Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The ultimate cyber privateer smartphone

Today's Computerworld story "Coming soon: A new way to hack into your smartphone" prompts me to reaffirm that The Perfect Virus is absolutely device agnostic. It will present itself as a zero-day exploit on a vanilla iPhone just as easily as on a jailbroken iPhone; on an Android or on a Blackberry, etc. Because The Perfect Virus is capable of SEAMLESS MIGRATION (principle #5 along with corollary attributes 6 through 10), it can even distribute itself amongst different smartphone architectures located within WiFi range of each other. That said, my choice for the ultimate cyber privateer smartphone would be the Android.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an iPhone and iPad user. I like these devices and I like Apple. Yes, I have Linux and Windows computers in my network, along with a Wii and a PS3 and my trusty PSP. That said, I think Apple could have taken a more enlightened approach in making iPhone "guts" available to applications and developers. The Android is my selection for the ultimate cyber privateer smartphone because:

  1. It has all the "hooks" necessary to do pretty much anything I want to do as an end user
  2. It can do things that even a jailbroken iPhone cannot do (I'm going to keep those things confidential only because I'm well into writing my sequel novel and would prefer NOT to do an emergency rewrite when someone says, "Hey, we really ought to add that capability to the iPhone) .
  3. I like an open architecture for totally different reasons than Putin and the Iranians are abandoning closed systems, in that there are things closed systems will not let you do that I want to do (see #2 above).
  4. Most importantly, the Android is a robust enough platform that I can make it my cyber privateering dashboard (principle #11, PROSUMPTION) no matter where I am, how fast I'm running at the time, and with a pretty good dead-man's switch (principle #1, OVERSIGHT) in case things get really ugly, really fast.
There is one feature available on Androids that I once had on my jailbroken iPhone (but have since given up by going to a vanilla iPhone because re-jailbreaking a new iPhone OS release is absolutely more trouble than it's worth): Instant streaming of videos to the Internet. Maybe it's my vivid imagination, but I could see myself coming upon a crime in progress and firing up my Qik.com application , hanging the smartphone from a lanyard around my neck and saying, "Smile son, you're being streamed to millions of users on the Internet right now." Then again, I could just keep my mouth shut and do the streaming so I could later testify in court against the badly startled felon. In either case, Qik on the iPhone requires you to subsequently decide whether or not you need to upload the video, whereas on the Android (I got one for my father, who is a criminal defense attorney) the video streams to the Qik library as it is being shot. Hence, my preference for the Android (and certainly my father's preference for it, since he deals with some extremely dangerous clients who have impulse control issues).

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?