back to article Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

A senior British judge has highlighted the benefits of legislation that obliges people to carry their mobile phone at all times. Sir Geoffrey Vos QC, Chancellor of the High Court and former head of the Bar Council, raised the prospect of compulsory mobe-carrying in a speech to the Law Society (PDF). Vos drew attention to the …

  1. Richard 81
    Black Helicopters

    It's like something out of Black Mirror.

    So, one day my habit of keeping the GPS of my phone off to save the battery will get me in hot water? Great.

    Presumably anyone who gets hauled before the beak and is found to have put their phone on airplane mode will be hanged immediately, just in case they did something naughty while the state couldn't see them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Solutions...

      It's more like when your SO asks you to "download the thing", when they mean "fix the computer" when they actually need "to do what they should in the first place, and stop clicking the wrong button".

      So it's more an effort of looking to be doing something, anything, that has a result of anything. Than actually thinking this will go through.

      Though I may be putting more assumption of intelligence than they are deserving?

    2. Stumpy

      Or more likely those of nefarious means will simply stash their smartmobe somewhere on a train, or taped under the wheelarch of a taxi or some such, then get a simple burner phone under a fake ID that can be destroyed after the fact.

      Instant alibi: 'It can't have been me guv. Look, I woz on the Eurostar to Amsterdam at the time of the alleged offence'

      1. Mr Sceptical

        Deepfakes inbound...

        Combine that with the ability of deepfakes to replace faces on CCTV footage and you could* claim, "It weren't me Guv, I've been fitted up! My mobe proves** I were at the Mistress's/Toyboy's gaff all night."

        * not suggesting that would actually fly in court

        ** depending on the legally mandated/tested accurracy of the location

        You would have thought a lawyer might have thought through the implications of this wild idea, but...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      nonono, you misunderstand!!!! You won't be hanged, relevant legislation to punish terrorist behaviour such as not carrying a fully trackable phone must be introduced FIRST...

      1. IceC0ld Bronze badge

        nonono, you misunderstand!!!! You won't be hanged, relevant legislation to punish terrorist behaviour such as not carrying a fully trackable phone must be introduced FIRST...

        ===

        THEN we hang you .......

    4. John 110

      @Richard 81 "So, one day my habit of keeping the GPS of my phone off to save the battery will get me in hot water?"

      I wouldn't worry about it - it only LOOKS like your GPS is off...

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Facepalm

        "I wouldn't worry about it - it only LOOKS like your GPS is off..."

        My battery endurance distinctly begs to differ. This is your cue to suggest that GPS chipsets come with a tiny built-in always-on plutonium cell, I'll wait.

        1. John 110
          Big Brother

          You said it first...

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          It doesn't need GPS to track you, it records the signal strength from 3 nearby cell towers and transmits that to Google.

          1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

            So you are saying that tracking data for *any* mobile phone is sent to Google unknown to the owner? For Android or Google maps users I would consider that reasonable(ish) however for those not using Google products it would be in direct contravention of the GDPR and probably the DPA ... so they would have to stop it quickly ...

          2. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

            GPS optional.

            Only need GPS to give location to better than 2 metre precision.

            If your phone has a signal, your position (or rather, your range to the cell) is known to a couple of hundred metres precision because the air interface protocol needs that information to synchronise correctly.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          More likely the cellphone's Transponder...

          OK I have to change locations now, hope your happy!

    5. big_D Silver badge
      Big Brother

      The family went out for a meal together yesterday. As everybody was there that we would want to talk to, nobody took a phone with them.

      That would probably come under organized crime under any new legislation...

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        That would probably come under organized crime under any new legislation...

        Conspiracy. When they can't get you for a crime, if more than one person was involved they get done for conspiracy.

    6. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Airplane mode?

      I was going to say take the battery out.

      Even on airplane mode, you can keep the blue tooth and wi-fi on.

      Here in the states... this wouldn't fly. And truthfully, you would be hard pressed to find people who won't carry their mobe. Its become as important as your house keys.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Airplane mode?

        And truthfully, you would be hard pressed to find people who won't carry their mobe. Its become as important as your house keys.

        True, but my wife regularly forgets one or both when she goes out. Fortunately our neighbours on both sides have keys to our house if I'm out when she gets back.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Airplane mode?

        I live in the US, and know more than a handful of people who either don't have a cell phone at all, or don't regularly carry one around. Not the majority, of course, but still...

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Airplane mode?

          I rarely carry my mobile... I usually don't bother with keys either (unless I'm driving) - I had too much of that shit when I used to be on-call.

          It's sad how for some people they are like another appendage.

      3. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: Airplane mode?

        What's a mobe? I've not got one and that's very unlikely to change. Nor house keys. I've lived in the same room and board for the last sixteen years. As an aside, my Google location history says the same thing. I'm always here, even when I'm not. Nice.

