×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK Firm To Release 'Screaming' Cell Phone

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.

230

rubberbando writes "Yahoo news is running a story about a plan by a UK cell phone company to help reduce cell theft. Apparently, this new cell phone can be sent a signal after its owner has realized that it has been lost or stolen. The signal tells the phone to wipe all of its data and begin emitting a very loud and obnoxious sound. The sound will only stop if the battery runs out or is removed, but it will begin again as soon as the battery is replaced or charged. Even replacing the sim card will not help."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

230 comments

Brilliant application of 'planned obsolecence' (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288647)

It sounds from the description that these phones will become functionally useless once you do this to them. What a fun prank to pull on your friends!

Re:Brilliant application of 'planned obsolecence' (3, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288695)

Even better, imagine what will happen if their system is less than secure. Try and think about the damage a script kiddie could do if he got ahold of a list of people's passwords and phone numbers.

Or, even worse, if he found out how to send the signal to the phones sans password - after all, if the company is lazy, then maybe all they'd do is dial up the cell phone and send a general purpose "kill" signal. Figure out how to tell the cellphone that it's stolen while still in the possession of its owner, and you can make somebody very, very mad.

Re:Brilliant application of 'planned obsolecence' (3, Insightful)

Jaruzel (804522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289129)

The kill signal will probably be in the format of a special (Operator) SMS text message. Much in the same way your Internet settings can be sent by your provider over the air (OTA) to your phone.

However, I had an app a while back that could 'build' Operator SMS messages and send them out to peoples phones, so yeah, unless the Operator takes serious steps to secure this system, it's gonna be hacked in no time. Once hacked, the concept will be useless, and the manufacturers will stop including the kill-system in the firmware...

-Jar.

wouldn't be that much use (0)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289685)

steal phone, remove sim card and replace with your own. Text messages are sent to the phone number, which is defined by the sim, not the handset.
Unless this is a feature that works via IMEI number and uses some specialist software at the service provider's end...

Re:Brilliant application of 'planned obsolecence' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289239)

You got your quote wrong, it's "Erotic is when you use a feather, kinky is when you use the whole chicken."

Re:Brilliant application of 'planned obsolecence' (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289337)

Yes, I'm sure the potential for malicious use never crossed the engineers' minds while they were working on this protection mechanism.

Such old news the battery is dead by now (1, Redundant)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288871)

THis was on the Reg a good while ago. It was even on the New Zealand news site by this morning.

News is supposed to be new.

Re:Such old news the battery is dead by now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288985)

New news on slashdot? Lawl. This is a site that regularly dupes stories from several YEARS ago.

Re:Brilliant application of 'planned obsolecence' (1)

wpanderson (67273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289549)

Planned obsolescence ... that's a bit like linking to Yahoo! News; the story can also be permanently read at Reuters [reuters.co.uk] for posterity's sake. Think of the slashdot grandchildren!

Like (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288649)

YAAARRRRRGH FP

So basically... (2, Insightful)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288663)

There's a hardware GUID. Whoopdy-do; if there's a remote method to turn it on via software, there's a method to turn it off via software.

Re:So basically... (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288697)

I pray the cell phone companies do this, then a virus gets a few million of them at once. I don't know who would scream louder, the phones or the owners.

Re:So basically... (5, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288715)

Not necessarily. If it writes an "I'm disabled" flag to some place in the onboard NOR flash, and the loader reads this to decide whether to proceed with a boot or not, you'd have to rewrite the loader or the NOR flash in order to turn it off. Pulling all the power wouldn't help since the flash is designed to hold data when the power is out.

If you have the tools to rewrite the NOR flash, then you can indeed turn off the alarm with software. The software will be external to the phone and will have to use some hardware connection to it, though.

Phones already have a GUID !! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289075)

Hi,

Cell phones (GSM at least) Already have a GUID which is transmitted all the time while the phone is switched on.

It is easy for operators to track the position of a stolen cellphone down to about a meter if they wanted to.

They have used this to track down the polish kid who knifed someone to death over an iPod.

