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View Full Version : Nike+ IPod = Surveillance


MacBytes
Nov 30, 2006, 05:48 AM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: Apple Hardware
Link: Nike+ IPod = Surveillance (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20061130064851)
Description:: If you enhance your workout with the new Nike+ iPod Sport Kit, you may be making yourself a surveillance target.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

CANEHDN
Nov 30, 2006, 07:43 AM
I love the scenerios they mentioned. Watch out if your an Ex

KipCoon
Nov 30, 2006, 08:00 AM
Honestly doubt anyone will go to that kind of trouble, but who knows :)

But I'm intrigued by these gumstix PC's... Wasn't aware you could get something on a linux setup for under $80 :eek:

macFanDave
Nov 30, 2006, 08:20 AM
For someone to be able to plot your course, they'd need an incredible array of these gumstix along all of your possible routes.

And, in the girlfriend scenario, since the transmitter can be read from 60 ft away, would the hidden monitor be going off every minute the shoes are in the house? Wouldn't a proximity sensor be an even creepier and more reliable way to detect when people cross her threshold?

The solution seems almost brain-dead stupid: reduce the output power of the Nike device to, say, 8 feet. It wouldn't be detected by anything that's much more than arm's length away from you, and the battery life would go way up. Nike, you're welcome.

Flowbee
Nov 30, 2006, 10:38 AM
It's an interesting article, but of course to track someone's movements throughout the day, that person would have to be wearing their Nike+iPod shoes all day. I only wear my running shoes to run, so just because my shoes are at home doesn't mean I am too. Still, if this is all true, it's definitely something for Apple to take a look at.

Earendil
Nov 30, 2006, 11:16 AM
For someone to be able to plot your course, they'd need an incredible array of these gumstix along all of your possible routes.


Not only that, they made it sound as if you could track someone and add that info to Google maps.
But the shoes don't give off GPS coordinates, and only tell you when a person is within 60 feet. So if you wanted to track someone, you would have to blanket the city with these things, and have them all transmit information to a central source for plotting.

Now the more realistic possibility is that you have already, using man power and no tech, tracked a target and figured out where they normally go. Now you could buy a ton of receivers and only put it along the path they normally travel. But that would only tell you where along their normal path they are.

Personally I'd rather someone stalk me using my shoes, and do it from their couch, than actually be out there in the bushes with binoculars!:rolleyes:

shamino
Nov 30, 2006, 11:48 AM
Interesting that that article came out today.

It matches the story of last Tuesday's Law & Order. (In that episode, an evil geek secretly injects and RFID tag into his wife and uses it with sensors planted at key places in order to track here whereabouts.)

The one thing everybody forgets is that these ID numbers are still anonymous. What good does it do anyone to know that "transmitter no. 6735612 jogs in the park every morning" if you don't know who is wearing transmitter no. 6735612? It's not like these numbers are tied to social security numbers and credit cards.

I suppose it could be used by a private investigator, though. After learning of a person's ID number (by scanning him as he leaves a building), he could follow the person at up to 60' away using a radio receiver that looks for the ID. But even encrypting the packets wouldn't prevent this kind of spying. And it doesn't create any new loss of privacy, because a PI can still follow you visually and/or attach homing beacons to your vehicle or person.

Superdrive
Nov 30, 2006, 04:04 PM
I find it ridiculous that people would consider this as a loss of privacy. Just as said above, "oooh sensor 42382938 passed at 8:32 this morning!" If someone puts a gumstick on your door to track your presence there are much larger problems had than worrying about your iPod sensor. Finally, who uses their sensor when they are not working out??? :confused:

Earendil
Nov 30, 2006, 04:09 PM
I find it ridiculous that people would consider this as a loss of privacy. Just as said above, "oooh sensor 42382938 passed at 8:32 this morning!" If someone puts a gumstick on your door to track your presence there are much larger problems had than worrying about your iPod sensor. Finally, who uses their sensor when they are not working out??? :confused:

Really. If you're going to put a gumstick on someones door, and set up a wireless transmission to SMS text your phone, why don't you just stick a camera outside the window, it sure would be more fun at least :rolleyes:

SC68Cal
Nov 30, 2006, 04:26 PM
This is stupid.

Why worry about THEORETICAL ways that the government could follow you, when your cellphone already does it for them!

http://www.tinhat.com/cell_phone/tracking_examples.html
http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,114721,00.asp
http://www.engadget.com/2006/01/20/world-tracker-turns-anyone-into-a-cellphone-spy/

Danksi
Nov 30, 2006, 10:35 PM
I was about to make a new thread for this Canadian News Article (http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2006/11/30/nike-ipod-privacy.html?ref=rss), but luckily found this existing thread instead.

From reading the article it's simply a thesis on how technology can impact privacy.

"It's an example of how new gadgetry can erode our personal privacy."

"There's a bigger issue here," said Yoshi Kohno, the senior author of the paper. "When people buy a toaster, they know it's probably not going to blow up when they plug it in.

"But when they buy a consumer device like the Nike+iPod kit, they have no idea whether the device might enable someone to violate their privacy. We need to change that."

Flowbee
Dec 1, 2006, 01:23 PM
CNN has picked up the story today and has posted a typical fearmongering video segment to thier website. Reporter: "And what's more disturbing, you don't even have to have purchased one of the kits to fall prey..." Sheesh.:rolleyes:

iPod could be used as a tracking device (javascript:cnnVideo('play','/video/tech/2006/12/01/wilkinson.ipod.privacy.king','2006/12/08');) (Windows Media)

shamino
Dec 1, 2006, 02:34 PM
Why worry about THEORETICAL ways that the government could follow you, when your cellphone already does it for them!

http://www.tinhat.com/cell_phone/tracking_examples.html
http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,114721,00.asp
http://www.engadget.com/2006/01/20/world-tracker-turns-anyone-into-a-cellphone-spy/
The presence of GPS receivers in cell phones is hardly a secret. Both of mine (an Audiovox model and a Motorola RAZR) explicitly document this in their documentation.

Both have a configuration setting to either transmit GPS coordinates for all calls, or to only transmit them for 911 calls.

If you're worried about services tracking you, set your phone's GPS-broadcast setting to 911-only, and the problem goes away. This may even be the factory-default setting (it was with both of mine.)

Tracking someone without GPS is silly. Knowing the tower you're near will identify the town you're in, and not much more. This isn't useful for figuring out what you're doing and is hardly something you can keep secret from a person that wants to investigate your whereabouts, even without a phone.

And it still only works if the phone is connected. If you turn the phone off (or maybe just hang up), your ability to be tracked by tower completely vanishes.

Doctor Q
Dec 2, 2006, 03:16 AM
Please continue the discussion in our news thread.