    7. An nonymous Cowerd

      France

      allegedly, a couple of years ago, maybe 5

      there were French people, allegedly arrested for allegedly being terrorists, who allegedly went to a remote evening meeting [uniquely, strangely and suspiciously] without their mobes, and they were then allegedly arrested.

      fair enuff, some people call them terrrrrsts, certainly, they were planning (allegedly) to do evil things to TGV infrastructure with bicycle chains [power is off all night, then comes on, sharp, at 4am for testing!]

      however, it has since come to my attention that they were allegedly 'being helped' by one of the 'Mets finest Special Demonstration Squad rapists, sorry, man with a van, sorry Agent Provocateur - whatever the French word for that is - so who knows who exactly are the crims in this & future cases, with probably many parallels. constructions.

    8. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Doesn't matter

      It will be extensible. Your partner, friend, child will have it on and it doesn't take much to intuit that if A is at location X then B will almost certainly be there too. Besides you all have a habit of signing into FB with A is at X with B and C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Grey hair and security

        I’m from an older generation from a tech background. I’m not alone in the fact that I restrict my privacy rules to avoid sharing. Always have my GPS turned off, never check in on Facebook. Friends and family also know not to tag me in the very rare pics which make it to Facebook. A.C. as It's not that I have something to hide. I have nothing I want you to see (anon 2018)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Grey hair and security

          I wanted to give you 2 thumbs up - one for the overall post and the extra one for including the quote from Anon. :-)

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't matter

        Besides you all have a habit of signing into FB with A is at X with B and C.

        Got pissed off at some group on Farceborg back in August, quit going there for a while (not that I posted my whereabouts even I was using it). But I wonder about the possibility of a script that would post multiple, intentionally conflicting location messages. Flood their system with so much wrong information they wouldn't know what was valid.

        Also have to wonder about those people who don't want or can't afford cell phones. Does the govt. intend to subsidize them? We know just what a clusterfuck that would become in short order.

    9. J27 Bronze badge

      I don't think any current model of phone actually has a way to turn the GPS transceiver off. Android (or I guess iOS) just controls access to requests for GPS info. So you're probably no saving any power. And the powers that be can track you via the cell towers so you're not safe from that either.

      Anyone who's really worried about being tracked should consider not carrying a mobile phone (or similar device). I'm decided to put up with it for the convenience.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        > don't think any current model of phone actually has a way to turn the GPS transceiver off. Android (or I guess iOS) just controls access to requests for GPS info. So you're probably no saving any power

        Really? In Android, the Location Settings are marked 'High Accuracy (GPS, cell tower and WiFi)' and 'Battery Saving (cell tower and WiFi only) '. When I first switch to High Accuracy (GPS) it'll take the phone some seconds to a minute (depending on terrain and availability of cell masts for AGPS) to lock on to enough satellites a clue that the phone hadn't been tracking satellites in Battery Saver mode. The GPS will deplete my battery quickly to the extent that the phone grows hot and my car stereo's USB socket won't keep the battery charged, especially on older phones I've owned such as Xperia P, Xperia Z3C and Nexus 5. These are phones running something close to Stock Android, but even my Samsung has its location setting marked this way. What phone are you using?

    10. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Drain your battery playing candy crush on the bus ride home?

      Get a ride in the back of a cop car?

      But when it's bankers and executives and millions are involved this will not do a thing.

    11. michael cadoux

      Maybe future phones won't even have the facility to switch off location tracking!

    12. LucreLout Silver badge

      Presumably anyone who gets hauled before the beak and is found to have put their phone on airplane mode will be hanged immediately, just in case they did something naughty while the state couldn't see them.

      Quite. It's almost like he expects criminals to obey the law and carry their phone with them to make their activities easier to identify.....

      Criminals are stupid. Not only did they commit a crime presumably expecting to not get caught, but they didn't undertake even minimal preparation first. For example, the number of criminals identified via fingerprints annually is not zero, despite their existence being common knowledge for over 100 years and gloves being available freely at most gas stations.

      Criminals, however, aren't completely incapable of putting 2 + 2 together and some of them make at least vague attempts to avoid detection..... like leaving a phone at home, or turning it off (and extrating the battery + sim). Some might even, shock horror, nick a phone to use for tracking, commit a crime, then replace the phone, having incriminated someone innocent. "I wasn't there your honour" "Well, your phone says you were, so you were. Guilty!"

    13. fobobob

      Don't forget to turn off WiFi too, as it's seemingly trivial to peg a location by cross-referencing ESSID/BSSID databases.

  2. Mr Sceptical
    Stop

    Dear Sir Geoffrey,

    You can *^&$ right off.

    Regards,

    The Public.

    PS. Maybe someone could clue him in about the ability to have a second device to show to the Gestapo when you're stopped at a checkpoint (because you'll be needing those to enforce the rule).

