overpriced product X?" Until the "do not call" really means "do not call," these lists aren't going to do anything. Of course, you should sign up anyway, so that you can at least file complaints when they call you.

Until then, I recommend that everyone at least attempt to waste as much of the telemarketer's time as possible. Act interested without agreeing to anything, and ask lots of questions. Sure, it's a pain, but I would bet that if even five or ten percent of people did it, telemarketing would become so unprofitable that they would at least have to change their tactics.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240744)

The way the article is written the obvious different story that comes to my mind plays out as follows

MSG from 555-5555:
Feds hav wrrnt. Shred all accnting files. Luv Ken L.
MSG will self-destruct in 40 s

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240758)

What comes to mind for me?

1. Is this foolishness patented?
2. DRM.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

Greventls (624360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240798)

What if a business could set up something to scan for cellphones? For instance, low range towers that they license from the cell phone companies that spam cell phones with messages. You are in the mall for instance and walking near a Starbucks, suddenly you get messaged to come in now for x discount. If you could control the length before it died, it could be a coupon. I could see a lot of potential.

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240819)

GD MRNG MR BRIGGS

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

mcho (878145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240831)

I've built a business on text messaging (which sends your appointment reminders to your mobile phone even if your computer is turned off), but my service will never send advertisements to your mobile phone.

My service is something that I've built and constantly use myself and, as a customer, I wouldn't appreciate being "abused" like that regardless of having the option to "opt-out". And, as a business owner, it's not worth the extra "expense" of having another revenue stream.

Self-destructing text messages may be a good idea, but hopefully it won't be used for advertising because you'll open one text message and a hundred other text messages will pop up. ;)

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240974)

If its private and confidential, keep it on paper (preferably typed with a typewriter). What's a typewriter?

Re:Does anyone see a different story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240990)

Digital information will always be too insecure.

Yep. I've always been able to construct my own cryptographic ciphers for paper messages that are so much more secure than those lame digital IDEA/Twofish/AES thingees. Those guys are amateurs.

I see a very different story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240999)

I see a very different story.

First off, FCC regulations prohibit unsolicited advertisements form being delivered to you if they cost you money directly.

Thus the reason it is ILLEGEAL for telemarketers to call your cell phone and also the reason it is ILLEGEAL for SMS messages to be used as advertisements.

If you are victim of a SMS ad I suggest you contact the FCC, file a complaint and then file a claim with the company for you $500 (I think it is that now) check for the violation.

Mission Impossible (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240499)

FP

How appropriate (0, Redundant)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240505)

FTS: "has created a protocol in which text messages disappear after 40 seconds."

"Nothing to see here. Please move along."

Re:How appropriate (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240750)

Once a message has been sent, the recipient receives a text notification showing the sender's name and providing a link to the message.

I don't think they actually send you the text message. My guess would be that it's stored on their server (better have a WAP data plan) and they just tell you it's there.

The whole "40 seconds" thing is most definitely a lie. I'm sure England has data-retention laws specifying a minimum length the company must hold the message contents. (hint hint, just because you delete your voicemail, doesn't mean it's gone)

But... if they use a "private" flag & it relies on cooperation from clients, then it is broken.

What's the point (1)

swordstaind (927909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240506)

other then pretending to play james bond

Re:What's the point (1)

legalize.ganja.now. (923280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240629)

well, exactly that is the point. there's a little 007 in every real british man :-)

Don't ask... don't tell... (4, Funny)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240760)

well, exactly that is the point. there's a little 007 in every real british man :-)

Where british men store their action figures is their own business...

Re:What's the point (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240778)

other then pretending to play james bond

"Martha, dump your ImClone, now! Doug & Pete"

What I can't get used to, however, is the phone exploding. Talk about disposable...

Re:What's the point (1)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240903)

Say you have a mistress, and you don't want to get into the Beckham situation. Send her a self-destructing sms. Later she can't write a book about it because the messages have self-destructed. Or have her send you self-destructing sms. After you read, you don't have to remember to delete so your wife doesn't find out.

