Monday, June 25, 2007

Seriously hacked cellphones

Why is the first I've ever heard of Heather Kuykendall's hijacked cellphone is through a story on WBUR's Here & Now today?

I don't begrudge Here & Now's newsbreaking capacity, but you'd think this would show up on the high tech blogs at least a while before it hits mainstream. This is potentially a HUGE deal.

It took an extra twenty-three years, but we officially live in 1984.

UPDATE 6/29/07: According to Mike Elgan at Computerworld, the whole thing is "bogus". I think Mike's judgement is rather harsh...the kind of elitism I often see from tech people, directed at non-tech people. I do agree that if Mike is correct, then the media has really fallen down on the job here, and is guilty of scaremongering (Fox News? Scaremongering?!? Say it ain't so?!?)

I think something Elgan has overlooked is that while he seems to have found the simple answer, for some reason the local Fircrest, Washington police have not found it. Nor have the wireless carriers themselves, but I expect their tech support to be completely useless by now.

But getting back to the police, I find their apparent inability to recognize Elgan's simple fixes either unlikely or disturbing. Either it's unlikely it's that simple, and something truly sinister really is happening here....or it's disturbing that they're that clueless. Either way, it's in poor taste for Elgan to sneer from is tech-savvy perch. If he's gonna preach about clueless users, he should be preaching that the police can't afford to be clueless users. Not in today's high-tech world, and a high-tech world where people are kept in a constant state of fear.

I'd like to think our law enforcement has to be the voice of knowledge and reason; a place where citizens can turn to not just to see justice done, but also to make us feel a little safer. So far Fircrest's finest seem to have failed in that aspect.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm in the extended famiy - and I know this is going on and there is no way that Courtney, the daughter is doing this!

Anonymous said...


I also made this comment on Mike's article, and since it was your comment that led me here, you might have seen mine.

Too me this sounds exactly like a usual poltergiest haunting. The ghost or in this case stalker is apparent in a house with a teenage girl and can only communicate via the girls phone (or like the olden days a knocking sound near the affected persons bed). As mike points out surely the phone would not be able to see someone in the garden picking lemons - unless they were pointing the camera that way - so it obviously has to either be someone in the household, or a neighbour (or a ghost!)

I am sure it seems very very real to those in the house (as poltergiest haunts do to all involved), but there is an obvious answer here and gaping holes in the supposed story. Maybe this is due to poor reporting and there are facts that prove that this is a very real situation - but if there are these are not being reported anywhere.

So, I believe this is an interesting case in social terms, but def not a tech issue.