snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Urban Legends » Business » Cell phone companies can use your cell to listen in? (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: Cell phone companies can use your cell to listen in?
Morgaine La Raq Star
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 220 posted      Profile for Morgaine La Raq Star   E-mail Morgaine La Raq Star   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
DH was told today by a friend that if your cell phone is on, the cell phone company can send a signal to the phone & it can be used as a listening device to listen to your conversations, etc. My UL-BS meter immediately went on full alert so I searched & didn't find anything here but maybe i didn't search right. Thanks for the help.

--------------------
I cannot live without books-Thomas Jefferson *~* A child educated only at school is an uneducated child - George Santayana
I'm going to pummel you with such zeal, Buddha will explode! *~* Never miss a good chance to shut up - Will Rogers

Posts: 6585 | From: Dallas/Fort Worth, TX | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jack Dylan
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jack Dylan   E-mail Jack Dylan       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
From this page, it says that certain radio equipment CAN pick up cell phone conversations, and this article tells you how to do it. If people can do this with radio scanners, I see no reason why the company handling the signals wouldn't be able to do the same thing if they had the right equipment.

I think it would be done differently then how the article says it's done. Telcos sending a signal to the phone to turn the 'listening device' function on? Why would the manufacturers even implement such a feature?

Jack "Two posts from 200!" Dylan

--------------------
Eppis: Do you know why being a revolutionary doesn't work in this country? Being a revolutionary in America is like being a spoil sport at an orgy. All these goodies being passed around and you feel like a shit when you say no.

Posts: 294 | From: Brisbane, Australia | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for lazerus the duck   E-mail lazerus the duck   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Why would a signal need to go to the phone, all phone conversation are routed through them anyway. They just listen in at their end.

--------------------
All the world's a face, And all the men and women merely acne.

Posts: 673 | From: Glasgow, Scotland | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Em
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Em   E-mail Em   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I found a discussion of this, or a similar question, here, including these gems:
quote:
This ranks up there with the "undercover cops have to say yes when asked if they're a cop" story.
quote:
I'm not a scientist, but I still think it would be relatively easy to tell if a turned off cellphone was sending/receiving data, encrypted or not.

Here's an off the shelf cellphone detector to help do the job. Of course any sane tinfoil hat wearing human would build one from scratch, using hand crafted parts from known sources.

[lol] Ahem... On a more serious note:
quote:
Onstar and similar in-car systems can be remotely activated and listen in on you. There are two modes: a normal one where the occupant is notified that an operator is listening, and a "vehicle recovery mode" designed to snoop on car thieves where the occupant is not notified.

I have no idea how reliable any of the information in that thread is, but it might be worth a look.

--------------------
What the NFBSK does YOMANK mean?

Posts: 1646 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
MattG
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for MattG   E-mail MattG   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
You used to be able to do this with a standard police scanner, the companies have since change either the phone or the scanners or both to make this not possible.
Posts: 61 | From: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jimmy101
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for jimmy101   E-mail jimmy101   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Dang people (lazerus and MattG in particular), read the OP.

MLRS said the phone company can turn on a phone (presumbably one with the power on but not currently making a call) and esentially use it as a listening device. Not that the the phone company (or anyone else) can listen into a normal cell phone conversation.

(For the record it is quite easy to intercept cell phone calls, analog or digital. Decripting them is more difficult.)

Posts: 629 | From: Greenwood, IN | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Of course they can listen at the phone calls, after all they relay them, just like a normal call.

However, there is no way they can use the phone to listen to your conversation while not making a call. It can not be remote activated like that.

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
emperor_genghis_khan
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for emperor_genghis_khan   E-mail emperor_genghis_khan   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I think that if this was real the same people who spend countless hours hacking cell phones in oredr to pimp them up would have found the software/hardware used for this function. just look at the Sony CD program issue that was found by a few people in a short time. It may be possible to do it but it would be found out.

quote:
You used to be able to do this with a standard police scanner, the companies have since change either the phone or the scanners or both to make this not possible.
I used to love doing this I would sign out too handheld police radios and set one for my Departments channel and the other to intercept phonecalls. It is amazing the things people talk about.