Nooo! (2, Funny)

creepynut (933825) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240508)

My ASCII Porn! 40 seconds isn't nearly enough!

Re:Nooo! (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240644)

> My ASCII Porn! 40 seconds isn't nearly enough!

Unfortunately, it is for me...

yay! (2, Funny)

boog3r (62427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240512)

They will call their new technology... Divx?

Re:yay! (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240637)

Exactly. Although a bit of a troll, I can see the MPAA lobbying for new laws that require any movies recorded to a DVR expire after 40 seconds.

Re:yay! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240676)

I don't think it's a troll at all. The minute I read this story the word "DRM" popped into my head.

Why should a sender be able to control what happens to a message that my device receives? It's all well and good that they can tell the network to drop the message after X seconds (assuming it isn't delivered) -- but why the hell should they be able to tell my device what to do with that message?

What's next? A new e-mail protocol where you can add an "X-No-Archive" like header to your messages and force the people who receive your e-mails to delete them after reading them?

Re:yay! (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240701)

another example in a long list of why we should have a not-for-profit tech hardware company.

what drives these conflicts is the need for profit and growth in the existing companies

Works for me, mostly. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240518)

For instant notifications powered by Upoc [upoc.com] , I certainly wouldn't mind this. If I leave my phone off for a couple hours (no signal at work) I get an SMS flood soon after leaving and end up having to delete messages after I read them. While it's not big deal it would be nice if I didn't even have to think about it.

*NO* text message that *I* get is worth keeping around after I read it. If it was, I'd just e-mail it to myself or copy/paste it to another application.

I like the idea, YMMV.

Re:Works for me, mostly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240592)

Well, I'm sure glad we cleared that up.

One more reason... (5, Insightful)

Gruneun (261463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240521)

As if the average person wasn't already running under the assumption that they were somehow anonmyous in their electronic communications. Frankly, I wouldn't knowingly buy a phone that implemented this protocol and didn't allow it to be toggled.

Imagine the lamely suggestive ads for it, too (1)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240616)

As if the average person wasn't already running under the assumption that they were somehow anonmyous in their electronic communications.

Assuming they do include photos in a bit, just think of the various "send your husband a hot image" ads we'll see for it. Polaroid cameras tried to pitch themselves that way based on the supposed privacy of not needing to develop anything, at least back in the day, and I've seen at least one video-enabled phone commercial in which someone picked up someone else's call and gawked at the other guy's wife. Yeck.

As a service this would sell to a) bad managers and b) people who make videotapes of themselves... Wait a second, how do I invest again? That seems to be a fair-sized market.

Re:Imagine the lamely suggestive ads for it, too (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240695)

As a service this would sell to a) bad managers and b) people who make videotapes of themselves... Wait a second, how do I invest again? That seems to be a fair-sized market.

There are good managers?

You're slipping Slashdot (-1, Redundant)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240526)

This was already reported on Engadget a couple days ago: http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000320071969/ [engadget.com] complete with reference to Inspector Gadget.

gasmonso http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:You're slipping Slashdot (-1, Troll)

spacefight (577141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240571)

Right. For those who haven't noticed yet, slashdot is more and more way behind digg [digg.com] and other news sites/blogs (like engadget as you said). Said but true.

Re:You're slipping Slashdot (5, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240660)

Am sure almost every article on Slashdot was "reported" elsewhere beforehand.

That is not the point. Some of us simply don't have the time to check a million other websites, instead we use Slashdot and a handful few others that can filter out stuff of interest.

Maybe if you subscribed to a couple of hundred tech-blogs, you might end up knowing half the headlines on Slashdot. But it's much easier to just read it on Slashdot, in one place, when I can be sure that it will eventually show up.

It was a couple of days late. So what? By the time the service would be available, it would be more than a few days later.

