Cell phones
Use, misuse, and electronic countermeasures.

Section 1:  Cell Phones are Everywhere

Out of every 1000 calls made on cell phones, I would estimate that at least 925 are completely unnecessary, and another 50 are less than urgent and could be easily postponed.  The typical cell phone user seems quite entertained by the sound of his or her own voice, which apparently is reason enough to place a call.  Sometimes I suspect these solipsistic people are just talking to a dial tone, just to make themselves look important.

You have probably noticed the number of narcissistic pinheads (unless you're one of them!) who can't make a trip to a grocery store, to a movie, to church, or anywhere else without hearing themselves talk on the phone.  Some of them can't even sit through a traffic light without placing a call.  In the worst case, there are those self-important egotists who do not and will not turn off their phones at a funeral or in church or at a meeting, even after being asked.  ("Can I call you back?  We're having a moment of silence!")

Beside the annoyance to the people around the cell phone user, the widespread use of cell phones has had another adverse effect:  Since almost everyone in town has a cell phone, pay phones are rapidly disappearing.

It is quite naïve to expect complete privacy when talking on the phone.  The chances are pretty good that your phone conversations are just between you and the person you called, but there are no guarantees.  When you use a cordless phone or a cell phone, you are talking on a two-way radio, and your expectations of privacy should be appropriately low.

My annoyance with cell phone users is mainly due to my failure to purchase one for myself.  I can get by without one -- why can't you?

Obviously I'm not the first person to be negatively impressed by the ubiquitous cell phone.  Many people have similar opinions...

Another nearby page covers the related topic of domestic surveillance.




People who can ignore texts or calls are likely to be more contented.  If you are constantly on your mobile phone, most onlookers might think you have lots of friends and a busy social life.  However, those attached to the phone are likely to be less happy than those who can resist a ring or a message alert, says a study.  Avid mobile phone users also suffer from higher anxiety while students see their class work suffer with lower marks than those who are able to switch off.

Surge in 'digital dementia'.  Doctors in South Korea are reporting a surge in "digital dementia" among young people who have become so reliant on electronic devices that they can no longer remember everyday details like their phone numbers.  South Korea is one of the most digitally connected nations in the world and the problem of internet addiction among both adults and children was recognised as far back as the late 1990s.

I refuse to use a mobile phone and I'm all the happier for it.  My technology obsessed friend Richard rang my landline this week to make final arrangements for his 49th birthday bash:  'Have you still not got a mobile phone yet?' he asked, his voice dripping with disbelief.  No, I explained patiently (once again), I've not got a mobile and it's not a matter of 'still' or 'yet'.  That isn't a Luddite's last stand against progress.  I simply find life and work generally far easier without carrying what my 90-something aunt rather quaintly calls a 'portable telephone'.

Texting: Can we pull the plug on our obsession?  Ninety percent of American adults own cell phones and, whether talking or texting, it seems that 90 percent of the time, they are using them.  "These days, the minute that people are alone, at a stop sign, at the checkout line in a supermarket, they panic, they reach for a phone," said MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle.  She says high-speed connections have left us more disconnected than ever.  "I studied families who are having breakfast together, and every member of the family is texting," said Turkle.

Our Cell Phones, Ourselves.  Americans spend, on average, about seven hours a month talking on their cell phones. ... How has the wireless telephone encouraged us to connect individually but disconnect socially, ceding, in the process, much that was civil and civilized about the use of public space?

Cell phones do not make good friends.  Despite Siri's best attempts at conversation with her iPhone owners, cell phones do not make good friends, nor do they aid in keeping them.  Actually, they do just the opposite, according to a recent Baylor University study.  Cell phones are "eroding our personal relationships," said the study's author, James Roberts, a marketing professor at Baylor University.  Yet many young people — even those who [are] well aware of the destructive qualities of constant cell phone use — can't stay away.

Mobile Phone Internet Use On Rise.  Over half of all cell phone owners use their device to surf the Internet, according to a new survey out by Pew Internet & American Life Project.  The survey found that 17 percent of cell phone owners do most of their online browsing through their phone, rather than a computer.

Cellular Degeneration:  The CTIA [Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association] estimates that there are more than 195 million wireless subscribers in the U.S. — that's more than 70 percent of Americans.  Research in Motion (RIM), the manufacturer of the BlackBerry, reports that more than 49,000 corporations worldwide use their services, supplying more than 3 million users with the addictive little device often referred to as "crackberry."

Do you take your cell phone in the bathroom?  Approximately 75% of people take their cell phones into the bathroom with them, according to a survey by the marketing agency 11Mark.  Out of 1,000 people polled, 87% of Android users admitted to talking, texting, or surfing the web while in the restroom, reports MobileBurn.com.

Is texting harming the art of interaction?  Anna Schiferl hadn't even rolled out of bed when she reached for her cellphone and typed a text to her mom one recent Saturday.  Mom was right downstairs in the kitchen.  The text?  Anna wanted cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

Crackberry Crunch:  Techno "addiction" is plainly becoming both a social phenomena and a growing social problem in our age.  As such, it can only be a matter of time before nanny-governments — it being none of their business — insist on manufacturers devising warnings or even spamming us to that effect.

When Two Phones Are Better.  As Mary Alice Stephenson bounces between her two smartphones, sending emails with one and tweeting photos with the other, it often leads her to wonder:  "Why can't the iPhone and the BlackBerry have a baby?" [...] A few months ago, she ditched her BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone but quickly became frustrated with the touch-screen keyboard and its autocorrect function.  So, despite the hassle, she now always carries both.

The Editor says...
I don't have either one, so I'm a little surprised that the auto-correct function can't be turned off.

How mobile phones are turning into phantom limbs:  'Phantom limb' syndrome is suffered by many amputees, who feel strange and often painful sensations coming from their missing limbs. ... Recent experiments have shown how we can identify other people's limbs and even inanimate objects as being part of our body.  For the most part this only happens in specialised situations, but there are tools that we use so often that we could consider them to be parts of ourselves — none more that mobile phones.

Smartphones are taking over people's lives.  They are often hailed as an essential component of modern life.  But smartphones are taking over some people's lives, according to a study that has identified repetitive and obsessive use of the devices.

Cellphones rival cigarettes as dangerous addictions.  I know how important it is to be connected; I can see why the lady in the Super Store needs to call her sister who is also in the same supermarket.  I eavesdropped, "Hi, I am getting grapes, how much did you pay yesterday at Remark?" ... The ability now to conduct business from anywhere can be both a blessing and a curse.  It means that you have a bit of freedom from being tied to the office and that's good, isn't it?  Not for everyone because it also means you are reachable even when you are out of the office, or on vacation.

For whom the phone rings:  There are those who use [cell phones] and, then, there are those of us who think that there is something awfully silly about people who can't go five minutes without having one glued to their ear.

25 years of cell phone service.  Today [10/13/2008] marks the 25th anniversary of the first commercial wireless call.  It happened Oct. 13, 1983, at Soldier Field, where Ameritech Mobile, now part of Verizon Wireless, made the call from a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X known as the "brick" phone.  The phone cost $3,995, was 13 inches long, and weighed 1.75 pounds.

More Customers Give Up the Cellphone Contract.  "Frugal is the new chic," said Joy Miller, 33, a piano teacher in Aubrey, Tex.  After almost a decade on contract plans with Verizon Wireless, Mrs. Miller and her husband decided this month to test-drive a few prepaid plans, including MetroPCS.  "In today's economy, it's not cool to pay $120 a month for a phone.  It's a waste of money."

Secretive North Korea opens up to cellphones.  Secretive North Korea is expected to register the 1 millionth cellphone user on its new 3G network by the end of the year, barely four years after people were thrown into prison camps, or possibly even executed, for owning one.


Verizon Wireless now has 68.7 million subscribers and generates $48.7 billion in annual revenue.  Total wireless subscribers totaled 262.7 million, or 84 percent of the U.S. population, as of June, according to the International Association for Wireless Telecommunications.  Nearly half, or 46 percent, of children ages 8 to 12 use cell phones, according to the Nielsen Co. *



Section 2:  The use of cell phones while driving

Driving to and from work in the big city is difficult enough, but it appears that I'm the only person on the freeway who isn't yapping on the phone.  Many of the people who needlessly chat on their telephones while driving on the freeway are the same self-centered jerks who throw cigarettes out of their cars and start grass fires -- absent-mindedly, of course.

The Car as CodpieceDriving is an active verb.  But observe the typical American driver.  He is soporific passivity personified.  He coasts along, lost in thought (or lost in chat).  Eyes half-closed, mind half lit, he rarely pays much attention to things outside his immediate orbit — unless it's something edible.  Forget about what's happening in the rearview.  He target fixates on the bumper of the car head.  He plods along in line with bovine serenity. [...] He's busy Bluetoothing it up, arguing with the wife, nattering to his kids.

Study documents dangers of texting, dialing while driving.  A sophisticated, real-world study confirms that dialing, texting or reaching for a cellphone while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-miss, especially for younger drivers.

DUI Checkpoints: Yea or Nay?  Motorists engage in secondary behavior during approximately half of their time on the road.  Hands-free mobile phone conversations are legal all around the country, but slow reaction times by a significant 26.5 percent, according to a study from the UK.  Eating slows reaction times by up to 44 percent.  Drivers who text slow their reaction times by 37.4 percent.  In contrast, drivers at the legal limit for alcohol in the UK, which is .08 BAC, only demonstrated a 12.5 percent increase in reaction time.  The National Highway Administration finds this disparity to be even greater, surmising that driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.

NY troopers in big SUVs peer in on texting drivers.  New York has given state police 32 tall, unmarked SUVs to better peer down at drivers' hands, part of one of the nation's most aggressive attacks on texting while driving that also includes steeper penalties and dozens of highway "Texting Zones," where motorists can pull over to use their devices.

Washington Has A Habit Of Trying To Fix What Isn't Broken.  The effort to ban cellphone use by drivers is based on a National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finding that says 3,000 were killed across the country last year in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving.  But distracted driving is more than cellphone use.  Distracted-driving fatalities are caused by activities that include talking to passengers, using electric razors, apply cosmetics, looking at a wreck in the next lane, trying to find an address and daydreaming.  Where are the campaigns to shut down any of these practices?

Texting driver gets wet in crash.  A young man took a quick swim Wednesday [5/2/2012] after accidentally driving into the Flathead River while he was texting on his cellphone.  According to Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Leib, the man drove his sport utility vehicle off River Road near Columbia Falls and straight into the river.

Mathieu Fortin Releases Last Chat With Girlfriend, Sent While She Was Driving.  A series of heartwrenching text messages is being used by the boyfriend of a car accident victim to warn people to pay attention when driving.  Mathieu Fortin has created a Facebook page to get the word out in memory of Emy Brochu, who died Jan. 18 when her car slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer truck as it merged with traffic near Victoriaville, Que.

'Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha'  Taylor Sauer, a teenager who was texting every 90 seconds during her four-hour commute from Utah State University to her parents' home on January 14, made a fatal mistake while behind the wheel.  Her prolific last text was 'Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha.'  Seconds later, she slammed into a tanker truck at 80 mph.

Is 2012 the year to hang up the phone?  The National Transportation Safety Board has called for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones by drivers.  This would include hands-free devices as well as hand-held phones.  The reasoning is basic:  Drivers distracted by phone calls are a danger; drivers who send or receive text messages while behind the wheel, or who play games or update social networks on their phones, are as potentially deadly as drunken drivers.

This is slightly off-topic, but I go to work in the pre-dawn hours, and I've noticed many, many people tossing red-hot cigarettes out of their vehicles' windows as they fly down the freeways.  One peculiar trend is that they seem to throw away their cigarettes as they approach highway intersections -- as if that's the moment they really need both hands.  One thing is certain:  No matter how dry the roadside grass gets, and no matter how many warnings are issued about "HIGH FIRE DANGER" on those roadside warning signs, the smokers still persist in casually discarding lit cigarettes whenever they please.

NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving.  A federal safety board called Tuesday for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving.  The recommendation is the most far-reaching yet by the National Transportation Safety Board, which in the past 10 years has increasingly sought to limit the use of portable electronic devices — recommending bans for novice drivers, school bus drivers and commercial truckers.

There's No Reason To Ban Cellphone Use While Driving.  A federal agency is calling for a nationwide ban on all cellphone use while driving.  Once again, Washington busybodies are exaggerating a problem because it happens to be a behavior they don't approve of.

NTSB Proposes Nationalized Cellphone, Texting Ban for Drivers.  Renewing a tune it has sung over the past few years, the federal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is once again proposing a nationwide ban on drivers texting and using cellphones.

Why the Proposed Car Cellphone Ban Is Wrong.  It has been said that we can't go a day without breaking the law.  This one is for those who haven't broken any of the millions of others yet.  The ruling class can always put your in jail for something.  You're only exempt if you are a member of the ruling class.

NTSB cell-use ban proposal an overreaction, and a waste of time.  The NTSB sounds as if they're just recommending the bans on activity not connected to this accident as a means of banning all "distractions" in vehicles.  Well, good luck with that.  Responsible driving is all about managing distractions -- other cars, road work, bad weather being significantly among them.  While they're at it, the NTSB might want to take a look at banning some other distractions to driving, too:
  •   Screaming children
  •   Back-seat drivers
  •   Car radios
  •   High-beam headlights
  •   Pedestrians
  •   Subwoofers
  •   Make-up
  •   Food
  •   Newspapers

The Nanny State Wants Your Cell Phones.  On December 13, the National Transportation Safety Board announced that they would be recommending a complete and total ban on the use of cell phones and text-messaging devices while driving.  Previously, the NTSB had recommended such bans only for novice drivers, school bus drivers, and some commercial truckers.  This is a remarkably heavy-handed response.  Every American is concerned about automobile safety, but the response to the problem should be commensurate.

Feds want ban on portable electronic devices in cars.  The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday [12/13/2011] recommended a nationwide ban on all portable electronic devices in cars except GPS units.  The transportation board is moving away from its previous piecemeal approach aimed at convincing states one-by-one to enact laws barring texting and other forms of cellphone use in cars.  More than 30 states have already banned either texting-while-driving or talking without hands-free devices, but the NTSB is now asking all 50, plus the District of Columbia, to ban everything other than devices "used for driving tasks," like a GPS.

No cellphones, no texting by drivers, US urges.  Texting, emailing or chatting on a cellphone while driving is simply too dangerous to be allowed, federal safety investigators declared Tuesday, urging all states to impose total bans except for emergencies.

BlackBerry Outage Linked to Massive Drop in Traffic Crashes.  According to data released last week by NYPD, distracted drivers were the leading cause of city traffic crashes in August.  Of 16,784 incidents, 1,877 were attributed to "driver inattention/distraction," while an additional 10 were linked specifically to phones or other electronic devices.  While NYPD reports make it impossible to decipher exactly how many city drivers are texting or talking before a crash — we'll go out on a limb and assume it was more than 10 — the recent BlackBerry service outage in Europe, Africa and the Middle East served to illustrate the extent of the problem in two cities.

NTSB drops 'unacceptable' BlackBerry for iPhone.  The National Transportation Safety Board is the latest federal agency to ditch its BlackBerry phones for Apple's iPhone — and it had a few scathing words about why it's making the switch.  Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices "have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate," the agency wrote in a procurement request issued last week.

63 percent under 30 admit driving while on phone.  The U.S. Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports magazine have released a poll that illustrates how widespread distracted driving is among young people and a plan to help fight it.

LaHood Weighs Urging Ban on All Driver Phone Use in Cars.  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he believes motorists are distracted by any use of mobile phones while driving, including hands-free calls, as his department begins research that may lead him to push for a ban.  LaHood, whose campaign against texting and making calls while driving has led to restrictions in 30 states, says his concerns extend to vehicle information and entertainment systems such as Ford Motor Co.'s Sync and General Motors Co.'s OnStar.

LaHood:  We're looking into technology to disable cell phones in vehicles.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said using a cell phone while driving is so dangerous that devices may soon be installed in cars to forcibly stop drivers — and potentially anyone else in the vehicle — from using them.  "There's a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we're looking at that," said LaHood on MSNBC.  LaHood said the cellphone scramblers were one way, and also stressed the importance of "personal responsibility."

The Editor says...
If cell phone owners exercised personal responsibility, there would be no need for government intervention.  Notice also that the federal government considers itself free to jam cell phones for any reason, but if individuals do so, it's a crime.

SecTrans Ray LaHood hates your cell phone.  Basically, what LaHood is advocating is that new cars be outfitted with jamming devices for cell phones, in order to keep people from using them while they're in the car.  Normally this would be the place where people write things like "This would be a good idea, in theory, but..." — except that, really, this isn't a good idea in theory, either.

The Editor says...
The problem with jamming cell phones in moving vehicles is that it prevents passengers from using their phones, too.  It is entirely possible that the jammers would affect other cell phones in the area as well.

Let the backpedaling begin!
US-DOT now says it's not interested in cell phone jamming technology in cars.  If education and awareness don't work, the Department of Transportation Secretary has some other interesting ideas on how to lower the number of distracted drivers careening down the pavement.  It seems people still haven't gotten the voicemail about the dangers of cell phone use in cars and if the trend continues, the Department of Transportation may have to do something about it — like forcibly disabling your Blackberry.

Ray LaHood: Obama's Power-Mad Cell Phone Czar.  America is in debt past its eyeballs.  Unemployment remains stuck near double digits.  Small and large businesses, unions and insurers are clamoring for Obamacare waivers in droves.  Jihadists are making a mockery of homeland security.  And border chaos reigns.  So, what's one of the Obama administration's top domestic policy agenda items this month?  Combating distracted drivers.

Transportation Secretary is out of control.  Ever since assuming his Transportation post early in 2009, [Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood has been hell-bent to use the power of that position as a launching pad from which to target cell phone use in vehicles.  And he is serious about it; efforts by his subordinates to downplay his words to the contrary notwithstanding.  Facts and the Constitution pose no speed bumps for this effort to restrict the liberty of those who drive America's roads in privately-owned vehicles.  A study published earlier this year by the Highway Loss Data Institute, for example, shows that cell phone bans in three states did not lead to fewer car accidents.

Why stop with driving distractions like cell phones?  Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood has decided that American adults can't be trusted to drive safely unless he tells us how.  That means no more talking on the cell phone while tooling down the road.  And soon it will also mean no bluetooth or other hands-free cell phone if the former Illinois RINO congressman gets his way, according to Bloomberg News.

