'My Account' - a way to store information about the phones owner, so they can be reunited if it's lost.

Paul Wouters paul at xelerance.com
Thu Mar 1 19:26:10 CET 2007

On Thu, 1 Mar 2007, Ian Stirling wrote:

> http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/My_Account is an overview of some ideas.
> Briefly, a way for anyone with the phone to access a history of the phone
> (bought/sold status, reported as stolen, ...), a way for the user to set these
> as well as contact information for people to return the phone in some way.
> Thoughts?

Phone is lost. Someone finds it. If they are honest, they will call the
last number and say "i just found this, you know who this phone belongs
to?". If they are dishonest, they remove SIM and keep using the phone,
perhaps reflashing it.

The phone is up for sale, either by owner or by thief. Someone buys it. If
they are honest, they notice phone is stolen. I doubt many people would
return the phone to its owner after having just paid for it. If less
honest, they don't care.

The only way you could possible do something is to enforce it. Eg ensure
people cannot use the phone without your permission. Per definition,
any opensource friendly phone cannot have such a feature. You can make
it difficult, but not impossible. A block might work while the neo is
a niche market phone - not when it becomes a giant success.

I would use a combination of "making it hard" and "phoning home" regularly
with the SIM number and GPS coordinates, perhaps include address entries
or camera photos or what not. The idea is to try and leave a trace
before the thief/new owner can disable the feature. I would however use
a preset of target SMS, target email, or target website address within
the phone. I see no advantage to a centrallly run repository. (and I do
see disadvantages of such privacy stores.


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