I do not understand this obsession with, "Oooh, I saw this on $foo 32 minutes and 23 seconds ago. Slashdot is SLOWWWWWWWWWWW."

Big deal. Some of us don't really care, as long as we hear about it somehow. Slashdot is primarily a forum, if you are a news junkie, look at other sources.

*shakes head*

Where article's $protocol = WAP (linked in txtmsg) (3, Interesting)

hattig (47930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240528)

I thought the text message got routed to their servers, and the receiver got a message with a link to the wap site. they'd then get sent to the wap site to see the text message, and the wap site would redirect or do something after 40 seconds to remove it from the viewer's screen. Standard http redirect?

Double Take (3, Funny)

kadathseeker (937789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240530)

When I first glanced at this I though of exploding phones, perhaps a la Rammstein. Now you can send death threats and stalking messages without those pesky records to catch up and convict you!

Re:False sense of security (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240662)


Just as governement agencies can request your telephone records if you call someone with a death threat (now, in complete secrecy, whether or not you've violated the law), it's hard to imagine them not being able to acquire the same kind of information from the service responsible for routing them.

Re:False sense of security (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240713)

Just as governement agencies can request your telephone records if you call someone with a death threat (now, in complete secrecy, whether or not you've violated the law), it's hard to imagine them not being able to acquire the same kind of information from the service responsible for routing them.

So the protocol would force the message to be deleted off the headset but the network would retain a copy? Kinda defeats the purpose of the security doesn't it?

Do the cell networks even keep a copy of normal SMS traffic? Or do they just log the fact that an SMS message was sent for billing purposes (like normal phone records -- they don't log the call itself)? Do they even keep a record of who you send messages to or just a running count?

Oh, goodie ... (4, Insightful)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240535)

... a new messaging protocol demanding my IMMEDIATE response. I don't have enough electronic intrusion from my cellphone and email already. This is great. My boss will love it.

Text messaging reduced to the level of that arcade game where alligators poke up through holes, and you have to hit them on the head before they disappear. Maybe I can try this while driving, just to make it more interesting.

Re:Oh, goodie ... (1)

kadathseeker (937789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240545)

Sounds like heaven. I can honestly say I didn't get it now.

Re:Oh, goodie ... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240650)

Nice mocking, but unrealted to the article. The 40 second clock starts ticking once you've displayed the message.

Re:Oh, goodie ... (1)

kitzilla (266382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240822)

Yeah, I get that. Still beat-the-clock.

This concept failed with email (1)

glomph (2644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240552)

Sure you can do it in a totally captive corporate environment (sort of), but companies like "Disappearing Inc" tried to make it a product/service combo. As far as I can tell, it was an utter failure. Email -is- an archival medium. Which is why it shows up in the discovery phase of just about every business civil action these days. SMSes are generally not worth bothering with, in the "I'm waiting for you at the OTHER end of the pub"...

Based on Microsoft technology (4, Funny)

LightningBolt! (664763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240560)

"No additional technology was required beyond [Microsoft] IIS," said a spokesman, "Once the message is read, the server crashes, and subsequent attempts to read the message fail. As they say, a crashed server is a secure server."

What A Bummer.... (1)

shaneFalco (821467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240570)

I read the headline and thought that maybe text messaging as a medium would disapear and I would no longer recieve annoying messages. Shame on the poster for getting my hopes up only to dash them to the ground!

Re:What A Bummer.... (1)

kadathseeker (937789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240598)

I treat messages like email. I ignore it until it's convenient. With this I can ignore it and have all the crap delete itself.

Just who owns the message anyway? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240575)

Just who owns a text message anyway? It's my contention that once it arrives on my telephone that it's mine. I predict this will not prove to be a popular feature.

