Sunday, 7 August 2011

Can You Keep Control of Your Mobile Phone?

The New Scientist reports that Researchers are working on a system that hitchhikes on the mobile phone network to provide an extra layer of vigilance/surveillance.
Cheap sensors mounted in your Smart Phone could monitor the environment for chemicals such a nerve gas, and automatically alert the authorities to anything suspicious.

Mobile phones are getting ever more things built into them. Manufacturers are looking to not only build in biometric data, but readers as well. I mused on this use in a short story a while back, and in a bit of blogging about RFID capabilities.

We could one day end up with the Star Trek Tricorder capability in our phones as I speculated some time back.
The trouble is that that without safeguards, the data gathered might one day be used to undermine rather than to protect your freedom.

Smart phones already have sensors such as GPS receivers, accelerometers and gyroscopes.
An example that New Scientist quotes is that drivers in Boston will soon be able to download an app called Street Bump that uses their phone's accelerometer and GPS to record the location of a pothole whenever their car bounces over one.

With a few extra tweaks your cell phone, car satnav, along with other everyday devices could work together to find stolen electronics, gather images for the police in real time, and sniff out banned drugs or gas leaks.
Not forgetting of course that your mobile phone has already got audio and video built into it.

I already blogged about some rebellious drivers use a small device which beams out a jamming signal to prevent their movements being monitored – Phones could work out the deviation to normal in the GPS system by triangulating on the network  base stations.

A growing number of new cars have satnav and wireless connectivity, as well as video cameras incorporated into parking systems. Add a licence plate recognition system, like those already used by police and you have a spy in your car. All connected together with the Blue Tooth system in the car. How easy would that be to control or hack?

While data collected by your mobile phone or Satnav unit could help to trap a criminal, it could also reveal where you live and work, how you get to work, what places you visit and where your friends live.
 A lot of which I speculated about in Cold Suspenders.

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