--------------------
Excuses satisfy only those who offer them. Your enemies won't believe them and your friends don't need them.

Posts: 211 | From: Ponce, Puerto Rico | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
beaver_slayer
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for beaver_slayer     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I've heard this rumor interpreted as if you didn't turn your phone off the signal can turn a phone into a wiretap even if you are NOT calling to anyone. The phone just (secretly) starts transmitting your voice (and it's seems that's what Morgaine La Raq Star ment, NOT the fact that you can wiretap the cell phone as easily as a ground line). Although a similar thing, to my knowledge, can be done to landlines, I've witnessed the possibility to turn a cell phone into a silent transmitter being discussed in a professional hardware forum. The idea was concluded to be a baloonium.
Posts: 246 | From: Toronto, ON / Kyiv, Ukraine | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Seanette
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Seanette   Author's Homepage   E-mail Seanette   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by emperor_genghis_khan:
I think that if this was real the same people who spend countless hours hacking cell phones in oredr to pimp them up would have found the software/hardware used for this function. just look at the Sony CD program issue that was found by a few people in a short time. It may be possible to do it but it would be found out.

quote:
You used to be able to do this with a standard police scanner, the companies have since change either the phone or the scanners or both to make this not possible.
I used to love doing this I would sign out too handheld police radios and set one for my Departments channel and the other to intercept phonecalls. It is amazing the things people talk about.
Not to me. I hear it all when I'm on the local transit system, in stores, etc.

What happened to the concept of privacy?

Posts: 486 | From: Sacramento, California | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Delta-V
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Delta-V     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
It appears that a cellphone can at least be rigged to do exactly that: Cell phone listening device

Not sure why anyone would want to listen to the inside of my jacket pocket, tho...

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

Posts: 1225 | From: Wichita, Kansas | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Griffin at the Maul
Joyeux New Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Griffin at the Maul     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The Phone that Delta-V is referring to is a custom-built unit. There is no way to activate a "normal" phone in this way.

As far as listening in on conversations, this used to be possible with a scanner, but since the advent of digital systems, this is no longer possible.

--------------------
Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

Posts: 782 | From: Arlington, TX | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DemonWolf     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I think that there is some comfusion on what the OP is asking. Yes, of couse the cell carrier has the ability to listen in on your calls.
No, the carrier cannot send a signal to use it as a hidden microphone to "bug" you (listen to you talk while the phone is in your pocket. Even if it was technologically possobly, it is illegal to do so without a warrent.
As a telco employee, I can also tell you that while I have the technology to listen in on any call I wish, if I am caught doing (without a valid business reason and/or without following proper protocol) so I will be fired and refered to local law enforcement for prosecution.

--------------------
Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

IMJW-052804

Posts: 7224 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DemonWolf
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DemonWolf     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by emperor_genghis_khan:
I used to love doing this I would sign out too handheld police radios and set one for my Departments channel and the other to intercept phonecalls. It is amazing the things people talk about.

It is also how amaing boring some conversaions are. [Frown]

--------------------
Friends are like skittles: they come in many colors, and some are fruity!

IMJW-052804

Posts: 7224 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dogwater
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Dogwater   E-mail Dogwater   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
This technique was used on the last episode of "E-Ring". The premise was that there was some NSA magic that turned the surveilled guy's cell into a transmitter.

I guess I'm not sure of that show's angle: Do they just make crap up for TV or do they show real cutting-edge stuff? As of this thread I'm leaning more toward 'Crap for TV', but the whole Benjamin Bratt thing is cause enough for Wifey's demand that we watch it each week.

--------------------
As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Posts: 1679 | From: Illinois | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Donovan
Deck the Malls


Icon 95 posted      Profile for Donovan   E-mail Donovan   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
As a telco employee, I can also tell you that while I have the technology to listen in on any call I wish, if I am caught doing (without a valid business reason and/or without following proper protocol) so I will be fired and refered to local law enforcement for prosecution.

As another TelCo employee, I can second that statement. In addition, as my experience from when I did have to listen to a call (usually because I am waiting for them to hang up so I can change some of there wiring in the field), most phone calls are utterly boring for the third party.

