Tag Archives | Cell Phones

How To Make A Secret Phone Call

Mast

Photo: pug50 (CC)

Keeping your phone calls private is insanely difficult as Fast Company‘s DJ Pangburn finds out from Curtis Wallen:

…Amid pervasive sensors, drones, and data collection, making a private phone call can be a Herculean task.

Nevertheless, Wallen thinks it can be done—in short, by using a prepaid “burner” phone, posting its phone number publicly on Twitter as an encrypted message, and waiting for your partner to decrypt the message and call you at a later time.

His step-by-step instructions for making a clandestine phone call are as follows:

  1. Analyze your daily movements, paying special attention to anchor points (basis of operation like home or work) and dormant periods in schedules (8-12 p.m. or when cell phones aren’t changing locations);
  2. Leave your daily cell phone behind during dormant periods and purchase a prepaid no-contract cell phone (“burner phone”);
  3. After storing burner phone in a Faraday bag, activate it using a clean computer connected to a public Wi-Fi network;
  4. Encrypt the cell phone number using a onetime pad (OTP) system and rename an image file with the encrypted code.
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New York Times Tech Writer on Dangers of Mobile Phones

White AppleWatch with Screen.png

White AppleWatch with Screen by Justin14 (CC)

Nick Bilton has reached the rarefied level of tech writers who matter. He is one of the big dogs of Silicon Valley tech reporting, plying his trade for the New York Times. His latest post, The Health Concerns in Wearable Tech, has him concluding:

“After researching this column, talking to experts and poring over dozens of scientific papers, I have realized the dangers of cellphones when used for extended periods, and as a result I have stopped holding my phone next to my head and instead use a headset.”

That’s exactly the message Kevin Kunze has been pushing via his excellent documentary Mobilize. For anyone who wants more depth on the dangers of cell phone radiation, you should check out Kevin’s film.

Here’s how Bilton starts his article:

In 1946, a new advertising campaign appeared in magazines with a picture of a doctor in a lab coat holding a cigarette and the slogan, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” No, this wasn’t a spoof.

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Berkeley Drafts Cell Phone Health Warnings

Mobilize3It looks as though the message of Berkeley, California, filmmaker Kevin Kunze’s documentary Mobilize is getting through to lawmakers, starting in his hometown, as a bill to require retailers to provide health warnings on cell phones is introduced. Report from KALW San Francisco:

Do you hold your cell phone against your ear? Your user manual probably warns against it.

Bret Bocook knew how to use a cell phone. So he didn’t bother to look at the instruction manual until five years ago – after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“I consider myself a very informed person,” he said. “And I still was not aware of the fact that I was effectively smoking three or four packs of cigarettes a day when I was using my cell phone for 20 years, as far as cancer risk.”

Bocook spoke at a San Francisco news conference a year after he collapsed in the shower because a brain tumor the size of a baseball had stopped his heart.

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Fake Cell Phone Towers Could Be Intercepting Your Calls

August GSM Interceptor Map ESD via Popular Science

August GSM Interceptor Map ESD via Popular Science

According to Popular Science, there are at least 17 phony cell phone towers across the United States. Their purpose? It’s not yet clear, but once a connection happens “a variety of ‘over-the-air’ attacks become possible, from eavesdropping on calls and texts to pushing spyware to the device.”

via Popsci [Follow the link to read the entire article]:

Like many of the ultra-secure phones that have come to market in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks, the CryptoPhone 500, which is marketed in the U.S. by ESD America and built on top of an unassuming Samsung Galaxy SIII body, features high-powered encryption. Les Goldsmith, the CEO of ESD America, says the phone also runs a customized or “hardened” version of Android that removes 468 vulnerabilities that his engineering team team found in the stock installation of the OS.

His mobile security team also found that the version of the Android OS that comes standard on the Samsung Galaxy SIII leaks data to parts unknown 80-90 times every hour.  

