To be honest, I am still quite overwhelmed by what I learned in the first week of "Towers of Power". While I had been using mobile phone technology since the late 1990s, having a basic understanding of different cell phone systems (GSM vs CDMA), as well as some mobile phone identifiers (SIM cards, IMEI, etc), I had no idea how much more complex, or maybe simple it is.
I think it is very hard to wrap my head around the fact that in essence, a mobile phone network is just a system that transmits radio waves and allow devices to communicate with each other. Nor could I fully wrap around the fact that mobile phone networks have been all digital since 2G: the fact that calling a number nowadays is no different than making a call on skype is, for lack of a better word, mind-boggling.
And that was before we were told it is entirely possible to replicate the infrastructure of a cell phone network with software.
The uses of building one's own cell phone network is obvious: on a personal level, it could be great to build a small network for one's own use, especially in this day and age when privacy is such a concern. The other obvious uses are demonstrated by Benedetta: to build a small cell phone network for basic communications in communities that are in remote areas and would never receive commercial network coverage is immense. Of course, to be able to build a device cheaply for humanitarian / non-profit use is also something I would love to learn more about.
I love the idea of building tracking devices. While I understand there are a lot of products, I feel that a lot of the tracking that takes place are done to benefit companies so they can do better 'targeted advertising', there are still a lot of activities that are not being tracked properly. For example, I am still surprised by how poorly trash is tracked once it gets dumped into the ocean, or the fact that in reality, the only places that has a system to track something properly is if there are security or financial reasons to do so.
While it seems 'small scaled' to want to build a device for my own need, but I would love to build a device that could collect data that I find interesting. I would be curious to see if I can possibly build a small tracking device that would track my movement in subway /train systems: not necessarily in NYC but for systems that has cell phone coverage too. I have always wanted to find out exactly where I am going in the tunnels, how fast I am traveling...and I would very much like to just explore if it is even a possibility to do such a project. Otherwise, I have also always wanted to build a small scale jammer to stop people from using their cell phones when they shouldn't be (eg: at a movie theatre).