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back to article Mobile networks told to sniff punters' privates for profit

Mobile network operators will have to be more cavalier in their approach to customer data if they're going to be able to make money once mobile penetration becomes ubiquitous. That's according to a new white paper from Analysys Mason, which was sponsored by CommProve, which just happens to have to perfect technology to make that …

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HAH!

Does this Analysys Mason paper suggest the idea of not participating in an unsustainable race to be the cheapest* provider as part of its ways of making a profit? Or is that too obvious/un-exploitable-via-commercial-software an idea?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: HAH!

Who told you that this option is on the table in the first place?

In quite a few countries regulatory authorities measure their success purely by how much did they manage to force the prices to drop through "consumer choice" not by how much does the regulated business contribute to the _WHOLE_ economy.

Now let's see. You started to operate when the business was sustainable. You had competition and the competition authorities have ensured it stays that way. Should be enough, right?

Wrong.

Here came a specialized industry regulatory quango and told you that you will now offer your service at a uniform cheapest price across the market assured through the guaranteed maximum wholesale price.

As a result you have to participate in the race. You do not have enough money left to invest into a technological solution to decrease the prices. You do not have enough money to expand your service and affect the whole economy through job creation.

So your only way to get more money for your shareholders is to deploy Phorm on steroids as in this case.

That is the reality, You have no choice, otherwise the City/Wall Street/Whatever will eat you alive.

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Re: Re: HAH!

I must look like I was born yesterday if you think I believe that the source of all the ills was The Big Nasty Scary Boogeyman Known As The R'egh-ooo-laytor.

I've no doubt that there was bellendery of epic proportions from regulatory bodies (possibly well-intentioned, just to add to the misery/comedy), but mobile operators have for years managed to be, if not their own worst enemies, then at least up there in the top 3. When we look at the ongoing "here, we'll give you the latest shiny shiny handset at only 3x the cost over the contract period - and with crap, carrier-restricted software to boot - if you renew your contract" nonsense, or the amount of time and money they spent trying to pretend that MMS was a viable and useful solution rather than just an attempt to reinvent the unexpectedly profitable SMS concept for the data-enabled phone (and shooting themselves in the foot by making most if not all MMS-capable phones also email-capable, providing punters with an easy way of using a service that was both cheaper than MMS and more robust/familiar....).

I'm sure external influences have also been a problem for mobile operators, but a substantial amount of their business thinking appears to have been done with someone's arse instead of the conventional headmeat. Not to mention that at least some of them have the kind of government mates who can help eliminate tax bills of the order of hundreds of millions of pounds even in the middle of government-mandated austerity economic policies...

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WTF?

"but being tracked by a mobile operator is apparently a step too far. It's odd"

It's not odd at all.

As far as most people are concerned Facebook and Google etc are free, but we have to pay for our mobile phones.

So whilst "we" don't mind giving private info to Fb & G in exchange for various services, it's a different story giving it to the mobile operators and paying for the privilege.

And as for that "use 15% of disposable income to keep them running" nonsense, well, this report is pants.

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Flame

Re: "but being tracked by a mobile operator is apparently a step too far. It's odd"

Exactly. If a free service is funded by exploiting personal data then sobeit. But I pay for my mobile phone so why should they need to resort to sneaking around to make money? I've sent an email off to Barclays because yet again they feel it appropriate to put advertising on my account page. It's bad enough that we have to page past it after logging on but when I'm actually on my home page it's my account details I want to see not a stupid advert for a stupid product I don't want.

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Re: "15 percent"

I think that the two groups are significantly different. I, for example, spend less than 3.5%, and if I didn't have to make multi-hour conference calls from anywhere, at any time, and be reachable 24x7x365, I'd only be paying about 1%.

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Anonymous Coward

naive

"....whilst "we" don't mind giving private info to Fb & G in exchange for various services..."

WE DO mind! YOU may not!

"And as for that "use 15% of disposable income to keep them running" nonsense, well, this report is pants."

Little do you know! The earliest "i"clone adopters paid through the teeth to have the supposed status of owning one. That's one of the reasons why now being seen with one is akin to bragging about having a betamax!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Re: "but being tracked by a mobile operator is apparently a step too far. It's odd"

I've counted 13 trackers objects on Barclays iBank webpage (using Ghostery plugin) , emailed them about it, got 'we will forward this to our IT dept' then silence

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Re: use 15% of disposable income to keep them running" nonsense, well, this report is pants.

I concur number 1, I've just done a quick calculation and I spend between 0.95% and 1.28% of my disposable income on my mobile phone. And I get quite upset when it hits the higher limit,

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Anonymous Coward

Time for the vpn

I guess it's time to start selling the vpn in a box, with easy app to set it up on the phone for you.

Try inspecting that, on a related note I always feel that DPI is some euphemism for a sexual act that is a bit painful, then again I suppose on an intellectual level it is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time for the vpn

My Cyanogenmod based phone already routes all network traffic over an OpenVPN to my VPS. Sick of mobile networks interfering, breaking and spying on my network traffic.

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Re: Time for the vpn

Agreed - but it's even easier than that. My Windows 7 box at home has the ability to accept PPTP VPN connections (and has one set up) as does a friend of mine. And my phone (iPhone in my case, but Android phones too) has the built in ability to use said VPN (and I do to get around the office WiFi blocked sites list).

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Re: Re: Time for the vpn

It's even easier than that, if you have a router than can be flashed with dd-wrt then it can host a PPTP VPN

I use this to proxy all my phone traffic

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Joke

Re: Re: Re: Time for the vpn

It's even easier than that, I pay someone to visit web hosting services with an encrypted sub-cranial USB stick, they come back with the pages loaded on that which I then read. DPI that.