Hazard:  Phone-Using Drivers Slow Traffic.  Drivers talking on cell phones are probably making your commute even longer, concludes a new study.  Motorists yakking away, even with hands-free devices, crawl about 2 mph slower on commuter-clogged roads than people not on the phone, and they just don't keep up with the flow of traffic, said study author David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah.

Celebrity plastic surgeon 'was texting' when his car went off a cliff.  Heidi Montag's plastic surgeon Dr Frank Ryan has been killed after apparently accidentally driving off a cliff while sending a text message.

Alabama truck driver in Kentucky crash that killed 11 was on cell phone, report says.  A state police report says the Alabama truck driver involved in a March crash that killed himself and 10 others in central Kentucky was talking on a cell phone.  Police say Kenneth Laymon of Jasper, Ala., crossed the median of Interstate 65 in central Kentucky on March 26 and slammed into a van carrying Mennonites traveling to a wedding in Iowa.

Blame longer commutes on cellphones.  Motorists yakking away, even with hands-free devices, crawl about 2 mph slower on commuter-clogged roads than people not on the phone, and they don't keep up with the flow of traffic, said study author David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah.  "The distracted driver tends to drive slower and have delayed reactions," said Strayer, ["]People kind of get stuck behind that person, and it makes everyone pay the price of that distracted driver."

Miami tops auto club list for rude drivers.  Stressed Miami drivers speed, tailgate and cut off other drivers so frequently that the city earned the title of worst road rage in a survey released Tuesday [5/16/2006].  AutoVantage, an automobile membership club offering travel services and roadside assistance, also listed Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles and Boston among the top five cities for rude driving.

Study:  Distraction Behind Most Car Crashes.  Those sleep-deprived, multitasking drivers — clutching cell phones, fiddling with their radios or applying lipstick — apparently are involved in an awful lot of crashes.  Distracted drivers were involved in nearly eight out of 10 collisions or near-crashes, says a study released Thursday [4/20/2006] by the government.

Cell Phone Regulation Federalizes Traffic Law:  Just when you thought there was nothing left for Congress to federalize, along comes a bill by Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-NY, and Sen. Jon Corzine, D-NJ, that would regulate how Americans use their cell phones while driving.  Apparently no human action is too small or parochial for the federal government to police.  So now Congress wants to play the role of local traffic cop, too.

California Governor Signs Bill Banning Hand-Held Cell Phones While Driving.  The measure will take effect July 1st, 2008 and will make it an infraction to use a hand-held cell phone while driving except to make a call to an emergency service provider.  A first offense will be punishable by a $20 fine.  Subsequent violations will carry $50 fines.  It's similar to laws in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington DC.

The Editor says...
It is unfortunate that so many cell phone users have made this kind of legislation necessary through their irresponsibility and narcissism.  But it is also worth noting that laws of this sort have been created first in the "blue" states, where most voters are advocates of big government.  Notice also that many cities and states have no problem with cell phone use in motor vehicles, as long as the phone is a hand-free device.  In those areas, are drivers required to use both hands to control their cars?  And what about the drivers who don't have two hands?

Law restricting cell use in cars takes effect today.  Beginning today [3/1/2008], police in New Jersey can write $100 tickets to motorists they catch using hand-held cell phones behind the wheel.  Cell phone use by drivers has been against the law in New Jersey since 2004, but it has been a secondary offense.  A police officer could only write a ticket if the driver had been pulled over for speeding or running a stop light or some other infraction.  The updated law makes talking or texting on a hand-held cell phone a primary offense.

The Editor says...
Oh, yes, and it makes another handy excuse to look for guns and drugs in the car during a traffic stop.  That's where the real money is anyway.  But what about the use of CB radio, FRS walkie-talkies and other two-way radios?  What about other activities that require the use of a hand, such as smoking, taking a sip of a beverage, or catching a sneeze with a Kleenex?  Is it illegal to apply make-up while driving to work?

New Jersey's revised cell phone law:  After reading it, it appears that talking not only on a hand held cell phone will earn you a ticket, but it now includes "electronic communication device" (read two way radio here), ... CB, FRS, etc.  Just wait till some trucker or other good buddy is stopped and receives a ticket under this newly revised law, then the screaming will start.

Full text of the New Jersey law.  [Includes this exception]  "For the purposes of this section, an 'electronic communication device' shall not include an amateur radio."

The Editor continues...
This is Big Brother's Doublespeak at its finest.  An amateur radio most certainly is an "electronic communication device."  That fact cannot be legislated away.  There is no difference between a CB radio, an FRS walkie-talkie and an amateur radio, when it comes to picking up the mike, squeezing the button, and talking to someone else.  In fact, many (if not most) VHF amateur radios have Touch-tone keypads on them, which makes them potentially much more of a distraction.

Cell phone bill upgraded to include all wireless communication devices.  To ensure that drivers are not text messaging, calling, playing games or checking sports scores while driving, [Texas] Senate Bill 154 prohibits using all forms of wireless communication devices, not just cell phones, while a vehicle is moving, unless the driver is using a hands-free device. … Although any distraction may result in a driver's becoming inattentive to the task at hand, wireless communication devices may require drivers to look away from the road for longer periods while dialing, text messaging or checking messages.

See?  Hands-free devices are no better!
Cell Phones Distract Drivers More than Passengers Do.  Cell phones distract car drivers more than talkative passengers, and hands-free devices don't make for safer driving, according to a recent Reuters report on a new study published by the Journal of Experimential Psychology: Applied.  Even worse, drivers who use mobile phones are as impaired as those who are legally drunk.  University of Utah researchers used a series of driving-simulation tests to determine that hands-free gadgets such as a Bluetooth headset are just as distracting as holding a phone to your ear.

California's Cell Phone Law Takes Effect.  Well, today's the day that political expediency and anti-science stupidity combine for the banning of handheld cell phones while driving in California. … Even the Luddite who spent years pushing through this legislation admits that the science and studies are against him, but he's convinced that having both hands on the wheel is safer.

Countries that ban cell phones while driving  (List 1).

Countries that ban cell phones while driving  (List 2).

Somewhat related:
'Paris Hilton' lapdog driving bill is vetoed.  Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed the so-called "Paris Hilton bill" that would have banned Californian motorists from driving with pets in their laps.  The Republican governor tossed out the measure to crack down on a practice the bill's author says is distracting and dangerous:  having a dog, cat or other animal in your lap when behind the wheel.

Woman charged with careless driving after crashing while eating bowl of cereal.  Drivers have heard it's dangerous to drive while using a cellphone.  But now police are warning about the hazards of grabbing breakfast behind the wheel.

Driving into Cellular Madness.  Driving requires all of your attention and you cannot hold a phone, talk to someone, and pay attention to the road at the same time effectively.  There have been many studies done that have proven driving to be impaired while talking on a cell phone.

Allstate report says girl teen drivers 'more distracted' than boys.  The insurer's new report on teenage drivers notes that girls are more likely to text, call, and change their music than boys are.

Tweet Less, Kiss More.  Beyond the obvious safety issues, why does anyone want, or need, to be talking constantly on the phone or watching movies (or texting) while driving? ... This is all part of what I think is one of the weirder aspects of our culture:  a heightened freneticism that seems to demand that we be doing, at a minimum, two or three things every single moment of every hour that we're awake.  Why is multitasking considered an admirable talent?

Texters, you'd be better off driving drunk.  Studies show that driving while texting is more dangerous than driving under the influence.

U.S. Withheld Data on Risks of Distracted Driving.  In 2003, researchers at a federal agency proposed a long-term study of 10,000 drivers to assess the safety risk posed by cellphone use behind the wheel.  They sought the study based on evidence that such multitasking was a serious and growing threat on America's roadways.  But such an ambitious study never happened.  And the researchers' agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, decided not to make public hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the use of phones by drivers — in part, officials say, because of concerns about angering Congress.

Texting-while-driving truck driver crashes into swimming pool.  The driver of a tow truck texting on one cell phone while talking on another Wednesday morning crashed into a car at Tonawanda Creek Road North near Willow Wood Drive, injuring a woman and her niece, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.  The flatbed tow truck then crashed through a fence and into a house before ending up in a swimming pool.


Section 2A:  Sending text messages while driving

The Editor says...
I refuse to use the word text as a verb.  The word texting was probably coined by a headline writer, but the practice of verbizing nouns is unfortunately commonplace these days.  All that aside...

The traffic in any big city is challenging enough without having to share the road with someone who isn't paying attention.  I was out on the freeway this afternoon and it was as if the other motorists had mistaken a NASCAR race for a driver's education class.  It's crazy.  Keep you eyes on the road — and by all means, keep your eyes on my brake lights, not your cell phone!

'Texting Zones' at Thruway rest stops and service areas are focus of safety campaign.  It's the pit stop — reimagined.  Rest stops and service areas along the Thruway are being renamed "Texting Zones" to encourage drivers to pull over safely before they start tapping away on their smartphones. [...] There will be 91 Texting Zones statewide, including four along Interstate 90 in Erie County and one in Genesee County at the Pembroke service area.

Ban On Texting While Driving Heads To Perry's Desk.  Sending or reading text messages while driving would be outlawed in Texas under a bill passed by legislature and headed for Gov. Rick Perry's desk.

Update:
Texas ban on driver texting vetoed.  Gov. Rick Perry vetoed legislation Friday [6/17/2011] that would have banned texting while driving because he views it as "a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults."  State law already prohibits drivers under age 18 from texting or using a cellphone while driving.

Florida's Texting-While-Driving Ban Is Law.  Gov. Rick Scott signed a statewide ban on texting while driving into law Tuesday, making Florida the 41st state to enact a texting-while-driving ban for all drivers.  The law makes it a secondary offense to read or send a text, email or instant message on a smartphone while driving.  That means police have to first stop drivers for another offense like an illegal turn.  Florida's seatbelt law also began as a secondary offense but is now a primary offense.

Just How Dangerous Is Talking and Driving?  The results of a July 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that texting while driving increased the probability of a crash by a factor of 20 times, but dialing a cell phone only increased the risk of accident by a factor of 2.8 times, while talking or listening to a cell phone conversation increased it 1.3 times.  In comparison, reaching for an object while driving increases the risk of an accident by 1.4 times.

Surveys show more drivers texting while at the wheel.  Texting while driving is on the rise despite a rush by states to ban the practice, according to two new surveys released Thursday [12/8/2011], including a phone poll where nearly two out

of 10 drivers acknowledge sending messages from behind the wheel, with the number much higher among younger drivers.

Stronger ban on texting while driving starts Saturday.  Maryland police will crack down on texting while driving and other negligent driving behaviors starting Saturday [9/30/2011], when a host of new Maryland transportation laws takes effect.  Drivers also will face tougher laws for drunken driving and stiffer penalties when involved in fatal traffic accidents.

Death By Texting: Michigan Man Gets Just 30 Days for Killing Grandmother.  A Lapeer, Mich., man who police say caused a fatal crash while texting and driving has been sentenced to just one month in jail and 12 months of probation.  It was the first case of its kind since the state passed a ban on texting while driving last August.

Chicago aldermen want texting disabled if teens are driving.  An influential group of aldermen today [5/4/2011] proposed an ordinance that would require all cell phones sold in Chicago to include a feature allowing parents to block their children from texting while driving.  The legislation would require that all new cell phones and "mobile communication devices" purchased in the city beginning next year include the capability to disable the texting function if the device is used in a vehicle traveling more than five miles per hour.

Study:  Texting while driving more dangerous for truckers.  Truckers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to crash or get into a near-wreck than an undistracted driver, while car drivers face the greatest danger when dialing their cell phones, a transportation study found.

Text a driver in New Jersey, and you could see your day in court.  [Scroll down]  On Tuesday [8/27/2013], three appeals court judges agreed with it — in principle.  They ruled that if the sender of text messages knows that the recipient is driving and texting at the same time, a court may hold the sender responsible for distraction and hold him or her liable for the accident.  "We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted," the court said.

Average teen sends 3,339 texts per month.  If you needed more proof that texting is on the rise, here's a stat for you:  the average teenager sends over 3,000 texts per month.  That's more than six texts per waking hour.

Verizon says: Don't Text & Drive.  89% of American adults think sending text messages or e-mails while driving is distracting, dangerous and should be outlawed.  39 states in the U.S. have laws that ban sending text messages while driving.

Texting while driving now said cause of crash that killed infant.  Kitsap County investigators believe texting and driving led to a crash that killed a 6-month-old boy.  Little Enzo Williams sat in the back seat of his family's car which was stopped at a red light near Bremerton.  And now, state troopers say the man accused of smashing his SUV into the back of the Williams' family car admits to texting on his cell phone right before the impact.

Texting driver slams into Boise patrol car.  Police say a texting driver slammed into the back of a parked Boise patrol car at about 60-65 miles per hour Saturday night on I-84 in Meridian.  The force of the crash sent the cruiser sliding about 200 feet down the highway.  It skidded to a stop just shy of another police car parked on the shoulder.

Sixteen States May Ban Texting While Driving.  Citing an alleged rise in automobile accidents, 16 states — including Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York — are considering legislation to ban text messaging, or "texting," while driving.  The data supporting the allegations stem mostly from a study conducted by Nationwide Insurance, which estimates the number of texting-related accidents is increasing.  An estimated 20 percent of U.S. drivers send text messages while behind the wheel, and 66 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds text when driving alone, according to the study.

Teen Girl Falls In Open Manhole While Texting.  It was an accident waiting to happen — an open sewer and a 15-year-old girl who was texting while she walked.  Alexa Longueira, a high school sophomore, was walking along Victory Boulevard near Travis Avenue on Staten Island Wednesday evening [7/8/2009] when she felt the earth move and was plunged into smelly darkness.

Distracted woman falls into shopping mall water fountain.  We've all be warned about the dangers of texting and driving but for one woman she found, to her peril, that texting and shopping is also not a good idea.  A shopping mall security surveillance video has shown how a woman became so distracted by her cell phone that she fell head first into a fountain, getting completely drenched.

Should We Ban Walking While Wired?  You've had the experience of walking along and negotiating around someone who is walking slowly, weaving, or bumping into other pedestrians for an obvious reason:  He or she is talking on a cell phone, listening to an iPod, or texting on a Blackberry.  And you've had the natural, inevitable response to this annoyance:  demanding a law to prevent it.

Distracted while strolling.  I'm too old to need a crossing guard to look after me at public intersections, and if I did, I wouldn't pick New York state senator Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) to do the job.  Kruger's the guy who wants to ban "distracted walking" by pedestrians on public roadways.  According to The New York Times, the bill he's introduced in Albany "would ban the use of mobile phones, iPods or other electronic devices while crossing streets."

Cell Phone Ban May Follow Massachusetts Trolley Crash.  The head of the Boston-area transit authority said Saturday he'll ban all train and bus operators from even carrying cell phones on board after a trolley driver told police he was texting his girlfriend before a collision Friday.  About 50 people were hurt in the underground crash in downtown Boston, though none of the injuries was life-threatening.

Update; slightly off topic:
Texting Trolley Driver Is Transgendered Male.  The Boston-area transit authority trolley driver who allegedly slammed into another train while text-messaging his girlfriend Friday was hired as a minority because of his transgendered "female-to-male" status and had three speeding tickets on his driving record in recent years, ABC News has learned.

NJ Drivers Face Fines For Texting On Cell Phones.  New Jersey is one of four states where talking on a hand-held phone while driving is against the law.  It's the first state where it is primary offense, meaning it is reason enough for police to pull a driver over.

Ontario drivers could face $500 fines for using cellphones.  Using a cellphone while driving could mean up to a $500 fine in Ontario under a proposed law that would see the province join other jurisdictions in banning the use of hand-held devices to talk, e-mail or send text messages while behind the wheel.

Steer clear of rude and dangerous cell phone use.  People who can't set their cell phones aside while driving can become more than discourteous, they can be dangerous.  People who answer, dial or talk on their cell phones while driving are often putting too much of their concentration on their phones rather than their mirrors, speed and pedestrians in crosswalks.  Another disturbing trend that has taken hold among many youths is texting while driving.

Sixteen States May Ban Banning Texting While Driving.  Citing an alleged rise in automobile accidents, 16 states — including Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York — are considering legislation to ban text messaging, or "texting," while driving.  The data supporting the allegations stem mostly from a study conducted by Nationwide Insurance, which estimates the number of texting-related accidents is increasing.  An estimated 20 percent of U.S. drivers send text messages while behind the wheel, and 66 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds text when driving alone, according to the study.

Utah Gets Tough With Texting Drivers.  In most states, if somebody is texting behind the wheel and causes a crash that injures or kills someone, the penalty can be as light as a fine.  Utah is much tougher.  After a crash here that killed two scientists — and prompted a dogged investigation by a police officer and local victim's advocate — Utah passed the nation's toughest law to crack down on texting behind the wheel.  Offenders now face up to 15 years in prison.

28 percent of accidents involve talking, texting on cellphones.  Twenty-eight percent of traffic accidents occur when people talk on cellphones or send text messages while driving, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Safety Council.  The vast majority of those crashes, 1.4 million annually, are caused by cellphone conversations, and 200,000 are blamed on text messaging, according to the report from the council, a nonprofit group recognized by congressional charter as a leader on safety.

Texting-driving lesson learned the hard way.  Tyler Strandberg of Rocky Mount has a hard time getting her mind off her BlackBerry when she drives.  She has wrecked three cars in the past three years.  Each time, she was distracted from her driving because she was typing text messages or talking on the phone.  "Sometimes I will zone out and forget I'm driving," said Tyler, 23.

The Editor says...
Three questions come to mind:  Why does she still have a license?  How much does she pay for insurance?  And is she just as easily distracted by other things in the car, like FM radio?

Banning texting while driving is a state matter.  Driving is dangerous.  That's easy to forget because we do it daily.  It's common and completely comfortable.  But comfort breeds distraction, even under ideal conditions.  Insert text messaging and distracted driving increases exponentially.

Texting A&M student ordered to pay $22 million.  A jury that decided a Texas A&M student was texting while driving and caused a deadly wreck ordered him to pay $22 million in damages.

U.S. Plans to Ban Texting by Truck and Bus Drivers.  The Transportation Department proposed on Wednesday to make permanent a ban on text-messaging while driving interstate commercial trucks and buses, following up on its call to reduce distractions that lead to crashes.

