Mobile phones are inherently not secure

Posted on April 3, 2011  /  1 Comments

Phones allow coordination and convenience. But as politicians in many countries learned several years ago, they allow surveillance.

Security isn’t just a concern in Middle East autocracies, or for would-be revolutionaries. Mobile phone surveillance, for example, is tough to escape for cellphone users anywhere, said Ethan Zuckerman, senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, and a founder of Global Voices, a worldwide group of bloggers and interpreters that has produced similarly themed guides.

Mr. Zuckerman regularly advises Access, as do Chris Hughes, one of Facebook’s founders; the rock musician Peter Gabriel, and the board president Eli Pariser.

“In general, most users aren’t aware of the extent to which mobile phones can be monitored by telcos in cooperation with governments,” Mr. Zuckerman said, referring to telecommunications companies.

“If the guide reminds people that mobile phones are inherently insecure and that we’re trading off privacy and convenience in using the devices, it would be a useful outcome from the work,” he said.

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1 Comment

  1. From a convenience perspective, mobile phones are the best and the biggest mode of information exchange. The billing systems today, are capable of recording immense amount of information about the user and his/her behavior in terms of communication. The application form filled by a customer to purchase a connection itself carries a lot of information on customer/user profile. Some of the basic information recorded in the billing system would be numbers dialed out, incoming, duration/time of calls, SMS-outgoing, incoming, content of the SMS etc,. Also based on Value Added Service (VAS) used by a person, a basic idea of his/her character, thinking and behavior can be painted.

    Some of the advance information that can be recorded would be, the location of a call (from where the call was generated), to which location, movement while on the call, type of phone (exact make and model). Also, if needed the conversation can be recorded at any point of time. Using the GPS features in BTS sites, the exact location of a person can be given if the phone is switched on. Same goes with Satellite connectivity. Only difference is the satellites are controlled by the “big guns” that are not easy to reach.

    More we get closer to high tech, more exposure we put ourselves into.