29 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for July 21, 2011
====== 29 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2011 18:25:24 -0400 From: T <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move Message-ID: <MPG.email@example.com> In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com says... > > Travelers checks: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move [snip] > > ALPRs are not ordinary cameras. Attached to police cruisers, or fixed > on telephone poles or other stationary places, the cameras snap an > image of nearly every license plate they encounter. The device > produces a file for each image captured, which includes searchable > text displaying the time, date and GPS location of the car when and > where the plate was 'read'. This information is fed into a database, > where it can be shared with other agencies and databases, and "mined" > or analyzed. [snip] Here in RI they put them to good use. They gave them to the boot squad. Now they just drive around and they get an alert when there's a vehicle to be booted.
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2011 17:29:46 -0400 From: Geoffrey Welsh <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Tracing Calls w/Spoofed Numbers? Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Mon, 18 Jul 2011 13:06:15 -0500, email@example.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote: >_Some_ telcos offer a service like that, for a limited (and *small*) number >of numbers, as an extra-cost (as in 'pay every month for the privilege of >being able to do it') service. This is a self-serving arms race for telcos: even if your basic access rate is regulated, optional features probably aren't, so they charge a significant fraction - almost half, in Bell Canada's case - of the basic monthly rate to allow people to see the number of people who are calling. Now allow callers to block caller ID and, when subscribers complain about wasting money on caller ID, offer (for another additional fee, of course) a service that diverts calls with blocked caller ID.* Oh, and offer to bundle the two services at a discount to show how generous you are, but add in a third unrelated service that the customer may or may not want so it still costs about as much as those two features they wnat just to get some control over who they talk to. <sigh> Pardon the rant, but it gets very frustrating when a company's business model seems to be based on causing their customers grief... and I'm not even talking about customer service or billing disputes yet! * Years ago I knew someone who subscribed to "Call Privacy", a service that diverrted calls with blocked ID, asked the caller to record a message, put the call on hold, rang the destination number and played the message giving the answerer the choice of talking to the caller. (I'm willing to bet that plenty of nasty and abusive messages were left in lieu of harassing people live, but would be another story.) When Bell [Canada] Mobility decided that all their cellphone subsribers' calls would have automatic blocked caller ID, without asking or even notifying the subscriber, I found my calls to some people blocked until I culd convince someone at Bell Mobility that this feature - offered by their own sister company - made automatically blocked caller ID undesirable and could they just unsubscribe me from the service. ("Yes, I know it's free but I just explained to you why, even for free, I don't want it!") I don't recall whether the additional airtime was an issue as I recorded the message and waited to find out whether someone was even home, let alone interested in talking to me; it certainly would have been cheaper just to hang up if no one answered after several rings. If it weren't such a hassle, it would be kind of funny to note that the apparent increase in faked caller ID is bringing telephony slowly closer to the e-mail world, where the existing protocols don't include (or don't enforce) robust sender identification or filtering, and how a new protocol that solves the problem isn't likely to be adopted due to the installed base of contacts using the 'old' system... oh, and the infrastructure providers aren't interested in incurring the cost of solving 'your' problem, anyway.
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 13:23:34 -0700 (PDT) From: Lisa or Jeff <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Tracing Calls w/Spoofed Numbers? Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Jul 19, 9:43 am, Pete Cresswell <x...@y.Invalid.telecom-digest.org> wrote: > - Once they've called my cell phone, I have already > incurred the expense of the air time - and more, if they > left voicemail and I retrieved it. After getting several unsolicited spam text messages, I turned off the texting capability to my cell phone. This is a slight inconvenience, mainly since no response is issued to people who text me. (That is, someone who attempts to text me will not get a message "texts blocked" and will think his text has gone through.) I am annoyed that the carriers aren't more aggressive in chasing down spammers and blocking their networks from them. further, the large carriers should see that the national networks have better control as to who may have direct access to it. Given the volume of illegal calls, obviously access is too liberal or more controls are needed.
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2011 18:21:22 -0400 From: T <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Neighbour from hell hacker gets 18 years in jail Message-ID: <MPG.email@example.com> In article <MPG.firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com says... > > In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, dcstarbox- > email@example.com says... > > 'I'm going to kill you': neighbour from hell hacker gets 18 years jail > > Asher Moses > > July 14, 2011 > > > > A US man has been jailed for 18 years for waging a "campaign of terror" > > against his neighbours, using their Wi-Fi to frame them for child > > pornography, sexual harassment and other misconduct. > > > > Barry Ardolf, 46, repeatedly hacked into the Wi-Fi network of his > > neighbours, Matt and Bethany Kostolnik, as part of an elaborate revenge > > scheme after they reported him to police for kissing their four-year-old > > son. > > > > > > Wow, seriously off his rocker. If you're going to crack all the WEP > passwords in your neighborhood only use them for safe things, like > downloading music and copyrighed videos. > > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > We don't know that his neighbors were using WEP: the story said he > used "password cracking software", and that could include dictionary > attacks on WPA nodes. > > This story, although clearly so far out of the norm that the risk of > it happening to anyone else can be discounted, is still a great > starting point for a discussion about identity in the digital age. If > you are what people think you are, then anyone who can influence what > they think can decide what you are. > > Bill > > Bill Horne > Moderator More than likely it was WEP. I have inSSIDer 2.0 on my machine. A good 80% of the WAP/WRT's in my area are ActionTech and secure by WEP.