Texting and driving on rise in Southern California despite ban.  The number of people who text while driving in Southern California has roughly doubled since a state law went into effect banning the practice, according to an Auto Club study released today.  The percentage of people who text or use electronic devices such as smart phones while behind the wheel rose to 2.7 percent in the latest Automobile Club of Southern California survey of drivers, about double where it was when the state's ban went into effect in January 2009.


Section 2B:  Sending text messages while walking

Pennsylvania man struck, killed by train was texting, police say.  Police say a man killed by a commuter train in suburban Philadelphia was texting a friend when he was struck while walking on the tracks.

Teen couple struck by California train: Tragedy points to growing problem.  Pedestrian train accidents increased dramatically in 2013, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Through Aug. 31, there had been 352 pedestrian deaths compared with 281 during the same period in 2012, a 25 percent rise.  The newspaper reported that the fatality rate in the first eight months of 2013 was the highest in a decade. [...] Meanwhile, USA Today has reported on the growing phenomenon of "distracted walking," with pedestrians losing a sense of their surroundings as they text and chat on mobile phones.

Texting makes you walk like you're drunk.  If you're texting while you're walking, you might as well be drunk.  At the very least, texting while traipsing down the street makes you walk funny, according to a new study by researchers in Australia.  "Our study showed that people deviated from a straight line when texting while walking," Siobhan Schabrun, who led the University of Queensland study, told FoxNews.com.  Schabrun is a NHMRC Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Western Sydney who studies chronic pain, rehabilitation and neuroplasticity — the brain's ability to adapt.

Texting while walking? Nevada assemblyman moves to ban it.  Harvey Munford has heard a lot of talk about the dangers of texting while driving.  Now the Nevada assemblyman wants to focus on what he considers an equally perilous scourge: texting while walking, especially across a busy street.  Munford (D-Las Vegas) on Thursday introduced Assembly Bill 123, saying the new law could be applied not to just urban streets but to all state roads, even in residential neighborhoods.

Nevada Lawmaker Attempts Ban on Texting While Walking.  Last Thursday, Las Vegas Assemblyman Harvey Munford (D) received a committee hearing for Assembly Bill 123 to prohibit pedestrians from texting or reading cellular phones while crossing roads statewide, even in residential neighborhoods.  Those caught violating the proposed bill would receive a written warning for a first offense, followed by a $100 fine and a $250 fine for a third.


Section 3:  Cell Phone Countermeasures

As mentioned above, sometimes it appears that I'm the only person on the freeway who isn't talking on the phone while driving.  There have been many times when I've wanted to disconnect the driver ahead of me from his phone conversation so he could concentrate on driving.  It is fairly easy to spot the nearby drivers who are talking on the phone:  They drive like drunks -- they are slow, uncertain, wandering all over the road.  Wouldn't it be great to find an easy way to disconnect them from their idle conversations, at least long enough to squeeze by on the highway?

There is a way to block cell phone traffic, but actively jamming cell phone signals is illegal in the U.S.  In my opinion, be it ever so humble, cell phone jamming should be permitted, at least in middle schools, high schools, libraries, jails and prisons.  Jamming should also be permitted on private property such as restaurants, movie theaters, churches and museums.

I predict jamming never will be legalized because the FCC will argue that police and fire departments need to be able to communicate everywhere, all the time.  That's just a red herring.  Most police and fire department radios operate on VHF and lower-UHF bands that would not be affected by cell phone jamming.  On the other hand, I recall reading, years ago, that some public safety radio systems were nestled in amongst the cell phone frequencies when the FCC, beginning around 1994, required "police scanner" radios to have cellular phone frequencies (824 to 894 MHz) blocked.  If there are public safety radios interspersed with cell phone frequencies, then they would be affected by wideband interference.

Since so many people have been annoyed and inconvenienced by the ubiquitous abuse of cell phones, you would think that free market innovation would lead to simple solutions, and in many other countries, the solution is the portable cell phone jammer.  The jammer sends out a blanket of noise in the same frequency range as the cell phone, and by raising the noise floor, makes it impossible for the phone to stay connected.  The cell phone user doesn't know the cause of the interruption, in most cases, and just puts off the conversation until later.

In Israel, museums and restaurants use full-time cellular blocking, because, as stated already, there are those people who just won't cooperate and turn their phones off.  Unfortunately in the United States, the intentional interruption of a radio signal is prohibited (by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended).  Jamming is only permitted in countries where the overall benefit to society is more important than some individual's hurt feelings.

So, yes, the use of a cell phone jammer is illegal, yet there are those who are so irritated by cell phone addicts that they don't mind taking the risk of operating outside the law for a few seconds at a time in order to cut off someone else's conversation, especially when that conversation seems to go on and on, and seems to get louder and more frivolous with every passing minute.

You could theoretically build your own cell phone jammer.  Somewhat ironically, the people with the most technical expertise in the field of radio communication are the ones with the most to lose if they get caught with one of these gadgets (homemade or not).  I have four FCC licenses that would probably be at risk of revocation if the government could prove that I jammed a cell phone conversation -- no matter how well justified my actions were.

Cell phone jamming products are widely available in other countries.
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]

Official: Cellphone service shut down in Boston.  A law enforcement official, citing an intelligence briefing, said cellphone service had been shut down Monday [4/15/2013] in the Boston area to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives.

What is a Cell Phone Jammer?  A cell phone jammer is a device that emits signals in the same frequency range that cell phones use, effectively blocking their transmissions by creating strong interference.  Someone using a cell phone within the range of a jammer will lose signal, but have no way of knowing a jammer was the reason.  The phone will simply indicate poor reception strength.

Are Cell Phone Jammers Legal?  With the ubiquitous use of cell phones, a backlash has occurred.  While some people practice cell phone etiquette, many others noisily discuss their private, professional or mundane business in public areas, forcing everyone nearby to listen.  On trains, subways, buses, in the grocery market, shopping mall and café, people are aggravating fellow citizens with their non-stop chit-chat.

Man who admitted jamming cell phones: 'A lot of people are extremely loud'.  Frustrated with fellow bus riders incessantly talking on their cell phones, a Philadelphia man began jamming the cell reception to silence their conversations.  The NBC10 Investigators tracked down the cell phone zapper who targets talkers on a SEPTA bus route.  Not only does he admit doing it, he thinks it's a good thing.

Cell Phones — Here Come the Jammers.  One of the Times news stories that has generated the most buzz this week has been this one, reporting on the increasing use of cell phone jammers to cut off conversations of annoying people blabbing on the cell phones in public places.  The devices are illegal, since they interfere with protected radio frequencies, and we cannot endorse them — but we understand the frustrations of people who are buying them.

Large majority of theater-goers favor cell phone jamming.  New poll results published by UK's The Stage newspaper say that nearly three-quarters of all theater-goers in London favor the blocking of cell phone signal in theaters during live performances, with over 80 percent of the opinion that theater managers are not doing enough to quell rude cell phone usage during shows.

The Joy in Jamming:  The cellphone jammers express great joy initially at being able to silence chatterers.  They also generally seem to feel some guilt, particularly over time.

Word From on High:  Jam Cell Calls.  The four Roman Catholic Churches in this northern city began using the devices, from Tel Aviv-based Netline Communications Technologies, after an insurance salesman imported them as a personal favor for a priest.  "There are still many people who don't understand that being at Mass is sharing a moment with God," said the Rev. Juan Jose Martinez, a spokesman for archdiocese.  "Sadly, we had no other choice but to use these little gadgets." … "Those who bring cell phones to church are not committed to God," Escobedo said.  "It's very distracting to be praying and suddenly hear birds chirping or techno music."

Cell-phone jammers may soon be all over.  The physics of jamming a cell phone are actually quite simple.  Cell phones operate by sending signals along a range of the electromagnetic spectrum reserved for their use.  All a cell-phone jamming device needs to do is broadcast a signal on those same frequencies, and it will interfere with any devices trying to transmit in that range.  The net effect for a hapless cell-phone user?  The phone's screen will simply indicate that no signal is available.  Odds are most people won't even notice that their phones are being jammed.  They'll just assume that they're in a dead spot -- and feel annoyed.

Car key to block mobiles while driving.  A pair of US inventors are bringing to market a computerized car key that prevents people from chatting on mobile telephones or sending text messages while driving.  Key2SafeDriving adds to a trend of using technology to thwart speeding, drunken driving, and other risky behavior proven to ramp-up the odds of crashing.

They Be Jammin' in France.  Mobile-phone jamming in public venues has become legal in France, and a survey published last week indicates that a large majority of French citizens support the measure.

Cell phone jamming:  Next time some loudmouth on the bus starts yapping on his cell phone, it's nice to know you have a few options, aside from joining the conversation or resorting to violence.

Of course jamming is perfectly okay if Uncle Sam does it himself.
U.S. Deploys Orbital Communications Jammer.  "An interesting article at the Washington Times makes note of a recent satellite launch by the U.S.  It seems we have put a jammer in space that will allow us to disrupt enemy communication systems at will.  From the article:  'The U.S. military is bracing for future attacks in space, and the Air Force has deployed an electronic-warfare unit capable of jamming enemy satellites, the general in charge of space defenses says.  "You can't go to war and win without space."'"

The Editor quickly points out...
The same satellite could also be used to squelch an uprising in this country as well.

Portable Phone Jammer:  This $166 cell phone jammer is the size of a cell phone, has a 5-10 meter range, and blocks GSM 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz.

Personal Cell Phone Signal Blocker Device.  Creates enough interference to block all cell phone signals around you (GSM/CDMA/DCS/PHS/3G).

Really big cell phone jammers.  Totally illegal in the U.S.

Special message from Editor:
Please and let me know if you order one of these jammers, and the device makes it through Customs, and you don't automatically go to prison for possessing it.

Bring a cell phone jammer with you if you are going to carjack someone's GM vehicle.
OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown hits the brakes on jacked cars.  Although OnStar has offered Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance to its subscribers since 1996, the firm is getting set to add a snazzy new enhancement for 2009 vehicles.  The feature, dubbed Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, can use GPS to pinpoint a vehicle once it has been reported as stolen, and after OnStar confirms with local police that it has the vehicle within sight, it can then be slowed down remotely.

The Editor says...
"Slowed down remotely" means it can be controlled through the use of OnStar's built-in cell phone.  Therefore, this feature is useless if the well-equipped car thief has jammed the cell phone.

BART Defends Cell Phone Shutdown.  San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit is defending its order last August to shut down commuters' cell phone service.  BART's actions attracted a considerable amount of negative attenion.  Digital rights groups have spoken out against government agencies assuming the authority to shut down wireless coverage.  "BART is a government agency, and the First Amendment prevents the government from censoring communications.  Also, federal law — the Communications Act — outlaws both the government and carriers from interfering with wireless service," said Rebecca Jeschke, spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Officials block cellphone reception in San Francisco train stations.  A decision by San Francisco Bay Area transit officials to cut off cell phone service at some of its stations to thwart a planned protest drew angry response Saturday from one transit board member who said she was shocked that officials acted as "this type of censor."

The Editor says...
Wow!  This is a rare admission by the government that it occasionally jams cell phones.  (That is the only feasible way to "cut off cell phone service" in a specific location.)  Intentional jamming is probably much more commonplace than you might think.  I suspect that you would find it impossible to use your cell phone as the President's limousine passes by.  That is left to the reader as an exercise.

Weeks later:
Public Interest Groups Petition FCC Against BART Wireless Shutdown.  San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit agency closed down wireless service in some of its train stations on August 11 to limit the number of people participating in protests against a man shot and killed in July by San Francisco law enforcement official in a BART station.  The FCC has stated it will conduct an investigation of BART's actions.

Another two months later:
San Francisco to allow cell blackouts in 'extraordinary circumstances'.  A San Francisco transit agency adopted a policy Thursday to allow police to block cellphone service in "extraordinary circumstances."  Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) sparked a national controversy when it shut down access to cellular networks on Aug. 11 in four downtown subway stations to disrupt a planned protest over a police shooting.  That protest never materialized, but the cellphone disruption led to weeks of protests and several cyber attacks on BART's websites.

FCC mulls whether police should be able to black out cellphones.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a request on Friday [3/2/2012] for public comment on whether government agencies should be allowed to block access to cellphone networks. ... After consulting with FCC officials, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the San Francisco agency, issued a policy statement that it would only block cellphone service in "extraordinary circumstances," such as to prevent a bombing or violent protest.  The FCC asked for comments on the circumstances that would justify a cell blackout and whether the blackout would be effective in protecting public safety.  The agency also asked for comments on the risks involved in blocking wireless access, such as preventing people from being able to call 911.

Philadelphia man jams cellphones on public transportation .  Frustrated by noise pollution during his morning bus ride, a Philadelphia man decided to use a cellphone jammer to block other commuters' calls as he made his way to work during the past several weeks.  Cellphone jammers, which typically cost $1000, can block signals in a room the size of a movie theater, ABC News reported in August.  The devices are illegal in the United States.

More information about OnStar can be found here.


Cell phones in jails and prisons

Cell phones in a prison or jail can be a serious threat to jail security and can enable criminals to conduct their business as usual even while they are "up the river," whether permanently or not.

Countermeasures to Contraband Cell Phone Use in Prisons.  RF Sniffers, triangulation, jamming, and micro-cell sites that act as telephone firewalls.

Swiss authorities jam illegal phones in prisons.  Jamming equipment is being installed at three Swiss prisons for a trial period to stop inmates making phone calls from their cells using smuggled handsets.  Prison bosses say there is growing concern that prisoners are using mobile phones to commit crimes, intimidate witnesses and plan escapes.

Trying to Keep Cell Phones Out of Prison.  Authorities in India recently confiscated more than 600 cell phones in a prison in the state of Gujarat.  Not even high-security areas like Texas' death row are exempt.  Cell-phone access can mean chaos.  Brazilian officials say cell phones are used to organize and plan widespread riots that are endemic to their crowded prisons; Canadian prosecutors said a notorious drug kingpin continued business behind bars using his cell phone; and a man awaiting trial on a homicide charge in Maryland has been accused of arranging via cell phone the murder of a key witness in the case.

Prisons' new fight:  Cellphone smuggling.  State corrections officials are linking networks of corrupt prison employees to thousands of illicit cellphones being smuggled to inmates in the nation's largest prison systems, according to the officials and public records.  The workers, including guards, cooks and clerical workers, represent the most troubling source of the prohibited phones in an increasingly lucrative smuggling operation that also includes criminal gangs and prisoners' family members, state officials say.  "It's only getting worse," says Texas prisons Inspector General John Moriarty.

Here's a reason to put cell phone jammers in prisons:
Authorities:  Inmate hid cell phone in his rear.  State department of correction officials have charged an inmate with trying to sneak a cell phone into Central Prison by hiding it in his rectum, court records show.

California prisons fight inmate cellphone proliferation.  Contraband cellphones are becoming so prevalent in California prisons that guards can't keep them out of the hands of the most notorious and violent inmates:  Even Charles Manson, orchestrator of one of the most notorious killing rampages in U.S. history, was caught with an LG flip phone under his prison mattress.

Charles Manson caught with phone.  Cult killer Charles Manson has been caught with a smuggled cell phone for the second time.

Getting cellphones out of inmates' hands.  How in the world did Charles Manson get hold of a cellphone?  Apparently the same way thousands of other inmates have.  Cellphones, it turns out, are ubiquitous in California's correctional facilities.  Guards have confiscated 8,575 of them this year, according to the California Department of Corrections, up from 1,400 in 2007.  Manson is perhaps the best-known inmate to flout the rules, but the easy access to the outside world, unmonitored by officials, is a serious problem that extends well beyond one infamous criminal.

In Scotland...
Crooks Flood Prisons With Smuggled Mobile Phones.  A record number of criminals are making a mockery of the justice system by using mobile phones behind bars.  Last year, 748 handsets were discovered in Scotland's jails — a 32 percent rise on 2006.  The numbers have soared as mobiles get smaller and easier to smuggle into cells.  The statistics raise serious questions about security in our prisons.

Why Sacramento Can't Get Cellphones Out of Prison.  California prisons confiscated more than 10,000 cellphones last year.  This year, officials at Corcoran State Prison found a cellphone with a camera in possession of convicted serial killer Charles Manson.  It was the second phone found on Manson in two years.

Borrowed cellphone slams prison cell shut.  Dwayne Kennedy threw a man from a moving car in 1988, but that's not what's keeping him in prison today.  It's not the inmate he stabbed 17 years ago either; the state parole board forgave him that.  Instead, California prison officials are keeping Kennedy locked up for an extra five years — costing taxpayers roughly $250,000 — because guards caught him with a contraband cellphone he says he borrowed to tell his family he had just been granted parole and was coming home.


The Wave Bubble

Wave Bubble portable RF Jammer.

Wave Bubble:  the portable, undercover RF jammer.

Zone of Silence:  Limor Fried got the idea when a friend with whom she was eating dinner broke off their conversation to answer her cellphone.  Fried got mad.  Then she got even, in the way a graduate student at the MIT Media Laboratory, very well might.  She built a gadget.  She calls it the Wave Bubble because it creates a cellphone-free bubble of silence 4 meters in diameter.  It does so by jamming the phones' radio-frequency bands with a junk signal of a few milliwatts.  She's not the first to make a cellphone jammer.  They are for sale over the Internet as well as on the streets of New York and other big cities.  Restaurants, hospitals, and schools reportedly have been buying them.

Protecting Your Personal Space.  The FCC should take a clue from what is happening in other parts of the world.  For example, in Japan, jammers are legal in concert halls to shut down the wireless "noise."  Brazil and Spain use jammers in prisons to keep inmates from secret communications.  In India, they are used to silence cell phone users in the Parliament and France has authorized the use of them in movie theaters (that gets my vote, for sure).

Social Defense Mechanisms:  Tools for Reclaiming Our Personal Space.  In contemporary Western society, electronic devices are becoming so prevalent that many people find themselves surrounded by technologies they find frustrating or annoying.  The electronics industry has little incentive to address this complaint; I designed two counter-technologies to help people defend their personal space from unwanted electronic intrusion.