    Leave your registered phone at home then go on a crime spree #lawfail

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Dear Sir Geoffrey,

      "My mobile was stolen, m'lud. I would have reported it to the police as soon as I realised, but there aren't any phone boxes left and anyway the police don't even get out of bed for a minor theft like that any more. But if they do find my phone, they'll find the person who really committed the crime I am unjustly accused of."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Sir Geoffrey,

      ability to have 2nd, 3rd and consecutive devices will be merely a proof that one was in numerous locations at the same time, I don't think THIS might be any cause for doubt or concern in criminal proceedings, no? :D

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Dear Sir Geoffrey,

        @AC "ability to have 2nd, 3rd and consecutive devices will be merely a proof that one was in numerous locations at the same time"

        That would imply your omnipotence, and as the witnesses will have sworn an oath on the bible no less, they'll have to accept you are god, move in mysterious ways, and find you not guilty.

        1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

          Re: Dear Sir Geoffrey,

          ... I guess anyone found to be a god will be also instantly found guilty. Because gods kill people, that's what I learned from Greek mythology.

        2. handleoclast Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Dear Sir Geoffrey,

          they'll have to accept you are god, move in mysterious ways

          God moves in a mysterious way,

          His wonders to perform.

          .

          .

          .

          .

          .

          .

          .

          .

          .

          .

          .

          .

          OK, that's John Cleese, not God. And he's not portraying God. Or performing any wonders. But he is moving in a very mysterious way.

      2. Chemist

        Re: Dear Sir Geoffrey,

        "merely a proof that one was in numerous locations at the same time"

        Or a cat

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He might not advocate it but now it's published what is the betting that the politicians of all colours go for it - with exceptions for themselves of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He might not advocate it but now it's published what is the betting that the politicians of all colours go for it

      Well, we're overdue for a civil war. This one would be Twats of the House of Westminster + Stasi Establishment Supporters versus The Rest.

      It'd be quite gratifying to have a civil war that wasn't subdivided on boring old religion, ethnicity or left-right politics.

  4. John H Woods Silver badge

    Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

    Yes, I know, undemocratic. And for some reason I suddenly had a mental image of both houses almost entirely empty ... weird.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

      It is not a question of being too dim.

      It is a question of having opinions and views which are incompatible with his profession. A person who even contemplates the idea cannot be a judge in a democratic society.

      1. Mr Sceptical

        Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

        Lawyers by definition believe* in laws, ergo they may like them a little too much if it could make their job easier.

        * as in, "I believe I can make a comfortable living from this with no manual labour and only feel slightly less icky than a person-of-negotiable-affection".

        1. John G Imrie Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

          * as in, "I believe I can make a comfortable living from this with no manual labour and only feel slightly less icky than a person-of-negotiable-affection".

          Non of the people of negotiable affection I know are icky, I checked

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

            @ John G Imrie

            The people of negotiable affection are also likely to be far more honest and will (usually) stick to the agreed price to be paid when the association is finished.

          2. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

            Almost none of the people of negotiable affection I know are icky, I checked, and no joke icon from me.

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

        It is a question of having opinions and views which are incompatible with his reality

        FTFY

        Sums up politicians in general and lawmakers in particular.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

      If you read it carefully you will see that he is not advocating the measure.

      He says: "As society seems to accept more and more surveillance, I wonder how radical the change I have mentioned will seem to the population in 10, 15 or 20 years' time."

      That's not dim. I for one wouldn't bet against him being right.

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

        "If you read it carefully you will see that he is not advocating the measure."

        That's because his words were written carefully. Senior and 'respectable' unelected establishment figures are often used to fly kites in a way that might get politicians burned. After noting the reactions to the kite, politicians can then decide if it would be ok to fly it themselves.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

        That big pot of frogs on the stove are just getting comfortably warm about now.

      3. Lamont Cranston

        Re: in 10, 15 or 20 years' time." That's not dim. I for one wouldn't bet against him being right.

        I'm pretty well accustomed to the wearing of shoes, but I'd take a dim view of a judge deciding that I couldn't leave the house without them.

    3. Oengus Silver badge

      Re: Can't lawmakers be sacked for being too dim to be useful?

      Sorry, that would put the unemployment rate up by too much to be sustainable...

  5. armyknife
    Big Brother

    Colour me surprised.

    Why am I unsurprised that someone who's a senior judge, has no understanding of what a free society means.

    1. Thoguht Silver badge

      Re: Colour me surprised.

      A judge's job is not to defend freedom, but to interpret the law. Defending freedom is the job of the jury, who can ignore the law and the judge's directions with impunity if they see fit.

      1. aks Bronze badge

        Re: Colour me surprised.

        Since the double jeopardy rule has been abolished they could simply keep trying until they find an amenable jury.

    2. Martin
      FAIL

      Re: Colour me surprised.

