Dedication for this work goes to NEWSREP sister, Miss Amanda Howton
Orwellian Spies at Work
You may have heard remarks akin to the notion that “spies” are listening in on your phone conversations. They’re activating the camera on your smart phone and taking pictures. By cracky, they are even turning on your microphone and listening to all the ambient sounds and conversations around you… and worst of all, the spies are tracking every place you go every minute of the day.
Now is it or isn’t it really the case, you might ask me. My answer is: “How the hell should I know who is spying on you, or what the hell it is that you are doing all day long that makes people want to spy on you in the first place?” But is such an eaves dropping threat even possible to begin with?
There’s good news and there’s bad news with regard to smart phone privacy: The bad news is that there is no good news. All of the aforementioned is possible with a smart phone; the tracking, the listening, and the picture-taking remotely… it is ALL quite possible, mes amis.
How Our Smartphones Compromise Privacy
Here’s why — in the least technical terms — that, with hope, will appeal to the greater audience:
Our smart phones can be recognized as being a pair of two separate technology functions. Those are: a baseband modem that serves in function to connect your phone to cellular phone network services, and a computer that serves like the desktop unit in your home — essentially running computer software applications.
The modem and the computer in your phone are discreet (separate). We can’t see the modems in our smartphones, and we cannot even get to the modems. Therefore we cannot control the modems. A dose of irony about the mysterious modems in our phones is that the technology therein is not much of a departure from that of two decades ago, and as long as there is power in your phone, the modem is “awake”.
If is sounds a skoshe creepy… that’s because it sort of really is! Powering down your smartphone does not put the modem in a dormant state. The only way to truly shut the modem off is the fully remove the battery, the power source, from your phone. Oddly, I can’t seem to take the battery out of my smart phone, and I’ll venture you can’t either.
Your Smartphone is a Rat
It is through this highly exploitable vulnerability that hackers, law enforcement, and government can, if they have a driving motive, access your phone to engage the microphone, camera, and locator. Your smart device constantly looks for cell towers nearby with sufficient signal strength to render your next phone call. Each time your phone pings one of these towers a record of your phones meta data is collected by the Cellular Service provider (CSP) and maintained for a five-year duration.
Your smart phone is hard-coded with a unique identifier that stays with the phone no matter if you change your SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card or your service carrier, like switching from Verizon, to AT&T, to Sprint…etc. That identifier will always be there, and it will always match up to a new SIM card or a phone number change. There’s really not much hiding to be had in all this, or not within the scope of this single essay. But I submit to you that there certainly IS some resolve for those folks hell-bent on maintaining a near invisible profile in the grand scheme of things… a notion that leads me to my ultimate thought.
Is There Hope for a Dope to Cope?
I know positively how to render a zero profile presence in a cellular service network, though I choose not to do so. Why? I. HAVE. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. TO. HIDE. I have NOTHING to hide! Yes, a hacker will know I was at McDonald’s on Sunday at 12:15. The government will discover my excursion to Harbor Freight on Monday at 10:30. And dammit the Po-Po will compromise my midnight dash to the nearest 7-11 for a macaroni and cheese sandwich on Tuesday!
As hard as I can possibly think, I cannot produce a cogent reason why I would insist on being invisible on a network. Well, yes I would, if I were planning to do something illegal or incredibly embarrassing. Why would you want to be invisible? Just… cuz? I rather suppose that is a good enough reason, “cuz.” Me, I’ll just remain abreast of the law and save the embarrassment for drinking nine beers and going on Facebook to tell people just exactly what I thinks of ‘em… =hic=.
By Almighty God and with honor,