Kuwait To Jail Camera Phone Abusers

Looks like Kuwait is going ahead with outlawing taking pictures of other people with cameraphones without their consent. An AFP story out of Kuwait today (no URL available yet) says a Kuwaiti parliamentary panel has “approved government proposed legislation laying down jail terms for people using Bluetooth technology in mobile phones to take or circulate pictures without the subject’s consent or for sexual blackmail”:

According to the bill, people who use the technology to take pictures of others without consent face up to two years in prison or a fine of 6,800 dollars. Those who use it to circulate such pictures face five years jail while using Bluetooth pictures to blackmail others into adultery carries a penalty of 10 years in prison, Tabtabai said.

As engadget pointed out last year when this first popped up, it’s far from clear where Bluetooth comes into all this. But all this may not sound quite as reactionary as has been portrayed. (I’ve referred to the issue before, but don’t claim to fully comprehend the background to this.) One Kuwaiti who posted to that story says the law

has three sections, the first one is concerned with taking pictures (I’d say 90% of people here have phones with cameras) of others without their consent. The second one is related to sending indecent/pornographic/inapproperiate material to others via bluetooth. And the third is concerned with doing any of the first two and extort/threaten others. But they do refer to it as the bluetooth law though.

Another poster suggests:

What was happening is that many Kuwaiti have abused Bluetooth, by sending pornographic (even kiddy porn) images and videos to other people surronding them. In addition to that, it has been used to threaten individuals (if you don’t shutup, I’m going to send this little video of yours all over!).

AFP says the legislation will be effective after it is approved by parliament and signed by the emir.

Logitech’s Bluetooth pen

Logitech are about to bring out their io2 pen for Bluetooth:

This summer, Logitech will launch a Bluetooth-enabled version of the io2 Digital Pen, designed to address the current data entry shortcomings of mobile data capture devices. Logitech’s Bluetooth digital pen, when used in combination with a Bluetooth wireless handheld device, will help an organization’s mobile workforce more efficiently gather, transmit and share important data.

A press release gives a bit more detail: Using the Logitech io2 Digital Pen with Bluetooth technology, a mobile worker will be able to capture information by using a customized version of a standard paper form, such as for an insurance appraisal or a work order. The pen automatically creates a digital record that is transmitted to a complementary Bluetooth wireless technology enabled handheld communication device, such as a smart mobile phone, PDA or Blackberry. That data can be stored and processed on the handheld device or immediately sent into an organization’s central database for processing. For the mobile worker, it’s an automated process that starts with filling out a familiar form and ends with a confirmation on his or her wireless handheld communication device that the information has been sent and received.

Sounds interesting, although I’m not quite clear about how this differs from the Nokia SU-1B pen, which originates from the same Anoto source. And why aim only at business users with this?

Blind Dating By Bluetooth Goes Live

Further to my column on bluesnarfing, a Marseilles company called Kangourouge has launched a service which, as far as I can work out, uses the same sort of Bluetooth vulnerability catalogued by AL Digital and others, namely Bluejacking.

It’s called ProxiDating (interestingly, Google doesn’t like the word and suggests ‘peroxidation’ instead, which is presumably the excuse one offers if the first date doesn’t work out, as in ‘Sorry I can’t go out with you tonight I’m in a Domestic Hair Peroxidation Situation’.) Anyway, the blurb says:

Using bluetooth technology, ProxiDating allows you to meet people with common interests in pubs, restaurants, shops, clubs, discos, sports arenas, in fact, almost anywhere !

ProxiDating is a totally new way for single people to meet up instantly. All you need to do is install ProxiDating on your mobile phone, create your profile, enable bluetooth and wait for your dream date to appear. Whenever you come within about 15m of a person with a matching profile your phone will alert you !

Only people with matching profiles will be linked via their phones. ProxiDating automatically sends the text and image that you have defined to your potential date. In the same way, you will receive text and image from the matched partners phone… then its up to you…

Imagine, you are crossing the street when the girl/boy of your dreams passes before you, your phone buzzes and their face appears on your phone’s screen…

The website doesn’t offer much, so far, and most of the few pages there are, are empty.

Now I know people have been talking about this kind of service for a while, but I believe this might be the first to go live. Something called Serendipity was mentioned a few weeks back as a MIT Media Lab project but I haven’t seen anything hit the streets yet. (I’m ready to stand corrected on this, although I gave the MIT website a look.)

As pointed out elsewhere, this kind of system is not going to be popular with the service providers, not because it’s insecure, but because it’s not likely to make them any money. The software is network independent, since the interaction requires only the users to input their data and ‘find’ each other using Bluetooth. No network, no pinging back to the network to update or match profiles, no large amounts of money.

Which explains why the software costs $5. It’s a commercial version of the Brits’ own toothing fad, I guess.