If you have a cellphone and it's switched on, it's transmitting a guid and position continuously, always.

This is why I think the spat in the UK about ID cards is silly, most people in the UK own a cellphone and it's freely, continuously and permanently giving away their identity AND position.

Anyways. in short, if someone stole your GSM and you tell the police it's attached to a drum of sarin gas, they *will find it* in no time.

Re:Phones already have a GUID !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289169)

I do believe that they can't track it without activity, which is why on the news you'll hear them say that a killer's last mobile phone _activity_ was near to the murder scene.

Also, a pay as you go SIM card normally isn't linked to an identity.

Re:Phones already have a GUID !! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289335)

Hi,

> Also, a pay as you go SIM card normally isn't linked to an identity.

It is very much linked to an identity when the phone spends 6-8 hours per day in the same house and spends workdays at same place of business.

If you carry a cellphone for any length of time, your identity and position at any time are easy to deduce by anyone with access to operator logs.

If you carry it anywhere near security cameras, the position, time and date result in a picture!

Re:Phones already have a GUID !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289681)

the gsm protocol isnt designed to sends it's position..
they tracked down this kid in belgium, by disabling the gsm basestations..
when a phone enters a area, it logs onto that 'cell'..
the basestation can only view the signal strength, and posibly the direction.
but when you shut down this station, the phone logs onto another station,
which is also a border of the same cell.
so if you do that twice, you have 3 positions(of the stations) and signal strengths,
so you can calculate the distances to each of te stations, and you can guess the position.

so i don't believe they track in which home the phone resides, and which job you attend..
that's so 1984..

Re:So basically... (1)

random_culchie (759439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289171)

Its a nice idea but many of the previous attempts to disable or block phones that were stolen are easily worked around. Most stolen phones that are blocked can easily be reenabled by flashing them with a new firmware which changes the phones IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. This unique number is is used for among other things identify phones that are reported stolen. Blocking the SIM card is easily circumvented by changing the SIM. Unless phones are designed with the IMEI set at the factory on a part of the phone's memory that cannot be changed, these new measures are useless.

Yahoo news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288665)

And Fark, BBC, Stuff, etc, etc. Yesterday.

Obnoxious? (4, Insightful)

Fembot (442827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288669)

The thing I don't get is how exactly they expect this to be any more loud and obnoxious than all these damn ringtones are already!

Another deep thought... (3, Funny)

mctk (840035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288679)

If cell phones could scream, would we be so cavalier about smashing them on the ground? We might, if they screamed all the time for no good reason.

i can only wait (4, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288685)

The signal tell the phone to wipe all of its data and begin emitting a very loud and obnoxious sound.

Isn't this what happens if Paris Hilton calls you?

Re:i can only wait (2, Funny)

banuk (148382) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289277)

Isn't this what happens if Paris Hilton calls you?

You're wrong, it doesnt happen to your cellphone, it happens to your brain when she calls.

As Hammurabi said, a blown-up face for a phone. (4, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288699)

"We also then set a small bomb off, if you like, that completely wipes the data...

As well as the ear and most of the face of the thief? Seems a little harsh.

Re:As Hammurabi said, a blown-up face for a phone. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288731)

Acually it's a counterfeit Nokia Li-Ion battery with its trigger wired to this system.

Oh, wait, here on Slashdot people only get it if I say Sony battery.

Re:As Hammurabi said, a blown-up face for a phone. (4, Funny)

ricky-road-flats (770129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289223)

As well as the ear and most of the face of the thief? Seems a little harsh.
/insert standard Sony laptop battery joke here/

Actually it reminded me of something I was talking about just yesterday, a funny scene from the BBC series from the 1980s, 'The New Statesman'. The main star (Rik Mayall) is held up at knifepoint, and quickly hands over his wallet when it's demanded. The theif runs off, at which point the star smiles, pulls out a little remote from his breast pocket, flips a switch and presses the red button. You hear an explosion and a scream in the distance. Great stuff!

just wait till the secret code is posted on google (1)

giuntag (833437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288711)

...and all the legit cell phones go off screaming! was it the final scene of the lawnmoverman? or did they copy the idea from some idiotic scheme for configuring atm machines?