      He did not comment on whether he thought it was a good idea. He merely said that (a) most people carry their phones and this makes it easier to track them and (b) if legislators were to enforce it, it would be even easier.

      And actually, it tends to be senior judges who have a better idea of what a free society means than, say, the lawmakers in Parliament. Which is why, for example, when the government said that they were just going to impose the deal they got for Brexit without going through Parliament, the law lords told them that they couldn't.

  6. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Blooming Hell

    Go direct to the soylent green plant do not pass go do not collect £200.

    This kind of S@#% has no place in a Seposadly democratic society this loony need's hanging before this kind of idea gains traction.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Blooming Hell

      Too late. The cat is out of the box as he brought it up. Apparently it was more "rhetorical" than actual or maybe it was actual. The catch is, others will pick this up and try to pass it.

      Just curious, is there a penalty if one takes one's phone, cancels the contract and tosses their phone in the river/tip/dump? I'd be very much inclined to do that.

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Go

    2 weeks to go

    Google never throws anything away, and continues to collect (and store) location data even when GPS location services are disabled.

    Google so deserve everything they're going to get when GDPR comes in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2 weeks to go

      Google so deserve everything they're going to get when GDPR comes in.

      We wish. But money talks, and I very much doubt that GDPR will MATERIALLY alter what Google do or the money they make. I expect the ICO will be too busy busting schools for breaching GDPR, or sticking it hard to SMEs, or selectively to those large companies that the public don't like, but who'll just add the fine to next year's customer fees (such as banks, insurers, energy companies).

  8. Just Enough

    Click bait headline

    Headline: "Make masses carry mobes"

    Content: "He did not personally advocate the compulsory carrying of location-aware technology"

    Actual words: "if the legislators were, for example, to require citizens to carry phones at all times"

    Are we not supposed to notice the difference between the above three? He's simply speculating, and in a direction that isn't unique and sadly isn't completely impossible.

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: Click bait headline

      Maybe... But the remark in and of itself shows there *is* a school of thought towards this kind of mass surveillance present and active in the legislative/administrative branch.

      Given that this particular notion, subtly put, runs afoul of some pretty major laws and rights issues, the good judges' answer *should* have been "Have you (lot) gone completely bonkers?!!" . His failure to do so clearly indicates he is not fit for purpose.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Click bait headline

      > He's simply speculating

      Looks like a proposal to me. Nowhere in this article does he argue against it.

      If the article is accurate, the headline is accurate.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Click bait headline

        Had a quick skim read through a few pages, it seems like he's arguing that dystopia is inevitable and the legal system had better move with the times.

    3. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Click bait headline

      Clickbait indeed, and many of the commentards have taken it with no signs of having read the article.

      Compulsory mobes sound a lot like the electronic tags sometimes imposed on convicted criminals. We know that won't happen: talk of "everyone" carrying mobes is pure hyperbolae.

      But what does seem entirely plausible is that most of the population will carry them most of the time. The closer that "most" gets to "all", the more it raises new possibilities for law enforcement to play statistically with patterns. And of course, a lot of criminals aren't exactly very bright.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Click bait headline

        "And of course, a lot of criminals that get caught aren't exactly very bright."

        FTFY, it's the ones you never hear about that are the clever ones.

  9. Gordon Pryra

    ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

    You can see the attitude to the public written clearly in this mans words.

    Those at the top believe they should be using every single power available to keep the proles inline.

    For the life of me I can't understand how we have any crime in this country, with the state things are in right now the amount of cameras etc , with every month comes more signs that we have it easy compared to next year.

    Sadly George Orwell was spot on the money, but luckily for us Bradbury was closer with the only thing protecting us from our Masters being their incompetence and the general laziness of the average Police officer.

    It doesn't matter how much they spend on surveillance, nor how many freedoms they trample, the human element will always trump their control.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My interpretation is that the judge was issuing a warning against such an action.

    He wasn't advocating that politicians should implement such a scheme. Rather he was pointing out that the general public are becoming too complacent about accepting such intrusions on their privacy.

    1. find users who cut cat tail

      Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

      What's your problem with bloody ID cards?

      They don't track you, they cannot be read from distance, the number of people who can request your ID is pretty limited. Yes, and they solve much of your overcomplicated nonsense like voter registration. I took mine out twice this year, once for elections and once at the post office because of delivery that had to be to me personally. You have mobile phones, CCTV and all kinds of sensors and systems tracking you automatically -- and you are still terrified of ID cards?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

        "What's your problem with bloody ID cards?"

        They prove nothing. Posession of a card merely proves that you possess that card. It says nothing about whether you are the person the card is talking about or whether it is, in fact, a proper card rather than a fake.

        But worst of all: it is backed by a government quality database, yet people like you will take it to be gospel.

