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Tag: Cellphones

Actually, Canadian cell companies are bad

Canada unlocked cellphone fees vs US

This morning, American media got all frenzied about a new rule imposed by the Canadian government. Starting December 1st, all cellphones bought from a cell carrier in Canada have to come unlocked out of the box, and the carriers can't charge a fee for the service.

This is a great and much-needed thing for Canadian consumers. But Americans don't really need to worry about losing the "land of the free" competition any time soon: although you might still have to pay a fee to unlock phones in America, at least the networks don't massively suck.

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Thieves drain 2fa-protected bank accounts by abusing SS7 routing protocol

Enlarge (credit: Raimond Spekking)

A known security hole in the networking protocol used by cellphone providers around the world played a key role in a recent string of attacks that drained bank customer accounts, according to a report published Wednesday.

The unidentified attackers exploited weaknesses in Signalling System No. 7, a telephony signaling language that more than 800 telecommunications companies around the world use to ensure their networks interoperate. SS7, as the protocol is known, makes it possible for a person in one country to send text messages to someone in another country. It also allows phone calls to go uninterrupted when the caller is traveling on a train.

The same functionality can be used to eavesdrop on conversations, track geographic whereabouts, or intercept text messages. Security researchers demonstrated this dark side of SS7 last year when they stalked US Representative Ted Lieu using nothing more than his 10-digit cell phone number and access to an SS7 network.

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U.S. Appeals Court Says No Warrant Needed to Obtain Location Data from Carriers


A United States appeals court ruled on Tuesday that law enforcement officials are not required to obtain a warrant to get access to a cellphone’s location data, as long as they obtain it from the wireless carrier.

U.S. Appeals Court Says No Warrant Needed to Obtain Location Data from Carriers


The ruling was made possible because of a long-standing legal theory, working on the premise that the information is already being shared with a third party — specifically the carriers, Reuters said. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virg. voted 12 to 3 in favor of the decision, overturning a split opinion from three judges at the court in 2015.

The legal battle sprang from a series of armed robberies that took place in the Baltimore area in 2011. Police obtained 221 days of cellphone data from Sprint, which included around 29,000 location records. The data was used as evidence to ultimately convict two suspects in the robberies.

Judge Diana Motz, writing for the majority opinion in the ruling, said the decision doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment, as cellphone owners know they are sharing their location data with their carrier.

Judge James Wynn, writing for the dissenting judges, held the opinion that cellphone owners do not actively choose to share their location with the carrier, and any data related to such sharing should be exempt from the third-party sharing theory.

Tuesday’s ruling may not be the last word on the subject, as the Supreme Court could be forced to rule on the case, due to lower court challenges.

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