Who cares if the phone becomes unusable (5, Interesting)

Vihai (668734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288713)

I would prefer if the phone could silently send me a usage report so that I could track who stole it and kick him in the a....

Re:Who cares if the phone becomes unusable (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288929)

What good would the usage report do? You may be able to see what the thief did, but how would you track the mobile phone? Now, if it sent a GPS signal to you, that'd be different.

Re:Who cares if the phone becomes unusable (1)

Johan Palmqvist (839607) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289051)

You can track the phone's current location by subscribing to a positioning service. It's not nearly as efficient as GPS but you will get an estimated position that is still pretty close to the real one.

Re:Who cares if the phone becomes unusable (1)

Vihai (668734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289259)

Will the thief ever call a number published on the phone directory? There you will find a physical address where to go and ask... who is him?

IMEI, Re:Who cares if the phone becomes unusable (5, Informative)

mennucc1 (568756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289101)

Actually, if your phone is GSM, then you can already do that.
First and foremost, you must write down your IMEI number [wikipedia.org]. Simply type *#06# into your cell phone. It may look like: AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D . That is the serial number of the phone, and it will not change if the SIM is changed. Write it down into a safe place.
When your phone is stolen, report that number to the police. They will report it to the providers, that will lock down the cell phone [gsmworld.com] for good; moreover, if the phone is ever turned on, they may be able to track the thief whereabouts, using standard cell tecnology; that, and an identikit, may actually help them arrest the thief.
A friend of mine, (who is in IT business) did all of the above, and she really had the thief arrested and prosecuted.

awesome! (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289251)

First and foremost, you must write down your IMEI number. Simply type *#06# into your cell phone. It may look like: AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D . That is the serial number of the phone, and it will not change if the SIM is changed. Write it down into a safe place.

Excellent! I am writing the number down right now in the memo pad application on my cell phone!

Re:IMEI, Re:Who cares if the phone becomes unusabl (1)

Vihai (668734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289461)

The police will NOT track down stolen IMEIs. This is the problem. Even if it would be quite easy: look who the SIM owner is, look who is he calling, go there and put him in jail.

What happens now? The IMEI (hopefully) is put in the blacklist, the thief changes the IMEI (yes, it is feasible on most phones), the phone works again.

Re:IMEI, Re:Who cares if the phone becomes unusabl (2, Informative)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289611)

Their are posters from the Met Police all over London telling people to write down their IMEI numbers and report them in the instance of theft. They're making more effort than they were.

Re:IMEI, Re:Who cares if the phone becomes unusabl (1)

bopo_the_mofo (888877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289553)

Couple of things... not just GSM, but 3G phones too have an IMEI. Unfortunately, UK carriers do not properly implement network security, so they do not correctly keep records of who (person) owns what IMEI. The police MAY attempt to report the IMEI to carriers to cancel it, but it is not guaranteed, not least because number portability means that it is only usually possible to tell from an IMEI who the issuing carrier was, not the current carrier.

You should also have to provide a lot of ID to do this.

Just for info... the network 'sees' your phone as a combination of IMEI and IMSI (a similar number on the SIM card). Your phone number is just a human-friendly number allocated by the net. Blocking your IMEI does not block your number, or even render your SIM unuseable. Get a new phone, use the network backup facility (which you nerdily remembered to set up) to restore your settings/contacts etc and off you go.

Just remember, kids, the ONLY way to make sure this works is to fill in that little user survey / guarantee card that comes with your phone and TELL YOUR NETWORK WHAT YOUR IMEI IS. Otherwise forget it.

If every scum-sucker that stole a phone got it disabled within seconds this would soon stop.

Re:Who cares if the phone becomes unusable (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289585)

..so you can get arrested for assault.

You're expected to let the police take 6+ weeks to recover a stolen item.

Stolen phones == customer fraud (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288719)

Let's face it, a good proportion of "stolen" phones are people that want a free upgrade from the network. Oh look, they don't make that model any more, and coincidentally I was mugged today. Like the person that rung from the phone that was being reported stolen.