        1. find users who cut cat tail

          Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

          Ken Hagan: You think no here one can imagine ID cards can stolen, faked, ...? And that all other means of proving your identity do not share the same problem? Well, all except pervasive biometrics. So is that what you would like to see?

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

        You have mobile phones, CCTV and all kinds of sensors and systems tracking you automatically -- and you are still terrified of ID cards?

        You think they won't have mobile phone type chips on them within 5 years (definitely always on), and it'd be easier to get legislation through on a requirement to always carry than to get one insisting people carry a phone at all times.

    2. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

      @Gordo

      also the upside of crappy phone networks. Service interruptions will have really stuffup the data mining. So if Tim is right and power supply failures become more common, the data sets might get a bit more confused.

      BTW, an earlier commentard stated the GPS on Android probably cant be turned off. Dunno about others, but on my ZTE, keeping GPS and bluetooth off triples battery endurance.

    3. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

      When you consider the odds of being a target of a terrorist, or terrorist group for the 99%, they're pretty damned low. When you are one of the 1%, that becomes much higher. It's not just their lives that are under threat, it's their assets. Toss the black hats into that calculation of odds when it comes to assets. Then look at threats to corporations, government and non-governmental infrastructures and services, the exposure is higher although the regular public is threatened as well. And that's before we get into state actors and their agents, whether official or no.

      An incredible amount of resources are being directed at this. The politicians are of course first on the list, of course, since the power of wealth effects them more directly. The public gets in on the act whether on a "law and order" basis or for other less palatable reasons.

      This happens to be a casebook example of power-conflict in action. I wish them as much luck at getting their was as King Canute but, sadly, I expect them to get their was eventually. As someone pointed out before, Public as frogs.

    4. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

      The objection to them is the idea that $authority would demand 'papers please'. If there are no papers, there can be no demand.

    5. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

      "general laziness of the average Police officer."

      Our lot just did 30 hours non-stop (and by non-stop, that's no lunch breaks, one or two minute toilet stops, drinking on the move). Finished at 4pm yesterday, back in at 10pm this evening.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

        @Adam 52: the quantity is less relevant than the quality. How much of that time was spent dealing with everyday crimes that ordinary people care about - theft, offences against property, etc? Not much, I suspect.

  11. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
    WTF?

    Tax

    Not everyone has or wants a mobile phone today. I suggest that such people will exist in the future also. If it then became mandatory to carry one, would the government supply one free of charge? Would the cost result in higher council tax policing precepts? Somebody has to pay for the phones and you can bet it will be those under surveillance by some scheme or other.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: would the government supply one free of charge?

      If so, it would be important to carry it around in a permanently sealed metal case at all times, to avoid damaging it and wasting any taxpayers money.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: would the government supply one free of charge?

        Wonderful idea! Would you be interested in this here hollow but ultra-heavy-duty thick cast iron enclosure, spherical for perfect omnidirectional protection with a convenient ankle chain you can attach to yourself so you cannot possibly ever lose it...? It even comes with free lube to (mostly) silence the chain during daily use...!

  12. Chunky Munky
    Big Brother

    As one of the ever shrinking minority who don't have a mobile phone (or use farcebook, twatter etc), can I assume that the powers that be will also be making plans to issue me with the latest shiny, gratis along with all costs paid?

    1. Justicesays

      You'll be arrested and fitted with a GPS tracking collar.

      And of course if you go more than 1 mile away from the other person your collar is linked to your collar will explode.

      That last bit might be from a different dystopian future.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Remember "Obamaphones"?

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      No, you will get a free tracking chip inserted somewhere into your person.

      As will everybody else eventually with this kind of thinking.

      The next thing as batteries become smaller and more powerful, is to make the chip capable of stimulating compliance in some way...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The next thing as batteries become smaller and more powerful, is to make the chip capable of stimulating compliance in some way...

        Depends on where they're inserting that microchip.

    4. WorsleyNick

      No you would be expected to pay for your own. As I remember it, we would have been expected to pay for our own ID Cards, even though we, as tax payers were already paying for the infrastructure.

      Remember standing on standing on the bridge at midnight?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    compulsory carrying of location-aware technology

    chip them all instead, just start with the judges! :)

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: compulsory carrying of location-aware technology

      While I agree that we should bell the cat, so to speak, judges, law enforcement, government officials higher than peon level, will all be exempt from the rule for their own safety.

  14. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Get to fuck

    See title

  15. Lee D Silver badge

    Step 1) Buy everybody (at least those on benefits) a new phone every time it stops working.

    ...

    Yep. We failed there.

    This is a case of things just being taken from thought-experiment to headline news of impending doom.

    You know what? At some point, we'll all have ID cards, and those ID cards are already small enough to contain a complete GSM modem set. With an e-sim we don't even need anything else. Enough research and they could be charged inductively as you walk around the city or so low power they gather energy from wifi signals and whatnot passively. Done. Everyone is now carrying a fully-traceable Star Trek combadge-like thing that you could legislate the necessity of it.