Jamming GPS (intentionally or otherwise) along with GSM phones

Some cell phone jammers available on the internet put out a signal that is so broad and sloppy that they indiscriminately jam every signal in the high UHF range, including GPS signals.  Some devices are sold specifically as GPS jammers.  These devices would be useful if you have a company car or rental car that has a GPS-based speed logger (similar to an airplane's "black box").  If you want to drive the car somewhere you're not supposed to go, like across state lines, or at a speed slightly faster than the posted limit, then you might want to disable the GPS receiver without tampering with the physical installation (disconnecting cables, removing fuses, etc.).

 Read this:   Jamming GPS within 10 feet of your own car is one thing, but imagine the consequences if your jammer disrupts air traffic.  Especially a jamming device that you have "modified" or "souped-up" for greater coverage.  That's a sure way to get in lots of hot water, because the feds don't take such matters lightly.

Jamming GPS over a wide area is something to be avoided.  I advise against it.  You might get away with creating a "wave bubble", but you are asking for trouble if you create a big cloud of unwelcome RF.  A much better way to defeat the GPS receiver in a built-in Big Brother device is to wrap aluminum foil around the antenna; or, as mentioned above, remove the power fuse.

Spoofing is an entirely different form of intentional interference.  A GPS spoofer generates a set of counterfeit GPS signals that make nearby receivers indicate a location other than where they really are.  Since GPS signals are complex, this requires expensive hardware, but because GPS signals are weak, it doesn't require much power.

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Any actions you take based on whatever you saw, or think you saw, on this site are entirely your own responsibility.

GPS jammers for sale:  [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Information only:  [A] [B] [C] [D]

Don't be this guy:

NJ Man Faces Fine For Disrupting Airport Satellite.  A New Jersey man faces tens of thousands of dollars in fines after regulators say he interfered with a satellite system at one of the nation's busiest airports while masking his whereabouts from his employer.

Homemade GPS jammers raise concerns Government officials and communications experts are assessing the public safety and security implications of a newly posted online article that provides directions for making cheap devices that can jam Global Positioning System (GPS) signals.

Another GPS / GSM jammer:  Wave Bubble.  Built by Limor and presented on ladyada.net, this device is a self-tuning portable RF jammer that can can jam many different frequency bands without the need for a spectrum analyzer.  Even though the earlier version ... has big antennas sticking out, the later version ... is more compact, small enough to fit inside a pack of cigarettes.

GPS and GSM jammer:  If the do-it-yourself version of the GPS jammer is above your skills you may be interested in this GPS and GSM jammer.  This GPS / GSM jammer plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car and gives your paronoid self a peace of mind.  It is manufactured by a company in Netherlands called DetectNu, however it is not showing in their online shop at this moment.

GPS Jammers and Spy-vs.-Spy:  Whether homemade or off-the-shelf, are GPS jammers a bona fide threat?  Mario Casabona, president of ERI, thinks so.  Writing in a paid "advertorial" that appeared in the December, 2002, issue of GPS World magazine, Casabona stated:  "With the schematics you get on the Internet, you can build a jammer that's a real concern, and the U.S. military is particularly interested."  Some experts are more sanguine, but still anxious.

Why would anyone want a GPS jammer?  Here's one reason.
Wisconsin court upholds GPS tracking by police.  Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody's movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday [5/7/2009].

Courts Divided on Police Use of GPS Tracking.  If a police officer puts a GPS tracking device on your car, should he or she have to get a warrant first?  It's a simple question, but one, so far, without a clear legal answer.  In an example of how unsettled the issue is, in just the past week, appeals courts in two different states delivered completely opposite rulings.

Supreme Court to Decide Constitutionality of Warrantless GPS Monitoring.  At the Obama administration's urging, the Supreme Court agreed Monday [6/27/2011] to review whether the government, without a court warrant, may affix GPS devices on suspects' vehicles to track their every move.  The Justice Department told the justices that "a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another," and demanded the justices undo a lower court decision that reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was tracked via GPS for a month without a court warrant.

Here is another reason.
Motor industry slams speed-curbing trial.  [Scroll down]  It is linked to a GPS navigation system and sounds a chime if the car exceeds the limit.  It can cut fuel supply to the engine, reducing speed, if the driver fails to slow down.

Officer admits to hiding GPS device in woman's car.  A former Costa Mesa police officer has admitted to hiding a Global Positioning System device in a woman's car without her knowledge, court records show.  Aaron Paul Parsons pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully using an electronic tracking device, according to Orange County Superior Court records.

'Stingray' Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash.  Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it's not being used to make a call.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.

Iraq and GPS: Some Frequently Asked Questions.  Even though military GPS receivers determine their position (and velocity and time) from the P(Y)-code, they generally have acquired the C/A-code first and then using information from that signal have zeroed in on the P-code.  Most of the military-grade GPS receivers now in existence work on this principle.

Automatic detection of GPS jamming:  Modern GPS receivers include the capability to detect GPS interference and can provide reports showing higher than normal signal levels in the GPS band and lower than normal signal/noise ratio.  This condition indicates the presence of a GPS threat.  The JLOC system allows networked GPS receivers to send reports to the JLOC Master Station of detected interference, acting as JLOC sensors.

GPS jamming incident in San Diego harbor in January 2007.  The U.S. Navy was conducting a scheduled communications jamming training exercise in the Port of San Diego.  Two Navy ships participated in the exercise for approximately two hours. … [Along with numerous other services, GPS was jammed] — unintentionally of course — and the jamming continued for approximately two hours.

Sat-nav systems under growing threat from 'jammers'.  Technology that depends on satellite-navigation signals is increasingly threatened by attack from widely available equipment, experts say.  While "jamming" sat-nav equipment with noise signals is on the rise, more sophisticated methods allow hackers even to program what receivers display.

The Government Can Use GPS to Track Your Moves.  Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go.  This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.

Oil change reignites debate over GPS trackers.  Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old computer salesman and community college student, took his car in for an oil change earlier this month and his mechanic spotted an odd wire hanging from the undercarriage.

Feds to halt GPS tracking of terror-linked felon.  The Department of Homeland Security has agreed to drop efforts to use GPS to track the whereabouts of a convicted felon with ties to Islamic terrorism who has been ordered deported but has nowhere to go.

Technological Advancements: A Path To Freedom Or a Path To Serfdom.  GPS is being used in many business now to track employees, in the scope of the fact that it is a private business and the end result is only related to said business, that may be permissible.  When a Government Body starts to track a private citizen we move into a whole new arena.

Somewhat related...
Sweetheart deal for billionaire could cut off GPS service.  In the past decade, millions have come to depend on the seeming magic of the global positioning system (GPS) to guide them to their destination.  The navigational gadgets in cars, cell phones and other hand-held devices can even be a lifesaver.  Now the system may be undermined by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision last month to allow a well-connected company to exploit a slice of the airwaves in a way that potentially blocks GPS signals.

4G network 'will create GPS dead zones across the US'.  What would you rather have — a superfast data connection on your cellphone, or a reliable GPS signal to pinpoint your location?  If a plan to install a network of base stations for the new 4G mobile wireless protocol goes ahead, it may mean you can have one but not the other.

Planned 4G Service Could Cause Widespead GPS Jamming.  A planned nationwide 4G broadband service threatens to cause "widespread, severe GPS jamming," according to a recent GPS industry study and reported by KNX Newsradio.

GPS chaos: How a $30 box can jam your life.  [Scroll down]  Some are worried that we are now leaning too heavily on a technology that can all too easily fail — and it doesn't need a freak navy training exercise to cause havoc.  Their biggest concern is a GPS jammer — a plastic device that can sit on car dashboards.  These can be bought on the internet, and tend to be used by say, truckers who don't want their bosses to know where they are.

Why We Don't Sell GPS Jammers:  A GPS jammer is a device that causes signal noise and disruption and tricks the GPS receiver into believing that satellites are not operating correctly.  GPS satellites are susceptible to tampering because they are widely available for public use, especially as the popularity of GPS devices grows and more people purchase them.  We depend on these satellites for extremely important communications, from reasons ranging from turn-by-turn directions to military procedures.  Because tampering with GPS satellites could have such serious national security implications, GPS jammers are illegal in the United States, yet there are still companies that sell them to the public.

GPS Jammers are Now More Dangerous than Ever.  GPS jammers, or anti-GPS devices as they are commonly sold, can be found online for as cheap as $30 and can be designed to be as small as a 12-volt car adapter or a cellphone; and can also be battery-powered for on-the-go jamming.  The devices are marketed to concerned parties who feel like they're the target of unwanted GPS tracking, but oftentimes their actual applications are much more nefarious.

Falcone's LightSquared Said to Disrupt 75% of GPS in Tests.  Philip Falcone's proposed LightSquared Inc. wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of global-positioning system receivers examined in a U.S. government test, according to a draft summary of results.  The results from testing conducted Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 show that "millions of fielded GPS units are not compatible" with the planned nationwide wholesale service, according to the draft seen by Bloomberg News.

Broadband satellite backed by Obama bundler a bust.  Phillip Falcone, a hedge fund manager and Obama campaign fund raiser, appears to have struck out on a $3 billion gamble to supply satellite broadband service to the bulk of the country.  Called Lightsquared Inc., the company held out the promise of fulfilling one of President Obama's pet agenda items — making broadband widely available to the general public.  The Defense Department has just conducted a test about how the satellite's signal will affect GPS devices and it doesn't look good for Obama's buddy.

Obama Crony-Run LightSquared's Network Now Shown to Disrupt Plane Safety Gear.  Late Friday afternoon [12/9/2011], Todd Shields at Bloomberg News broke a story about some guy, who happens to be an Obama and Democratic Party donor (but not disclosed), against whom the Securities and Exchange Commission is formally considering an enforcement action (also not disclosed ...), whose "wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of global-positioning system receivers examined in a U.S. government test."  Though it generated a fair amount of center-right blog discussion over the weekend, the establishment press largely ignored the stunning result.

Falcone's LightSquared Disrupts Plane Safety Gear in Testing.  Philip Falcone's LightSquared service disrupted airplane safety equipment in U.S. tests of the proposed wireless network, government officials said.  Signals from LightSquared equipment caused "interference with a flight safety system designed to warn pilots of approaching terrain," according a statement from the Defense and Transportation departments distributed today [12/14/2011] by e-mail.

FCC moves to kill LightSquared over GPS interference concerns.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved to reject LightSquared's planned wireless network on Tuesday [2/14/2012] after the president's top adviser on telecom issues said there is "no practical way" to prevent the network from disrupting GPS devices.  Philip Falcone and his investment firm Harbinger Capital invested billions of dollars in LightSquared's plan to build a nationwide high-speed cellphone network, which now appears dead.

LightSquared vows to fight FCC decision.  Wireless start-up LightSquared plans to fight the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) move to reject its proposed nationwide 4G network, a company official told The Hill.  Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared's vice president for regulatory affairs, said the company will file a formal comment with the FCC urging the agency not to follow through on its proposal to "indefinitely suspend" LightSquared's authority to operate cell towers.

Documents: LightSquared shaping up as the FCC's Solyndra.  Documents and copies of communications obtained by The Daily Caller indicate that the Federal Communications Commission propped up broadband company LightSquared with favorable regulatory decisions and other special treatment, while driving its competition out of business.  In August 2008, Wall Street hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, owned by longtime Republican political donor Philip Falcone, sought to buy a majority stake in the satellite company SkyTerra — the company that would later become LightSquared. ... Before Barack Obama became president, he was personally an investor in SkyTerra.

LightSquared files for bankruptcy.  LightSquared filed for bankruptcy on Monday [5/14/2012] after failing to negotiate a last-minute deal with its lenders to avoid default.

U.S. drone captured by hacking into GPS, says Iranian engineer.  An Iranian engineer has said that specialists in his country captured the U.S. spy drone by exploiting what they knew was its weakest point.  They hacked into its GPS system and re-configured its coordinates to make it land at a chosen location.  Digital Journal reports American officials have so far denied claims that the Iranians captured the drone through a cyber attack.  They said the drone malfunctioned and its controllers lost contact with it.

The Editor says...
Rather than "hacking into" the drone's systems, I suspect the Iranians set up a GPS impersonation system and made the drone's navigation computer calculate its position incorrectly.  That would be my guess.

Iran spy drone GPS hijack boasts: Rubbish, say experts.  Doubts that Iran managed to bring down an advanced US drone over the country last month using an advanced GPS spoofing attack have been raised by experts, who say that attacks of this type would be extremely tough to pull off.

On the other hand...
GPS Hijacking: Team of U.S. Faculty, Students Take Control of Drone.  Faculty and students at the University of Texas at Austin have proven that a sophisticated surveillance drone can be hacked mid-flight via its GPS.  The same could be done with virtually any type of drone, or even with a commercial airliner.  Drones, or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), are used both domestically — particularly along our southern border — and by the military and the CIA abroad, especially in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.  Last week, a small team of faculty and students was able to take control of a Department of Homeland Security drone by "spoofing" its GPS.

GPS jammer
Drone journalists beware.  The implications for disrupted GPS signal's to small drones might be a little more serious if the craft are being operated in built up areas.  GPS jamming equipment might become standard issue for local Police forces for use during demonstrations or to befuddle any location based action.

GPS jamming: a clear and present reality.  A secret network of 20 roadside listening stations across the UK has confirmed that criminals are attempting to jam GPS signals on a regular basis, a conference at the National Physical Laboratory, in London, will hear later today [2/22/2012].  Set up by the government's Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and run by Chronos Technology of the Forest of Dean, UK, the Sentinel network has sensed an average of ten jamming incidents per month since September 2011.

GPS chaos: How a $30 box can jam your life.  Signals from GPS satellites now help you to call your mother, power your home, and even land your plane — but a cheap plastic box can jam it all.

The Editor says...
This article is somewhat questionable:  Even this one-sentence excerpt is full of half-truths.  All those activities were commonplace long before GPS, so it's not as if GPS is necessary to deliver power to your home, for example.  The electricity for your home is under a far greater threat from the virtual prohibition of coal-fired power plants by the EPA.

GPS Tracking Devices.  Do you ever get that feeling that you're being followed?  Maybe you are.

North Korean GPS blocking sparks cyber war fears.  South Korea will lodge an official complaint with the UN over its reclusive neighbour after GPS-blocking by the North for over a week disrupted hundreds of flights, in what some officials are worried could be the first signs of a looming cyber war.  Over 500 aircraft flying to or from South Korea's main airports of Incheon and Gimpo reported GPS signal failures from 28 April to 6 May, with the government tracing the blocking signals to the North Korean border city of Kaesong, The Korea Herald reported.  Over 120 shipping vessels reportedly also had their signals jammed.

North Korean jamming of GPS shows system's weakness.  U.S. and South Korean military commanders will be on the lookout for North Korean efforts to jam GPS signals as they take part in exercises on the divided peninsula this week and next.  North Korea repeatedly has jammed GPS signals in South Korea, which has "very serious implications" because U.S. and South Korean military system rely on the navigation system, said Bruce Bennett, a North Korea scholar for the California think tank Rand Corp.  The jamming also underscores the vulnerability of a satellite-based tool on which civilian systems from car navigation to air traffic control rely upon.

"Pardon Me, Soldier, but Would You Happen to Have the Atomic Time?"  "If GPS is disrupted or jammed, a CSAC could provide precise time to the GPS receiver to enable rapid recovery or to protect receivers from GPS spoofing, a condition where false GPS signals are broadcast to fool GPS receivers with erroneous information.  The hope is that the Soldier wouldn't even know that his GPS is being jammed."

Information about using GPS as a hobby can be found here.


Section 4:  Shielding as opposed to jamming

Neither a cell phone nor any other VHF or UHF radio can get a signal through an RF shield, that is, a conductive screen that encloses the radio on all sides.  You can prove this to yourself with a simple experiment:  tune a small portable FM radio to a local station with a strong signal.  Then wrap the radio in aluminum foil, and you'll notice that the radio cannot pick up the signal.  The radio signal can't get inside the foil.  This effect was first described by Michael Faraday, who never even owned an FM radio.

A shielded enclosure called a "screen room" or Faraday cage is used wherever a radio dead zone is needed for interference-free testing.  The walls, ceiling and floor of a screen room contain copper screens that are connected together, and grounded as well.  A movie theater with similar construction would be a cell-phone free zone, but it would also be a dead zone for all other radios.  In the event of an emergency, police and fire radios would also be useless in such a room, unless someone opens a hole in one of the walls.

Since shielding is passive, it is legal, undetectable, and requires no power.  Its greatest disadvantage is that shielding is permanent -- it can't be turned off.

Sometimes entire buildings -- mostly at military bases or defense contractors -- are shielded for the purpose of either protecting the occupants (and their computers) from eavesdropping, or from the effects of electromagnetic pulse warfare (EMP).  These are generally known as "Tempest hardened" facilities.  Apparently it is not uncommon for these buildings to have 100 dB of isolation from the outside world, so it would be impossible to make a cellular phone call from within such a building.  For additional material on this topic, use your favorite search engine to investigate terms like EMP, HEMP, TEMPEST, and High Altitude Exoatmospheric Nuclear Survivability.

Scientists developing cell blocking paint.  Scientists are perfecting a paint that can switch between blocking and allowing cellular communication.  The clever coating uses nanotubes filled with copper to do its magic, but the specifics weren't announced.

A Transparent Sheet That Can Block Mobile Phone Signals:  A new transparent film for windows has been developed which is claimed can block or seriously degrade radio signal penetration.  While aimed at companies seeking to secure internal wireless communications, doubtless some organisations will investigate the possibility of using this to block mobile phone signals.

The Editor says...
You can't call in or out of a TEMPEST-hardened facility.

Somebody has invented switchable shielding!
Slapping on a coat of silence.  Company says its high-tech paint will block cell phone calls.

NaturalNano Develops Cellphone-Blocking Paint.  NaturalNano has used nanotechnology to develop a type of paint that stops cellphone signals.  It's done by blending particles of copper that are inserted into nanotubes, and then mixing and suspending these tiny particles into a can of paint.

Perhaps someday they'll sell Tyvek with an aluminum foil backing, for shielding purposes.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart


Section 5:  Cell phones and pagers in theaters

Retired cop guns down man for texting at Florida movie: sheriff.  The retired Tampa police captain accused of gunning down a man texting during a Mark Wahlberg war movie will be arraigned on a second-degree murder charge Tuesday [1/14/2014] in a Florida court.

