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Author Topic: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?  (Read 1613 times)

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Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« on: December 12, 2011, 10:51:43 PM »
I'm not one to give much credence to conspiracy theories, but 'special chip embedded in all newly produced phones...'. Well, that has to have the tinfoil hat community all but running for the hills. I don't know much about this source: InfoWars, but the story is documented in other sources also.

http://www.infowars.com/unannounced-verizon-emergency-alert-causes-panic-in-new-jersey/

"Verizon are one of the ‘big four’ wireless carriers that have agreed to sign up for the program, which will use a “special chip” embedded in all newly produced cellphones to send emergency alerts directly from the federal government. Customers will not be able to opt out of messages labeled ‘presidential alerts’, meaning they will be forced to read what some construe as government propaganda."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/verizon-apologizes-for-alert-that-warned-customers-to-take-shelter-now/2011/12/12/gIQArFnWqO_story.html

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 01:12:32 AM »
I see this dying quick after some hackers use it to promote spam of some sort

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2011, 07:59:49 AM »
I see this dying quick after some hackers use it to promote spam of some sort

Oh I'm certain it is hacker proof <nods confidently>.

LOL

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2011, 09:31:09 AM »
Oh I'm certain it is hacker proof <nods confidently>.

LOL

Which is to say that it's been taken offline?

Offline Trieste

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Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2011, 09:47:07 AM »
I'm not sure how this is different from the emergency broadcast system on radios and televisions?

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 10:03:37 AM »
I'm not sure how this is different from the emergency broadcast system on radios and televisions?

You can't sit down at a PC and do an entire zip code with a couple of keystrokes.

Mostly I think it's the fact there is no opt out choices. You can always turn off your TV. Mostly I think it's not well thought out. TV stations don't get hacked that often.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2011, 10:13:45 AM »
I suspect it's the "special chip" thing. Any mention of new tech is a red flag in front of the John Birch/Left Behind fandom set.

TV stations don't get hacked that often.

Radio stations, on the other hand...

Offline Trieste

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Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2011, 10:32:36 AM »
I think there will be some hiccups with new technology, but you can turn your phone off. It's not much different, in my opinion, from them using the radio or the television. You own the unit, and radios do travel around with you. The special chip thing, well, most smartphones are equipped with GPS anyway. My smartphone allows me to turn off the GPS when I'm not using it, although that's no guarantee that it's actually turned off. However, it's the same with a Garmin or a TomTom.

Furthermore, cell phones are a great way to get emergency message out. Almost everyone has them, and most people who have one check them often. With the popularity of smartphones, in fact, it's only a wonder that it took them this long. Could it be abused? Well, sure, but so can the emergency broadcast system in televisions and radios, in theory. This is, as far as I can tell, just a way of including cell phones in that system, and as long as it isn't abused, it's a positive thing.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 10:41:56 AM »
I suspect it's the "special chip" thing. Any mention of new tech is a red flag in front of the John Birch/Left Behind fandom set.

Radio stations, on the other hand...

I think it's a vulnerbility and that it is more of the 'tech creep' that we don't need.

Part of my issue is that mandated Chips in electronics by the government have never gone well.

For example

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipper_chip
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 10:59:48 AM by Callie Del Noire »

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2011, 05:54:17 PM »
I'm not sure how this is different from the emergency broadcast system on radios and televisions?

People don't store (today) personal information on their television sets. In addition, most phones these days, new ones, are smart phones and capable of significantly more than their predecessors, creating far more opportunities for abuse.

People should be able to opt in if they so desire, and if they choose not to, sign off on it.

Online RubySlippers

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2011, 06:44:44 PM »
You could just opt out and not use one of these devices, they still have this funny thing its a phone with a landline that used to be all the rage oh I still use that.

(Gets my stone spear to go hunting for the nearest wildabeast ...  :D )

Online Vekseid

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2011, 07:47:56 PM »
People don't store (today) personal information on their television sets. In addition, most phones these days, new ones, are smart phones and capable of significantly more than their predecessors, creating far more opportunities for abuse.