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2011 18:23:23 -0400 From: T <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: area code named beer Message-ID: <MPG.firstname.lastname@example.org> In article <1311101167.35952.YahooMailNeo@web65708.mail.ac4.yahoo.com>, email@example.com says... > > On Monday, July 18, 2011 7:02 PM, Lisa or Jeff <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > > On Jul 18, 3:53 am, "Bob Goudreau" <BobGoudr...@nc.rr.com> wrote: > > >> Actually, this isn't as strange as it seems. Years ago, in the > >> days of exchange names, some local businesses named themselves > >> after the local exchange name. For instance, we had a small chain > >> of pharmacies named Hyatt, Windsor, and Cypress, all exchanges of > >> the towns they were in. > > > This begs the chicken/egg question. Were those exchanges themselves > > named after existing neighborhoods (in which case the pharmacies > > were presumably named after the geographic areas as well)? Or were > > the exchange names invented out of whole cloth (in which case the > > pharmacy names were exclusively telephonic in origin)? > > }In the case I know, the exchange names were independent of any > }community names, and the pharmacies deliberately copied them > }(according to the pharmacist/owner at one of them). Two are now > }closed, but one remains in operation as an independent drugstore. > > Some exchanges were named for cities and neighborhoods: > > PAwtucket2-XXXX was our number from 1951-1987. > Pawtucket is a major city in Rhode Island. > > Mark L. Smith > email@example.com > http://smith.freehosting.net Not really a major city. It's more a bedroom community. And to this day they still have all the 72x phone numbers, in fact I think it spans 722 to 729 now.
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 02:06:27 +0000 (UTC) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Moroney) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: area code named beer Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Mark Smith <email@example.com> writes: >Some exchanges were named for cities and neighborhoods: >PAwtucket2-XXXX was our number from 1951-1987. >Pawtucket is a major city in Rhode Island. I don't know what the exchange names for Fitchburg and Leominster, Mass. were, however many Fitchburg numbers are 34x-xxxx, and Leominster has many 53x-xxxx. It fits being FItchburg-X-xxxx and LEominster-X-xxxx. I think in larger cities they got more creative, naming exchanges after nearby landmarks or even random words. As a kid, one exchange used in my town was IVy-9-xxxx. There was nothing ivy-specific to the area.
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2011 18:18:06 -0700 From: John David Galt <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Tracing Calls w/Spoofed Numbers? Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> >>>> Now, if -you- can identify who the caller is, and establish that >>>> they're inside the U.S.A., such a complaint to the AG has a much >>>> better chance of action. In fact, you can also sue them directly. I would love it if this were true. Especially if you could collect enough to make it pay to sue them. >> In Great Britain, dialling 14258** after an unwanted call bars it; this >> seems to work even after a mobile call; do you have such a thing in the >> States? > Some telcos offer a service like that, for a limited (and *small*) number > of numbers, as an extra-cost (as in 'pay every month for the privilege of > being able to do it') service. But at least in California, the service has limitations that make it useless: (1) The number to be blocked must be within your local service area (LATA); they won't allow blocking of other numbers even if caller-ID shows them. (2) Blocked callers can still get you by calling the Operator. This should never have been allowed. If those were the only problems with it, I'd simply buy or build a gadget that captures Caller ID and lets me block as many numbers or ranges of numbers as I please. But even that is futile, because spoofing is easy. Indeed, this security blog reveals that spoofing is openly offered as a service you can buy over the internet: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KrebsOnSecurity/~3/aum_M7_LTtc/ So unless we can get the police to prosecute the likes of spooftel.com, there's no hope.
