Author Topic: Peppermint co-founders join QSAlpha to produce Quasar IV encrypted cipherphone  (Read 3263 times)

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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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My point about the NSA/SELINUX was that if we can't be sure SELINUX is secure .. bashing the security here ATM seems a bit OTT.
If it were a purely software security thing, and they weren't explaining well enough how it worked I'd be right there with you asking why .. but it can also be seen just "as a phone" and apparently a good one (as far as spec).

The augmented reality side fo things again I'm not that familiar with, but surely depth of vision and perspective with the 2 fairly high def cameras (at average eye width apart) would open up new possibilities here for smart devs ?
(surely more than the Google glass's single camera ?)

I know SELINUX is OSS so has many eyes on it, but I'm saying a certain amount of paranoia has set in that's currently tainting ANYTHING that touts itself as "secure" .. possibly rightly so.

Oddly, this phone was in development since WAY before the recent revelations, and would probably have been welcomed back then .. now (and unexpectedly) it seems to be harming them, right when I'd have expected it to be welcomed MORE .. people are strange creatures :)

I think what harmed Blackberry is simply the lack of devs (so software) and the fact it took them far too long to release a decent touchscreen device .. they simply missed the boat .. as you say, it's not because their OS or hardware is NOW lacking.

As this is Android, that doesn't really apply .. I would have THOUGHT the world would welcome a phone that'll run Android apps, but be as security concious as a Blackberry .. confusingly, the timing seems to be conspiring against it, which I quite frankly find ODD.  :o
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 06:38:27 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Mad Penguin

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Mmm, I think my problem with it is that I look at the overall package and think "that's clearly not going to fly". Then I assume they must know this and I wonder why they're doing it.


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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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If you're right, I suppose there could be a million reasons .. publicity, maybe attract some investors, etc. .. there have been a lot of kickstarter projects that haven't made their target yet still made it to production.

If you're saying there's something underhanded going on .. OK, I haven't known Shane and Kendall for very long, but I doubt if they'd knowingly be involved in something shady.

And considering they're involved in this off the back of Peppermint, it would have had to have been "long in planning" .. which just doesn't make sense ???

..
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 11:45:45 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Mad Penguin

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Ok, you've made me think it's just me, so I'm going to Google for backup;

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/09/worlds-most-secure-smartphone-looks-like-snake-oil-experts-say/

I love one of the quotes at the bottom of the article, sort of sums it up for me;

Quote
I'll buy in, what the hell. I'm expecting a rather large check from a Nigerian prince any day now, so it's not like I can't afford it.


Did Shane and Kendall Google this guy before getting involved ??
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Offline Toonman

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Life is for living.  RIP Keith Floyd.   ;)

Offline Mad Penguin

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Ok, done a little more research .. something is starting to generate the beginnings of an unwanted aroma ...

The main guy (Steve Chao) appears to be quoted on one or two articles as an entrepreneur who started a very successful augmented reality company called QderoPateo Communications Limited (qderopateo.com). The domain is registered in Tianjin (CN) and strangely the website seems not to be working.

Moving on, nice looking article;
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/print-edition/2013/07/12/qsalpha-mission-unhackable-phones.html?page=all

Quotes that QS Alpha has 96 employees and that orders in the works will produce $7m in revenue for them this year. Their website (domain name registered in Panama) is a single page that links to an email reference, the indigo project, and a youtube channel with three ninja videos.

Seriously? 96 staff, $7m in orders and a single page website?
To quote the "grunts" from the original Halo game .. "Run away! run away! run away!"   :o

« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 10:35:42 am by Mad Penguin »
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Offline Mad Penguin

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Quote
And now we have this.......


Sure, you did see my comment from 2/3's the way down page #1;

Quote
These guys on the other hand might be a different story;
http://www.cyanogenmod.org/
They just got £7m funding and their project runs on all manner of currently available devices,

??

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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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OK, so I'm a little confused here .. so the head honcho has successful businesses in China, Taiwan, and the US, and is a big player in the world of augmented reality, yet is somehow untrustworthy ?
(actually there's a certain train of thought that the head of ANYTHING is untrustworthy, or they wouldn't be the head .. but that's another matter ;) )

I do see that he's attempted (or possibly managed) to release a phone before:
http://www.slashgear.com/qderopateo-ouidoo-platform-blends-augmented-reality-china-mobile-and-a-us-carrier-2971987/
 .. but that's not a bad thing unless there's any evidence that anyone got ripped off ?