People should be able to opt in if they so desire, and if they choose not to, sign off on it.

This is no more relevant than pointing out that people have lots of home videos. It is a broadcast mechanism, and it's supposed to be used in the event of a major emergency.

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2011, 08:01:01 PM »
My bad.

I'm confident the government will never use the system for anything but a legitimate emergency (natural disaster or military conflict) and the system will never compromised, misused, or otherwise abused.

Because of course they have such a great track record and all.

<sarcasm />

Offline Trieste

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Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2011, 08:16:24 PM »
That's not a particularly constructive post... :P

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2011, 08:23:15 PM »
That's not a particularly constructive post... :P

Perhaps not, and duly noted. No sarcasm :)

It is all likely a moot point as some clever teenager will quickly figure out a way to disable the chip, while leaving the phone otherwise fully functional.

This has been demonstrated time, and time again.

Online Vekseid

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2011, 08:36:54 PM »
My bad.

I'm confident the government will never use the system for anything but a legitimate emergency (natural disaster or military conflict) and the system will never compromised, misused, or otherwise abused.

Because of course they have such a great track record and all.

<sarcasm />

How often was the EBS compromised, misused, or abused, and how does that minor annoyance remotely compare with the hundred million plus lives that would be saved if it was forced to serve its national-scale purpose?

All of the abuse has been on the personal scale. GPS tracking, telecom wiretapping, and so on. This is an EBS for the modern age, and like the traditional system, I'm a bit curious as to how you think it could be abused in a way that would not have repercussions.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2011, 08:51:10 PM »
Perhaps not, and duly noted. No sarcasm :)

It is all likely a moot point as some clever teenager will quickly figure out a way to disable the chip, while leaving the phone otherwise fully functional.

This has been demonstrated time, and time again.

No, no. It's not that I mind the sarcasm, it's just... move the discussion along with it, you know? Anyways.

I do, as Veks' post implies, believe that an emergency system will not be as vulnerable to outside abuses as, say, a Steam password. >.> And I do think that we need an updated broadcast system, because with the amount of On Demand, Netflix, Tivo, etc, that people use their television for now, and with the fact that more and more cars are being fitted with iPod docks or people are relying on CDs or Sirius, we do need a better system.

It has also just occurred to me that this probably doesn't upset me because it's old news for me. My university already makes use of a MyAlert system that goes out via email and SMS messaging. If there is one bureaucracy I don't trust, it's my friggin' school. I have yet to see abuse of the system, even with all the bored kids on campus. This is saying something, because someone can (and did) hack the email system to send out a spoofed "Campus Notify" (not MyAlert, but the campus's system for disseminating campus events and policy changes to students) message. I mean... we've had it for a couple years now and it's been working really well. So... I know it can work well. So now it's a question of will it work well, and the only answer to that is time.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2011, 08:54:36 PM »
I'd like to just point out that - just because words are on a screen in front of me - I'm never forced to read it.  Just like those teenagers can sit in a room with you, getting a lecture, and not hear a word of it.  ;)

*pops open 'alert message'*  Oh look, the Prez is texting me again.  Dear Citizen, blah-blah-blah... *closes 'alert message'*  Next. 

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2011, 09:05:36 PM »
No, no. It's not that I mind the sarcasm, it's just... move the discussion along with it, you know? Anyways.

I do, as Veks' post implies, believe that an emergency system will not be as vulnerable to outside abuses as, say, a Steam password. >.> And I do think that we need an updated broadcast system, because with the amount of On Demand, Netflix, Tivo, etc, that people use their television for now, and with the fact that more and more cars are being fitted with iPod docks or people are relying on CDs or Sirius, we do need a better system.