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 17:29:15 -0400 From: Pete Cresswell <x@y.Invalid.telecom-digest.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Tracing Calls w/Spoofed Numbers? Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Per John David Galt: >If those were the only problems with it, I'd simply buy or build a gadget >that captures Caller ID and lets me block as many numbers or ranges of >numbers as I please. But even that is futile, because spoofing is easy. > >Indeed, this security blog reveals that spoofing is openly offered as a >service you can buy over the internet: >http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/KrebsOnSecurity/~3/aum_M7_LTtc/ > >So unless we can get the police to prosecute the likes of spooftel.com, >there's no hope. I have not yet heard a reason why challenge-response would not work. Doesn't mean there isn't such a reason, but the way things are headed, challenge-response seems like the only practical approach. The Powers That Be at Earthlink seem to have decided that in the context of email. Granted that it adds a nuisance factor for the innocent, but once that phone starts ringing 10-12 times a day with some bottom feeder on the other end, what're we gonna do? "Hello, you have reached 123-456-7890. Please press 1 for Dave Please press 2 for Sam Please press 3 for Sue Please press 4 for Phil Please press 5 for Doris Please press 6 for Fred Please press 7 for Mannie Please press 8 for Moe Please press 9 for Jack" Where I'm Jack, pressing 9 at any time makes my phone ring, and pressing anything else drops the caller into a phony "Please leave a message at the tone" or some alternative universe defined by me or the service provider. Seems like minimal inconvenience to my friends/customers once they know to just press "9" as soon as they hear the pickup. As the 'bot programmers catch on - or maybe even from day one - it could be expanded to two or three digits and maybe the prompt changed to "Please enter the extension of the person you want to speak with". Come to think of it, that would be the more intuitive approach for first callers: I just give them my phone number with the qualification that I am on "Extension 123". But I kind of like the first one for it's potential to eat up man hours on the telephone solicitors - especially with the right alternative universe defined. In that case, I think the misanthrope in me might even look forward to pre-political election periods.... -) -- PeteCresswell
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 10:07:57 -0400 From: Kade Crockford <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move Message-ID: <CA4C597D.2D23email@example.com> ***** Moderator's Note ***** The recent story about Automatic License Plate Reader technology piqued my curiosity, so I sent an email to the author of the blog, Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts, and asked her to answer some questions for the Digest. My questions to Ms. Crockford are the ones shown as quoted text in her email reply. Bill Horne Moderator Hi Bill, Here are some responses: > 1. Do corporate vendors of the ALPR technology have revenue-sharing > arrangements with municipal governments? In other words, are local > municipalities paying ALPR vendors a portion of the revenue they > generate by using the technology? I have read in other media that > some firms are licensing the ALPR hardware and software in such a > way as to assure them that they get a portion of any fines or other > revenue received by local governments, e.g., for discovering > motorists driving with expired registrations, outstanding parking > violations, etc. Iım aware of this happening with red light cameras, but not to my knowledge with ALPR here in MA. > 2. Does the ALPR technology have the capability to make certain > license plates "invisible", so that they don't show up in traffic > scans or other information gathering? If so, who controls which > license plates are immune from being tracked? To my knowledge, no, but Iım not sure I fully understand your question. I understand that the technology works by taking a photograph of each plate the camera encounters, converting the plate number to searchable text, and then running the number through any number of databases to look for a "hit". Therefore in order to function, the machine must snap an image of every single plate it passes, not simply those that raise a red flag. It is then up to police departments or the agency using the device to decide what to do with the data. Some agencies --- most, probably --- keep it for a certain amount of time and likely share it with other agencies. This is where the data-mining and tracking comes in to play. The privacy implications of the technology are really rooted in data sharing and retention policies, like so much else in the digital surveillance era. > 3. How would you answer program backers who say that "If you're not > doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about"? Do you have shades on your windows at home? Do you tell your boss the same stories you tell your friends? Have you ever gone anywhere alone on purpose? Ever had a secret? The notion that a desire for personal privacy is somehow contingent upon involvement in criminal activity is not just fatuous but dangerous. Police states like that in East Germany and the one developing in China relied and rely on the absolute erasure of personal privacy from the polity in order to exert their dominance. Privacy is not only something that most people want; it is necessary to a functioning democracy. The main problem with the argument you outlined above is that it fails to consider the fact that once these systems are developed, with little to no privacy protections, they will be very, very difficult to rein in or dismantle. So even if you trust your Chief of Police today, or the FBI or the leaders in Congress and the White House, how can you be sure that the next group of people to hold power will not abuse these systems? Power does not give up power without a great fight, and so we must work to regain and maintain our privacy from unwarranted government surveillance before it is too late.
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 17:38:00 -0400 From: Pete Cresswell <x@y.Invalid.telecom-digest.org> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Using PDA VOIP Client As Incoming Extension? Message-ID: <email@example.com> My home phone system is hooked up to a LinkSys SPA3102 using CallCentric as my VOIP provider. Outgoing 800 and 911 calls go out on POTS and everything else goes out through the VOIP provider. CallCentric spoofs my telco phone number, so recipients get the right impression: that the call is coming from me on my home phone system. Incoming calls are 100% POTS. I just put an app called "Bria" on my iPod, pointed it at CallCentric, and it seems to be working a-ok for outbound calls. The Question: +--------------------------------------------------------------+ If I were to migrate my "real" phone number from the telco to CallCentric and enable incoming calls from CallCentric and somebody called my number, how would it go down vis-a-vis the home phone system and my iPod/Bria? - Would both ring? - If I picked up on Bria, could somebody else pick up on the home phone system and participate in the call? - If the first person to pick up were somebody picking up the home phone system, would there be any hope of my chiming in via Bria? -- PeteCresswell
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