19 October 2007

The Great Idea That Was

It was announced today that stolen mobile phones can be disabled to prevent its use and resell. I think that's a great idea but I don't think it'll work well, especially after learning that there will be a fee imposed on the service.

Think about it - you've just lost your RM500+ phone plus all your invaluable contacts. And to add salt to the wound, you have to pay a small fee to disable the phone. Why should you pay more to punish the criminal? I thought our tax money already goes into justice and law enforcement. The cost should be borne by the authorities.

And I'm very dubious about the technology. It works by blocking the phone's unique IMEI code, but what's stopping thieves from changing them? People once thought MAC address filtering constitutes good access control, until simple software downloads allow you to spoof your MAC.

The best way to implement this is to incorporate the cost of disabling the phone into the phone's purchase price. This can be regarded as a one time "insurance premium". It raises phone's prices by a little, but by charging consumers from the get-go, it reduces cost of operations and brings the cost of disabling a phone closer and closer to RM0, similar to SMSes nowadays.

And if a phone is disabled, one only needs to make a call to their telco, verify their identity, and the locking operation is carried out. As for hackers changing the IMEI, well, that's the way life goes. Why? You have a better idea?


William said...

I would pay to detonate the phone remotely.

savante said...

Eeeps. Update di mana!