A fake HP printer that's actual an office-camouflaged cellular eavesdropping device


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/03/a-fake-hp-printer-thats-actu.html


#2

GSM is so broken and phones are so desperate to get hooked up that they’ll just hop onto anything that looks like a cell tower.

Yea, I’ve been feeling the same way lately.


#3

And there it is.

We must await the Asimovian future when all ethical problems will be bodged not with law-hacking but with actual physics. The “thou shalt not kill” will be eliminated, perhaps replaced by the bemused question ‘thou shalt not what!? I can’t even imagine …’.


#4

This may have more to do with the very longstanding laws concerning interference with radio signals. Jammers and such (for civilians) are illegal, and there are reasonable questions about whether this sort of thing is the equivalent of jamming.

Imagine a doctor at the art gallery who misses an emergency call about an accident victim…

I’ve read stories about places like movie theaters who have used jammers to “silence” cell phones (definitely illegal) or installed shielding in theaters to the same end. Some I believe have also looked into spoofing like this device.

So I don’t think his concern is over a new Orwellian dystopia about to happen. I’d look at it sort of like if I had an art exhibit that involved flame throwers. I’d want to consult with the fire marshall before setting it up in a gallery. :fire:


#5

Yes, but does it also still print? When the US was spying on Russia using (probably HP) printers, the machines worked fine and could even have general maintenance without any noticing anything wrong.


#6

Printers jam all the time.

You’re probably right.But [Doctorow’]s is. And - at some level of abstraction, sufficiently ‘far away’ - these concerns are likely identical.

D’s is about using the law to discourage something possible because you can’t be arsed to engineer its impossibility, and O’s is about using the law to cover a situation where no interested party has engineered a failsafe (like another doctor) where the first doctor (for whatever reason - not just your performance art) can’t perform.

Using ‘the law’ to regulate what can - in principal - be regulated automatically by properly implemented systems (admittedly at some cost, perhaps considerable, to freedom of action) is too often the lazy/cheap way out.

Mind you, that cost to freedom (e.g. somehow genetically programming people to be completely, like robots, unable to kill) is a concern of its own and maybe it is better to leave it to laws. Tricky chap, engineering.


#7

[quote=“Jim_Kirk, post:4, topic:88645, full:true”]
This may have more to do with the very longstanding laws concerning interference with radio signals. Jammers and such (for civilians) are illegal, and there are reasonable questions about whether this sort of thing is the equivalent of jamming.[/quote]

There are no reasonable questions about this. These devices are intercepting and either rerouting or blocking traffic without the consent of the sender. There is no question that this is illegal, at least without court order and even then there are huge questions about the scope of the interception or jamming (i.e. those persons other than the target of the warrant). Go read up on the Steve Jackson Games case from the late eighties. The law is not as far behind the technology as a lot of people think.


#8

I do hope that it responds to any “who are you?” texts with “PC LOAD PAPER”


#9

Even better, “PAPER EMPTY: LOAD TRAY #7”, on a printer with only three paper trays.

And as to the illegality of operating a device set up to offer a “faked” GSM signal, would it be illegal to setup a device near a large roadway that offered an open WiFi signal?


#10

Actually, the message was “PC LOAD LETTER” or, alternatively in law offices, “PC LOAD LEGAL” PC stood for paper cassette. What seemed cryptic and unintuitive (a la Office Space) became crystal clear once I had seen both messages.


#11

Oy, can’t believe I messed that up.


#12

Unfortunately, it only connects to HP phones and only prints with HP toner.


#13

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