Re:Just who owns the message anyway? (2, Informative)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240687)

I'm not a lawyer, but I think that text messages would be the "intellectual property" of the writer unless the receiver had a written agreement with them that said otherwise. Ownership is technically given upon creation in the US, though a court usually asks for some sort of proof (ie, poor man's mail-in copyright).

What's wrong with flash messages? (1)

mattbee (17533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240583)

Assuming your intended recipient doesn't have some covert means of recording the messages (in which case this is as much nonsense as it sounds), what's wrong with sending a flash SMS which many mobile phones won't store? Plus it usually appears more prominently than a regular one. If that won't work, what about a one-time automated voice recording? You can't make data self-destruct if the receiver doesn't want it to :-)

Stallman got it right, again (5, Insightful)

billybob2 (755512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240586)

Richard Stallman correctly predicted this was going to happen as a result of of DRM, also known as Digital Restrictions Management, Treacherous Computing, or Handcuffware. To quote from his essay "Can you trust your computer? [gnu.org] ":

...There are plans to use the same facility for email and documents--resulting in email that disappears in two weeks, or documents that can only be read on the computers in one company.

Imagine if you get an email from your boss telling you to do something that you think is risky; a month later, when it backfires, you can't use the email to show that the decision was not yours. "Getting it in writing" doesn't protect you when the order is written in disappearing ink.

Imagine if you get an email from your boss stating a policy that is illegal or morally outrageous, such as to shred your company's audit documents, or to allow a dangerous threat to your country to move forward unchecked. Today you can send this to a reporter and expose the activity. With treacherous computing, the reporter won't be able to read the document; her computer will refuse to obey her. Treacherous computing becomes a paradise for corruption...

Re:Stallman got it right, again (2, Informative)

madman101 (571954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240790)

Unless you work for a company that is publicly listed, since SEC regulations call for the permanent archiving (on "non-editable" media) of all electronic communications. Penalties for non-compliance are very steep...

Re:Stallman got it right, again (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240825)

What about "printscreen?"

Re:Stallman got it right, again (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240983)

Imagine if you get an email from your boss telling you to do something that you think is risky

You tell him no, and if he insists, you leave.

Interested Customer (5, Funny)

mrRay720 (874710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240587)

Please sign me up for your new service.

Love and kisses,
Paris Hilton.

Re:Interested Customer (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240641)

Dear Miss Hilton,

You were automatically selected by our customer profiling for a free trial of this service.

In addition, my balls will self destruct in your mouth free of charge.

"Think of the children" angle (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240591)

I seem to have read quite a few cases of people soliciting minors via cell phones, sending messages and such. Can you say "self-destructing evidence"? Step 2: Require cell phone providers to log all SMS messages. Step 3: Give unlimited access to FBI to catch terrorists.

Re:"Think of the children" angle (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240901)

Step 4: people combine this with encryption, so that everything is safe and secure. I do agree that this is likely to be used more for questionable/criminal activity than not. Though I still am an advocate for strong, private, and possibly anonymous communications to be possible.

This already exists (5, Funny)

felipecoury (771350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240597)

This kind of message already exists for GSM mobile phones. It's called WIG Push (SIM Browsing or SAT) messages. They are visible for a short time and vanish after a timeout.

For more information check http://www.smarttrust.com./ [www.smarttrust.com]

Regards!

But it still gets archived for investigations (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240601)

The original article notes that, even though the recipient loses access to the message, it's still stored for law enforcement, the intelligence community, and probably for marketing purposes.

Re:But it still gets archived for investigations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240774)

So the recipient can call the provider and ask for a copy of the message, I'm sure the telco's will love that. It boils down to this; if you don't want somebody to save a message, don't fucking send it!

Even if the message self destructs (1)

ace_brickman (883858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240606)

The transmission is still vulnerable. Until a truly secure solution for encryption is developed, sensitive information will still have the capability of interception. At least in the way of one-time passwords, we're still relatively safe from double-fronted SSL/TLS _and_ SMS attack/interception. The self-destructing password would be useful in this facet of password security.

