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Comment Re: Hiding of recording abilities is crucial (Score 1) 142

First of all, it has nothing to do with any radio licensing or bugs or hijacking, The description of what is forbidden is pretty clear:

die ihrer Form nach einen anderen Gegenstand vortäuschen oder die mit Gegenständen des täglichen Gebrauchs verkleidet sind und auf Grund dieser Umstände oder auf Grund ihrer Funktionsweise in besonderer Weise geeignet und dazu bestimmt sind, das nicht öffentlich gesprochene Wort eines anderen von diesem unbemerkt abzuhören oder das Bild eines anderen von diesem unbemerkt aufzunehmen.

Let's start from the back: The device has to be capable to record or transmit non-public speech or image unnoticed. Check. But that would be true for any phone or mp3-player, so there are some other required features: The device has to be either a) pretending to be another class of object or b) to be disguised with an everyday object or c) suitable and meant to facilitate secret recordings or transmissions.

We have a recording device that is hidden in a doll (everyday object). It transmits speech to a server. That's basically it. Even small changes, as local speech processing would let that doll of the hook, so comparisons to your other examples are academic exercises, as these aren't identical. Then lots of detail is lost in translation, like a subtle difference for audio and "images" (still or moving)

The case would be clear for Alexa: This device is not disguised and lights up when recording or transmitting. So nothing unnoticed.

The phone in the pocket.. well.. just say if you set it to record before putting it into your pocket, you would WISH that this law was used, because secretly recording someone is a criminal offense, while this here only calls for verified destruction of offending devices.

The microphone and camera in the Smart TV is a really interesting case. If you think actions should be taken, there is an email address to report suspicious devices.

And as a fun fact: it is not enough to attach a warning label to legalize hidden recording devices. Heck knows why. But we're talking about lawyers, so it's probably not heaven knows why....

Reference: 90 TKG

Comment Re:Destroy the Doll (Score 1) 142

The refund idea probably won't work, as you had to buy that doll somewhere where they are legal, so there's no need for a refund there.

But I like the idea with the witch burning. Just imagine telling little girls "Yes sweetheart, Cayla was a bad doll.. se what we do with bad dolls here....? Muahaha..."

Comment Re: Hiding of recording abilities is crucial (Score 1) 142

In Germany, the BNetzA licenses such devices. Why did it approve this doll for sale in the first place? What changed between then and now?

I don't think anything has changed.

It was never licensed in Germany, but if it us sold anywhere in the EU, it can be imported into Germany without problems. And even radio equipment that was licensed and tested to behave to its standards (like Wifi, Bluetooth, LTE...) in one EU country is legal to be used everywhere in Europe. (Assuming it is correctly operated according to additional national regulations and instruction manual. Example: Operating WiFi is legal only if the channel selection is set to your current country - channel assignments vary)

But as not all laws are identical all over germany, it may be legal to sell or buy something in france that is illegal 5 miles away across the border. People from the states should know that. It's exactly like buying alcohol in a supermarket in Virginia and driving back to Maryland.

Comment Re: Hiding of recording abilities is crucial (Score 1) 142

Your phone uses Bluetooth. If you leave it in your pocket, does that make it a hidden surveillance device?

No. If you set it to record, it does make your jacket the illiegal device and you the manufacturer of an object that contains a hidden recording or transmission

As long as the phone is clearly recognizable as a phone, there is no problem with the phone or for the phone manufacturer.

Comment Re:Makes no sense (Score 2) 47

I agree with you.

From a security viewpoint it's even worse. The usual popular time sinks (Angy Birds, Candy Crush...) should have been under enough scrutiny to assume that they are "clean". Banning the popular originals will drive users to the $chinese-knockoffs where no one knows what kind of payload is inside.

Comment Re: Meanwhile in the Apple ecosystem on iPads.. (Score 1) 183

The real issue here is that it should have never gotten to the point where the vendor "allowing" something or not was possible in the first place. The owner of a device -- i.e., the user -- should have 100% complete control over every aspect of that device, full stop. All DRM should be illegal!

We had it that way in the good ol' days of DOS. But still users flocked to AppStore when the iPhone came out like stray cats would run to a leaking milk truck! So what happend back then, when users could install anything they wanted without restrictions?


And not much has changed since then. Go to Joe Sixpacks PC and you'll find tons of malware, adware and who knows what. A friend had so many search bars in his browser, he couldn't see anything of the website anymore.

As nice as the idea of the free PC is, you have to give credit to the fact that users want curation. Not in a traditional sense that it is a positive selection of what to see or install, but even more in terms of what NOT to install.

Comment Re:Have they added DRM yet? (Score 1) 303

When writing to it, when reading to it, when transfering an analog signal from any source to and sink using non supraconducting wire.

In other words: A hypothetical, perfect anlog medium, with a hypothetical, perfect analog signal chain, you wouldn't loose information.

Any piece of analog equipment will loose more signal than the cheapest DAC.

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