Re:Stolen phones == customer fraud (1)

hadhad69 (1003533) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288889)

although most companies I know of have an insurance policy which requires you to pay an excess fee (for my phone it was £50! and thus I didnt bother reporting it stolen)

Simpler (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288757)

The police used to do this in the Netherlands; when a phone was reported stolen, it would be sent an SMS every five minutes, saying: 'this phone is stolen'. That would require the thief to change the SIM card, which would make his action less than free (gratis).

Re:Simpler (2, Informative)

cynicalmoose (720691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288821)

But as anybody can locate a SIM in the cell to which it transmits, sensible thieves replace SIMs anyway.

Re:Simpler (2, Interesting)

hankwang (413283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288853)

in the Netherlands ... would require the thief to change the SIM card, which would make his action less than free (gratis).

Well, they used the IMEI [wikipedia.org] number of the phone that is tied to the hardware, although someone with the rights skills might be able to change the flash memory where it's stored. (By the way, you can see the number by typing *#06#). It requires cooperation of the mobile phone providers though, that should have a blacklist of stolen IMEI numbers and take appropriate action as soon as a stolen phone connects to the network.

If this is a private initiative, it seems unlikely that all providers are going to cooperate with keeping track of IMEIs. It's more likely to work by sending a special SMS message to the phone number, which can easily be circumvented by the thief if he recognizes that it is a "screaming" phone and replaces the SIM directly after the theft.

And never mind that you have to figure out the call center phone number to report the loss because all your phone numbers are stored inside the handset. By the way, how is this going to help you get back your phone? The thief will get rid of the phone, and it might be found by someone. But you need a secure system to make sure that only the rightful owner can de-scream it.

Re:Simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288961)

It requires cooperation of the mobile phone providers though, that should have a blacklist of stolen IMEI numbers and take appropriate action as soon as a stolen phone connects to the network.

A register of blacklisted IMEI numbers was part of the original design of the GSM network.
But it was never put online, because blacklisting stolen phones is not in the interest of telephony providers. Stolen phones get a new SIM card and are used to make calls, thus generating profit for the providers. Disabling them would be foolish.

So, when proposing an anti-theft scheme, be sure you do not need the cooperation of the providers.

Re:Simpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289135)

That must get very expensive, or do they have an unlimited text messaging plan?

Idiot Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288775)

And you pay a premium idiot tax of 10 british pounds (that is 14 euros, or 19 dollars) - per month.

How long till... (4, Interesting)

KTheorem (999253) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288785)

How long will it be until something like this is implemented to "punish" those that are late on paying their bill or for people who decide they want to switch service providers?

Trolling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289285)

How long will it be until something like this is implemented to "punish" those that are late on paying their bill or for people who decide they want to switch service providers?


That has to be one of the the worst Troll I have seen here in a long time.

Re:Trolling... (1)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289625)

I switched telecoms providers recently, and my previous provider sends me at least one letter a week asking me if my service is better and telling me that i really should switch back, and look at all the shiny deals they've currently got..... He's got a vague point....

Re:How long till... (1)

dabadab (126782) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289583)

Jesus, is this +5, Interesting?
Of course that would be just as illegal as sending out hitmen in the abovementioned cases.

Re:How long till... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289631)

Of course its intersting. Low-jacks already do this in some cases. A friend of mine's car, which has a low-jack for 'security' reasons, though i fail to see why anyone would steal that POS, will very LOUDLY complain, lock you inside the car for a good 5 minuites when the bill isn't paid on time. I had the displeasure of this happening to me while driving her to work at 2am on the 1st of the month (before the bill was auto-processed)

Seriously, in about 3-5 years time we WILL see this happening to late billpayers. It serves two purposes, cut down on thefts, and enforce payments. It will happen.

Stolen Phones not really an issue (0)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288803)

What kind of business idea is this? What are they gaining out of this? Essentially if a cell phone is lost or stolen then it is as good as gone. If it is this new high tech screaming cell phone and it is stolen or lost its basically as good as gone and doesn't give the theif the satisfaction of possessing a stolen cell phone. In the end, the customer is cellphone-less anyways and the business lost a potential customer (the theif).

