Screaming cellphones 3 Oct 2006
The UK press has latched onto Synchronica's screaming cellphones today, proclaiming them the solution that will put an end to mobile phone muggings. We're not convinced.
The service works like so: if you use Synchronica's Mobile Manager service and your handset is stolen, the company will send a message to your phone that locks it, erases all of its data and tells it to emit a blood-curdling scream to embarass the thief.
Sounds great - but if you look at these feature in more depth, you start to see problems. Let's take them in turn. Locking the phone is obviously a useful deterrent, but I imagine that the enterprising thief can overcome this by reinstalling its software. Erasing the phone's data is also beneficial, but it will only work if the message from Synchronica gets to the phone before the thief's had chance to export (or write down) the sensitive information. If the thief is on London Underground, for example, where there's no reception, he'll have all the time he needs to steal your data. (He could even remove the SIM until he finds a reception-free bunker). As for the ear-splitting scream, can't the thief just turn the phone off?!
Wired may be right when it says that the screaming cell "seems to have more potential as a prank to pull on friends."
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