The "security expert" in the Arstechnica article raises some real and interesting questions about the security model and if it can be trusted (though no answers), and as usual sensationalist journalism uses BIG headlines to talk about something they haven't even seen yet ..

Since when do you NOT see "experts" in ANY field come out of the woodwork shouting when something encroaches on the territory they've claimed .. that was to be expected .. Ars just sensationalised it, but with NO (repeat ZERO) hard facts.

Do you really listen to the arstechnica commentors, who just sound like a bunch of "yeah, me too" men to me ;)

Sure, there are some questions surrounding this .. as there are with ANY new venture .. and sure, they may be being a bit secretive about how some things work (possibly worried about the competition) .. but so far I see ZERO evidence of wrong doing.

I dunno .. still find it hard to believe Shane and Kendall would be stupid enough to get dragged into something shady, and I'm fairly certain they wouldn't do it "knowingly" .. as for Steven Chao, dunno, if someone shows me some evidence of wrong doing rather than supposition based on the lack of websites (pretty normal for China manufacturers as were his earlier ventures) I'll change direction on this.

I would however (based on his earlier work with china-phone manufacturers) like them to NAME the manufacturer they have lined up, rather than just saying they have the "worlds largest", which could easily be one of the Chinese knock off manufacturers and "may" bring into question quality assurance .. not that Chinese manufacturers are "necessarily" ALL bad quality, they make good and bad stuff like the rest of us.

I gather the iPhone is made in China .. I don't quite know whether to use that as an example of "good" or "bad" though ;)

[EDIT]

Actualy the more I think about it, the more I'm coming to the conclusion that if the head honcho has had other ventures in the press multiple times before, yet there's NOT even a "suggestion" of wrong doing .. the MORE I'm inclined to trust them :)

I'll not allay your (or anyone else's) suspicions, nor am I attempting to do so (I haven't enough information myself to do that) .. people will have to make up their own mind .. I'd just hate to see fail because of a backlash from an entrenched security community that have NO evidence yet whether it works or not, and a bunch of supposition .. but by all means, everyone is free to pledge or not.

I'd just like to see it succeed so I can see where it goes...

My guess is it's not going to just disappear even if the fund raising fails .. it'll probably morph into something else, who knows maybe one of the other manufacturers "Google" for example will pick up (parts or all of) the tech .. maybe that's the point .. dunno .. all speculation at present.

It's impossible (currently) to comment on the "implementation" here, but the idea of secure comms is a good one (even if not totally revolutionary) .. I'm not willing to shoot it down before it's given a chance .. the message that's liable to send out is "we don't care about security".
I'd rather see this thing kick up such as fuss that security of comms becomes a hot topic .. even bad press is good.

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« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 01:28:03 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Toonman

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Sorry Mad Penguin. Missed that. :-[
Life is for living.  RIP Keith Floyd.   ;)

Offline Mad Penguin

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Mmm, not sure I'm making my point.

Can you see any evidence that he actually produced a product previously? There is another article here, also from 2010;
http://gigaom.com/2010/01/28/does-ar-need-a-dedicated-device/

Couple of quotes;
Quote
"They raised a Series A round — “several million” from CWG Wireless — before they had actually met. Under the QderoPateo name, they have designed a phone called the Ouidoo, partnered with a Southern Chinese manufacturer, and are working with China Mobile and an unnamed U.S. carrier. They hope to have demos in the spring launch this fall at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo."


Quote
"Clearly, QderoPateo’s plan is too ambitious to work — augmented reality stands a much better chance of becoming mainstream by being incorporated by powerful device makers — but I don’t fault them for trying to give us a glimpse of the future a little sooner than that."


http://www.mobileshop.com/blog/mobile-phone-blogs/ouidoo-a-phone-more-powerful-than-skynet-and-hal-combined/

This one is quite good;

http://windowsitpro.com/mobile/qderopateo-unveils-ouidoo-augmented-reality-phone

Quote
While I've pressed QderoPateo several times for specific specs on the device, details have been slow to emerge. The company claims that the device "is the most powerful and efficient mobile device in the world in terms of its processing capability and low energy consumption," but that doesn't mean a whole lot to me.


http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/25/qderopateo-ouidoo-to-pack-26-core-chip-looks-like-palm-pre-and/

etc etc ... there is a HUGE amount of press Apr/May/Jun 2010 about the spec, funding and Shanghai exhibition. Then nothing. Hence I would deduce that the phone didn't actually appear .. as far as I can see nobody reviewed it and nobody talked about actually trying one.

