Monday, March 19, 2007

I really enjoy turning off my cellphone.
The "turn off your cellphone" warning commercials that are played before movies actually give me a warm feeling of entitlement, like I'm off-duty suddenly. I've earned that time to watch whatever crap movie we have bought tickets for and it is my right -- no, my responsibility -- to shut off my cellphone.
Accompanying this and immediately following Cingular's "goodbye" screen, there is a feeling of seclusion. For the next 90 minutes, it is just me and the family.
After what I heard last week, I doubt that feeling will ever be as powerful.
You see, I heard from a software developer about a project they are working on as part of a government contract.
For some time now, people have been able to triangulate the location of a cellphone based on what "keep-in-touch tower" it is using at the moment. This is fairly accurate, but the new program is much more granular.
Using the new software, someone with proper authorization (all too easy to get, thanks to the Patriot Act) can determine the location of a cellphone much more specifically and -- this is the scary part -- even if the phone is off.
But wait! Guess what they can do even if your phone is off!! Guess! Guess!
They can activate it remotely, right in your pocket, and record whatever is going on around you!
I know. This seems like another paranoid rant, but this is an actual real-life project currently underway with Federal funding.
Now, I only know of one way to stop this gross invasion of privacy (besides setting the cellphone battery in a cup of water whenever you need a moment alone and that would cost a fortune in replacement batteries and probably land a person on a special list somewhere) and I hope it is only a matter of time before it takes effect.
Hopefully, someone invoking the Patriot Act will switch a phone into record mode during a movie. At that point, the MPAA should totally climb all over them with lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit.
The FBI warning we all have to sit through every time we watch a DVD we actually own, could be our only hope for privacy in the future.
I just frightened myself.

Okay. This should make us all feel better about the whole thing:

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1 comment:

Pamela Moore said...

Dude, I don't want anyone recording me snorting down a huge bucket of popcorn while I cackle at the latest crap comedy to hit the cheap theatre.