Cept for the times like when we accidently found the line being used by the local house of prostitution. [Wink]

Donovan 'Wasn't me listening, I swear' Ravenhull

--------------------
Illius me paenitet, dux (Latin for fun and business)

"It's like trying to hawk pork chops at a kosher PETA banquet." - Esprise Me

Posts: 429 | From: Alabama | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Delta-V
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Delta-V     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Griffin in the wind:
The Phone that Delta-V is referring to is a custom-built unit. There is no way to activate a "normal" phone in this way.

Why not? It sounds like this is a firmware modification, not hardware. Since some phones can download firmware updates (my Sprint/Motorolla phone can), it might be possible to do this mod to a particular phone. I've gotten a couple of firmware upgrades - I get a text message notification and I have to call in to do it, but I'm sure most people don't think tiwce about doing that. I don't know if Sprint can push a firmware upgrade without the user's knowledge.

It sounds like the OP is talking about eavesdropping on a regular conversation as this modified phone does, not a cell-phone conversation (which wouldn't require any special signal, as DemonWolf said). The OP doesn't mention why the cell phone provider would do such a thing, but it seems it just might be possible to do it. Since the tin-hat crowd thinks the government is behind everything, the need for a warrant is irrelevant. With a warrent, the cellphone provider is compelled to comply with the survellence.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

Posts: 1225 | From: Wichita, Kansas | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Morgaine La Raq Star
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Morgaine La Raq Star   E-mail Morgaine La Raq Star   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
To clarify, DH works in an area with security clearance. They can take their phones into secure areas but can't talk on them. One of his co-workers said that he had heard that the cell phone companies could activate your phone to use as a listening device. So, the cell phone company could use 'Kyles' phone, which was on, but he was not using, to listen in to what was going on in the secure area.
Not talking about picking up conversations through radio waves. We're talking about your average cell phone (not modified in any way) being activated by the cell phone company to be used to listen to what you're saying.

Hopefully this has made things more clear.

--------------------
I cannot live without books-Thomas Jefferson *~* A child educated only at school is an uneducated child - George Santayana
I'm going to pummel you with such zeal, Buddha will explode! *~* Never miss a good chance to shut up - Will Rogers

Posts: 6585 | From: Dallas/Fort Worth, TX | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Delta-V
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Delta-V     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I would say an unmodified phone could not be used this way. There's no reason for the software code to be there. But, since it's possible for a phone to be modified to do this, there is a security risk there. Of course, in a properly designed secure area, cell phones won't work anyway.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

Posts: 1225 | From: Wichita, Kansas | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jaeger
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jaeger   Author's Homepage   E-mail Jaeger   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Well, it would help sales of clamshell phones if this rumour became widespread. I don't think they'd hear much from a closed clamshell.

Unless they have the software mod to open up the phone remotely?

Posts: 1158 | From: Singapore | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Unless they have the software mod to open up the phone remotely?
They probably have software to make the phone's camera take nude pictures of the owner through X-Ray photography. At least...

Time to bring out the lead underwear!

And, for some unknown reason, probably world domination, they can also remote control the phone to steal socks out of the washer!

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Delta-V
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Delta-V     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jaeger:
Well, it would help sales of clamshell phones if this rumour became widespread. I don't think they'd hear much from a closed clamshell.

I've had 2 clamshell-type phones, and the microphone pickup is exposed outside the clamshell on both. That way you can use the speakerphone function without having the clamshell open. You can see the pickup just below the "N400" badge at the bottom of the phone.
 -

This seems to be true of most Samsung clamshell-type phones, at least. Conspiracy Theorists, make of that what you will... [Eek!]

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

Posts: 1225 | From: Wichita, Kansas | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jaeger
We Three Blings


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jaeger   Author's Homepage   E-mail Jaeger   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My theory is that it's a Korean conspiracy. My Nokia clamshell needs to be opened to expose the mike.
Posts: 1158 | From: Singapore | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
effo5231
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for effo5231   Author's Homepage   E-mail effo5231   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My future father in law spent about half an hour haranguing me about how THEY can listen in on your conversations even if the phone is turned off. He insists that THEY can "turn your phone on remotely and listen to you."