Movie theaters to ask for jamming rights.  The movie theater business is currently in some trouble thanks to falling attendance quarter after quarter.  Some owners believe that instituting cell phone signal jamming will help bring back the crowds.

73% of Movie-Goers Agree, Cell Phone Chatter Most Annoying.  While choices for this summer's best on-screen fare may differ, film-goers nationwide agree on their least favorite in- theater, off-screen performance — somebody yakking on a cell phone.  In a recent survey of U.S. movie-goers, an overwhelming 73 percent indicated that talking on a cell phone in a theater topped the list of bad movie manners.

The Editor says...
The movie theaters are in trouble for more reasons than that.  No, I'm not talking about the prices of popcorn and Milk Duds.  The theaters charge very high tickets prices, and after you get inside the tiny, filthy, smelly theater, you have to watch commercials before the show starts.  The movie never starts at the advertised time — that's when the trailers and commercials start — yet nobody complains.  Nor does anyone complain when the film is all scratched up, out of focus on the edges of the screen, and wobbles from side to side.

Even the "best" movies have shallow and predictable plots, illustrated by unrealistic computer-generated graphics.  How many minutes of car chases, gunshots and explosions can you watch in a week and still retain your sanity?

Theater owners want cell phones blocked.  The National Association of Theater Owners wants the Federal Communications Commission to allow the blocking of cell phone signals in theaters.  John Fithian, the president of the trade organization, told the Los Angeles Times theater owners 'have to block rude behavior' as the industry tries to come up with ways to bring people back to the cinemas.

A month later, the same story showed up on Reuters:
Movie theaters may ask to jam cell phones.  Movie theater owners faced with falling attendance are considering asking federal authorities for permission to jam cell phone reception in an attempt to stop annoying conversations during films, the head of the industry's trade group said on Tuesday [3/14/2006].

Arrested for asking for quiet in cinema.  An Australian tourist has been charged with assault after telling a Texas woman to stop talking on her mobile phone at the movies.  Pauline Clayton was enjoying a matinee screening of Brokeback Mountain in a Texas cinema when her day suddenly turned ugly.  The former Sunshine Coast councillor said about halfway through the movie, a mobile phone started ringing nearby, a woman answered it and started talking.


Section 5A:  Cell phones aboard airliners

Delta Will Ban Calls On Planes Even If Feds Approve Them.  The airline's frequent fliers believe that calls in the cabin would disrupt the travel experience, CEO Richard Anderson told employees in a memo [12/18/2013].

FCC to consider reversing ban on cell calls on planes.  The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing its 22-year ban against in-flight cellphone calls, igniting concerns among frequent fliers about plane cabins becoming much noisier.  At its meeting Dec. 12, the FCC will consider changing its rules to allow passengers access to mobile wireless services.  The 1991 ban began because of concerns about jamming ground stations.

100 NY students kicked off flight after refusing to turn off cell phones.  A group of about 100 high school students traveling from New York to Atlanta were thrown off a flight, along with their chaperones, after the pilot and crew lost patience with some kids who wouldn't sit down and put away their cellphones.

FCC to Reconsider Ban on Cellphones in Airplanes.  The FCC has announced that it would consider changing its rules to "facilitate" cellphone use in aircraft.  This is welcome news.  The phone ban was imposed in the early 1990s due to concerns that the then-new wireless technology would interfere with vital onboard safety equipment.  However, in the years since, researchers have been able to come up with little or no evidence of a problem.  Rather than protect safety, some say, the prohibition has merely served to protect firms than offer seatback phones.

The Editor says...
In my opinion, be it ever so humble, this has nothing to do with safety -- it is about control.  If it is that easy for a cell phone to disrupt aircraft navigation or control systems, then why bother with box cutters, guns and shoe bombs?

As I understand it, the actual problem with cell phones — using 20th century technology — was that with an altitude of a few hundred feet, a single cell phone could activate (i.e., tie up) several cell sites simultaneously.  However, once your plane climbs above about 20,000 feet, you probably would not be able to communicate with a cell site long enough to make a call.  This is because the nearest cell phone site is at least four miles away (straight down), probably much farther, and even if you are directly above the nearest cell tower, the antennas on that tower are focused slightly below the horizon, and they won't pick up your phone.

FAA will not lift ban on in-flight cell-phone use.  The Federal Aviation Administration said [recently] that the FAA's rules against the use of wireless devices while airborne will remain in place notwithstanding a proposal from the FCC to lift its ban on devices while on flight.

EU Allows Mobile Phones on Airplanes.  You can use your cell phone in the skies over Europe later this year under new rules that will allow air travelers to stay in touch — and raise the cringe-inducing prospect of sitting next to a chatterbox at 30,000 feet.  But don't expect to use your phone on a U.S. flight anytime soon. … Phone service will be blocked during takeoff and landing, EU spokesman Martin Selmayr said.

Verizon to End Airline Telephone Service.  Verizon Airfone, whose handsets have graced the backs of airline seats for more than two decades, will end its phone service on commercial airliners before the end of the year.  Verizon Communications, Airfone's parent company, has decided instead to focus on its faster-growing broadband, cellular and television businesses.

Personal Electronic Devices on Commercial Aircraft:  Phones transmit whenever they are turned on, whether they are being used for a call or not.  It is notoriously difficult to assess the strength or structure of enclosed electromagnetic fields, such as those formed by a transmitter in a more-or-less Faraday cage, and all the electrical wiring of the aircraft is contained within the cage.

Children's cell phones worry airlines.  As the summer vacation season approaches, Japanese airlines are growing increasingly concerned about children bringing cell phones aboard because they contain a built-in crime prevention function that automatically restarts the phone if it is switched off.

Cell Phone Use Aboard Planes:  An international survey of frequent flyers proves what we already knew -- that permitting in-flight cell phone use is an irritation most of us want to avoid.

Why can't I use my cellular phone on an airliner?  Cell phones on airliners interfere with the terrestrial cellular telephone network.  Interference with a plane's avionics or navigation system is poorly documented and a secondary problem.  Except to the Federal Aviation Administration, which usually favors no risks and consequently prohibits cell phone use on-board. ... Cell phones transmit in nearly straight lines.  From an airplane a cell phone can connect to nearly any cell site in view below, causing much turmoil, especially with a jet moving 500 miles an hour, passing by one cell after another far more quickly than the systems were designed for.

The real reason you can't use cell phones on airplanes.  Cellular phone usage aboard airplanes is proliferating.  Before the departure of any given flight, no less than four or five passengers (sometimes 20 or more) will have a cell phone glued to one ear.  On the ground, the decision to allow mobile calls is left to the discretion of individual airlines.  But government regulations prohibit cell phone use in flight.  Contrary to what most passengers believe, the Federal Communication Commission (the government agency that regulates telephone usage), not the FAA, imposed the in-flight ban on cell phones in 1991.

Cell phone calls on planes.  The U.S. Federal Communications Commission prohibits the use of mobile telephones aboard any aircraft in flight.  The reason given is that mobile phone systems depend on channel reuse, and operating a phone at altitude may violate the fundamental assumptions that allow channel reuse to work.

Airlines ban cell phones -- but why?  American Airlines warns passengers that cell phones "may interfere with the aircraft's communication and navigation systems."  Similar warnings come from Delta, United and Continental. British Airways links cellular interference to potential problems with compasses and even cabin pressure.  What the airlines don't tell passengers is that there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

Why U.S. Airlines Still Won't Join the Mobile Mile-High Club.  [Scroll down] The FCC received around 8000 comments, a large number of them from individuals opposed to the prospect of cellphone cacophony at 30,000 ft.  The Flight Attendants Association also filed strong objections, saying it feared a sharp rise in rage incidents.

Cell phones to take flight.  As shown by the flurry of comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission in the past few days, there's a consensus building to relax rules that since 1991 have banned cell phone use on U.S. commercial flights.  Now the hard work begins -- deciding to what extent to ease the rules.

Fliers Fear Cellular Blab, Hot-Air Planes.  Airline passengers already are beginning to brace for the eventual introduction of cell phones on commercial flights.  Listen to Richard Archambault, an architect from Schaumburg, Ill., who wants to plug his ears against the expected yelling into balky receivers.  "People who don't hesitate to talk in restaurants or other taboo venues will take their disrespectful attitudes with them to the skies and turn a once-quiet place of refuge into a noisy, office-like environment to the detriment of all," Archambault said.

Airborne Cell Phones?  No Way!  The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday [12/15/2004] unanimously proposed lifting the ban if issues about safety and technical hurdles can be overcome.  FCC officials said their mandate was to facilitate communications.  But the potential of scores of passengers talking on mobile phones during a lengthy flight has many travelers worried that their last quiet haven from such conversations will evaporate.

Study Warns Cell Phones Could Cause Airliner Crash.  [Scroll down] Researchers crisscrossed the northeast United States on commercial flights, monitoring radio emissions from passenger use of cell phones and other electronic devices. ... The researchers found that on average one to four cell phone calls are typically made from every commercial flight in the northeast United States.  Some of these calls are made during critical flight stages such as climb-out, or on final approach.

Era of in-flight mobile phone use begins in Europe.  Relatively unobtrusive data calls, like mobile e-mail and messaging, have been available for a while on airlines including Emirates, Qantas, JetBlue, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines.  But last month, Emirates became the first airline to enable in-flight mobile voice services, on an Airbus A340 from Dubai to Casablanca.

Southwest passenger cited for cell phone chatter.  Southwest Airlines says a passenger who refused to get off his cell phone during a flight found Dallas police waiting for him. ... Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King says flight attendants had repeatedly asked the man to get off the phone while airborne.

More details...
Austin man charged after refusing to hang up cellphone during Southwest Airlines flight.  An Austin businessman was charged with disorderly conduct after he allegedly refused to stop using his mobile phone on a flight Monday from Austin to Dallas Love Field.  Dallas police met the plane after the pilot radioed ahead to the Love Field tower. ... According to the police report, Mr. Jones was asked to turn off his cellphone and responded, "Kiss my [expletive]."  When asked again, he said, "Kiss my [expletive].  Not happening."

Just plane rude:
Sen. Charles Schumer refers to female flight attendant as the b-word.  New York's famously garrulous senior senator, Chuck Schumer, got busted Wednesday [12/16/2009] for calling a female flight attendant the B-word aboard a US Airways flight from New York to Washington on Sunday.  Schumer was sitting next to protege Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, gabbing away on his phone, when a flight attendant told him to shut it down.

Schumer calls flight attendant who told him to turn off cell phone 'b***h'.  Sen. Chuck Schumer apologized today after word got out that he called a flight attendant a "b----" for ordering him to follow the rules and turn off his cellphone before takeoff.  And his political protégé, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, initially provided him with public cover.

...and the feminists are all completely silent, because he's a Democrat.

Word Prompts Apology From Schumer.  Senator Charles E. Schumer apologized on Wednesday [12/16/2009] for using a crude term to refer to a flight attendant who had asked him to turn his cellphone off on a US Airways plane before takeoff.

How your mobile phone could bring down a plane:  The use of electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets and iPods in mid-air may create a "perfect storm" of conditions that can have disastrous consequences, aviation experts have warned.

As usual, the "safety" excuse is a sham and a farce.
The Real Reason Why Cellphones Are Banned On Airplanes.  It seems a lot of people believe that the cellphone ban during takeoff and landing is safety related, and mandated by the FAA.  It's not.  The FCC had the ban implemented because as planes fly along, full of hundreds of passengers, their phones simultaneously jump from one tower's coverage to the next.  As the cell systems are ancient, this can cause the network to crash.



Section 6:  Eavesdropping / monitoring / other privacy risks

Related topic:  Domestic surveillance.

Cell Phones!  All you need to know to monitor them.

French president bans mobile phones from cabinet meetings.  Keen to ensure his ministers are paying attention, the French president, François Hollande, has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions.  Ministers will now be forced to leave their portable devices at the door when they join the French government's weekly cabinet meeting, government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll told reporters.  "To focus on what we must do, the president has decided that there will be no more mobile phones in cabinet," Le Foll said.  "Each of us will now have to talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool," he said.

Attention, Shoppers: Store Is Tracking Your Cell.  Like dozens of other brick-and-mortar retailers, Nordstrom wanted to learn more about its customers — how many came through the doors, how many were repeat visitors — the kind of information that e-commerce sites like Amazon have in spades.  So last fall the company started testing new technology that allowed it to track customers' movements by following the Wi-Fi signals from their smartphones.

Government Secrets and the Need for Whistleblowers.  We don't know a lot about how the government spies on us, but we know some things.  We know the FBI has issued tens of thousands of ultra-secret National Security Letters to collect all sorts of data on people — we believe on millions of people — and has been abusing them to spy on cloud-computer users.  We know it can collect a wide array of personal data from the Internet without a warrant.  We also know that the FBI has been intercepting cell-phone data, all but voice content, for the past 20 years without a warrant, and can use the microphone on some powered-off cell phones as a room bug — presumably only with a warrant.

"Officials" never lie.
Officials: NSA Doesn't Collect Cellphone-Location Records.  The National Security Agency sweeps up data on millions of cellphones and Internet communications under secret court orders.  But as it mounts a rigorous defense of its surveillance, the agency has disclosed new details that portray its efforts as tightly controlled and limited in scope, while successful in thwarting potential plots.  On Sunday [6/16/2013], officials said that though the NSA is authorized to collect "geolocational" information that can pinpoint the location of callers, it chooses not to.

The Editor says...
I find it difficult to believe that the NSA walks right up to an imaginary line, but never crosses it.  Of course they deny pinpointing specific cell phones' locations, but denial is what the NSA does best.  Until recently they probably denied the existence of the agency itself.

Obama Admin. Argues for Warrantless Cellphone Tracking.  In a document filed September 4 in the D.C. District Court, the Obama administration argues that there is no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in a person's cellphone GPS data.  The president's lawyers argue that they do not need a warrant to request cellphone company records regarding a customer's movements and location as tracked by their signal towers.

Cellphones or trackers? Debate hasn't kept pace with technology.  [Kelsey] Smith's death led Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to sign a bill compelling cellular service providers to provide phone information for missing people in danger.  But in recent years, as phones have taken on the roles of navigator, assistant, researcher and memory box, they've become pipelines to vast reserves of personal information easily derricked out by government investigators.  Those investigators' powers have been little debated — publicly, at least — and even less understood.  Further, phones are still thought of as essentially private devices.  That could be about to change.

That's No Phone. That's My Tracker.  The device in your purse or jeans that you think is a cellphone — guess again.  It is a tracking device that happens to make calls.  Let's stop calling them phones.  They are trackers.  Most doubts about the principal function of these devices were erased when it was disclosed Monday [7/9/2012] that cellphone carriers responded 1.3 million times last year to law enforcement requests for call data.

The Results from ACLU's Nationwide Cell Phone Tracking Records Requests.  If you're living in one of the places where local law enforcement agents reported tracking cell phones, or for that matter anywhere else in the country, you might be wondering under what circumstances your law enforcement agents are getting access to cell phone location information.  Given the intimate nature of location information, the government should have to obtain a warrant based upon probable cause to track cell phones.  That is what is necessary to protect Americans' privacy, and it is also what is required under the constitution.  But is that what the police do?

Police requesting Americans' cellphone data at staggering rate.  Police are monitoring Americans' cellphone use at a staggering rate, according to new information released in a congressional inquiry.  In letters released by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), cellphone companies described seeing a huge uptick in requests from law enforcement agencies, with 1.3 million federal, state and local requests for phone records in 2011 alone.  "We cannot allow privacy protections to be swept aside with the sweeping nature of these information requests, especially for innocent consumers," Markey said in a statement Monday [7/9/2012].

iPhone passcode cracking is easier than you think.  A Swedish security firms shows that it can break into a passcode-protected mobile phone in a matter of minutes.

Social apps 'harvest smartphone contacts'.  Twitter has admitted copying entire address books from smartphones and storing the data on its servers, often without customers' knowledge.  Access to the address book is enabled when users click on the "Find Friends" feature on smartphone apps.  Two US congressmen have written to Apple asking why the firm allows the practice on its iPhone, as it contravenes app developer guidelines.

Why the Supreme Court GPS Decision Won't Stop Warrantless Digital Surveillance:  Mobile phone service providers log the list of cell sites to which our cell phones connect throughout the day.  Mobile apps, more than half a billion of which were downloaded in the U.S. during the last week of December alone, gather data on the usage patterns of our wireless devices.  In addition, mobile apps often track device location to the accuracy of a specific residence or office building, undermining the oft-cited claim that the data gathered is not "personal."

Android glitch allows hackers to bug phone calls.  Computer scientists have discovered a weakness in smartphones running Google's Android operating system that allows attackers to secretly record phone conversations, monitor geographic location data, and access other sensitive resources without permission.

Tens of Millions of Smartphones Come With Spyware Preinstalled, Security Analyst Says.  Over 100 million smartphones are tracking their owners' every step, Android developer Trevor Eckhart claimed, thanks to software that comes preinstalled on phones from most major carriers.  During a security demonstration revealed on Monday [11/28/2011], Eckhart showed how software developed by Carrier IQ tracks virtually everything a user does — going as far as logging individual keystrokes and button presses.

US Senator demands answers from Carrier IQ.  Senator and former late-night funnyman Al Franken has called on Carrier IQ to explain why its diagnostic software, buried in the bowels of 141 million smartphones, isn't a massive violation of US wiretap laws.

Smartphones Are Secretly Tracking Users' Movements & Keystrokes.  The popular blog Talking Points Memo (TPM) has done yeoman's work in keeping on top of this shocking story.  The culprit is a inconspicuous piece of code called Carrier IQ.  Last month, several online technology news sources revealed the existence of what TPM calls "the whopper of all real-life tech conspiracies."  The little piece of surveillance software remotely and real-time tracks the location of users, as well as every keystroke, every text message, and every word or phrase searched using the device's browser.  All of this is recorded without even the tacit consent of users.

Is the FBI Using Smartphone Spyware For Law Enforcement Purposes?  The narrative continues over smartphone privacy issues involving the data logging program Carrier IQ, which was recently found to be installed on about 150 million handsets worldwide, including many popular Android, iOS, Nokia, and Blackberry devices.  Controversy over the invasive software stemmed from allegations that Carrier IQ has the ability to record an array of device information, including keystrokes, text messages, web browsing, and user location, all without the user's knowledge or expressed consent.