I can see it now... (1)

verbnoun (920657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240610)

"Officer, someone sent me a text message saying they're going to kill me!"
"Can you show me?"
"Sure, here it... erm, well it was here a minute ago"
"Of course it was"

This does not need terminal support. (1)

tomtefar (935007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240614)

This seems to be an MMS going out to the handset with a link to a web/wap site embedded in the message. Clicking this link will setup a GPRS connection to the site, which will flash the message and delete it. This is stock 3GPP usage with no protocol updates necessary. Please note, however, that it is not a text message. The sender does not use SMPP to push out a SMS message (max 160 byte) through the SMSC. This will cost both the message sender and receiver a lot more traffic than a regular SMS. /M

Circumvention (1)

kortex (590172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240617)

This particular attempt at secure messaging will be circumvented in 5...4....3...2...1...

Re:Circumvention (1, Informative)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240947)

This particular attempt at secure messaging will be circumvented in 5...4....3...2...1...

This particular attempt at secure messaging will be circumvented in ... 0. It is alread stored for law enforcement. Methinks encryption is in order. Presumably the reciever cannot prevent this from being deleted, though, which I think is a bad idea.

From stealthtext.net:SECURITY: While the message is deleted off the recipient's phone, like any phone call or text, the 'paper trail' and log stays on a protected, secure server, for a limited amount of time before completely deleted, to comply with the law

I predict (5, Insightful)

this great guy (922511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240625)

I predict:

  • bad implementations which will only delete the message's metadata instead of the data itself (which will remain visible in the memory chip, and forensic investigations will be able to recover deleted text messages)
  • hacked phone firmwares that will violate the protocol by allowing users to prevent the deletion
  • people who will think this technology is secure but will realize later how easy it is to circumvent

From my personal point of view this "auto descruction" feature should only be seen as a convenience where phones autodelete messages to keep enough free memory space.

Why? (1)

kadathseeker (937789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240633)

Thsi whole thing sounds useless and annoying. There's nothing to stop a modded phone from recording the message, and the message is still unencrypted and vulnerable. Furthermore, maybe just add a password feature to the phone.

Easily Defeated. (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240642)

Just save/copy/print it before it goes away. Take a picture of the screen if you really need it for proof of something.

Re:Easily Defeated. (1)

rmsousa (614388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240706)

But how will I take a picture of it if it is on the opposite side of my camera phone? I feel confused...

Re:Easily Defeated. (2, Funny)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240891)

That's simple. You just get another phone and take a picture of the phone with the original message. Then, you SMS the picture back to the first phone.

Oh wait...

Great Idea (5, Funny)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240647)

Sounds like a great idea. What happens if you can't finish reading it in ti..

Advertising (1)

confusedwiseman (917951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240656)

Click the text message and win a free ipod (*you have 40 seconds to to this SPECTACULAR offer)

The only problem is, it doesn't really work ... (5, Informative)

tyrions (884908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240680)

... because the system simply sends a WAP push to a page which expires after a given period of time - the request is made over plain HTTP. The problem is that WAP gateways often choose to ignore the "no-cache" directives as do a lot of WAP browsers, which means that the message remains in the cache and can still be read both by the client and the gateways along the route after it has expired. A quick test we ran showed the messages being stored on the memory of a phone even thought it wasn't supposed to be cached. Also, it is always possible to simply save the page source to a different file on the phone.

A mobile software consultancy [ionsquare.com] I work for is actually working on a project for a client which takes things a step further by encrypting the traffic from the server to the client and allowing the user to read it only via a J2ME MIDlet which never stores the messages to the RMS (persistent storage). For more information check out www.simtext.com [simtext.com]

The next version of Sony DRM ????? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240696)

Is this just the precursor to the next version of Sony DRM... ??