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Your Filthy Smartphone Is Crawling With Your Personal Mix Of Staph, Strep, And Other Passengers

240px-Staphylococcus_aureus_01Your smartphone is filthy, and I don’t just mean what’s in your browser’s search history folder. A group of scientists have discovered that our cell phones carry our their owner’s individual devil’s brew of bacteria: A house blend of staph, strep, and other biological goodies.

To test our biological connection with phones, University of Oregon researchers sequenced microbes from the dominant-hand index fingers and thumbs of 17 subjects and from the touchscreens of their smartphones, during a recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation workshop in Princeton, New Jersey. The study found smartphones closely resembled the microbiome sampled from their owner’s finger, with 82 percent of the most common bacteria on participants’ fingers also found on their phones.

Interestingly, women were found to be more closely connected, microbiologically speaking, to their phones than were men. Although men and women were both statistically similar to their own phones, the relationship was stronger for women than for men.

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U.S. Supreme Court Updates Legal Understanding of Privacy Rights

The United States Supreme Court has banned warrantless cell phone searches, effectively updating the legal framework of privacy rights to keep up with 21st century technology. This report from the Washington Times:

No mobile phone

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police cannot go snooping through people’s cell phones without a warrant, in a unanimous decision that amounts to a major statement in favor of privacy rights.

Police agencies had argued that searching through the data on cell phones was no different than asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cell phone is more fundamental.

The ruling amounts to a 21st century update to legal understanding of privacy rights.

“The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

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Two dead, Three Injured In Attempt To Retrieve Cell Phone Dropped Into Open-Pit Toilet

CellphonesNot to make light of the loss of life here, but I sincerely doubt that the cell phone was even going to work after falling into an open-pit toilet. If it did, would want to put it next to their face, anyway? (You’ve got a collect call from dysentery. Will you accept the charges?)

A man and his mother died and three more were injured in a cesspool in Henan province after the man’s wife accidentally dropped her “expensive” cellphone into a toilet.

The woman had dropped the 2,000 yuan ($320) cellphone in a open-pit toilet, reported local newspaper Dahe Daily. Her husband jumped in to try to find the cellphone but was overcome by the fumes and lost consciousness. His mother went into the cesspit to try to help her son, but also fainted. In panic, the wife and her father-in-law followed immediately, but suffered similar fates, caused by the overpowering fumes.

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San Francisco Loses Legal Battle Over Warning Public About Cell Phone Radiation

cell phone radiation

Major phone companies appear to be winning the battle to suppress information about possible cancer risks from mobile phone usage, Reuters reports:

San Francisco city leaders, after losing a key round in court against the cell phone industry, have agreed to revoke an ordinance that would have been the first in the United States to require retailers to warn consumers about potentially dangerous radiation levels.

“This is just a terrible blow to public health,” Ellen Marks, an advocate for the measure, said outside the supervisors’ chambers. She said her husband suffers from a brain tumor on the same side of his head to which he most often held his mobile phone.

The 2011 ordinance mandated warnings that cellular phones emit potentially cancer-causing radiation. The statute, which a judge blocked before it took effect, also would have required retailers to post notices stating that World Health Organization cancer experts have deemed mobile phones “possibly carcinogenic.”

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Not-So-Smart Phone? Italian Court Rules Man’s Tumor Linked to Cell Phone Use

Picture: Nevit Dilmen (CC)

Via MedCityNews:

An Italian court has ruled that plaintiff Innocenzo Marcolini was correct in his claim that cell phone usage led to his brain tumor. However, others aren’t convinced:

The court’s decision flies in the face of much scientific opinion, which generally says there is not enough evidence to declare a link between mobile phone use and diseases such as cancer and some experts said the Italian ruling should not be used to draw wider conclusions about the subject.

“Great caution is needed before we jump to conclusions about mobile phones and brain tumors,” said Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at Britain’s Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Read more.

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