Re:Stolen Phones not really an issue (1)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288875)

What kind of business idea is this? What are they gaining out of this? Essentially if a cell phone is lost or stolen then it is as good as gone.

You miss the point. People are robbed, sometimes violently, for their phones everyday. If all phones had a system like this, there would be no point in robbing people of them.

Police around the world are concerned about the value of the goods we are carrying. For the past ten years or so it's just really been cash, credit cards and mobiles that folk carried. Cash is less common now, credit cards are more 'secure' but increasingly we are carrying laptops, mp3 players and so on. Street crime will likely increase due to the increased profitability now. And as phones are one of the more overt gadgets (especially when in use), they make a good place to start in terms of making them less valuable to a thief.

Ohhhh, goodie! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288813)

Given the incredible security with cells these days, I can't wait for the next time I get pestered by some godforsaken ringtone in the movies and being able to replace the audible pollution with something else. Maybe more annoying, granted, but I do trust the owner that he will quickly shut down the phone. If not, he'll be removed from the theatre.

I call that a win-win.

New terrorist weapon... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288815)

Can you imagine all the chaos that these screaming cell phones would cause in an airport or airplane? Terrorists will no longer need to physically blow up a plane to disrupt air traffic with these screaming babies going off.

Re:New terrorist weapon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289021)

Well done, you win the idiotic slashbot comment of the week award.

Who do the police arrest? (4, Funny)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288819)

So someone stole a phone, and now it is making a very loud unpleasant noise. So they have dumped it near my house and it is still making the noice and I am very annoyed. So I hit it with a brick until it stops.

Question: who gets taken to court? The phone manufacturer, for creating a noise nuisance? Or the thief, for stealing the phone? Or me, for damaging someone else's property?

I know the answer: it will be me, won't it?

Re:Who do the police arrest? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288885)

The brick manufacturer for making an unsafe product.

Re:Who do the police arrest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288981)

That's a USian answer, you insentitive clod!!

Re:Who do the police arrest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289117)

Bricks don't break phones, people do.

Re:Who do the police arrest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16288977)

just take the battery out... problem solved.

Re:Who do the police arrest? (1)

Narcogen (666692) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289029)

Given that the noise means it was stolen, rather than smashing it with a brick you could simply disconnect the battery and turn it in to the police.

Re:Who do the police arrest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289105)

Given that the noise means it was stolen,

Most people wouldn't know that...

rather than smashing it with a brick you could simply disconnect the battery and turn it in to the police.

Some people might assume it's some kind of bomb...

Re:Who do the police arrest? (2, Funny)

tmjr3353 (925558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289345)

Well, if they thought it was some kind of bomb I'd hope they wouldn't be chucking a brick at it to be honest.

but will get axed by friendly fire !! (2, Insightful)

fatcop (976413) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288825)

I lost my mobile 3 times over a period of a few years. Yes the same one. Every time some saint returned it to the local police station and I'd get it back. Quite amazing considering the inner city area I live in Sydney.

But I can just imagine them feeling all gooey inside about the good deed they are about to do ... then suddenly this phone starts screaming like a Blitzkreig air raid, and in the panic they stomp my phone into a fine power and run off traumatised !! Fat lot of good THAT feature would do me :)

Re:but will get axed by friendly fire !! (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288947)

Your phones were lost, not robbed. If someone points a gun at you and demands your phone, you're not going to expect it to be returned by some saint, are you?

can you imagine the mischief? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288867)

i am assuming that once a cellphone is stolen, they alert the cell provider to send the phone a signal. the provider probably just has a database and a set of commands to send

so can you imagine the mischief if that provider's system is gamed/ hacked? and the mischief makers initiate a "call all cell phones" iteration?

depending upon the percentage of cell phones that have this feature, you could cause mass havoc across the entire country

Re:can you imagine the mischief? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288919)

so can you imagine the mischief if that provider's system is gamed/ hacked?

I am sure that could happen now.

