So they actually got a huge bill because they didn't set a SIM lock (if that's possible), and didn't block voice calls and so on.
Presumably, they had a good contract for sending tiny packets of data, but not for roaming calls in Sudan.
You probably mean a pin code on the sim, but then you'd have to have a keyboard to enter the pin with and the device most likely did not come with such luxuries (nor a screen).
Perhaps their hardware and/or software doesn't support PIN unlocking the SIM, or they didn't consider the possibility. I'm sure they've learnt their lesson.
They should have used a limited IoT-oriented sim with data limits.
I kinda feel these folks were extraordinarily naive, but I’m coming from the perspective of a telco SME.
But probably the GPS receiver can't work with that.
That said, while the article itself may not be much more than an anecdote, it does seem to have inspired some interesting SIM security conversations here.
I did some price comparisons and found that unless I'm in different countries every month or I have a hard requirement on using the same number globally, it's much, much cheaper to just get a disposable local SIM card every time I travel.
My provider lists ~190 roaming countries, not counting satellite/planes/ships, on their roaming rates page: https://elisa.fi/puheliittymat/kaytto-ulkomailla/
Yes, generally you have to activate intl roaming ~a week before you travel, by talking to a customer support agent on the phone, and it's limited to specific regions at a time. It's also ridiculously expensive.
They also have country specific plans which are cheaper for some specific destinations. I’ve not tried those but I’ve gone through about 25GB of data over 2 years of the global plans in probably 10+ countries.
Obligatory referral link which gives you 100MB free data. Though worth searching sometimes travel sites have a promo code that’s good for 500MB or more free:
Does that include Canada? That is about HALF the advertised rates where I am. The real rates, after all the fees, are inevitably higher. Please send a few storks my way.
I used to get a Spotify subscription, unlimited calling and SMS, and 1.5 GB of data for $30 in New Zealand. I now currently get 12 GB and unlimited calling+SMS for $40 in Australia.
Also saves you trying to find one at the airport (strangely not always possible) and also gives you coverage when at transit airports (flying from Australia to varios destinations I almost always have a few hours transit somewhere in the middle)
If you’re in a country with easily accessible cheaper data for long enough (eg the UK has really cheap travel sims) you could always switch for that trip.
The device could be optimized to send the data only when connected to a low-cost network, or send just general data at very low frequency when on high-cost network, just to know the device is alive.
Also getting a cheap plan on data but expensive on calls should be also possible.
If you want cheap international telephony, there's a whole industry for travel SIMs, but they're often still pretty expensive to use in some countries.
The researchers' real mistake was using a contract SIM. Should have used a prepaid one.
But easier for Amazon or big car company to broker such an agreement. I think the question is how would Joe Public get something like this.
Well, since a year or two EU-wide free roaming is a thing.
On #1 comment below says this is done by radio RDS
On #2 however there has to be a way to update the maps in the car as roads (new roads, closures, lane changes, speed limits, etc.) change. My assumption was that car makers hardly expect people to manually update these maps. And likewise could probably not live with the liability of years old data in the maps. But looks like I may be incorrect here
BMW at least have actual SIM cards in the cars so original point stands.
There are lots of types that work in different ways however. E.g. For marine use we use VHF radios with digital functionality. There's a big red 'distress' button that will transmit your vessel information and position to the coastguard. That's all done via radio, no satellites. (You then back it up with a very analogue mayday call)
I really wish people had started to migrate away from Windows earlier, but now all the essential stuff is written for it and well-tested, so any choice is hard.
You'll also need the ffg paid software.
1. Du Meter
2. NetLimiter &/OR Glasswire
After installing it, right-click taskbar and activate the du-meter toolbar. It'll will show you upload/download speed at all times.
In other words, if you're online, doing absolutely nothing. Yet, your Internet's doing 1MB/s+, you get suspicious.
Once you see suspicious internet activity, you open any of these two. It'll allow you to block the offending program. Glasswire has a nice UI but all it does is block or unblock.
Blocking windows processes - esp svchost might cut off your internet so NetLimiter is important. Allows you to rate limit the process. Basically, windows update temporarily stops trying if download speed's 1KB/s or less.
Some spy blocking software for Windows 10 help you to block MS's ad-servers, tracking and windows update. However, this is a cat and mouse game - hence, the above tools are your best bet.
It won't install the newest update anyway so I'm probably safe.
You could try running a server version of Windows instead, but you might find yourself unsupported in other ways (some hardware drivers, some software deliberately refusing to run or accidentally doing so due to using a broken compatibility check) in that case. The license will also cost a chunk more currency.
Looking again now, there seems to be no such option. I can defer updates for a fixed number of days (with separate settings for quality updates and feature updates), which might be useful if the defer is cancelled by a manual "check and install updates" rather than having to reset the setting to get them to install at a convenient time rather than waiting for them to go in at Windows' will at the end of the defer period.
You can make another partition for your actual data if needed.
Returned to the upright position and locked for landing?
I can't find a link, but I have a vague recollection of a similar thing happening in the US.
Some cellular providers have data plans specifically for things like remote sensors that need to periodically reports small amounts of data, such as few hundred bytes an hour. They have low data caps and astronomical per kilobyte charges if you go over the cap.
Pretty harsh I reckon.
Never mind that i suspect that the data amount was not much more than a sms with a GPS position sent to a fixed number every X hours.
What you write is more of a PIN lock.
I have a bunch of M2M SIMs here and they are capable of making calls using a number I didn't even know existed. The SIMs are marketed as M2M and the provider claims voice calls are not possible despite me having proof of the opposite by calling them from it.
Thankfully their billing systems don't even mention voice anywhere, but surely if I rack up a big enough bill they'll manually send me the invoice for that.
If you think that's not likely, you've got a lot more faith in humanity than I do.
Besides, it's not like every bird has a tracker. So how many birds one should kill to get a chance to check if the sim is working?
Call premium numbers to rake in bills. There are tons of SIM cards all over the place, some easy to access physically, some - electronically.
If true, that would be pretty ironic (an ecologic charity making storks endangered by tracking them).