FISA Fight.  The Obama administration is pushing for the reauthorization of a law allowing warrantless wiretaps and prolonging Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests despite campaigning against such measures and promising to be the most transparent administration ever.

Cyber Threats to Mobile Phones.  Smartphones' popularity and relatively lax security have made them attractive targets for attackers.  According to a report published earlier this year, smartphones recently outsold PCs for the first time, and attackers have been exploiting this expanding market by using old techniques along with new ones.

In Cell Phone Privacy Case, Government's Arguing a Theory of the Fourth Amendment 'That No One's Ever Heard Of'.  A federal appeals court in New Orleans is set to hear a case on whether the government can take possession of an individual's cell phone records from their carrier without a search warrant.  A federal court has already denied the government's bid to obtain the records without a warrant.  Judge Andrew Napolitano weighed in on Fox Business Network this morning [10/1/2012], saying the government's argument represents a new theory of the Fourth Amendment "that no one's ever heard of in 230 years."

Obama wants to track you.  Under federal law, even the most basic cellphone must collect location information so that 911 services can respond appropriately.  The Obama administration wants the ability to seize this data for its own purposes.  Last month, the Justice Department filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit insisting the government had the right to gather 60 days' worth of tracking information from a cellphone without a warrant issued on probable cause.

Malls track shoppers' cell phones on Black Friday.  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.

New Patriot Act Controversy:
Is Washington Collecting Your Cell-Phone Data?  The FBI can order a private company to turn over data as long as the bureau can convince a special national-security court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, that the information is "relevant" to antiterrorism work.  Obama Administration officials emphasize that this review by the intelligence court is an important step in protecting privacy.  Privacy advocates, however, consider it little more than a rubber stamp.  "'Relevant' means some noncrazy reason for asking for it," said the Cato Institute's Julian Sanchez, who believes the government is using that authority to sweep up huge amounts of communications data.

Why is Sprint installing junk apps on my Android phone?  A few days ago I noticed a strange app on my HTC Evo Android smartphone.  It's a demo version of a sci-fi shooter game called N.O.V.A.  It wasn't preinstalled, I didn't download it, and I can't uninstall it.  I checked to see what it does on my phone and was shocked to see the long list of permissions it has.

Can cellular or cordless phones be eavesdropped upon?  Eavesdropping on wireless phones implies intercepting the radio signal to listen to the call.  Intercepting radio waves is easy, converting them back into sound requires the proper equipment.  The type of phone you use, and the importance of your calls, as perceived by:  nosy neighbors, spouses, business competitors, law enforcement, etc. all contribute to the likelihood of your call being overheard.

The FCC can monitor any signal you can send.  The same is true of the military.  And the technicians who work for your cell phone provider can listen in any time they want.  While it is considerably more difficult for snoopers to listen in on cell phones now that the old analog phones have been phased out, it is still true that the eavesdropper doesn't have to be very close to your phone — (s)he only needs to be within the radius of the same cell.

Keep in mind that it isn't necessary to hear what was said on your phone in order to embarrass you.  Sometimes all it takes is a list of the numbers you have called, and the date and time of those calls.  In some cases that information is available (for sale).

Hand over the cell.  Principals in at least three suburban schools have searched students' cellphone text messages when they suspected the students of cheating, drug abuse or other school violations.  Officials in the Douglas and Jefferson school districts say policies that allow them to search lockers, backpacks and cars parked on school grounds also authorize searches of cellphones when there is a "reasonable suspicion" of wrongdoing.

Yes, as my wife can tell you from first-hand experience, text messages are used in high schools to cheat on exams.  It is easily preventable, but not without major changes at the FCC.  The most practical solution to the problem of cheating via cell phones would be to blanket the school buildings with wideband RF noise to jam all cellular calls -- or build the schools with screened walls and ceilings to prevent signals from entering or leaving.  Once in class, the kids don't need to be on the phone.  With this system in place, they could make all the calls they want outside the building.

18 Signs That Life In U.S. Public Schools Is Now Essentially Equivalent To Life In U.S. Prisons.  The following are 18 signs that life in our public schools is now very similar to life in our prisons.... [For example,] #1  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has announced that school officials can search the cell phones and laptops of public school students if there are "reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school."

Businesses make $4M off NYC students by holding their cellphones during school.  The city's ban on cellphones in schools is taking an amazing $4.2 million a year out of kids' pockets, a [New York] Post analysis has found.  The students — who attend the nearly 90 high schools and middle schools with permanent metal detectors — pay $1 a day to store their phones either in stores or in trucks that park around the buildings.

Wireless Technology:  They'll Know Where You AreUnder the so-called Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA) police are given the authority to track the locations of any cell phone users even if they're not dialing 911.

Cellphone led FBI to Times Square car bomb suspect arrest.  The number from a disposable cellphone led FBI agents to the suspect arrested Monday night [5/3/2010] for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on Saturday evening, according to a senior official.  "They were able to basically get one phone number and by running it through a number of databases, figure out who they thought the guy was," the official said.

Chain of Phone Numbers Led Investigators to Bomb Suspect.  Investigators discovered the name of the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing because of a telephone number he provided when he returned to the United States from Pakistan in February, a law enforcement official said Wednesday [5/5/2010].

Hacker Spoofs Cell Phone Tower to Intercept Calls.  A security researcher created a cell phone base station that tricks cell phones into routing their outbound calls through his device, allowing someone to intercept even encrypted calls in the clear.  The device tricks the phones into disabling encryption and records call details and content before they're routed on their proper way through voice-over-IP.

You Are Being Tracked.  Cell phones are synonymous with life in the 21st Century.  They do everything — display maps, send email, play games and music.  They also do one other thing — track you.  Every seven seconds, your cell phone automatically scans for the nearest cell tower which can pinpoint your location as accurately as within 50 meters.  A GPS chip in your phone can reveal your location within a few yards.

Protecting cell phone users' privacy.  Numerous Web sites, such as Locatecell.com and CellTolls.com, are advertising that they can provide records of incoming and outgoing cell phone calls — for less than $100, in some cases. That kind of information is often used by law enforcement agencies in their investigations. However, the online availability of such data could be exploited by criminals, such as stalkers, abusive spouses or identity thieves, experts have warned.

Phone calling records for sale instantly.  Locatecell.com seems to have a good thing going.  According to this Chicago Sun Times story:  To test the service, the FBI paid Locatecell.com $160 to buy the records for an agent's cell phone and received the list within three hours, the police bulletin said. … Funny how this is a big surprise to the FBI.

SIM Recovery Pro:  You can now recover data and text messages from cellular phones using the SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) Recovery Pro.  Using this device allows you to save, edit and delete your phone book and short messages.  Aside from recovery and retrieve, even of deleted data, an added advantage is to back the information up on your computer.

SIM Recovery Pro capabilities:  Allows user to find deleted text.  Allows user to view up to last 10 numbers dialed.  Transfer data from one SIM card to another.  Edit SIM card information on your computer.  Back up phone numbers and SMS messages.

Cell Phone Spy Data Extractor:  Save, edit and delete your phone book and short messages (SMS) stored on your SIM card using the Recovery PRO software and SIM Recovery Pro Reader with your computer and ANY standard SIM card from a standard cell phone which supports removable SIM cards.

"Is Your Cell Phone Bugged?"  I'm pleased to announce a short free video (under six minutes): "Is Your Cell Phone Bugged?"  While I'll admit that the production values are much closer to those of Ed Wood than of Cecil B. DeMille, I hope you'll still find this video to be interesting, or at least amusing.

Cellphone carriers can listen in through your phone?  According to the Financial Times by way of the Guardian, at least one UK cellphone carrier has the power to remotely install software over the air to users' handsets that would allow [the cellphone carrier] to pick up audio from the phone's mic when the device isn't on a call.

Ninth Circuit OKs Feds Use of Cellphone as Roving Bugs.  The Ninth Circuit of Appeals ruled on July 20 that agents of the federal government may use a cellphone as a microphone and record the conversations overheard even when the phone itself is not being used otherwise. [...] There are, of course, far reaching implications of such a decision.  As we reported recently, a person will not know, and perhaps will never know, if he has been the target of surveillance on the part of the federal government.  Assuming, as many a savvy American would, that the federal government is liable to eventually want to monitor and record your personal electronic communication, is there not an expectation that when the cellphone is off the surveillance is suspended?  Not anymore.  In the wake of the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Oliva, "roving bugs" are likely to become a favorite weapon in the ever expanding arsenal of the surveillance state.

Dear Mr. Security Agent,  We have recently learned [...] that your law enforcement comrades can read every email we send or receive with no need for a pesky and outdated warrant.  Today, our cell phones come complete with undisclosed "back doors" for law enforcement use, allowing them even to be switched on remotely, to serve as no less than a secret police microphone in our very own pockets.

Mobile Cloak:  The off switch for always-on mobile wireless devices and technologies.  A simple method of making your wireless stuff invisible to any other wireless stuff or signal that would want to communicate with it.

The Editor says...
Apparently this product is just a foil-lined pouch that you could easily make yourself.  Its purpose is to keep cell phones and other devices from acting as tracking devices, at times when you don't want to be followed.

"Is Your Cell Phone Bugged?"  I'm pleased to announce a short free video (under six minutes): "Is Your Cell Phone Bugged?"  While I'll admit that the production values are much closer to those of Ed Wood than of Cecil B. DeMille, I hope you'll still find this video to be interesting, or at least amusing.

Cellphone carriers can listen in through your phone?  According to the Financial Times by way of the Guardian, at least one UK cellphone carrier has the power to remotely install software over the air to users' handsets that would allow [the cellphone carrier] to pick up audio from the phone's mic when the device isn't on a call.

Editor's note:
If you can't hang up the phone, next thing you know, you won't be able to turn off the TV.  It's an Orwellian nightmare!

Swedish government expected to pass amended bugging law.  After making some last-minute changes, Sweden's populist government was expected Wednesday [6/18/2008] to secure a parliamentary majority in favour of a comprehensive new bugging law.  The new law permits the wide-ranging monitoring of mail and internet traffic inside and outside Sweden's borders and the tapping of international telephone calls to discover 'dangers from abroad' more quickly.

'Big Brother' snooping law stirs outrage in Sweden.  Sweeping new powers under which the Swedish security services can monitor private phone calls, e-mails and text messages are expected to come into force this week under legislation that has prompted outrage in the country.

Sweden Fails to Pass Sweeping Surveillance Bill.  Swedish lawmakers voted late Wednesday to pass a controversial bill allowing all emails and phone calls to be monitored in the name of national security.  The vote, which took place on Wednesday, June 18, proved to be one of the most divisive in Sweden in recent years.

Swedish Parliament passes "Big Brother" surveillance bill.  According to several Swedish newspapers, parliament has now passed the bill by a vote of 143 (for) to 138 (against).  Although a number of small changes have supposedly been made to the bill, critics are still unhappy with its breadth.

'Orwellian law must be stopped'.  [The] Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment) surveillance bill [will] be sent back to the parliamentary defence committee to enable the inclusion of certain "privacy guarantees".  But in fact nobody has won.  We have instead witnessed politicians hoodwinking their citizens.  A monster with make-up is still a monster and "Swechelon", or Sweden's Echelon, must be stopped.

Did someone mention Echelon?

IPhone Can Take Screenshots of Anything You Do.  Your iPhone is watching you.  If you've got an iPhone, pretty much everything you have done on your handset has been temporarily stored as a screenshot that hackers or forensics experts could eventually recover, according to a renowned iPhone hacker who exposed the security flaw in a webcast Thursday [9/11/2008].

Digital Bread Crumbs:  Following Your Cell Phone Trail.  Cell phones leave a data trail, and it is becoming standard operating procedure for police departments and federal agents to use this data to locate and track people.

Privacy.  In a hearing at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, in an effort to overturn a lower court ruling, the Administration argued that a cell phone user has no expectation of privacy therefore the government can subpoena any and all cell phone records at any time for virtually any reason without the need for search warrant issued by a judge.

Obama DOJ Wants Greater Power to Access Cellphone Records.  Barack Obama's Justice Department is requesting that access to cellphone records be made more available to the government.  Jason Weinstein, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's criminal division, asserted that warrants for early stages of investigations "crippled" prosecutors and law enforcement officials and thus should be abolished.

Police push for warrantless searches of cell phones.  This is an important legal question that remains unresolved:  as our gadgets store more and more information about us, including our appointments, correspondence, and personal photos and videos, what rules should police investigators be required to follow?  The Obama administration and many local prosecutors' answer is that warrantless searches are perfectly constitutional during arrests.

Software Turns Your Cell Phone Against You.  Malicious software for cell phones could pose a greater risk for consumer's personal and financial well-being than computer viruses, say scientists from Rutgers University.  The scientists have made a particularly resilient malware, known as a rootkit, that can turn a cell phone's microphone, GPS and battery against the phone's owner.

The Editor says...
That's odd.  Up until now, anyone who developed a rootkit was called a hacker by the mainstream news media.  Why, in this case, are they being called scientists?

Caller ID Spoofing Puts Innocent Man In Jail.  [Scroll down]  At the time he was living on the second floor of an apartment building in Quincy.  On the first floor lived a single woman.  Court documents and audio recordings obtained by the I-Team show one night she started getting threatening sexually explicit voice messages one after another. ... The only problem was he didn't make any of them.  Someone else did using a "caller ID" spoofing service.

Court rules text message search legal.  The Supreme Court had a common-sense message Thursday [6/17/2010] for workers with cell phones and other gadgets provided by their employers:  Use your own cell phone if you've got something to text that you don't want your boss to read.

Text messages become a growing weapon in dating violence.  The text messages to the 22-year-old Virginia woman arrived during the day and night, sometimes 20 or 30 at once.  Her ex-boyfriend wanted her back.  He would not be refused.  He texted and called 758 times.  In New York, a 17-year-old trying to break up with her boyfriend got fewer messages, but they were menacing.  "You don't need nobody else but me," read one.  Another threatened to kill her.

Blond beauty set to sue NYPD over sexy photos swiped from iPhone.  A Long Island beauty says NYPD cops seized her iPhone and that one of them stole sexually explicit photos and videos meant for her boyfriend's eyes only.  Pamela Held, 27, of Deer Park, is poised to sue the city and the Police Department, accusing a cop of invading her privacy by forwarding the provocative images from her iPhone.  The steamy images of Held were sent to a personal cell phone that her lawyer said belongs to Officer Sean Christian.

Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA.  Local police are increasingly able to scoop up large amounts of cellphone data using new technologies, including cell tower dumps and secret mobile devices known as Stingrays.

By cracking cellphone code, NSA has capacity for decoding private conversations.  The cellphone encryption technology used most widely across the world can be easily defeated by the National Security Agency, an internal document shows, giving the agency the means to decode most of the billions of calls and texts that travel over public airwaves every day.  While the military and law enforcement agencies long have been able to hack into individual cellphones, the NSA's capability appears to be far more sweeping because of the agency's global signals collection operation.

The Editor says...
They aren't "the public airwaves" any more.  The FCC sells RF bandwidth to cell phone companies.

Cell Providers Collect Millions From Police for Handing Over User Information.  Major U.S. cellphone providers received more than $20 million from law enforcement agencies in conjunction with more than 1.1 million user information requests in 2012, according to documents released Monday [12/9/2013] by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.  Five of the seven companies queried by Markey offered precise or ballpark figures for the revenue they received from law enforcement in 2012.

NSA 'tracks mobile phones around the world'.  America's National Security Agency is tracking mobile phones around the world, according to the latest leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.  Almost five billion records a day are being gathered which allow intelligence officials to track individuals and map their relationships in ways previously unimaginable, the classified documents suggest.  The records and interviews with US officials, seen by the Washington Post, are said to show that the information feeds into a vast database which stores information on hundreds of millions of devices, providing agents with a mass surveillance tool.

NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show.  The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.  The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.  New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.

Senior Tory MP reveals how 'spy in the pocket' phones track your every move.  The extent to which mobile phones act as 'spies in our pockets' has been exposed by a senior Tory MP.  Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis discovered how closely we can be watched when he asked his phone provider for the information it held on him — and found it could track his every move.

Data Spying in the States: Public Safety or Invasion of Privacy?  Last month, USA Today reported that at least 125 police agencies in 33 states have used a variety of spy-worthy tactics and technologies to obtain information about thousands of cell phones and their users.  The newspaper's investigation found that one in four law enforcement agencies use a tactic known as a "tower dump" to get the identity, activity and location information of any cell phone that connects with a particular cell tower in a specific timespan.  Additionally, 25 law enforcement agencies used federal grants to purchase a piece of equipment developed for military and intelligence gathering purposes known as a "Stingray," which mimics a cell tower, allows police to track the movements of a specific cell phone and captures data from a cell phone, such as the phone numbers dialed and text messages received.

Rand Paul gets standing ovation at Berkeley: 'Your right to privacy is under assault'.  Delivering a rare speech for a Republican at this bastion of liberalism, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday was given multiple standing ovations by the left-wing audience after railing against government surveillance and warning the students:  "Your right to privacy is under assault."  "I am here to tell you that if you own a cell phone, you're under surveillance," he told the crowd.

Hackers build drone that steals Tons of sensitive smartphone data.  Hackers in London have invented a drone capable of stealing data, including passwords and location, straight from your smartphone.  Codenamed "Snoopy," the drone is deployed above busy city streets and searches out target phones with WiFi settings switched on, taking advantage of a common smartphone feature to continuously search for networks that a user has already approved and accessed.

Police Keep Quiet About Cell-Tracking Technology.  Police across the country may be intercepting phone calls or text messages to find suspects using a technology tool known as Stingray.  But they're refusing to turn over details about its use or heavily censoring files when they do.

Cops' Easy Access to Suspects' iPhone Info Raises Privacy Concerns.  Those who think an iPhone is only for saving address book entries may be surprised to learn police are using the devices' saved data caches to catch criminals.  Global Positioning Satellite technology on the phone enables police to pinpoint precise locations and compare that information with statements made by suspects.

A simple text message, an ominous meaning.  A message on a college student's cellphone was one of the first indications of the identity of one of the Boston Marathon bombers.

Secret military device lets Oakland deputies track cellphones.  Oakland County commissioners asked no questions last March before unanimously approving a cellphone tracking device so powerful it was used by the military to fight terrorists.  Now, though, some privacy advocates question why one of the safest counties in Michigan needs the super-secretive Hailstorm device that is believed to be able to collect large amounts of cellphone data, including the locations of users, by masquerading as a cell tower.  "I don't like not knowing what it's capable of," said county Commissioner Jim Runestad, R-White Lake Township, who has met in recent weeks with sheriff's officials about his concerns.