The obvious next step (2, Funny)

Gerocrack (979018) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288873)

Screaming not annoying enough for you? The next version will randomly spew a stream of urine.

how can this be good? (1)

scheuri (655355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288917)

First of all...when it can be turned on, it can be turned off again. Simple rule. I have a hard time believing that turning this thing off again is not possible.

Second...why are cells stolen? Mainly because their sim card? I doubt it. Because people call their mobile company telling them the sim got stolen and it should be blocked or something. In other words, the sim card should be rendered useless. Therefore thiefs are after the mobile phone itself to sell it.
Soooo...the only "harm" being done is, that you lost your mobile phone and data. Whereas data might be sensitive you MIGHT think about securing your mobile a bit better. It is the same with laptops in my opinion. If electronical devices care sensitive data, you look after them WAY better!

I think this is just a way to increase cell phone sales!
Why? Simple...if that screaming really can not be turned of easily enough then the cell phone is useless...to the thief as well as the righteous owner. So, beside of playing pranks to "friends" by turning on the screaming and making them buying a new cell anyway...a theft leads to a brand new cell.
Just imaging you lost your mobile thinking it was stolen and you turn that screaming on...you lost a mobile phone.
The way with all the text messages all over you ("this mobile got/is knicked") seems kinda better as the false positivs do not necessarily lead into a buy of a new mobile phone.

Well, I dont like the idea...

I hope not on a laptop (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288949)

The system also automatically backs up data held on a device once a day, meaning users can re-load their information onto a replacement handset.

Sounds like, (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16288975)

a time to trot out my connections, and link to my friend's startup [tencube.com] that provides a similar solution.

Here's the clincher, though: they even have a beta.

Re:Sounds like, (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289077)

It looks like your mate uses a J2ME solution, which is really not up to scratch. It is so easy to stop j2me software from running, just press hangup. I am not sure that this will be able to disable the phone. I am hoping the article describes a hardware solution, much better option.

Why spend the extra money (UK) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289009)

If you live in the UK then you can register your phone (as well as other possessions) on a system called Immobilise http://www.immobilise.com/ [immobilise.com] which is actually supported by the UK police forces and doesn't cost a penny for a basic account. If you report the phone as stolen then the phones serial number is blacklisted and none of the mobile phone providers will provide service to that handset therefore rendering the handset useless. Sure, you might be able to get to the contacts etc with an inactive SIM on some phones but at least no-one else can use the phone to make calls etc. So, shall I spend an extra £120 or shall I use a free system which is endorsed by the police...?

Car alarms anyone? (1)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289085)

Maybe I'm just cynical, but somehow I am expecting to hear reports of these giving off false positives. For example: The T-Mobile rep who sold me my phone fat-fingered the number while getting everything set up, which resulted in screwing up both my service and the service of the person who owned the "new" number the rep had generated (more proof that typos are not reliable random number generators). Imagine that applied to these Cellphone alarms.

I imagine car alarms sounded just as great on paper, but the number of false positives they generate is incredible (disclaimer: I think car alarms are a great deterrent and use one). If the misfire rate on these cellphone alarms was even a small issue it could face consumer rejection due to the fear of their Cellphone being a proverbial timebomb waiting to embarrass them in public, at work, or (in my case) in class. At least with a car alarm you don't carry your car with you (if you do please reply and explain how you accomplish this feat), so it generally won't be interrupting your board meeting or examinations if it goes off. I'm all about screwing people who steal my stuff, but not at the expense of me facing the same treatment for just owning the darn thing. :)

That reduces theft how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289205)

Speaking as a professional cell phone theif, I tend to take the sims out as soon as I can, and wouldn't wait to check if a phone was this particular model before I lifted it.

This has an effect on theft how?

Fortunately, cell phones are perfect... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289349)

...Unlike computer, cell phone hardware and firmware are 100% bug-free and reliable, and wireless connections are digital and therefore perfect with no error rate at all. Therefore, we need not contemplate the possibility of false positives ever triggering this feature accidentally.

Heck, why stop at an irritating noise? Have it trip a little relay that will short out the battery and make it explode. That will show them!