It has also just occurred to me that this probably doesn't upset me because it's old news for me. My university already makes use of a MyAlert system that goes out via email and SMS messaging. If there is one bureaucracy I don't trust, it's my friggin' school. I have yet to see abuse of the system, even with all the bored kids on campus. This is saying something, because someone can (and did) hack the email system to send out a spoofed "Campus Notify" (not MyAlert, but the campus's system for disseminating campus events and policy changes to students) message. I mean... we've had it for a couple years now and it's been working really well. So... I know it can work well. So now it's a question of will it work well, and the only answer to that is time.

I do appreciate the intent of an EBS. I get that, I do.

I'd note that apparently your phone doesn't require a 'special' chip to get these alerts. Why then would (new) phones be required to? Better, more comprehensive coverage I suppose.

I don't believe that the message itself could be abused, but the possibility the chip could be commandeered and used for a whole different purpose. The means and methods of that possibility may not be so obvious today, but as smart phones get smarter, and smarter I think there is real potential for abuse. And that abuse wouldn't have to even originate from the government.

But as I said, it is ultimately moot because someone will figure out a way to circumvent in any event.   

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2011, 09:28:30 PM »
I do appreciate the intent of an EBS. I get that, I do.

I'd note that apparently your phone doesn't require a 'special' chip to get these alerts. Why then would (new) phones be required to? Better, more comprehensive coverage I suppose.

I don't believe that the message itself could be abused, but the possibility the chip could be commandeered and used for a whole different purpose. The means and methods of that possibility may not be so obvious today, but as smart phones get smarter, and smarter I think there is real potential for abuse. And that abuse wouldn't have to even originate from the government.

But as I said, it is ultimately moot because someone will figure out a way to circumvent in any event.

I question the value of something like this at the federal level.

A catastrophe serious enough to merit a national warning, is liable to have already taken out much of the technological infrastructure necessary to operate cell phone networks in the first place.  We're talking things like a massive earthquake (8.5 or better), nuclear assault, asteroid impact, zombie apocalypse, etc. 

If the event hasn't yet destroyed the infrastructure, I think the existing news services out there can get the word out just fine.  Twitter will carry it before the government gets around to reporting it anyway.  If the event is catastrophic enough that the wire services, CNN, Fox, NBC etc. are no longer capable of operating, the cell phone networks as well as the Internet itself are likely to be severely degraded or nonfunctional.

At the risk of being retro, shortwave radio is actually a much better means of getting emergency messages to the population in times of crisis.  The technological infrastructure required to operate a shortwave system is orders of magnitude lower than that of the Internet and 3G networks. 

Online Vekseid

Re: Red meat for conspiracy theorists? Or something else?
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2011, 02:11:18 PM »
I do appreciate the intent of an EBS. I get that, I do.

I'd note that apparently your phone doesn't require a 'special' chip to get these alerts. Why then would (new) phones be required to? Better, more comprehensive coverage I suppose.

Or to make it part of the services that are always live even when service is discontinued, like the 911 system.

Quote
I don't believe that the message itself could be abused, but the possibility the chip could be commandeered and used for a whole different purpose. The means and methods of that possibility may not be so obvious today, but as smart phones get smarter, and smarter I think there is real potential for abuse. And that abuse wouldn't have to even originate from the government.

But as I said, it is ultimately moot because someone will figure out a way to circumvent in any event.

I would certainly prefer we move to a more open chip/software development, so people can review the design behind these sorts of things themselves, but that's a separate issue from an EBS chip.

I question the value of something like this at the federal level.

A catastrophe serious enough to merit a national warning, is liable to have already taken out much of the technological infrastructure necessary to operate cell phone networks in the first place.  We're talking things like a massive earthquake (8.5 or better), nuclear assault, asteroid impact, zombie apocalypse, etc. 

Er, no. The whole point of the EBS is that it would give a good half-hour warning in the event of a nuclear attack. There's certainly value in that, and it beats the hell out of 'duck and cover'.

Many disasters, particularly tsunami threats, are the sort of thing this is also applicable for - you only have a few hours, and the threat may cross state boundaries.