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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Richard Stallman on the big bro capabilities of cell phones

Another major concern is mobile devices. "This is an interesting example of how new problems can arise with new technology," Stallman says. "Ten years ago, I looked at cell phones, and there was no issue of free or proprietary software, because no one could install software in cell phones. But I looked at it, and said that this was Big Brother's dream: Wherever you go, they know where you are.

"Then I found out that, once they became programmable, that it was possible to turn them on remotely to listen to people. But, in the last few years, cell phones have become more powerful and turned into computers on which people can install software, so, as a result, the free software issue is relevant to them, also. And, as it happens, addressing that issue helps us address surveillance and tracking as well. If you have free software, then the phone is controlled by users, and it is possible to tell it not to send any remote signals. Also, there's at least a good chance that it will have security and won't let someone turn it on remotely."

Richard Stallman looks back at 25 years of the GNU project (linux.com)

I'm sure Schneier has covered these problems in the past but its a good reminder. It sounds like a good idea to know what software is running on your phone.

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