"'Mobile' is where the money is"... (2, Insightful)

gjuk (940514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289371)

This is yet another one-trick pony. Basically, a few years ago, desperate investors, not yet burnt enough by the dotcom boom, realised they should be backing "mobile" ventures. Anything would do, as long as it was "mobile".

Note that these guys charge £100 / year ($220). Given that the average mobile would cost £200 to replace (tops, brand new) and you get a free one every year or two with a contract - they are suggesting you pay an insurance premium of c. 50% of the phone value, for a phone which you'll probably be getting rid of soon - and which the networks will disable if you report stolen. Oh yeah, and you don't actually get the phone back, it just screams.

To be fair - the real benefit is that it backs up the data on the phone; but if you're sensitive enough to spend £100/yr on this service, you ought to find a better way. The fact that this is "Home Office and Police backed" just goes to show how readily these agencies piss our money on pointlessness.

Possible abuse (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289409)

Sounds like a good way for "The Man" to keep his eye on all of the telephone-stealing Coons out there.

Good feature (2, Insightful)

pryonic (938155) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289485)

It would be handy if I could remotely set this off for people who feel it's necessary to play tinny RnB MP3s through their phones on long train journies. The scream would probably sound better than that noise, or may convince them just to turn the damn thing off.

Am I the only person that finds this new 'trend' amongst teenagers on trains antisocial and inconsiderate?

Old News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289587)

OK, so the screaming is a "new idea", but at least some phones have supported "remote brickification" for years. Blackberries come to mind, but there may be other.

However, with any halfway-open phone OS, I'm not convinced that it wouldn't be possible to disable it. With Windows Mobile 5, I know that there is software out there already that claims to do this (although I'm sceptical). Anyone care to comment on how likely this would be with Symbian?

Expensive and useless (1)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289677)

From the fabulous article:

Costing around 120 pounds ($224.3) a year the technology is not 100 percent fool proof however, with organized tech savvy thieves likely to have the equipment and know how be able to get round the security measures

The phone is stolen, battery removed and it's taken to the wee booth at the back of the market (where they can already unlock phones, upgrade firmware, backup memory etc) and restored. The loud noise is only ever heard for about 20 seconds, while in the booth in the market (when it's conveniently stuck under a pillow). The owner, who's paid £600 (over $1000) over the last 5 years for the service, more than double the value of the phone, is left with less than if they'd played the old *#06# trick (available for years for free).

Good to see the march of technology being put to good use.

Do this to the Wife's phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16289687)

Can I do this to my wife's phone. She's always on it. All I would have to do is report it stolen :)

I can imagine if the commands to turn this on got hacked. Everyone who got mad at their boss or former G/F would get revenge by using this feature. Imagine if it went off in an office or crowded building....

Useless (1)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289709)

This is completely useless. A cell phone in UK is almost free (as in Guiness) if you accept it to be simlocked. Then you go at the cyberspace just above the cell shop, and get it unlocked and voilà : 3G phone with no restrictions for £30.

Then someone steals it. Big Deal. Since it is 3G, you backed up your data... right? Thief has your data... So f*ing what? He knows you cheat on your wife and he's gonna blackmail you? "Hey, I just stole your phone, and..." and at this point he's got your trusty baseball bat in his face. Twice.

It will cost you £30 more to replace the phone, period.
And data get backed up and restored by bluetooth (unless you're too stupid to use such high-tech, in which case WTF are you having a 3G for?).

Oh, just before I forget... How many people are actually unhappy enough with their PSP (Phone Service Provider) that they get it unlocked and switch? Or is it only so that you can pay three times more with a prepaid card?

And, how comes people are stupid enough to steal phones in a country where they all are simlocked by default?

What a bloody good idea! (1)

bratwiz (635601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16289711)

What a terrific idea! I hope these guys make a lot of moolah for their efforts. That would be a good idea for ipods, laptops, and lots of other personal electronics that so often get stolen. Its about time that somebody came up with a good idea for how to combat the problem. The cops sure don't have time to do it.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...