GSM security question, mic directly connected to the GSM chip? Re: GPLv3 and Mobile Phones

Robert Michel openmoko at
Mon Dec 11 18:15:32 CET 2006

Salve Sean, Stefan, *!

On Sun, 10 Dec 2006, Sean Moss-Pultz wrote:
> On 12/10/06 3:02 AM, "Stefan Schmidt" <stefan at> wrote:
> > Keep in mind that I'm not speaking for the FIC team here. The flash
> > chips containing the BP OS will be able get new firmware flashed. I'm
> > pretty sure that no GSM stack is bugfree.
"roving bug"?
> Stefan is totally correct here. The GSM subsystem is most certainly not ROM.

So the firmware could be changed over the network without the chance to 
recognince that, right?   
FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool
December 1, 2006, 2:20 PM PST 
The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S.
Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York
organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques 
such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.
What's new:                                                                                                                                                          
The FBI is apparently using a novel surveillance technique on alleged
Mafioso: activating his cell phone's microphone and then just listening. 
 While it appears this is the first use of the "roving bug" technique,
it has been discussed in security circles for years.
The surveillance technique came to light in an opinion published
this week by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. He ruled that the "roving
bug" was legal because federal wiretapping law is broad enough to permit
eavesdropping even of conversations that take place near a suspect's cell phone. 

I think it will not be possible to do something against "silent SMS"¹ 
but that the mic could be used remotly with the close source GSM chip,
is something that should be avoidable.
Will the Neo1973 have a protection that the mic could be disconected
form the GSM chip when not calling?


¹ "silent SMS" a trick to have unvisible communication to cause
   trackable communication with the mobil.

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