Tag Archives | Smartphones

Frequent Use of Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops Making Some People Sick

The new documentary film Mobilize warns of the health dangers from cell phone radiation. Now a new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that there are less-predictable health risks from using smartphones, tablets and laptops, including rashes from the frequently used metal, nickel. Report from CBS New York:

We use our electronic devices for all sorts of things – from talking and looking up information to playing games.

But as CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported Monday, the frequent use of such gadgets is actually making some people sick.

Smartphones, tablets and laptops are the devices that keep us connected. But as an article in the most recent issue of the journal Pediatrics pointed out, one 11-year-old boy’s persistent rash turned out to be due to the frequent use of his iPad.

It turned out the child was allergic to the nickel on the exterior of the device.

“A lot of high-tech gadgets — whether it’s phones or tablets or computers — are made of aluminum,” explained CNET senior editor Dan Ackerman.

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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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Woman In China Hospitalized After Ghost Radar App Causes Her To See Spirits Everywhere

spirits in the crowdThe dangers of using smartphone apps to tap into the spirit realm, via The Star Online from Malaysia:

A 23-year-old woman is in hospital after she allegedly saw spirits while trying out a so-called ghost-hunting application on her smartphone, Kwong Wah Yit Poh reported.

The woman, known only as Wu, from Hubei, China, claimed to have seen spirits around her when she first tried the app.

When she went to the cemetery with her parents during the Qing Ming festival, she tried the application again. This time it allegedly showed three spirits by her side, leading her to have sleepless nights for three days. She had to seek medical treatment in a local hospital.

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Documents Reveal NSA Targets “Leaky” Apps Such As Angry Birds To Spy On Smartphone Users

Are virally popular, addictive phone games nothing more than a fiendish plot to get us to install spyware on our devices?The latest from the Snowden document trove via the Guardian:

The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users’ private information across the internet.

The data ranges from phone model to personal details such as age, gender, current location (through geolocation), education level, sexual orientation – one app recorded even specific sexual preferences such as whether or not the user may be a swinger.

One mobile ad platform, Millennial Media, appeared to offer particularly rich information. Millennial Media’s has partnered with Rovio on a special edition of Angry Birds; with Farmville maker Zynga; with Call of Duty developer Activision, and many other major franchises.

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Polish Company Developing A Star Wars-Style Hologram Phone

Leia Display Systems is working on reducing the size of their impressive hologram-video machines to the point where you will make three-dimensional phone calls. Via the Mirror:
A Star Wars-style phone which allows users to see 3D hologram images of the person on the other end of the line has been pioneered by experts at Leia Display Systems, a Polish company named after the film’s heroine. To make a call, the person sits in front of a camera which has two lenses and a microphone. The two images formed by the lenses are streamed through to the person on the other end. A hologram machine then projects them onto a screen of water vapour. “At the moment, our holograms are made using machines that are more than six feet high but we are designing smaller versions. We hope to sell hologram telephone devices within the next five years,” Chief executive Marcin Panek said.
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The Police And Fingerprint-Based Security

fingerprintThe Chaos Computer Club on why authorities are in love with biometrically unlockable devices:

“It is plain stupid to use something that you can’t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token”, said Frank Rieger, spokesperson of the CCC. “The public should no longer be fooled by the biometrics industry with false security claims. Biometrics is fundamentally a technology designed for oppression and control, not for securing everyday device access.” Fingerprint biometrics in passports has been introduced in many countries despite the fact that no security gain can be shown.

iPhone users should avoid protecting sensitive data with their precious biometric fingerprint not only because it can be easily faked, as demonstrated by the CCC team. You can easily be forced to unlock your phone against your will when being arrested. Forcing you to give up your passcode is much harder under most jurisdictions than just casually swiping your phone over your handcuffed hands.

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Senator Raises Concern That The FBI Could Access iPhone Fingerprint Data

fingerThose who find Apple’s new fingerprint reader disturbing apparently include members of Congress. Ars Technica reports:

On Thursday, the Minnesota senator Al Franken, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, published a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“Passwords are secret and dynamic; fingerprints are public and permanent,” wrote Sen. Franken. “If someone hacks your password, you can change it—as many times as you want. You can’t change your fingerprints. And you leave them on everything you touch; they are definitely not a secret. What’s more, a password doesn’t uniquely identify its owner—a fingerprint does.”

He also has specific questions for Cupertino:

Is it possible to convert locally stored fingerprint data into a digital or visual format that can be used by third parties?

Is it possible to extract and obtain fingerprint data from an iPhone? If so, can this be done remotely, or with physical access to the device?…

Under American intelligence law, the FBI can seek an order requiring the production of “any tangible thing (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)” if they are deemed relevant to certain foreign intelligence investigations.

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NYPD Hits The Streets Telling People They Need To Download iOS 7

In what smacks of surreal law-enforcement-corporate synergy, a number of media outlets and many on Twitter have reported being stopped on the streets of New York by cops urging them to update their Apple smartphones’ operating systems. Via Digital Trends:

Cops in the city have been distributing fliers outside subway stations and Apple stores urging owners of the iPhone and iPad to upgrade to the recently released iOS 7 operating system, which comes with a new security feature called Activation Lock designed to make life a little more difficult for thieves.

The release of iOS 7 coincides with the launch of two new phones from Apple – the 5S and 5C.

One of the fliers begins “Attention Apple Users!!!!!” – yes, the message was deemed serious enough to warrant five exclamation marks – “As of Wednesday the new iOS 7 feature brings added security to your Apple devices.”

nypd

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Apple’s Fingerprint Authentication For The iPhone Is Here

fingerThe iPhone 5S, going on sale this month, unveils Apple’s plan to build a fingerprint database, err, to feature fingerprint security. Now when someone steals your phone, they will cut off your thumb as well. Via ZDNet:

Apple has unveiled its smartphone’s latest weapon: a fingerprint reader it’s calling Touch ID.

With its move, Apple could end up making the technology commonplace, as rivals might feel compelled to follow suit. It could be only a matter of time before passwords and passcodes are relegated to yesteryear.

In making the iPhone 5S one of the first mainstream smartphones in the Western market to include hardware security, Apple has begun to reinvent the notion of device and online identity.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said at the Tuesday event that the Touch ID fingerprint scanner will be used to access a user’s device quicker, as well as preventing unauthorized users from accessing a device’s data.

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