Now you can play out your gangland fantasy from the safety of your own phone. Don’t go to the expense of buying a load of burners, there’s an app for that. Guy Daniels reports.
It was the Barksdale gang that did so much to popularise the use of ‘burners’ – cheap, pay as you go mobiles to you and me, that you would use for a week or so then throw away. For those who have never watched “The Wire”, you’ll have to take my word for it. But let’s just say Lester and McNulty had a heck of a job trying to set up wire taps after Avon moved away from using payphones, until Bubbles gave them a lead…. But we digress.
In the age of the app, it is perhaps not surprising that, for iPhone owners at least, “there’s an app for that”. Yes, you can now live out your Wire fantasy (corner cosplay?) and replicate the burner experience for yourself – without running the risk of an early morning call from 5-0 as they bust open the door to your crib in the projects.
The Burner app was developed by Ad Hoc Lab and let’s iPhone users create temporary, disposable phone numbers. It's described as "a privacy layer for your phone". Each burner number acts as a separate line that can be used for voice and SMS.
Outgoing calls will show your temporary number on the recipient’s caller ID display, while incoming calls will either redirect to your main mobile number or go direct to voicemail.
For $1.99 you get the ability to create one new number that will last for 20 minutes of talk, 20 text messages, or two weeks. Once you’re done with the number, you hit the ‘burn’ button and the number is history. Just buy more credits, create a new number and off you go again.
Bonkers, maybe, but also just a little bit creepy. According to the developers, the app is ideal for dating – so it’s no surprise that there’s already a tumblr site dedicated to anonymous burner flirting (use it at your own risk…). They also say it’s ideal for short term projects and Facebook marketing posts.
But what about cyber bullying? Or stalking? Or any one of the multitude of less than savoury uses? How will this sit with regulators? Expect to more on this as the app becomes more well known. It’s not fully anonymous of course, as the app knows your main phone number, but it doesn’t ask for other personal details or require an email sign-up. So the Barksdale gang probably wouldn’t be interested.
And so, as we bask in the summer heat wave (3 consecutive days of sun in London constitutes a heat wave), we officially launch our new editorial tag: bonkers. Expect more bonkers stories as the silly season continues. As Dizzee Rascal’s puts it in his Olympic song:
“Some people think I’m bonkers
But I just think I’m free
Man, I’m just livin’ my life
There’s nothin’ crazy about me”
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