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Bah

The operators are struggling to avoid becoming bit-pipes like fixed line ISPs.

Folks are (or at least seem to be) happy to let the application layer track their movements - i.e. let Google et al set cookies & whatnot, but the pipe-provider is not application layer and so should be walled off from that data. Voice calls, SMS and a data pipe is what the mobile networks provide, nowt else.

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Anonymous Coward

"They'll happily hand over their most-personal information to Google and Facebook, let Amazon and Opera see every website they visit, and tell a stranger their passwords for a bar of chocolate, but being tracked by a mobile operator is apparently a step too far"

The differences being those people CHOOSE to hand over the info, and not have it STOLEN by the carrier.

And remember, not everyone DOES hand over information or is happy for Amazon or Opera to view their browsing habits. Companies seem to think they have a right to it and act underhandedly to obtain it!

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Anonymous Coward

RIPA

In what way is this not an offence under RIPA?

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Re: RIPA

Absolutely. I read this

"We can do deep packet inspection, to see what the user is doing, where they're going, and we can tell where they are too," the company's CEO told us, emphasising that the system can anonymise that data too, should the network operator so desire it.

and figured he obviously wasn't trying to sell the service in the UK where he'd find himself in prison (as he doesn't work for BT).

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Phorm for Mobiles?

DPI of mobile network traffic with accompanying location information. I'd switch provider first.

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No use to me or the service provider

I had a call yesterday offering to 'up grade me' to an allegedly wizzy new phone. After all it has all the things I do not need, email, web access and so on and possibly some stupid 'applications'. However, there was no mention of the few thing that I do need, low cost rental, the ability to make and receive infrequent calls and perhaps the odd text - and I mean rare text. Oh I would also like a battery life of say 7 days on standby.

Track that for what? Oh he rarely move more than a few miles from base and may receive or make the odd call or text - gosh we have our future secured, - Not!

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Meh

"We can do deep packet inspection"

No you can't. At least, not for your own profit.

It is a criminal offence (illegal interception, fraud, computer misuse, and copyright theft).

It might be more accurate to say "we can get away with it because the police won't enforce the law", but that's a different story.

<<<

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "We can do deep packet inspection"

but nowadays dpi isn't even a box , it's just a software load on the internet routers that does massive profiling whilst doing three or four other networky management things. The new ericsson ssr 16 terabit clusters are getting ready for 50 billion devices and people in the next 8 years. http://broabandtrafficmanagement.blogspot.com/p/dpi-products-feb-11.html

and the Chinese eflag stuff just happily reassembles the (end) users layer 7 application interactions - deep packet inspection is now ubiquitous http://broabandtrafficmanagement.blogspot.com/2011/12/eflags-network-intelligence-solution.html

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Big Brother

Here's one for ACTA

Couldn't a lawyer somewhere develop the idea that our networking habits, personal information,network usage and location actually constitute our "Intellectual Property".

Thereby the said Operators would actually be commiting a crime by "stealing" our information without prior consent. ( I mean real written consent not that fluff that comes along with the contract).

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Pirate

Re: Here's one for ACTA

The content of a web site or email *IS* protected by Copyright.

The UK IPO site confirms; "Copyright applies to the internet in the same way as material in other media. For example, any photographs you place on the internet will be protected in the same way as other artistic works; any original written work will be protected as a literary work, and so on."

thus ISPs are not entitled to make copies of the content of any communication, and then use/adapt it for their own commercial purposes... because that's a commercial copyright infringement... which is a criminal offence under s107/110 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act.

Quite apart from fraud, computer misuse, and illegal interception.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Here's one for ACTA

who is the data originator and data controller of the elements of the TCP/IP IPv4 datagram that is assembled by my home ADSL modem (which is owned by me), specifically I mean the fields: protocol, source address, destination address and data packet (or fragment of larger data packet), etcetera?

in the old ARPAnet that spilt into MILnet and internet in the 80s, the internet routers just used to check the destination address and use the efficient routing algorithm to get the datagram to the destination?

In the current intenet with 'unwanted intelligence' everything is analysed seven ways to sunday, and much of it is my intellectual property?

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WTF?

"They'll happily hand over their most-personal information to Google and Facebook, but being tracked by a mobile operator is apparently a step too far."

Maybe, just maybe, different people have different opinions on those actions and we're not all part of the Hive Mind?!?

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Happy

Its the same old bogus argument isn't it?

If fools surrender their legal rights for a chocolate bar, then why don't you?

To which the obvious answer is, "because I'm not a fool".

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Go

This is getting silly I think?

It's always been illegal to intercept calls (unless you're a spook) as far as I can tell so why should these fancy new data packets be any different?

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Boffin

Re: why should these fancy new data packets be any different

Current packet networks are merely a faster evolution of the Victorian telegraph.

Thus it has been illegal for telcos to intercept digital telecommunications in the UK for over 145 years.

The bit that's different is that our corrupt police service won't enforce the law...

HC Deb

13 March 1884

vol 285 cc1355-6

MR. H. H. FOWLER

asked the Postmaster General, Whether the clerks in the telegraph offices are prohibited from giving any information as to the persons sending telegrams, the persons to whom they are sent, and the contents of such telegrams; and, whether any official disclosing any such information would be dismissed from the public service?

MR. FAWCETT

Sir, I can assure my hon. Friend that any persons in the employment of the Post Office giving any information as to the persons sending telegrams, the persons to whom they are sent, or the contents of such telegrams, would not only be dismissed from the public service, but would, by Section 20 of the Telegraph Act of 1867, render themselves liable to prosecution.

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