I nodded in all the right spots and immediately started checking the web to verify, but no luck.

--------------------
"What!? Those are my graham crackers! Don't move I'm going to go find something to strike you with!"

Posts: 66 | From: Baltimore, MD | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Liza
What's My Lime?


Icon 27 posted      Profile for Liza         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
effo5231 said:
quote:
My future father in law spent about half an hour haranguing me about how THEY can listen in on your conversations even if the phone is turned off. He insists that THEY can "turn your phone on remotely and listen to you."

I nodded in all the right spots and immediately started checking the web to verify, but no luck.

If he was talking about a normal phone, then an infinity transmitter could do it.

As for cell phones, with miniaturization, I don't see why the same thing wouldn't work on them.

Posts: 122 | From: BFE, Florida | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
effo5231
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for effo5231   Author's Homepage   E-mail effo5231   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Liza:

If he was talking about a normal phone, then an infinity transmitter could do it.

As for cell phones, with miniaturization, I don't see why the same thing wouldn't work on them.

You mean to say that they could activate my cell phone remotely, turn the power on, and then somehow use it to listen to me? I can't even get the thing to turn on when I press the button sometimes.

And besides, my aluminum foil hat should totally screw up their signal.

--------------------
"What!? Those are my graham crackers! Don't move I'm going to go find something to strike you with!"

Posts: 66 | From: Baltimore, MD | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Liza
What's My Lime?


Icon 27 posted      Profile for Liza         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Apparently, the person listening in calls the number and turns on the device before it rings. Then they (the ever mysterious they) can listen to what's said in the area of the phone.

I think I first heard of the concept in a novel. Checking the internet, it seems to be a small device that can be hidden inside the phone or anywhere along the phone line. It's activated by calling the number and turning it on before the phone rings. Then you can listen to anything that is said in the area. There are a couple of web pages that say that the newer models can listen to conversations rooms away, even if the doors are closed.

On the other hand, there are a few pages that say that they don't work on digital lines.

cell version It's the same company as Delta-V's link, and yes, it's specially built. But it does show that the technology has reached the point that it could be put in a cell phone.

Effo5231:
quote:
You mean to say that they could activate my cell phone remotely, turn the power on, and then somehow use it to listen to me? I can't even get the thing to turn on when I press the button sometimes.

And besides, my aluminum foil hat should totally screw up their signal

Nah, they can't turn it on, but if you leave it on...and they can get one of the chip things in it...and get it back to you...then you're screwed.
Cause your the FFIL is obviously the type of person that has horrible secrets that all sorts of agencies would be interested in. And you're just the person they should use to get that information, because the tinfoil hat improves reception at their end.

ETA:
$1200 freaking dollars for that one!!!

If you feel the urge to eavesdrop on someone, build your own.

$1200...darn...

Posts: 122 | From: BFE, Florida | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
PhiloPharynx
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for PhiloPharynx   E-mail PhiloPharynx   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by effo5231:
And besides, my aluminum foil hat should totally screw up their signal.

You have heard that aluminum foil hats actually amplify certain frequencies of brainwaves? I have no evidence on this, but I wear a Faraday cage helmet.

Back on subject: The other issue with most of these "they can listen to everybody" scenarios is manpower. How many people would it take to monitor everybody?

Posts: 64 | From: Irvine, CA | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bunion
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bunion     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
There were several stories a while back about police agencies being able to listen in to your conversations in your car via OnStar without you knowing. (assuming they had a warrant) Some how they could remotely turn it on and listen without ever having to tamper with your car physically in anyway. If I remember the story correctly some court blocked this activity, not because of any privacy concerns, but because when the police were listening in it prevented the people from calling OnStar in case of an emergency.

How true this story was I am not sure but it was in several papers (not that in itself is any guarantee) unfortunately I am at work and can't search the internet to find out more about it. For some reason the only internet site they allow us to visit is Snopes.com, I have no idea why and I am not going to ask as they will probably block it too.

