Is the data on your mobile phone safe?

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He's so dreamy!

Justin Bieber, Esq.! A real lawyer with the same name. Saw the ad on the subway tonight.

I promised to update my previous post on prosecutors in Montgomery County, Pa., asking a judge to make a local school administrator surrender the password to his mobile phone (I’m not saying cell phone anymore) in a criminal sexting case. A specialist in Information Security, or InfoSec, from the University of Pennsylvania, offered a solid read on the situation in my comments section:

If the contents of the cell phone are encrypted (depending on the type of device this can be easy or impossible) then law enforcement has no way to recover data off of the device. They require the password so they can access any data (such as saved SMS messages). There is some argument that the Fifth Amendment protects against such disclosure to the courts. The reality is that we’ve finally reached an era where consumer grade encryption is good enough to foil most law enforcement. It’s why entire countries now forbid Blackberry encryption.

Sounds about right, especially the part about countries, such as India, trying to deal with BlackBerry privacy. Thank you to Justin Klein Keane for providing that conclusive response.

How long can Egypt afford to keep the Internet down?

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Photo credit: Monasosh on Flickr

See that cell phone in the top right corner of the photo? The Internet and SMS text messages may have been disrupted by the Mubarak regime, but cell phones and cameras were not rendered inoperable. This Jan. 28, 2011, photo was taken with a Blackberry in the neighborhood of Imbaba near Cairo. The photographer got it and other photos onto Flickr. How the photographer did that, I don’t know. The only regular Internet that was working was the one functioning ISP serving the Egyptian Stock Exchange. Others had the option – albeit very expensive – of using satellite phone services. But it really didn’t matter. The damage already was done on Facebook and Twitter and text messages rallying the Egyptian people to protest after Friday prayers before the Internet crackdown. One TV newscaster on Al Jazeera English believed that the loss of online information actually drew more people outside to find out what was happening. I also think that the protesters, without the need to keep uploading photos from their phones or check for updates on their computers, were left to be singularly focused on causing a breakdown of government authority. On Friday night, President Obama urged the Mubarak regime “to reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet.” In reality, the regime cannot sustain the disruption unless Mubarak is prepared to take Egypt on a journey backwards to pre-Internet times. Sure, half the country is broke or out of work, but the other half needs ATMs and credit cards. Those don’t work without connectivity. And every minute without the Internet, Egyptians are missing out on this:

Source: The Clearly Dope