US military hires IBM to work on radios and phones that self-destruct remotely
The movie scenes with self-destructible phones are already on their way to becoming a reality. In a somewhat bizarre turn of events, the US military's research department, DARPA, signed a $3.4 million contract with IBM on Jan 31. It is aimed towards development of "materials, components, and manufacturing capabilities" for "vanishing programmable resources" such as sensors, radios, and phones used by troops.
In plain English, “VPR” stands for equipment that can be discarded by any means, including programmed or remotely-triggered self-destruction. As part of the deal, IBM is working on a glass-substrate material, which, coupled with remote triggers placed inside one (or multiple) areas of the
device, will make it disintegrate with a mini-boom. Like Snapchat for phones.
According to Dan Olds, an analyst with Gabriel Consulting, the option of self-destructing is important for the safety of sensitive data held on digital devices. Phones and computers left on the battlefield can end up in enemy hands and be probed for many kinds of risky information, causing all kinds of expected and unexpected harm.
With mobile devices becoming increasingly "paranoid", going as far as to utilize fingerprint and, possibly, iris scanners, who knows if next year's flagships won't ship with a self-destruct command? Better yet, a self-destruct API which app developers (and malware) can take advantage of. Okay, we ought to calm our imaginations down, because IBM's smartphone-obliteration technology probably won't make it to the consumer market. But we wonder whether any of you hold so much sensitive data on your phones, that you'd be willing to destroy them remotely if they ended up forgotten or stolen?
via Computer World
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