So yes, it does appear that he's attempted to release a phone before, indeed it appears that he raised a little over $3m for a phone with a spectacular specification that experts said was impossible and would never work. Guess what, he's now trying to raise another $3m for a phone with a spectacular specification that experts are more than a little dubious about. One might ask where the last $3m went given that my impression is that the money is to pay for a production run of an already working prototype. (strangely, in the previous instance they also had a working prototype .. !!)

Whereas I appreciate the Peppermint connection, surely at this point there's a Star Trek red alert buzzer busting a gut somewhere near your left ear?!

- this is what worries me about crowd funding. They don't get the money until / unless their target amount is raised .. but once they have the money, what sort of governance is applied? What's to stop them sticking the money in their pocket, letting the company go bust ans saying "oh damn! it didn't work after all!" ???
- not that I'm implying this is likely in this instance, or that this may have happened in the instance of the previous device, however personally I'd want a little more "good" press / evidence that it wasn't going to happen before I'd part with any money (!)
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Offline Mad Penguin

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Sorry Mad Penguin. Missed that.

Wayhay! MP ahead of the press again!   ;)


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Offline Mad Penguin

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So, would "Shane" be the same Shane who appears in their marketing video saying "we can absolutely guarantee the security of your personal data" -quite a bold claim! I might find it hard to use those words in any context, even if I'd written every line in the Android OS myself (!)

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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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I can't deny there's risk involved, but that's venture capitalism in a nutshell.

Nor am I trying to talk anyone into pledging .. as if that could happen anyway.

But there is so far ZERO evidence that it's a "fly by night" affair .. I'd be willing to bet people like Bill gates, etc. didn't succeed in their first  ventures, but just because a previous venture fails doesn't mean the whole plan is to run off with your money .. nor does it mean anyone was "ripped off".

The crowd funding aspect isn't for me either .. I'm not a risk taker .. but  I'm glad there are venture capitalist types out there who'll take the risk for me.

I repeat ..

I'd just like to see it succeed so I can see where it goes...

My guess is it's not going to just disappear even if the fund raising fails .. like his last ventures it'll probably morph into something else, who knows maybe one of the other manufacturers "Google" for example will pick up (parts or all of) the tech .. maybe that's the point .. dunno .. all speculation at present.

It's impossible (currently) to comment on the "implementation" here, but the idea of secure comms is a good one (even if not totally revolutionary) .. I'm not willing to shoot it down before it's given a chance .. the message that's liable to send out is "we don't care about security".
I'd rather see this thing kick up such as fuss that security of comms becomes a hot topic .. even bad press is good.



Yes I agree, that statement was probably not well thought through (and I certainly wouldn't have made it), particularly if it's being presented to the tech community .. and he should have known better than to deal in absolutes like that  :o

So far that's the only thing that's bothered me about this .. the "unhackable" pitch .. that's just plain daft .. but I've been willing to see it as advertising blurb that really means "we have confidence in it .. at least at present".

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« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 02:24:25 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Mad Penguin

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But there is so far ZERO evidence that it's a "fly by night" affair ..

(?!?!) They don't have a real website, the CEO has a history of raising money then apparently vanishing without delivering, they're making apparently impossible claims [again], experts are dissing their tech [again], they won't quote who will be building the phone and their design philosophy is "the way of the Ninja", this is ZERO?

Ok, so let's say it's completely legit .. can you find an address and/or phone # for their offices?
Apparently they have a large office (with 96 people) in Taiwan and an office in Asheville .. most companies would boast about this and put up pictures of the offices and people with maps of their locations (!)

Their website has no office location, no T's & C's, no disclaimer, no phone numbers .. let's put it this way, they wouldn't even pass the criteria to be put up on this site as a Linux supplier (!)
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Take it off then.

My intention was to draw attention to the Peppermint connection, not to promote or defend QSAlpha (yet somehow I found myself doing just that).. I have no ties to them other than "possibly" how it will affect or reflect on Peppermint.

People are free to make their own mind up about them.
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