Big deal (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240729)

I invented a protocol that can make the sun shine out of your ass, but you need to use an instant messenger that supports it.

in related news (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240733)

manufacturers announced today they will try and sell a security related service over a copmletely insecure and unreliable communication system

imagine that

Terrorists will love it (2, Interesting)

TomDLux (28486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240735)

But security agencies will require the company to archive all messages for five years ... or is it ten?

Tom

Here and yet wont happen (2, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240749)

There is already support in the protocol for text messages which are never saved in the users inbox. These are generally called "flash sms" and, whilst not being quite the same, work close enough, are supported in the majority of handsets and is here today.

Whilst I don't doubt that this kind of functionality has the potential to be good and bad - anything which requires support from the majority of vendors before it can be used will fail unless there is a significantly compelling reason to have it (eg. T9).

I don't see this as being quite in the same league as T9 though.

Just use Print Screen! (1)

Aaron32 (891463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240776)

Lotus Notes has something where you can't forward, reply, or print an e-mail. I just hit print screen and ran it around the office. The guy (who was supposedly a Lotus Notes expert) was very puzzled at how I got his e-mail printed. It will be very good for people who don't know what the PRINT SCREEN key is. Like those executives that are talked about in the article.

this is for tha ladies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240786)

dealing with the ladies, that is.

this is perfect for juggling multiple girls at the same time. text message disappeare so your girlfriend/current fling cant to bust you...
no more of the "who is jennifer and why did she say you is she telling you she isnt wearing any panties...?" conversations.

maybe this didnt come up yet because slashdotters have enough time getting one girl, let alone multiple....

Great news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240791)

.. for cheaters and terrorists! :)

What a great lure! (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240806)

Now that I have company execs lured into thinking that just because the message self destructs it is safe, I can now write my next IM worm to copy their messages into another 'secure' location to be read by myself and my evil black hat henchmen and to be sold to the highest bidder! Mwa ha ha!

First Post! (2, Funny)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240821)

I got a first post, but it self-deleted after 40 seconds...

TERRORIST THREAT! (0, Troll)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240829)

Only terrorists would want a text message system that will erase itself! Leaving no evidence of the message in history? Leaving no traces for law enforcement to track? This is not good... Our commander-in-chief-of-the-world, George.W will not approve.

Re:TERRORIST THREAT! (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240894)

Actually given it relies on the hardware implementing the TTL I'd suspect operators would be required to log the messages without applying the TTL.

It only really protects you for messages you've got on your phone when you lose your phone and not messages being intercepted while in transit. If you're worried about people reading messages off your phone I've got an even better idea - delete them once you've read them and then you don't go "whoops - didn't read that in the 40 seconds as someone was talking to me oh dear" ;)

TTL in a patentable paraphrase? (1)

halber_mensch (851834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240867)

Staellium UK said that its StealthText service will allow business executive dealing in sensitive information to send texts which will delete themselves from the recipient's mobile phone as soon as the person has read them.

Um... this sound like it is just a time-to-live applied to a service protocol... it's not exactly rocket science or a new concept. But they've got a buzzword to file off to the patent office. Fantastic!

I subscribed earlier (3, Funny)

fullofangst (724732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240978)

I signed up for an initial batch of 5 messages. I did of course immediately write two fairly sexual messages to girls I know, seeing as its anonymous. Great fun.

Anyway, nothing comes across as a text message. Rather, the phone will display the received item as a Service Command message. Clicking 'open' automatically starts the WAP on the phone, which connects to the StealthText server and displays the message. Standard operator charge applies however, so it's probably something that people are going to complain about when they notice that tiny increment on their bills.

But still .. anonymous text messaging. I've got three left and then I'll unsubscribe, it's far too pricey for what it is. But at least I get to tell the boss what I thought of his new shirt without him knowing it was me :)

aka spam me senseless (1)

broothal (186066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14241016)

Good luck complaining about offending messages and spam. Man - I'm missing the point here. Tell me again what good this protocol is?
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