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Cellphones Privacy Transportation

Moscow Subway To Use Special Devices To Read Data On Passengers' Phones 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the they'll-know-how-much-time-you-waste-on-bejeweled dept.
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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Moscow Subway To Use Special Devices To Read Data On Passengers' Phones

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  • "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.
  • Its obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stumbles (602007) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:36PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @06:48PM (#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:SIM tracking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:06PM (#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:Tin-foil... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:13PM (#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.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreyaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:20PM (#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.

  • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @07:43PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @08:04PM (#44430017)

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

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 30, 2013 @11:29PM (#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.

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