Reason for openmoko - bugsafe?

Fabien fleutot+openmoko at
Sun Jul 15 18:46:31 CEST 2007

Just to (hopefully) clarify: I've read, probably from some very unreliable
internet source, about a scheme where police make the carrier uploads an
"improved" firmware over the air, which turns the phone into a microphone,
even when not calling; it changes the shutdown function into a "pretend to
shutdown yet go on spying"; the only fix would then be to remove batteries.

If you're talking about this, let's say that this kind of scheme is much
harder to implement on an open-source phone, especially if you can run an
arbitrary set of monitoring applications on it. It's not theoretically
impossible, but probably completely impractical, even for a rogue state

If you're simply talking about eavesdropping phone communications, it's done
in the carrier's network, so your phone's brand is irrelevant. You can still
use an open-source encrypted VOIP system over GPRS, if your contacts are
willing to use a special program as well. Don't trust closed-source systems
such as skype: the chances that they've caved in and offered states a
possibility to eavesdrop are very close to 1.00.

Finally, you can't do anything against geolocation either: your carrier
needs to know where you are in order to route calls to you, so state
agencies can retrieve that information directly from the carrier, whatever
your phone is, as soon as it's on.
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