The Quiet Threat

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The Quiet Threat

Ronald L. Mendell

Charles C Thomas Publisher

ISBN: 0-398-07389-9 208 pages $49.95 1-800-258-8980

The protection of information is one of the three areas in which The LUBRINCO Group specializes, and the one that most confuses potential clients who should be interested in our services. While losses from economic espionage and competitive intelligence are a serious problem, and one that by some estimates costs American companies about three hundred billion dollars a year, companies often don’t believe it can happen to them. This is particularly true if they are in some benign field far from the world of defense contracts, don’t understand the issues involved, don’t think about protecting information outside of their direct control, and, most of all, consider security a necessary cost to be minimized. For these companies, the first sign of being the victim of economic espionage is when some competitor offers their product before they do, or underbids them on a job.

The Quiet Threat gives a good overview of the whole area of information protection, showing how everybody has to be involved in the protection of their own livelihoods. This includes security guards, managers, executives, and regular employees. If everyone is not conscious of the risks, and does not play some small part in the protection of information, it is fairly sure that a company faces a very good chance of being a victim.

There are a lot of reasons for this, and this book covers them well, including the fact that an economic spy is willing to spend a great deal of effort and cunning to get information, and unless companies are willing to put cunning to use on their own behalf, they are unlikely to be able to protect themselves.

We were sorry there was nothing dealing with the OPSEC process, but at this point in time LUBRINCO is one of the few non-government organizations working with OPSEC. That aside, this book is, on the whole, an excellent introduction to dealing in a practical manner with this fascinating area of corporate risk.

If the thought of giving away the store disturbs you, this will be an excellent book for you to read before calling us in.

The NEC 515 quad-band GSM terminal

For those who travel, the world of mobile phones is primarily GSM outside of the U.S., and increasingly GSM within the U.S. Back in the good old days we needed one GSM handset: 900 MHz for Europe and a few other places. Then, when Sprint launched GSM in the U.S., we needed two handsets: 900 MHz for travel and 1900 MHz for the U.S. Eventually those of us who travel got the Bosch WorldPhone, which was a 900/1900 dual-band handset.

This was good for a while, but eventually they started running out of 900 MHz spectrum, and launched 1800 MHz. Since there were no tri-band handsets, many of us used a 1900 MHz handset here in the U.S., and dual- band 900/1800 MHz handsets in Europe.

Eventually, tri-band handsets started to be introduced. However, not too long thereafter, 850 MHz GSM was implemented, with GSM 850 now being used in Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Dominica, Ecuador, Grenada, Montserrat, Panama, Paraguay, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia St Vincent & The Grenadines, and the United States. This essentially outdated all new tri-band handsets before they came out. Unfortunately, there were no quad-band handsets. This is changing, apparently because the manufacturers have little economic choice in the matter.

In the past handsets were expensive, often costing up to $500, and aimed largely at business users. They are now commodity items, generally costing $200 or less, and are aimed largely at a younger mass market. One of the outcomes of this is that where a manufacturer formerly had two handsets in a market, they may now have twenty. In practical terms this means that it is much more economical to make one radio that works on all bands, and can be used in a wide variety of terminals. Thus, we believe we will be seeing more and more quad-band handsets being made, and that they may eventually become the rule, rather than the exception.

Lest there be any misunderstanding of what follows, we believe that our readers are primarily interested in making phone calls, and secondarily in sending text messages. This means an appropriate radio, appropriate frequencies, and appropriate battery life are the primary things they look for in a handset. There appears to be little or no primary interest by our readers in games, FM radios, speakerphones, MP3 players, cameras, video recorders, Internet access, or fancy co-ordination of the phone with complex office schedules. In addition, we believe that as camera phones become more popular, there will be an increase in the number of business that prohibit camera phones on their premises.

It is within this context that we need to look at the NEC 515, the first of the quad-band handsets. The NEC 515, which will be carried in the U.S. by AT&T Wireless, is a small flip-phone, and seems to be following in the steps of successful Japanese handsets. The handset has a very readable high- definition color display, GPRS for Internet access, and polyphonic ring tones, which are much louder than monophonic ring tones.

As is the current trend in handsets, the NEC 515 has a relatively small capacity battery – about 4.5 hours talk time and 205 hours of standby, according to the literature, and less than that in real life. The phone is designed, however, so that the battery is a separate attachable unit, and there is no reason why a battery with much greater capacity couldn’t be added. In addition, we sadly note that there is no longer any handset being made that does not require you to carry an extra battery or two. There is no car kit available, but a vehicle power adapter and hands-free headset are available at It has a SAR of 1.2 (we like it to be 0.5 or less).

Is this handset for you? If you bounce around the world a whole lot and believe a quad-band handset to be a more convenient choice than carrying both a 900/1800 handset and an 850/1900 handset, this is the only game in town at the moment, and well worth trying.

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