Shortly after President Rotting Pumpkin was sworn in, and all the protests were happening, I had an idea for a useful 'business': rental cellphones, pre-configured with your important contacts, to take with you to a protest so you could stay in touch but not risk your actual phone and the various invasive searches it can be subjected to. You'd be able to rent a group of phones, assign identifiers to each, and they'd come with each other in their phone books, plus whatever "extra" numbers you want (let people enter their own; provide a selection of useful contacts in various cities, etc). It'd offer dumb phones and basic camera phones, but not expensive smartphones.

I even registered a domain for it.

Two big issues stand in the way of actually doing it, however:

1) Money. I don't have the funds to buy the physical equipment. The cheapest I could find even dumb phones for was about $40 each, and that quickly gets outside of my budget.

2) Security. I have to have some way of either ensuring I get the hardware back OR my costs are covered. Even if I offered a "pay nothing if you're arrested" deal, I still need either to be able to definitively identify the person renting the phones, so I can send them to collections if they steal the merch, or I need to charge a large enough deposit up front to cover replacements. I'd like to be able to take anonymous payment, and have absolutely no idea who the people are, so that means requiring people to basically buy the phones up front. When you ship them back, you get the deposit back and just end up paying enough to cover the cost (programmable SIMs make this pretty easy to manage, shipping would likely be the biggest actual cost once the hardware was in-hand). But that just makes it even less likely that the people the service is most useful for are able to use it. I assume there's no way in hell any company would insure the hardware against loss, given the nature of the business, so that option's almost certainly out.

So, yeah. Never happened. I've still got the domain, tho. Maybe some day.