    But you have a long way to go before then, because we couldn't even convince people to use ID cards and scrapped the whole concept at great expense. Couple with a handful of data breaches and people just won't use them or they'll be rendered unfit for such a purpose anyway.

    I have no doubt that ID cards, driving licences, passports and car number plates will eventually turn into trackers/computers. It's the only logical natural progression. But let's not run before we can walk.

    Literally, the point at which people will get such things is the point at which they find it more useful than worrying anyway. Go back to the 80's and tell them we all have always-listening devices that can send our conversation to any phone / person on the planet at any time, which can take photos of us, that we tap our most intimate messages into to send to others, and which we all voluntarily buy for ourselves and carry on our person / put on the nightstand. They'd be horrified. But it happened because they turn out to be more useful to the average person, than the average person feels they have to worry about their security and privacy. Sad, but true.

    This stuff is inevitable. When we get there, we will want controls. We discover what kind of controls we will need and possible implications by performing such thought-experiments. In the same way that "AI will overrun the planet", we will all end up carrying tracking devices. It doesn't mean "only if you vote Labour at the next election". It will happen. It's just a case of deciding what they will mean and how we should do that.

    Personally, an ID card whose possession proves my identity that, when activated by - say - a biometric or challenge-response of some kind that only the user can activate, confirms the location of such a card to an authority, and receives a notification to the card that your location was requested - proves several very useful things. Your identity. Your presence. That no-one has tried to use your identity on the other side of the world to request credit without your knowledge. That the person signing up for benefits is you and you don't have ten other ID's on you. That the person signing up for benefits isn't using a cloned card or their mate's card. That the person requesting access to their bank is you even though you're on holiday in France. That anyone can verify who you are with a two-factor system with your consent (e.g. "Are you over 18?").

    It would seem to have ENORMOUS advantages, personally. And needs that kind of two-way communication, connectivity, sensors, etc. And we're really not that far away from it given electronic passports and driver's licences and things like 2FA apps for banking and email accounts. You could make it happen today if you wanted.

    Therefore it's probably something that will happen, and probably something we should think about now.

    1. qwertyuiop

      ...of some kind that only the user can activate...

      Let me know when you've cracked that one!

    2. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: Go back to the 80's...

      How about 1983?

      "Technician, we want you to build a component

      For each of our workers, to be with them always,

      At all time watch closely, so we can keep track of

      Their actions, their interests, their morals, their time out.

      Some musak to maim them, some fear to contain them.

      Policy will judge, them brute forces degrade them.

      Practical behaviour, the cleanser, the saviour.

      A private vocation has no sense of nation.

      The maintenance of power can be so fulfilling,

      Just as long as all the slaves are willing."

      Twelfth Night, We Are Sane (from Fact And Fiction)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The more reliable such a system appears - the more difficult it is to prove it has gone wrong. Fingerprints and DNA have already been misused as "proof" by the fallacy that they are always incontrovertible evidence of someone's presence at a crime scene.

      We have long had that perception problem with "the computer printed it - so it must be correct".

      In a word - "Brazil".

  16. John 110

    My phone!!

    Public - "Not carry my phone! It's vital to my everyday life!! You can't expect me to do without it!!!"

    Gov - "No we mandate that you MUST carry it at all times"

    Public - "Sod that!!!!" (throws phone in drawer...)

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: My phone!!

      nd so, a nation of terrorists freedom fighters was born!

  17. Simon Rockman

    Not all mobes are smart

    I'm still selling as many 2G phones as 3G ones, and triangulation is something the mobile networks only do in extreme circumstances. It's significantly resource heavy.

    This idea also assumes that people have one phone. What if you have work and personal phones?

    And it fails to understand future trends where you might have multiple devices and the one you speak on is different to the one you read which is different to the one for navigation.

    1. Tikimon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Not all mobes are smart

      "This idea also assumes that people have one phone. What if you have work and personal phones?"

      That's TODAY. Tomorrow the government will require you to carry one of a selection of government-approved models that have been properly backdoored. If you want to carry another one, fine, but you WILL have the Orwell Tracker on you or face jail time.

  18. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Coat

    "We asked the Chancellor's office for clarification"

    Use his location data to find him and visit him in person. I'm sure that will frighten him enough to drop this idea immediately.

  19. James 51 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    This is why Britian needs its own GPS system. To track everyone (although how hard could spoofing it be?).

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      No no no! We had tracking in Blighty in the 1980s, before we ever had GPS. We pensioned it off when GPS and Glonass offered a globalised alternative. But now that we're opting out of globalisation, we can simply revive a national positioning and tracking system.

  20. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Not to be too rude but...