Bunion

--------------------
You get more of what you want with a kind word and a gun then you do with a kind word alone.

Posts: 44 | From: Columbia, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Biggles
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Biggles   E-mail Biggles   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Grain of truth?

Several people have brought up OnStar in which remote listening is possible. There are also special childrens cellphones (such as the Firefly?), that I believe are capable of doing this.

Remote control software for PC's is also capable of streaming sound from mic's or webcams attached to PC's; and some cellphones are more powerful than PC's I have used in the past...

Also no doubt that spy agencies would be able to mod a cellphone to 'bug' it. Finally I used to work on embedded computer hardware & chip cellphone chipsets can (are are) sometimes built into things like vending machines so that they can call home (and be dialed up for servicing/sales data); these were used for data only transmission but I remember thinking that all it needed was a mic & we could have captured noise from around the machine (which would have been 90% machine noise ).

So I agree - 'they' can track my location roughly via my cellphone, (and the US govt has mandated this?) but cannot remotely and silently switch on _my_ Sony Ericsson phone & listen in... but as indicated above, there are some exceptions. In the future when all high-end phones are running Linux or Windows etc, have GPS units and are remotely patched and everything is software controlled (yes, the power button is software controlled) then this may become more than a rumour... not that I think the resulting sound capture would be hugely interesting but police/spys would no doubt like to have the ability to do this.

Posts: 83 | From: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jimmy101
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for jimmy101   E-mail jimmy101   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Biggles:
...when all high-end phones are running Linux or Windows etc, have GPS units and are remotely patched and everything is software controlled (yes, the power button is software controlled) then this may become more than a rumour...

It is not possible to turn on the power switch to a system via software running on that system. In order to activate the "on" switch the system must already be running. (Of course, a system can turn itself off.)

If the cell phone is still communicating with local towers even when it is "off" then what exactly does "off" do? "Off" doesn't save power since the phone is still communicating. So why have an "off" button at all?

Posts: 629 | From: Greenwood, IN | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Biggles
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Biggles   E-mail Biggles   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
A lot of devices, probably including the PC you are typing on have 'soft' powerswitches. Open the case on a PC that has been powered down & you will often find LED's on the m/board still lit up as the BIOS is still polling onboard LAN card for WOL (wake on LAN) signals, polling the USB port for USB keyboards power buttons etc.

My cellphone is another typical example. I power down my (lowend) Sony Ericsson cellphone & it appears to be off & no longer transmits/recieves.. but if I have an alarm set my cellphone still goes off in the morning. Which means that a timer was still running & polling memory etc. Again, it would only be a software tweak to allow a phone in an 'off' state to listen for a modified carrier signal that powers up parts of the phone; pretty much the same way your TV sits there while 'off', sucking 15 watts or more looking for & decoding infra-red signals to turn it on again. Some (many?) TV's don't even come with hardware off switches anymore.

Posts: 83 | From: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
There are several degrees of running. For computers, you have the possibility to power up a computer through the network, because some standby power allows it to run some small processes. For mobile phone, however, we can be pretty sure that off means "not recieving anything", as anything else would drain the battery.

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
me, no really
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for me, no really   Author's Homepage   E-mail me, no really   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My understanding is that both are correct. I do not know of any way that a momentary contact switch such as in a mobile phone keypad to be used as a "hard" power switch. By this I mean that some power is still active in the system to sense when the power button is pushed, and "wake up" the rest of the system. There is power to the system, even when it is off, but not much, and the battery will drain, but slowly. There is however no active transmitter/receiver, so current phones can't be activated remotely. I imagine though that it might be possible to modify a phone so that it can be activated remotely, but it would have to leave some form of communication active, even when off.

--------------------
Check out my handmade pens
Check back often because the page changes often

Posts: 831 | From: Brisbane, Australia | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
First Amongst Daves
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for First Amongst Daves   Author's Homepage   E-mail First Amongst Daves   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My wife is currently working in west Africa on sensitive commercial business, and have been told by security experts not to have their mobile phones with them, as the government can remotely turn them on.

--------------------
Dave's boards:

incandescent

Posts: 255 | From: Perth, Western Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2