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[liberationtech] more on sat phone (in)security

Katherine Maher katherine.maher at gmail.com
Thu Feb 23 17:34:19 PST 2012


Brian,

What would your suggestions be for rethinking international law? I'm not a
legal expert, but it appears journalists are covered under the Geneva
Conventions as both civilians and soldiers, effectively covering the rights
to protection as POWs as well as against civilian targeting.
http://www.npr.org/2012/02/23/147290996/for-war-reporters-the-risks-of-going-solo?sc=tw&cc=shareIn
most instances, the governments or non-state actors targeting
journalists are not respecting international or domestic legal frameworks.

Is there an indication Colvin was using opposition uplinks, versus her own
equipment? Using any untrusted equipment or network carries risk, but even
those bringing in their own  equipment are subject to local network
vulnerabilities.

Genuinely curious, what are you proposing?

On Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 8:17 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at smallworldnews.tv>wrote:

> Unfortunately they are often the only option. I think there needs to be a
> radical rethinking of international law as well as efforts to provide
> journalists ict support without relying on opposition activists which is
> inherently dangerous.
>  On Feb 23, 2012 5:09 PM, "Katrin Verclas" <katrin at mobileactive.org>
> wrote:
>
>> Yep, all true.  Extremely imperfect risk mitigation strategies. We should
>> probably just leave it at - DON'T use them in insecure environments.
>>
>> Looking forward to your piece.
>>
>>
>> On Feb 23, 2012, at 8:05 PM, Brian Conley wrote:
>>
>> > Thanks Katrin,
>> >
>> > I will be writing my own piece about this issue soon, I hope tomorrow!
>> >
>> > I would like to take issue with two comments from the safer mobile
>> submission, based on my own experience with the technology in the field. I
>> would add a comment but am on my phone so will try to remember to submit
>> late today.
>> >
>> > Now the issues:
>> >
>> > Initial comments only, anonymous says you should "move" which is a nice
>> idea, but without higher end equipment this is notreally an option,
>> particularly on older model phones and certainly not for bgan terminals.
>> Unless you are in a desert in north Africa sitting on the side of the car
>> That faces south in a rural area, you at not getting a reliable connection.
>> >
>> > Anonymous also suggests using the phone in a built up area, which hours
>> directly against previous comment, it is REALLY difficult to maintain a
>> reliable connection in a city unless you are on a roof our a balcony facing
>> the proper direction, or a harbor or other area with a large open space
>> away from the buildings. Remember satellite phones are not inconspicuous.
>> >
>> > Just some things to consider.
>> >
>> > Brian
>> >
>> > On Feb 23, 2012 4:36 PM, "Katrin Verclas" <katrin at mobileactive.org>
>> wrote:
>> > There is some indication that the two journalists killed in Syria were
>> located by their sat phones. While details are elusive and unknown, here
>> are some posts on why and how it's easy to track a sat phone. As @ioerror
>> has repeatedly stated, be afraid. Be very afraid of sat phones in insecure
>> areas.
>> >
>> > This from EFF:
>> https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/satphones-syria-and-surveillance - a good overview
>> >
>> > This from SaferMobile (disclosure: I run the site/edit content) by
>> Anonymous, a contributor to the site who works in the telco industry:
>> https://safermobile.org/be-afraid-be-very-afraid-of-satellite-phones-in-insecure-locations/ - detail on how location tracking is possible, easy, and cheap
>> >
>> > This from David Burgess, fabulous guy and core developer on OpenBTS:
>> http://openbts.blogspot.com/2012/02/some-comments-on-satellite-phones.html- more detail on the technical logistics, nicely complements SaferMobile's
>> post.
>> >
>> > Katrin
>> >
>> >
>> > Katrin Verclas
>> > MobileActive.org
>> > katrin at mobileactive.org
>> >
>> > skype/twitter: katrinskaya
>> > (347) 281-7191
>> >
>> > Check out the new Mobile Media Toolkit at
>> > http://mobilemediatoolkit.org. To "Making Media Mobile!"
>> >
>> > A global network of people using mobile technology for social impact
>> > http://mobileactive.org
>> >
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>>
>> Katrin Verclas
>> MobileActive.org
>> katrin at mobileactive.org
>>
>> skype/twitter: katrinskaya
>> (347) 281-7191
>>
>> Check out the new Mobile Media Toolkit at
>> http://mobilemediatoolkit.org. To "Making Media Mobile!"
>>
>> A global network of people using mobile technology for social impact
>> http://mobileactive.org
>>
>>
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-- 
Katherine R. Maher

+1.203.858.7316
katherine.maher at gmail.com
@krmaher
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