Tag Archives | Cell Phones

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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Judge Rules Against Man Suing Over Sickness From Wi-Fi And Cellphones

A blow for the millions of Americans who claim to be allergic to the electromagnetic waves given off by 21st century technology. Arthur Firstenberg should perhaps join the Wi-Fi refugees living in the mountains of West Virginia. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports:

Arthur Firstenberg lost what might have been his final round in court Tuesday, when state District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that no scientific study has yet proved that electromagnetic stimulus adversely impacts personal health.

In January 2010, Firstenberg, who has long argued that electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones, smartphones, wireless routers and other apparatus can cause illness, sued his neighbor, Raphaela Monribot, for $1 million over the use of such electronic equipment at Monribot’s west-side home.

Court documents quote Firstenberg as complaining that he suffered acute effects of electromagnetic stimulus (EMS) and that, “Whenever I returned home, even for a few minutes, I felt the same sickness in my chest and my health was set back for days.”

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Police Can Copy Your Cell Phone’s Contents In Under Two Minutes

Cellebrite UFEDMatt Brian writes on The Next Web:
It has emerged that Michigan State Police have been using a high-tech mobile forensics device that can extract information from over 3,000 models of mobile phone, potentially grabbing all media content from your iPhone in under two minutes. The CelleBrite UFED is a handheld device that Michigan officers have been using since August 2008 to copy information from mobile phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The device can circumvent password restrictions and extract existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags. In short, it can copy everything on your smartphone in a matter of minutes. Learning that the police had been using mobile forensic devices, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has issued freedom of information requests which demand that state officials open up the data collected, to better assess if penalised motorists warrant having their data copied...
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Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool

CellphoneReports Eric Lichtblau in the NY Times:

Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.

The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations.

With cellphones ubiquitous, the police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders. One police training manual describes cellphones as “the virtual biographer of our daily activities,” providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels …

Read More: NY Times

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Cell Phone Use in Pregnancy May Cause Behavioral Disorders in Offspring

Pregnant MouseVia ScienceDaily:

Exposure to radiation from cell phones during pregnancy affects the brain development of offspring, potentially leading to hyperactivity, Yale School of Medicine researchers have determined. The results, based on studies in mice, are published in the March 15 issue of Scientific Reports, a Nature publication.

“This is the first experimental evidence that fetal exposure to radiofrequency radiation from cellular telephones does in fact affect adult behavior,” said senior author Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, professor and chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

Taylor and co-authors exposed pregnant mice to radiation from a muted and silenced cell phone positioned above the cage and placed on an active phone call for the duration of the trial. A control group of mice was kept under the same conditions but with the phone deactivated. The team measured the brain electrical activity of adult mice that were exposed to radiation as fetuses, and conducted a battery of psychological and behavioral tests.

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Malls Track Shoppers’ Cell Phones on Black Friday

Black Friday Hot DealAnnayln Censky reports for CNN:
Attention holiday shoppers: your cell phone may be tracked this year. Starting on Black Friday and running through New Year's Day, two U.S. malls — Promenade Temecula in southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va. — will track guests' movements by monitoring the signals from their cell phones. While the data that's collected is anonymous, it can follow shoppers' paths from store to store. The goal is for stores to answer questions like: How many Nordstrom shoppers also stop at Starbucks? How long do most customers linger in Victoria's Secret? Are there unpopular spots in the mall that aren't being visited? While U.S. malls have long tracked how crowds move throughout their stores, this is the first time they've used cell phones.
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