    One problem with lawyers (who are not criminal barristers like Ken Clarke), council officials and civil servants is that their understanding of modern technology is a bit limited, and their understanding of the criminal mind more so still. This is how councils can think that a notice saying "Keep off the grass" when they have no park-keepers left will magically stop people walking on the grass.

    I can remember when many senior barristers did not have mobile phones at all, but their clerks did. Then the iPhone came along and was simple enough to be kind-of understood by people whose minds were, frankly, elsewhere. How it works, security implications, charging and the like - clerk deals with that.

    Therefore, the fact that a senior judge really hasn't got a clue in the matter is unsurprising. He's got as far as the idea that mobile phones can be used for surveillance but hasn't got as far as understanding why this isn't going to work for precisely the people he wants to surveil. He hasn't even got as far as understanding that many people have multiple mobile phones. Where am I at the moment? Google doesn't know whether I'm at home or in town. It just knows where both my phones are that have access to my main account. (It doesn't even know if I went into town by car or in the bus I was following.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not to be too rude but...

      "This is how councils can think that a notice saying "Keep off the grass" when they have no park-keepers left will magically stop people walking on the grass."

      You did not need parkies many years ago. Children were taught to respect boundaries as having a reason - and as adults they largely kept faith with the principle.

      Someone did a simple study a while ago. They built some sand castles on a beach with boundary moats. Previously it had been noted that people walked round the boundaries even if the builder wasn't there. In the latest study people often just walked through the sand castles.

      The same change in behaviour has been observed in parks. Where people used to follow the paths - they now take the shortest path and wear a track in the grass. Once the effect is starting to be obvious - just like dropping litter or fly tipping - others follow suit.

      Our local council had a canny person in their parks department. After an old rectangular small park started to suffer such new damage - they renovated it such that people, especially cyclists, could follow a roughly diagonal path. There was still a slightly more direct route across the grass and through the hedged flower beds but people now kept to the designated path.

      IIRC some large park designers actually wait for the worn paths to appear before they turn them into the formal ones.

      A neighbour once saw someone pushing their way though my front hedge to save themselves walking maybe 20 feet more on the pavement to reach their own house.

  21. Roj Blake Silver badge

    You First

    I'll be happy to think about this once Sir Geoffrey Vos QC sends me detailed logs of his daily movements.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: You First

      "sends me detailed logs of his daily movements"

      Uuurghh! Stinky!

      But curiously appropriate for this particular idea.

  22. Mycho Silver badge

    Especially when going swimming.

  23. BongoJoe

    Would there be a legal obligation in not carrying your AlwaysTurnedOnWeKnowWhereYouAre tracking device in a Faraday cage?

    And as I live in an area where there's no signal (even though 95% of the population are in signal zones) does that make me an outlaw?

    1. Mr Sceptical

      Signal not required!

      Don't worry, your AlwaysTurnedOnWeKnowWhereYouAre tracking device will simply log your location for upload the GBC (Great British Cloud) when you DO have reception...

      GPS generally works except when underground/in City of London highrise canyons.

      1. Keven E

        Just filling in the gaps

        "...But the remark in and of itself shows there *is* a school of thought towards this kind of mass surveillance present and active..."

        Wait a min... doesn't (pretty much) every street corner in every city got a camera? "School" of thought? More like a whole "educational mandate" already.

  24. JohnFen Silver badge

    Government-supplied phones, then?

    If carrying a phone becomes mandatory, then what about people who don't own a phone? Will the government supply them, or is this to be both a new tax and a giveaway to phone manufacturers?

    I carry a phone with me pretty much all the time, but I also prevent it from talking to the network. Will this use case become illegal?

    I'm so full of questions! But then, insane and dangerous ideas do tend to raise a lot of questions.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Flame

      Re: Government-supplied phones, then?

      "Will the government supply them,"

      If the governement did supply them (ho ho!) then do you think they'd be any better than the actual vendors at issuing fucking patches?

    2. Triumphantape

      Re: Government-supplied phones, then?

      Anyone in the USA that wants a phone can get one, they have programs for this.

      Yes, if such a law passed then hiding your phone from the network would become illegal as well.

      The truth is people today can't live without their phones, and with payments apps, people are buying with phones.

      You won't really need a law to make carrying a phone mandatory, if you simply can't get anything done in life without one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Government-supplied trackers, then?

      See the title... fixed it for you...

  25. Random Q Hacker

    Everyone a suspect!

    It would be very easy for a criminal to *not* be tracked, but what about all the innocent people that happened to be in the area. Suddenly they are suspects, subject to further invasions of privacy, police interviews, a file being opened on them that could lead to further misunderstandings or travel issues in the future.

    Most of us aren't sneaking around committing crimes, but we still understand how much of a hassle it would be to be caught up in the state security apparatus.

  26. philthane

    Who am "I"?

