With rising concerns for privacy these days, advertisers are having an increasingly difficult time gathering personal consumer data. MobileRL, an Israeli start-up, is looking to change or “revolutionize” the way information is collected for ad purposes. The Israeli company wants you to download software onto your phone which will allow them to turn it into an eavesdropping device. Your phone’s microphone can be turned on at any time, at MobileRL’s discretion, so it can listen to what’s going on at any given time. This new “data collection tool” is obviously going to need user consent since you have to download it yourself, so that might mitigate most legal issues (unless you live in a place where they can force something like this on you). But we know the real issue here, and if they can turn your phone’s microphone on at any time and run it for how long they want, how will that affect your phone’s battery life?
Nothing makes you feel like you truly own your media and content like being able to do almost whatever you want with it. We’re already used to DRM for our MP3s and the limitations it puts on device selection and sharing, but the idea that the same kind of protection would be put on our books was a head-scratcher. For books on the Kindle, it works just that way. You can’t go putting your content on any device you want, whenever you want to — until now. An Israeli hacker has managed to break the DRM for books on the Kindle so that that content can be downloaded onto any other device.
The hacker, known only as Labba, posed a challenge on a hacker forum and was quickly aided by other programmers to discover the hack for the Kindle. They were essentially able to break the DRM protection and find a way to get the eBooks converted to an open format and into PDF files. This allows the files to be read on several eReaders, not just the Kindle. Now we have to wait and see what Amazon will do to patch things up, but Labba says whenever Amazon does release a software solution, he will be able to hack it again — just like the iPhone getting jailbroken with every software update. Or, you know, you can just buy paper books.
Thanks, Friend of BGR!
UPDATE: Looks like this was just “hacked” again as an original DRM workaround has been available since a year or so back.