Keep mobile calls boring

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 June, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 June, 1993, 12:00am

EVER since the invention of the keyhole, the technology available to eavesdroppers and Peeping Toms has kept them one step ahead of their victims. Mobile telephones now attract snoopers with mobile scanners. Even the changeover to digital switching systems, which the Post Office claims will make the current generation of mobile scanners redundant, will only hold the prying industry back for a short time. How long can it be before someone markets a mobile digital decoder? The Law Reform Commission's imminent investigation of advancing technology and stiffer penalties for eavesdroppers is thus likely to be of limited value. It is notoriously hard to catch snoopers. And both the scanner and the analogue phone system it preys on are about to become obsolete.

The commission should admit that it is about to embark on an exercise in tail-chasing and rely instead on technology to beat the problems of technology.

For as long as mobile scanners are on sale - and if they were banned in Hongkong, they could always be brought in from countries where rules were laxer - the best safeguard is self-defence. Users of mobile phones should keep their conversations as boringas possible.