Tethering The Kindle 2


This is not an article on how to use your Kindle’s internet connection with your computer. We’ll let [Jesse] explain why:

This is not a tutorial about how to use the Kindle 2’s Sprint connection from your computer. I don’t know that it’s possible to do so without making changes to the Linux installation on the Kindle. I do know that abusing the Kindle’s Sprint modem like that would upset Amazon a great deal.  Bear in mind also that Amazon know where you live. They know your Kindle’s serial number and thanks to the built in GPS, they know where you are right now.

What this is, however, is a nice tutorial on how to connect your Kindle to your computer so that it can use your computer’s internet connection. The instructions assume you are using a Mac, so you may have to adapt it if you aren’t. Basically you put the Kindle in Debug mode and tell it to use the USB tether for it’s network connection. This should allow not only a faster connection, but possibly a chance to see what exactly they are transferring back and forth.

34 thoughts on “Tethering The Kindle 2

  1. So, we disable the GPS (cut the power trace) and find out how to mask/change/remove the serial number from our device?

    Really, I think internet and phone is headed for a low monthly fee. Like utilities. Which would eliminate all this nonsense of having to ‘steal’ internet from sprint/amazon.

  2. “why the hell is there a gps in a device who’s only purpose is to let you read books?”

    I think you mean it’s only purpose is to let you read books *mobilely.* In which case GPS is a fairly natural addition, especially if, as I assume, it can display maps as well as plaintext.

    Why does the iphone have a GPS?

  3. @moogle
    it is part gimmick and part alarming big brother trend. selling point for upgrades, like I don’t know, maps and directional information in case you don’t have a phone with gps, or car with gps, or … you get the idea.

  4. @insipid melon:
    “Why does the iphone have a GPS?”

    Because the FCC’s “Enhanced 911” rule requires all cell phones to be able to report their position to within 100 meters.

  5. I agree with Moogle, what’s the point of having a GPS chip in the device???

    Moreover, if there’s already a sprint data connection in the Kindle, why bother hooking it up to the computer to share the computer’s inet connection?

  6. @moogle & @givemelove:

    The Kindle has GPS because the EVDO PCIe card they chose (Novotel E725) has it built in. I bet its easier to source a PCIe card with GPS than without it… If I were a manufacturer, I wouldn’t waste my time making an EVDO card without GPS.

    I don’t think the e911 rules apply to data-only devices…

    @givemelove: did you even read the summary?

    “This should allow not only a faster connection, but possibly a chance to see what exactly they are transferring back and forth.”

  7. @e911
    Enhanced 911 has nothing to do with GPS, it is done by triangulation of the three closest cell towers to your phone’s location.

    The iPhone has a GPS because, well, it can.

  8. @nick:
    “I don’t think the e911 rules apply to data-only devices…”

    Since I’m the only one that mentioned e911, I assume that comment was directed at me.

    To clarify, I didn’t say that the Kindle was conforming to e911. I was saying that the iPhone was conforming to e911, becuase it’s a cell phone.

  9. @shroomz:

    You’re right, e911 does not specifically require GPS. It only requires a device to report its location within a certain degree of accuracy, through whatever means necessary.

    Not all carriers can necessarily use triangulation at all times in all locations to give a sufficiently precise location. But they (nearly) always can with GPS, so they do.

  10. @nick

    Faster connection / mobility -> what do you choose? In that case, can’t you just read your book on your computer?

    To Understand data traffic you first have to understand how the system is structured; how data is stored; the possible encryption types etc.

    Otherwise, you’ll just see some SSL packets transiting from Amazon to the Kindle… Very useful!

  11. “They know your Kindle’s serial number and thanks to the built in GPS, they know where you are right now.”

    In fact…

    [knock knock]

    Who is it?

    “My name is Jeff Bezos. You stole my Sprint connection. Prepare to die.”


  12. This just goes to show why proprietary devices such as the kindle, iphone, g1 all NEED to be hacked. My cell phone can use it’s gps even if it’s missing the sim, and I can read most all formats as well.

  13. All other things aside, being able to hook something to your computer is always a good first step when trying to hack it. I agree that the GPS seems a little silly at first, but if the wireless chipset already supports it, then I guess it’s still a plus. Besides, do any of us really buy a wireless capable mobile device nowadays and *not* expect there to be a GPS in it? :P I’ll just be happy when this thing is cracked wide open and homebrew apps will be able to use the GPS for their own purposes. I’m not sure exactly what I’d do with it, but there’s plenty of fun to be had. :)

  14. In response to shroomz post about e911 not requiring GPS. In the case of CDMA-based mobile networks (like Sprints) your phone and data are spread across the entire spectrum of the network. It is not like a GSM-based network where you are assigned a time-slot on a the tower you are connected to on the network. So, yes…you need aGPS or a GPS capability on a CDMA-based network phone in order to comply with e911 req’s.

    In this case, I’m sure it was a card capability on the Kindle and Amazon probably uses the location data for marketing purposes.

  15. Triangulation is a thing of the past kiddies, Many places now you are only being picked up by ONE tower anyway, Not the minimum of three required to triangulate. And without a good signal to 4-5 towers there is no way to get a location within a hundred meters.

  16. I wonder about simply removing the EVDO card, Then putting it into another device (Say a laptop) the ESN or whatever is in the EVDO, so the account and connection should follow the card.

  17. blizzarddemon:

    IIRC, there *is* software that makes use of the GPS functionality… the E911 system.

    But… if you like…
    *tinfoil hat*
    The GPS functionality is required so’s The Feds can know exactly where you are *at* *all* *times*.
    */tinfoil hat*

  18. GPS chip in the device???

    There might not be a point but I can think of about 20 nice hacks off of the top of my head if an interface protocol could be engineered for it. Do not look a gift horse in the mouth, if you don’t want it turn it off, otherwise it’s a nice feature to later exploit.

  19. oh yeah and the gps in phones activates on 911 calls or is always on, depending on the setting, It then sends whatever info it can to the 911 operators computer, You can disable it by hacking your phone, but next time you wreck a car in the middle of nowhere, or get stuck in blizzard while hiking you might be glad you have it.

  20. Yeah, the GPS is so Homeland Security knows where you are if you order books or articles on a secret government ‘concern list’ (Terrorist literature, Liberalist literature, and anything that threatens the corporate interests)

    Take a Kindle to an International airport and buy a copy of the Koran and see what happens.

    Come to think of it, ARE you allowed to use a Kindle on a commercial airliner? Is the stuff inside ‘close enough’ to a cell phone from either an actual technical standpoint, or ‘close enough’ from the point of view of the folks who brought us the horror of the liquid water bottle bomb?

  21. I like the idea of my Kindle 2 havin’ a GPS ….

    1] Do you *really* think “The Government !!11OneEleven!!1” gives a flying fuck where you are ?

    2] If “they” really want to get you, don’t you think they could ? And what would you do about it ? *Nothing* ….

    3] My Kindle 2 having a GPS means some sort of mapping functionality’s in the making. I like !

  22. Cellphones and the Kindle don’t have GPS. They use TDOA. If they had GPS capability my Iphone would still work when I’m out in the back country of Alaska. GPS uses sattelites, it doesn’t care where you are. Iphone/Kindle needs cell phone towers to ping off of to determine it’s position.

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