Indiana attorney general probing privacy breach of 'Obamaphone' users.  The Indiana attorney general's office confirmed Monday [5/20/2013] it is investigating a security breach in which Social Security numbers and other personal information were posted online for roughly 44,000 low-income Americans who applied for a federal program that provides discount Internet and phone service.  The program was nicknamed the "Obamaphone" during the 2012 election, though it actually started long before President Obama took office.  Indiana reportedly has the highest number of applicants, roughly 17,400, who were signed up by TerraCom Inc. and the affiliated YourTel America Inc.

Mobile location data 'present anonymity risk'.  Scientists say it is remarkably easy to identify a mobile phone user from just a few pieces of location information.  Whenever a phone is switched on, its connection to the network means its position and movement can be plotted.  This data is given anonymously to third parties, both to drive services for the user and to target advertisements.

Identifying People from Mobile Phone Location Data.  Turns out that it's pretty easy.

Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility.  We study fifteen months of human mobility data for one and a half million individuals and find that human mobility traces are highly unique.  In fact, in a dataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly, and with a spatial resolution equal to that given by the carrier's antennas, four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals.

Obama Asks SCOTUS for Warrantless Cellphone Searches.  Last week, the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to rule that the Fourth Amendment allows for warrant-less cell phone searches.  The administration filed a petition asking the SCOTUS to hear a 2007 case in which information was retrieved from a cell phone that was used to obtain evidence against the defendant.

Cops: U.S. law should require logs of your text messages.  AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to capture and store Americans' confidential text messages, according to a proposal that will be presented to a congressional panel today [3/19/2013].  The law enforcement proposal would require wireless providers to record and store customers' SMS messages — a controversial idea akin to requiring them to surreptitiously record audio of their customers' phone calls — in case police decide to obtain them at some point in the future.

Obama's license to snoop.  Uncle Sam is downloading the contents of laptops, cellphones and digital cameras belonging to international travelers.  The widespread snooping may help agents discover whether someone illegally downloaded music before boarding a long flight, but it also has chilling implications for personal privacy.  A report released Jan. 29 by the Department of Homeland Security's internal civil liberties watchdog saw nothing wrong with the searches.

You're Broadcasting Traffic Reports without Even Knowing It.  As navigation systems transition from showing us where to go to telling us what traffic looks like along the way, better real-time information can be a big selling point.  Traffic-info providers synthesize information from a number of disparate sources, but traffic choppers are expensive relics of the Ron Burgundy era and sensors embedded in roadways are fragile and often unreliable.  The key to perfecting real-time traffic information may soon (if not already) be you.

Facebook accused of massive 'data grab' with new service that automatically uploads your phone pictures.  Facebook has been accused of a massive 'data grab' after encouraging users to allow it to automatically synchronise photos from their mobile devices to the social networks servers.  The social network from Friday began asking users of its mobile apps to activate its new Photo Sync, which will automatically upload each picture to a private album.  Whether or not users decide share the photos on their public newsfeed, Facebook itself will still have access.

New Malware Attacks Smartphone, Computer to Eavesdrop.  A recently discovered new form of Android malware called DroidCleaner can not only infect your smartphone, but also targets your PC to spy on you.

Cellphone apps are 'spying on children by giving advertisers their phone numbers and their exact locations'.  The U.S. government is investigating whether software companies that make cellphone apps have violated the privacy rights of children by quietly collecting personal information from phones and sharing it with advertisers and data brokers.

Judge Protects Cellphone Data On 4th Amendment Grounds, Cites Government's Technological Ignorance.  The feds, along with Los Angeles law enforcement agencies, have bypassed the protections of the Fourth Amendment by deploying roving cell phone trackers that mimic mobile phone towers.  The FISA Amendments Act has been used as a "blank check" for wholesale spying on Americans and has been abused often enough that the Director of National Intelligence was forced to admit these Fourth Amendment violations publicly.

Japan's Philanderers Stay Faithful to Their 'Infidelity Phones'.  Over the past few years, as many people rushed to trade in their old phones for smartphones, Japan's philanderers have remained faithful to one particular brand:  Fujitsu Ltd.'s older "F-Series" phones, which feature some attractive stealth privacy features.  The aging flip-phone — nicknamed the "uwaki keitai" or "infidelity phone" — owes its enduring popularity to customers who don't believe newer smartphones are as discreet at hiding their illicit romances.

Magistrate Judge Denies Court Order Application for Cell Tower Dumps.  The decision is In re U.S. ex rel. Order Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 2703(d), 2012 WL 4717778 (S.D. Tex. September 26, 2012) (Owlsey, M.J), and it rejects an application under the Stored Communications Act for records of all of the cell phone numbers in communication with four different cell towers used around the time and place of a specific crime under investigation.  The decision relies primarily on Magistrate Judge Smith's decision now on appeal before the Fifth Circuit that held that cell-site data is protected under the Fourth Amendment and compelling it therefore requires a warrant.

After GPS tracking banned by court, privacy fight turns to cell phone data.  The D.C. nightclub owner at the center of a landmark Supreme Court case about GPS tracking is now also challenging prosecutors' extensive use of data from cell phone towers to monitor his location.  The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that police violated Antoine Jones' Fourth Amendment rights when they placed a GPS device on his Jeep and tracked the vehicle for a month without a valid warrant.

Court OKs searches of cell phones without warrant.  The California Supreme Court allowed police Monday [1/3/2011] to search arrestees' cell phones without a warrant, saying defendants lose their privacy rights for any items they're carrying when taken into custody.  Under U.S. Supreme Court precedents, "this loss of privacy allows police not only to seize anything of importance they find on the arrestee's body ... but also to open and examine what they find," the state court said in a 5-2 ruling.

Video: How to Cop Proof Your Cell Phone.

Michigan cops imposing a digital police state.  Michigan State Police are accused of stealing driver's cell phone data on routine traffic stops.  Michigan has become a digital police state.  And if people in Michigan just stand by and let this digital totalitarian [nonsense] continue, it will probably come to your state too.  We are a nation of copycats after all, governments in the United States like to take other people's ideas to control people and make them their own.

Should Cops Be Allowed to Scan Your Phone During a Traffic Stop?  According to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) letter to the director of the Michigan State Police on April 13, that department has several forensic cellphone analyzers deployed in the field.  Forensic analyzers are routinely used in police investigations to recover data from computers and other digital devices.  Lately, cellphones have become valuable sources of evidence for police, since one phone can include almost all of an individual's private communications (SMS, recently dialed numbers, email, Facebook and Twitter posts) as well as location data from the device's GPS unit.

iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go.  Security researchers have discovered that Apple's iPhone keeps track of where you go — and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner's computer when the two are synchronised.  The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program.

If this is the worst mistreatment you can complain about, then your life must be fairly comfortable.
Minorities hit hardest by iPhone tracking technology.  Friday on MSNBC's daytime programming, host Thomas Roberts explained that in the wake of revelations the iPhone tracks your movements with its operating software, minorities, specifically blacks and Latinos are most vulnerable, since they use their cell phones more than whites according to a Nielsen study.

On the other hand...
No, iPhone location tracking isn't harmless and here's why.  It didn't take long for the blogosphere to pooh pooh research presented on Wednesday that detailed a file in Apple iPhones and iPads unknown to the vast majority of its users that stored a long list of their time-stamped locations, sometimes with alarming detail.  On Thursday [4/21/2011], a forensics expert who sells software to law enforcement agencies gave a first-hand account why scrutiny of the location-tracking database is crucial.

Android phones record user-locations according to research.  Discovery comes as a senator has written to Apple demanding to know why iPhones keep a secret file of users' movements.

Government tracks your iPhone, too.  Apple drew heat last week after security experts revealed that the iPhone secretly tracks the movements of its users.  While this revelation is troubling, it's only half as bad as how different government agencies are already keeping tabs on the public.  According to security researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, a hidden file on the popular smart phone maintains a continuous history of whatever places the phone has been.

Privacy Concerns About Apple's iPhones and iPads.  Apple, Inc. finds itself amidst controversy once again, this time provoking the criticism of privacy watchdogs which are demanding an explanation as to why its iPhones and iPads are secretly collecting location data on their users.  Other mobile service companies maintain similar records but require a court order to release the information.

Apple Promises Fix for Location-Gathering 'Bug' on iPhone.  Your iPhone isn't stalking you, but some of its intrusive location-gathering techniques are the result of bugs that will be fixed soon, according to Apple.  Apple published a Q&A document on Wednesday [4/27/2011] to educate customers on how and why Apple is collecting location data, and the company admitted some of its techniques are flawed.

Cell Phone Spy™ Reads Deleted Texts.  The Cell Phone Spy™ USB SIM Card Reader you can view deleted text messages from a cell phone.  The Cell Phone Spy™ allows you, a concerned parent, or loving spouse, to monitor your child or spouse's mobile interactions with others; because these days, it's not always obvious who they are talking to.

Should a Speeding Ticket Require Forfeiting Your Smartphone Data?  Whatever ever happened to the good ol' days where getting pulled over just meant you would get a speeding ticket, or if you're lucky, just a warning?  Well, if it's up to the Michigan State Police, those days are not only long gone, but a speeding ticket is now reason enough to harvest all the information possible on you, including all of your e-mail, social networking, texting, personal photos, and virtually anything else you might have on your cell phone, or in many cases, your smartphone.

Senators Ask Spy Chief: Are You Tracking Us Through Our iPhones?  Two key senators want to know if the leader of the vast U.S. intelligence apparatus believes it's legal for spooks to track where you go through your iPhone.  In a letter that Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) will send later on Thursday, obtained by Danger Room, the senators ask Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, "Do government agencies have the authority to collect the geolocation information of American citizens for intelligence purposes?"

Meet the 'Keyzer Soze' of Global Phone-Tracking.  Chances are you've never heard of TruePosition.  If you're an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, though, TruePosition may have heard of you.  When you're in danger, the company can tell the cops where you are, all without you knowing.  And now, it's starting to let governments around the world in on the search.

Law enforcement to begin iPhone iris scans amid privacy concerns.  Dozens of police departments nationwide are gearing up to use a tech company's already controversial iris- and facial-scanning device that slides over an iPhone and helps identify a person or track criminal suspects.

The Most Powerful, Well Connected Company You've Never Heard Of.  Have you ever heard of a tech company called Neustar?  Probably not, and that's just the way the government wants to keep it.  Neustar is a relatively new company that is playing a large, albeit secret, role in the expansion of the surveillance state.  According to published reports, Neustar handles the law enforcement surveillance and user data requests for over 400 telecommunications companies.  To accommodate their clients' demands, Neustar maintains a database containing information on every cell phone in the United States — including yours.

Court Ruling Opens Phones To Warrantless Searches.  Cell phone users might think that their phones can't be searched without a warrant any more than their homes can be.  But one judge just gave cops engaging in warrantless cell phone searches a foot in the door.  Judge Richard Posner of the seventh circuit court of appeals ruled Wednesday [2/29/2012] that the question of cell phone searches isn't whether law enforcement can open a phone and start snooping on its information without a warrant, but only how deep their warrantless search can go.

Pricey 'stingray' gadget lets cops track cellphones without telco help.  Why would the well-heeled suburb of Gilbert, Ariz., spend a quarter of a million dollars on a futuristic spy gadget that sounds more at home in a prime-time drama than a local police department?  The ACLU caused a stir Monday [4/2/2012] with its extensive report of cellphone surveillance by local police departments, which routinely request location information and other data from cellphone providers, often under vague legal circumstances.  But one bit of information provided by Gilbert officials suggests that cops sometimes try to cut out the middle man.

This is an example of more direct action against cell phone users:
Obama campaign nixes cell phones at some fundraisers.  You have to turn off your cell phone on an airplane, but at least you get to keep it.  That's not the case when high-flying donors pony up for first-class access to hear President Barack Obama at exclusive fundraisers — his campaign takes the devices away.  So much for live-tweeting or videotaping Obama's pitch.

Facebook Camera app really, really wants to know your location.  Facebook's slick new camera app goes on strike if you don't give it access to your location.

Vest scans nearby mobiles to track them and steal an owner's personal details.  Security experts have discovered leaked surveillance brochures revealing what's believed to be the next generation of spy gadgets.  The brochures are said to be for FinFisher, a surveillance program sold by Gamma Group, and include a wearable vest that captures the details of nearby phones and use this information to track their whereabouts.

Health and fitness apps 'harvesting data'.  The top 20 health and wellness apps, including MapMyFitness, Web MD Healh and iPeriod, have been sending information to up to 70 third-party companies, according to privacy group Evidon.  The third parties, primarily advertising and analytics companies, use the information gathered from consumers who are tracking diseases, diets, exercise routines and even menstrual cycles to build profiles and target ads, the FT reported.



Section 6A:  Tracking the whereabouts of cell phone users

If real-time cell phone tracking was being done by nosy individuals just for personal reasons, it would be called stalking.  But for the moment, such information is only being used by the police.  And we can always trust them, right?  Think about it.  Do you really want to IRS to know every place you've been for the last couple of years?  Every place you've stopped more than once, or for more than an hour?  Hmmm...  Is there a secondary source of income that you haven't reported?  We have waaaaays of making your cell phone talk!

Justice Dept. Wants to Track All Cellphones Without a Warrant.  In its relentless never-ending quest for more power to track and follow American citizens through their cellphones, the Department of Justice (DoJ) requested last week that Congress give them easier access to location data stored by cellphone service providers. [...] In other words, because the laws protecting privacy vary somewhat depending upon where an individual citizen lives, Congress should come along and override them all and provide a federal, looser standard, all in the name of security.

Soon, Your Cell Phone May Be Tracking You.  It's been ten years [or 14] since engineers, innovating by the seat of their pants, triangulated the signal of O.J. Simpson's cell phone to his Bronco, rolling down a Los Angeles freeway.  But now, tracking a cell phone is becoming as easy as point and click.  Services just beginning to appear will allow people to keep track of the location, within a few dozen feet, of a mobile phone handset.

Big Brother on Your Tail.  Suppose I approached you with a request.  I want you to carry a small gadget that will automatically transmit your location to the police, allowing them to track your every movement 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Chances are you would politely decline.  Too late.  You already accepted.  That gadget, you see, is called a cell phone.  For years, the cops may have been using it to keep close tabs on you without your knowledge, even if you have done nothing wrong.

U.S. Cell-Phone Tracking Clipped.  Federal law enforcement attempts to use cell phones as tracking devices were rebuked twice this month by lower court judges, who say the government cannot get real time tracking information on citizens without showing probable cause.

Phones Will Soon Tell Where You Are.  Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?  Unsettling as that may sound to some, wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they're rolling out services to make it possible.

The Editor says...
"Other people" already know where you are -- the technicians at your cell phone company, for example.  The only thing new here is that you can now purchase information about other people's locations.  But now that everybody knows the technology (once known as radiolocation) is widely available, why hasn't someone invented a service for pinpointing the location of a lost phone?  It should be possible to find lost or stolen phones this way.

Smart phone app busts suspected illegal immigrant.  Just because you've lost your iPhone, doesn't mean it's gone for good.  If you have the Find iPhone app you can track it down.

Big Brother Is Tracking You.  Many new cell phones come equipped with tracking devices that can pinpoint the location of the phone to within 30 feet.  The feature offers lots of possibilities both to users and law enforcement. … Even the simplest phones now have enhanced 911 capability mandated by federal law, which can detect a caller's location within a broad area through triangulated radio signals sent to cell towers.

Wireless providers to disable stolen phones.  Major wireless service companies have agreed to disable cellphones after they are reported stolen under a strategy intended to deter the theft and resale of wireless devices.

The Editor says...
Cell phones can still be tracked from place to place, even if they can't make a call.  Just by attempting to place a call, the phone reveals its location.

California Bill Would Require Antitheft Technology for Cellphones.  A smartphone is sleek, compact and valuable, which makes it a perfect target for a thief.  Californian lawmakers want to require cellphone companies to fix that problem.  In the last year, officials in San Francisco and New York have pressured cellphone companies to adopt a so-called "kill switch" that would render a smartphone unusable after it was stolen, which would make it difficult for a thief to sell the device.

The Editor says...
I would be very surprised if such a mechanism does not already exist, but is being kept quiet by law enforcement agencies, since the use of a stolen cell phone often yields valuable evidence.  Aside from that, who buys cell phones from strangers in the street, and of those few people, who would test the phone before buying it?  Moreover, the cell phone kill switch could easily be used as a weapon against the political enemies of a tyrant.  Does anyone believe that a government that is known to spy on its citizens would not (suddenly, remotely) turn off a few carefully-selected telephones?

California Bill Requiring Cellphone "Kill Switch" Could Apply to Wide Range of Mobile Devices.  There's no question that cellphone theft is a huge problem, accounting for a significant and growing percentage of all robberies, especially in big cities.  However, a California bill introduced on Friday [2/7/2014] to mandate that cellphones be equipped with a "kill switch" is written so broadly that it could apply to a wide range of devices, even Wi-Fi-only tablets.

California lawmakers want to require 'kill switch' on smartphones.  Citing skyrocketing thefts of smartphones and tablets, officials proposed Thursday that California become the first state to require the devices to be sold with "kill switches" that render them inoperable when stolen. [...] The theft of such devices now accounts for nearly one-third of robberies in the United States, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Thefts of cell phones rise rapidly nationwide.  Nearly half of all robberies in San Francisco this year are cell phone-related, police say, and most occur on bustling transit lines.

Crime Is Up and Bloomberg Blames iPhone Thieves.  A rise in thefts of shiny Apple products accounted for the slight increase in the city's annual crime index, a statistic that covers a number of felonies, including murder, grand larceny and robbery, Mr. Bloomberg said on Friday morning [12/28/2012] during his weekly radio show.  As of Monday, the Police Department recorded 3,484 more major crimes in 2012 than for the same period last year.  The increase in Apple product thefts:  3,890.

Guards sought for news crews in Oakland.  [Scroll down]  "We're experiencing an increase in robberies where victims are targeted specifically for visible electronics."  [Sgt.] Bolton said the department was "working on several different strategies designed to impact robberies."  He declined to go into details, but said Oakland officers had arrested 61 street robbery suspects since August, including 31 who allegedly stole cell phones.

