The US military is preparing to arm troops with the latest in mobile technology, developing a mobile device based on the Android OS.
While iPhones are unquestionably the popular choice for preening media types hanging out in Soho, it seems that the Google system is the weapon of choice for military folk for hunting down insurgents in Fallujah.
A prototype device called the Joint Battle Command-Platform being developed by MITRE is already undergoing tests with Android used to run the software as part of a bid to reduce the amount of weighty equipment being lugged around by troops.
There are also already a variety of uses for the smartphone such as apps for keeping track of friendly forces, no doubt also handy for the US’s cannon fodder allies, and ‘critical messaging’ which can exchange important data such as medevac requests.
Why would the army choose to give our soldiers the most unsecured mobile platform in the world? Especially on the heels of the BotNet disaster a month or so ago, I’m very concerned about the potential for critical military information to be compromised by rogue applications installed by unwary users at a whim.
Maybe there will be some kind of private/enterprise security suite developed for Andorid, but there’s no fixing the fact that the platform is fundamentally far more vulnerable than something like BlackBerry’s enterprise-level security features.
Please, let’s just not cross the bridge into allowing our military to pilot drones via handheld mobile devices. It’s a logical extension of bringing as much safety to our personnel as possible, but I find the gamification of war a very troubling possibility. Adding unsecured, powerful communications devices into the mix just seems like a truly terrible idea.
What happens when the network gets hacked, and clever enemies figure out how to ‘spoof’ enemy contact signals? It seems like a very small step to make these phones our own Achilles heel.