We already know that using mobiles can lead to fatalities, such as whilst driving. But there is something much more sinister about the recent case in Manchester that involved a gun disguised as a mobile phone.
It is a frightening thought, but the mobile is an ideal candidate for a stealth weapon. It is something most of us always carry and so can go relatively unnoticed.
On the other hand, things could be turned around and the mobile could perhaps become a tool of self-defence. This would be useful in areas like London, where over half the street crimes involve mobile theft. Perhaps personal attack alarms could be added to some phones. More potent possibilities exist in other countries, such as the US, where pepper spray and stun guns are legal.
Mind you, if a robber wanted my mobile phone, I don't fancy a tussle. They could have it. The thing to ensure is that we've all backed up our address books! Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, that should be a standard network feature (courtesy of SyncML and operators who understand usability).
If a mobile does get stolen, then, at long last, it is now possible to report it stolen and have the device disabled remotely. This has always been possible in most digital cellular networks using the unique ID number of the device (the IMEI). I don't know why exactly it's taken so long to become a reality, but in the UK, the Immobilise system and campaign was launched in January.
I'm not sure how the Immobilise people get around authenticating reports of stolen devices, but the site seems to indicate that users have to register first. Perhaps I should try that and see how it works.
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