    I have three Google accounts in different names, none of them mine, that I use for various things. One for using the Play Store if I want an app I can't get from Fdroid. One I use on my desktop PC to access FB anonymously. One to give companies that want an email address but whose spam I have no intention of ever reading. Which of these would hizzonner like to track?

  27. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Huzzah!

    Where do I apply for my free state mandated iPhone?

  28. John Savard Silver badge

    More Pertinent

    More significant to me is not that one person has mused about a possible intrusion on our privacy in the future, but how this calls attention to how much of our privacy we're voluntarily giving up now.

  29. anothercynic Silver badge

    Nice...

    ... To know we have judges and senior lawyers feeling this way.

  30. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Battery life

    Until they come up with an everlasting battery any surveillance avoider simply would need to avoid bothering the plug for a couple of days.

    Which also raises the phone falling down the toilet/off the balcony/into the road issues.

    1. Triumphantape

      Re: Battery life

      Yes because in the UK where expressing an opinion based on facts about "immigrants" can get you jailed, they won't create a law to fine you for an uncharged phone.

  31. Archtech Silver badge

    Compulsory purchase?

    So someone like me - since I have never bought a mobile phone, and do not wish to - will become a criminal for that reason alone?

    What's next - quotas for buying British goods and services to keep the GDP rising? With prison sentences if you fail to reach your quota, since keeping people in prison also adds to the GDP...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Implant them at birth:~

    Pinging satellites could beam down and make the RF tags ping back an ID code.

    The pick-up line in the bar could be "so who's your provider then?"

    Not racial discrimination or class war,

    but provider war and number discrimination.

    1. Justin Case

      Re: Implant them at birth:~

      They already identity chip dogs. When that came in I posited that it wouldn't be long before they'd make it a requirement for humans too.

  33. DougS Silver badge
    Devil

    I almost hope this happens

    Then smart criminals will leave their phone at home when committing a crime, and if this dimwit Chancellor of the High Court is an example of the average intelligence of the judiciary, you'll be able to get off when your phone records show you were at home while the crime was being committed. If you get a particularly stupid one, you might even get off despite being caught red handed on the scene!

    Unless the penalty for being caught without your phone is as great as the crimes you intend to commit, leaving it at home seems an easy win.

    It will also help rid of us all those unnecessary old people and children, who are more likely to lose or forget their mandatory phone, and end up in prison as a result. Once they're locked up traffic will move better, park benches will be freed up, and we will hear far fewer screaming children on airplanes.

  34. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Time for his retirement

    Clearly going bonkers, so a Lordship is in the offing...

  35. Oengus Silver badge

    Really

    As society seems to accept more and more surveillance

    I don't think society accepts the surveillance. I think they choose to believe that most of the stories around surveillance are all conspiracy theory. They choose to believe that the government and big business are benign and wouldn't have them under surveillance. Only terrorists and criminals are impacted by the surveillance. One day they will wake up (maybe but probably not).

  36. peterm3
    Black Helicopters

    tongue in cheek?

    He might have been making the comments tongue in cheek. I watched Secret State over the weekend, it featured a Blackberry with a second battery fitted by the intelligence services. It was very prescient given that it came out in 2012 and Snowden didn't come out until the following year.

  37. Shart Tank

    You are missing the point!

    Yes, you can disable GPS, plant the phone on someone else, inject false data, turn it off, etc.

    What you are missing is that once the idea that it is compulsory to carry your mobile phone for tracking your location for the safety of the children and accepted by society as the normal, then new laws will inevitably crop up that will close any gaps.

    Then the conversation won't be about being tracked by _your_ government all the time, but how to stop "a few" from avoiding the eye of the keepers of societal order.

  38. Triumphantape

    On the off chance some of you are concerned, use a Faraday bag.

    I purchased one myself at Signal Tactics Faraday Bags, it works. There are a lot of people selling variations it's worth a peak if you ever want to have your phone with you but not have it connected (including connected without you knowing, such as when the power is supposed to be "off").

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      "I purchased one myself at Signal Tactics Faraday Bags, it works."

      Apparently so do old foil chip packets. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

  39. rdhood

    Your phone is NOT proof of identity or place

    Just like this post is not proof that am rdhood, a mobile phone is not proof that I was any particular place.

    My real name is Joe Sixpack, and I have baggy pants'ed old rdhood. He left his phone here, too, and now I am going on a crime spree...

  40. Daniel Snowden

    I know where he can stick his mobile so that he'll never be far from it...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm an OAP what's a mobe

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why RFID chip everyone, when phones do the job??

    I have never, NEVER, owned a mobile phone in all of my life, I get by fine without one. I have no intentions of ever getting one either. I am not wasting money buying things I do not need, nor wasting money on monthly bills for something I do not want, my landline is good enough for me!!!

    All these Smartphones, voice recogition, face recognition, fingerprinting you everytime you swipe,gps tracking. No thanks, I like my anonymity.

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