NYPD tracking cell phone owners, but foes aren't sure practice is legal.  The NYPD is amassing a database of cell phone users, instructing cops to log serial numbers from suspects' phones in hopes of connecting them to past or future crimes.  In the era of disposable, anonymous cell phones, the file could be a treasure-trove for detectives investigating drug rings and other criminal enterprises, police sources say.  "It's used to help build cases," one source said of the new initiative.

NYPD Tracking Phones and Owners.  The capacity for tracking information is expanding so rapidly, it is truly breathtaking.  The ability to correlate the numbers that make up so much of our lives is giving rise to dangerous threats to our right to live our own lives in peace.  Suffice to say, the police gathering one more piece of personal information without our consent, and allegedly in the absence of the accusation of, let alone conviction for, a crime, makes all those affected a little less free.

Airport device follows fliers' phones.  Today's smartphones and PDAs could have a new use in the nation's airports:  helping passengers avoid long lines at security checkpoints.  The Transportation Security Administration is looking at installing devices in airports that home in and detect personal electronic equipment.  The aim is to track how long people are stuck in security lines.

Thief steals iPhone running real-time GPS tracking program.  There are unlucky thieves, and then there is Horatio Toure.  According to San Francisco police, the 31-year-old city resident rode a bicycle up to a woman Monday afternoon [7/19/2010] in the South of Market neighborhood, snatched an iPhone out of her hands, and then pedaled away.  Problem was, the woman was carrying the phone as part of a company's demonstration of a real-time GPS tracking program.  If the bandit would have taken a peek at the screen, he would have seen himself traveling across a map of San Francisco.

How Long Does Your Wireless Carrier Retain Texts, Call Logs?  According to data gathered by the Department of Justice, it can be as little as a few days or up to seven years, depending on your provider.  AT&T, for example, retains information about who you are texting for five to seven years.  T-Mobile keeps the same data for five years, Sprint keeps it for 18 months, and Verizon retains it for one year.  Verizon is the only one of the top four carriers that retains text message content, however, and it keeps that for three to five days.

Which Telecoms Store Your Data the Longest? Secret Memo Tells All.  The single-page Department of Justice document, "Retention Periods of Major Cellular Service Providers," is a guide for law enforcement agencies looking to get information — like customer IP addresses, call logs, text messages and web surfing habits — out of U.S. telecom companies, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.  The document, marked "Law Enforcement Use Only" and dated August 2010, illustrates there are some significant differences in how long carriers retain your data. ... The document was unearthed by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina via a Freedom of Information Act claim.

'No Wi-Fi': The Real Sign of Our Times.  I popped into a coffeeshop the other day to get my brain jump-started, and I saw a sign that stopped me cold:  "No Wi-Fi." ... Wireless Internet access has become so ubiquitous, so cheap, so convenient, that the odd establishment that for whatever economic or aesthetic reason declines to offer the amenity to its customers feels compelled to advertise the absence of what didn't exist only a few years ago.  It's like a sign reading "No Public Restroom."

Finally, A Bill Requires Police Get A Judge's Approval Before They Can See Your Texts Or Location.  A month ago, we learned that more (and maybe many, many more) than 1.3 million people's cell phone data were handed over to US law enforcement agencies in 2011 alone.  Text messages, caller locations, and records of who called whom and for how long had all been shared without a judges' approval — because, according to current law, no approval is needed.  Last week, the Congressman who helped reveal how rampant and unregulated that sharing is introduced legislation to start restraining it.

How Many Millions of Cellphones Are Police Watching?  In response to a congressional inquiry, mobile phone companies on Monday [7/9/2012] finally disclosed just how many times they've handed over users' cellphone data to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.  By the New York Times' count, cellphone companies responded to 1.3 million demands for subscribers' information last year from law enforcement.  Many of the records, such as location data, don't require search warrants or much court oversight.  Both police and cell service providers had long resisted releasing details on the scope of cellphone surveillance.  But the new disclosures from cellphone companies still leave a slew of unanswered questions.

More Demands on Cell Carriers in Surveillance.  In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a startling 1.3 million demands for subscriber information last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.

Related page: Anything you have ever said can be used against you.

Related topic:  The proposed odometer tax.



Section 7:  Rude, annoying chatterboxes and the lack of simple courtesy

The use of cell phones wouldn't bother anyone if they were used responsibly, by people with some sense of courtesy, consideration for others and self-control.  Unfortunately those people are hard to find.

Here's how to outwit the smartphones.  A recent study of dining habits reveals how far standards have slipped.  The majority of Britons no longer eat together as a family, but of those who do four out of ten can't see anything wrong with bringing their laptops, iPads and smartphones to the table and carrying on engaging with them.

New York Philharmonic conductor dramatically halts performance after cell phone interruption.  For many it is just one of the daily afflictions of the digital age.  But when a mobile phone went off during a New York Philharmonic performance the conductor saw red, stopping the orchestra in its tracks.  Orchestra music director Alan Gilbert was so appalled by the continuing distraction during one of the most poignant parts of the performance that he brought the musicians to a standstill.

A Flight Attendant's 12 Tips for Cell Phone Use on an Airplane:  I love my cell phone as much as the next person, and with the travel schedule that I have, it's frequently the only way anyone can get in touch with me.  Still, there are certain basic courtesies that must be followed.  Traveling can occasionally bring out the worst in people, resulting in the frequent "it's all about me" syndrome.  Toss in cramped quarters, and discourteous cell phone manners, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Man who yelled at phone user acquitted.  A retired police officer who screamed obscenities at a train passenger who was talking on a cell phone and who hit the hand of another passenger who intervened was acquitted Tuesday of misdemeanor charges stemming from the confrontation.  John Clifford, who is also a lawyer, was found not guilty after a two-day nonjury trial at which he acted as his own attorney.

Minimizing the annoyance of the mobile phone.  We are in real danger of a consumer backlash against annoying technologies.  We already have seen the growth of mobile-phone free zones, of prohibition against phone use, camera use, camera phones, in all sort of public and private places.  The mobile phone has been shown to be a dangerous distraction to the driver of an automobile, whether hands-free or not.  If we do nothing to overcome these problems, then the benefits these technologies bring may very well be denied us because the social costs are simply too great.

Rudeness in America:  While vast majorities of Americans experience a range of rude behaviors at least occasionally in their daily lives, the one transgression that occurs most often is accompanied by a ring tone:  People talking on cell phones, in public places, in a loud or annoying manner.

Cell phone annoyance:  Cell phone usage angers me. I'm not talking about the occasional phone call people must make to stay in touch.  I'm talking about the cell phones going off in movie theaters, seeing a couple sit down to a great dinner in a restaurant and the one person is talking on the phone and ignoring the other sitting across from them.

Cell Phone Rudeness.  There are those who believe that when they press the little button to take or place a call, they are immediately enveloped with an Invisible Cone of Privacy.  They believe that this enables them to stand in the middle of any public place and talk about any subject they want — no matter how personal, or how embarrassing — and no one else can hear them.

The Wired Are A Rude Bunch.  The constant pressure on workers to be accessible means manners often take a backseat.  In consumer circles, lots of people apparently believe that because they can take or make a phone call, they should.

Shocker:  Rude Cell Phone Users Don't Think They're Rude.  A new survey has found that nearly 90 percent of people encounter annoying cell phone users, but just 8 percent say their own cell phone use is sometimes rude.

How to Squelch Your Inner Jackass:  Mobile phones have helped to make a crass and vulgar society even more crass and more vulgar.  Portability makes it possible for anyone to take a private conversation public and that's never a good idea.  In its way, some moron babbling into a mobile phone is as obtrusive and obnoxious as the idiot who plays his boombox at full throttle in the park.

Cell Phone Rudeness:  I thought giving up my beloved cell phone would be difficult; but, after a few days without it, I felt like I had never even had one.  Now, almost three years later, I can no longer imagine what it feels like to be reachable all the time.  I do, however, notice the obsession other people seem to have with their cell phones.  It often seems like they are drawn out of the world we all share into their own dimension, where they and their cell phones are the only things in existence.

Just another way to be rude.  I'm sure that many of you have experienced cell phone rudeness.  Perhaps some of you are guilty of cell phone rudeness.  I've found that there are three main ways to be rude with cell phones.  We all know what number one is:  It's using your cell phone when driving!

Eight tips for reducing cell phone rudeness in public:  Last week Ramsey accompanied a friend to a doctor's office.  The waiting room was packed. ... Everyone looked miserable.  For the most part the only sounds were moaning, sniffling and coughing. ... Suddenly the near quiet room was shattered by a male voice, yelling, "Hey Bubba, whatcha doing?"

Rudeness in America, 2006:  In the ranks of rudeness, cell phones reign.  While vast majorities of Americans experience a range of rude behaviors at least occasionally in their daily lives, the one transgression that occurs most often is accompanied by a ring tone:  People talking on cell phones, in public places, in a loud or annoying manner.

Can we curb rude cell phone manners?  Most cell phone culprits inherently are ill-mannered underachievers.  Getting a phone call in a public place and carrying on a long, loud conversation gives these wannabes a feeling of importance.

Manners and virtue in a modern world:  Many people have no notion of propriety when in the presence of other people, because they are not actually in the presence of other people, even when they are in public.  With everyone chatting on cell phones when not floating in iPod-land, "this is an age of social autism, in which people just can't see the value of imagining their impact on others."  We are entertaining ourselves into inanition.

Welcome to the culture of rudeness.  Not for a long, long time have parents enforced the notion that children should be seen and not heard.  All us fogies, even young ones, flinch when the kids talk at loud length on their cell phones at school, at play and in their living rooms.  They turn the music up as high as it can go no matter where they are.

Jackson Lee says she wasn't trying to keep away health plan foes.  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee ... denied she had attempted to dodge opponents by giving short notice and not widely publicizing her town hall meeting ... Occasional chastising punctuated the rest of the meeting, some comments accusing her of wasting time when introducing a state politician who had joined the crowd and other jeers when she talked on her cell phone while a constituent posed a question to her.

Sheila Jackson Lee at the Town Hall.  Queen Sheila, known more informally as haughty Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), doesn't even have the decency to apologize for gabbing away on her cellphone during a healthcare townhall meeting and ignoring a concerned woman who was asking her a question.

Why Sheila Jackson Lee Is the Least Respected Lawmaker in Congress:  During a townhall meeting, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), stopped to take a call on her cellphone.

Courtesy's Sad Substitute.  For all the clackety-clack of the tracks and the distorted announcements crackling out of raspy speakers, trains are getting to be awfully quiet places.  A decade ago Amtrak started designating "Quiet Cars" in which there was to be no cellphone yammering, no insect-like buzzing or muted thumping bleeding from headphones, no keening conversations.  Now commuter lines are finally following suit.

Manners and virtue in a modern world:  Many people have no notion of propriety when in the presence of other people, because they are not actually in the presence of other people, even when they are in public.  With everyone chatting on cell phones when not floating in iPod-land, "this is an age of social autism, in which people just can't see the value of imagining their impact on others."  We are entertaining ourselves into inanition.

For whom the phone rings:  There are those who use [cell phones] and, then, there are those of us who think that there is something awfully silly about people who can't go five minutes without having one glued to their ear.  Knowing people as I do, I know that 999 out of a thousand cell phone conversations are totally unnecessary.

Miami tops auto club list for rude drivers.  Stressed Miami drivers speed, tailgate and cut off other drivers so frequently that the city earned the title of worst road rage in a survey released Tuesday [5/16/2006].  AutoVantage, an automobile membership club offering travel services and roadside assistance, also listed Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles and Boston among the top five cities for rude driving.



Section 8:  Cell phones in schools / school zones

Recently a number of municipal governments in north Texas (and elsewhere around the country, no doubt) have outlawed the use of cellular phones in school zones.  Presumably, a city-wide ban on cell phones in moving vehicles would have been met with overwhelming opposition, but if the ban is only in school zones, and it's for the children," then what elected official can argue with that?  There will be plenty of chances to expand and extend the prohibition later; for example, banning cell phones within 500 feet of a school zone.  Or 1000 feet.

In most cases the city ordinances have a provision that allows hands-free phones.  But it's not the drivers' hands that are the problem.  It's their minds!  When the driver's mind is occupied with the problem of what to say next, or how to respond to what he or she has just heard on the phone, there is less concentration available for other tasks, like driving the car and not running over anyone.

New 2010 laws:  Cooking to texting.  [Scroll down]  Illinois becomes one of at least 18 states where it is illegal to send or receive text messages or e-mail while driving.  Illinois is also making it illegal to talk on a cellphone while driving in a highway construction zone or school zone...

The Editor says...
If your numeric pager goes off in a school zone, you have received a text message.  And you can bet that if there's a $500 fine at stake, the small-town municipal judge will find you guilty!

Welcome to the culture of rudeness.  Not for a long, long time have parents enforced the notion that children should be seen and not heard.  All us fogies, even young ones, flinch when the kids talk at loud length on their cell phones at school, at play and in their living rooms.  They turn the music up as high as it can go no matter where they are.

Highland Park Passes School Zone Cell Phone Ban.  The Highland Park town council has passed a ban for drivers using cell phones in certain areas.  The ordinance bans drivers from using hand-held cell phones during school zone hours.

Use Of Cell Phones Illegal In HP School Zones.  Highland Park's cell phone ban in school zones is believed to be the first of its kind in Texas.  The ban started Monday [12/3/2008], and Highland Park police say they have already ticketed eight people for breaking the law.  Each ticket costs $75.

The Editor says...
In Highland Park, $75 is mere pocket change -- about what it costs to eat lunch.  That amount probably won't cover the manpower involved in processing the ticket.  But I'll say it again — this kind of incrementalism only goes one direction.  First they pass a law like this "for the children", and the next thing you know, it will be applied to the whole city.  Notice also that the law applies specifically to telephones, not to two-way radios of the more conventional sense, which can be even more distracting.  Notice also that the cop who issues a citation for violating this law is driving a car that is loaded with radios, computers, at least one cell phone, and assorted firearms.  Who is more distracted?

On their cell phones-14 busted speeding in school zones.  Oak Park police ticketed 14 speeding motorists last week — all of them talking on cell phones at the time — during continued enforcement of traffic laws around the village's schools.

Dallas to consider limiting cell phone use in school zones.  Dallas will consider limiting cellphone use in school zones, prompted Friday afternoon [1/11/2008] by a petition signed by five City Council members who want to formally discuss the issue.  Such action in Dallas follows Highland Park and University Park both recently banning handheld cellphone use within school zones.

Dallas Weighs Cell Phone Ban.  Dallas will consider outlawing the use of cell phones in school zones similar to bans in two other North Texas cities.  Ordinances in Highland Park and University Park ban cell phone use while in a school zone.  The Dallas proposal would also outlaw text messaging.

School Cell Phone Ban Causes Uproar.  A ban on cell phones in the nation's biggest school system is creating an uproar among parents and students alike, with teenagers sneaking their phones inside their lunches and under their clothes, and grown-ups insisting they need to stay in touch with their children in case of another crisis like Sept. 11.

The Editor says...
What does September 11 have to do with this?  Unless a terrorist attack happens at the school (as opposed to New York City or Washington), why would the kids need to call home?

High school limits student cell phone use.  Cell phones are now allowed at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in suburban Chicago and a growing number of schools nationwide — but only sometimes.  Some students complain the rules on phones and pagers, while better than an outright ban, don't always make sense.  At Stevenson, students are allowed to use them only after school finishes at 3:25 p.m. and on weekends.  The rest of the time, they must keep them off and out of sight.

State court says city can ban cell phones in schools.  The city ban on students having cellular telephones in public schools is rational and legal, a judge ruled Monday [5/7/2007] in support of a policy that parents have vigorously opposed.  The Department of Education's ban has existed for years in the nation's biggest school system, but until last spring many students carried cell phones without risk of punishment.

Cell phones at school:  To ban or not to ban?  According to a BBC report India has the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, with more than 170 million subscribers.  Every month around seven million new subscribers are added to the list and a large number of them are children.

Cell phones in school:  Necessity or nuisance?  When Molly Baldwin begins her junior year at Maconaquah High School, she already knows her cellular phone has to stay in her locker. … The penalty for using a cell phone during school hours ranges from confiscation of the phone to expulsion.



Section 9:  The addictive nature of text messaging:

Apps that keep parents in the dark.  You may think you're one of the parents who has monitoring their teen's high tech conversations pretty well covered.  More than 84 percent say they do.  But teens are finding ways around your watchful eyes with new apps that let them text and share photos without you ever knowing.

Cell Phone 'Sexting' A Problem, Teens Say.  By texting, students keep their conversations secret because they're not talking on the phone.  They can even use their phones in the classroom.  "I'd rather text than talk on the phone," said 17-year-old Darrell Keyes.  "I waste, like, 4,000 text messages in a month."  But texting inappropriate photos can turn into a criminal matter.

NYC's Ban on Cell Phones in Schools Sparks Challenge.  Opponents of New York City's ban on cell phones in public schools plan to challenge the rule in court.  Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel told amny.com that the ban has no rational basis and will not stand up to scrutiny.  Siegel said there is no reason to prohibit phones, which can be turned off.

This Kid's a Text Maniac.  Greg Hardesty didn't LOL when he got his teen daughter's cellphone statement. ... The California man's 13-year-old daughter, Reina, racked up an astonishing 14,528 text messages in one month.  The online AT&T statement ran 440 pages.

The Editor says...
When I was a teenager, I sent a lot of short text messages, too.  But I sent them in Morse code on 7177 kHz.  (At no cost!)

One Third of American teenagers admit to sending more than 100 texts a day.  A study has found that texting has become the most popular means of communication for teenagers, eclipsing phone calls, social networking sites and even face-to-face conversations.

Woman gets 30 days in jail for texting in court.  A Utah mother of four small children has been jailed on a judge's order to serve 30 days behind bars for allegedly sending a text message while she was watching a court proceeding.  The report comes from her father-in-law, Dennis Jackson, who told WND of the series of events that left his daughter-in-law, Susan Henwood, imprisoned.

My daughter racked up 14,528 text messages in one month.  Given that she's had a cell phone for less than six months, and she is supposed to share the phone with her 14-year-old brother (and use it mainly for emergencies) — well, I'm speechless. ... But still... A 440-page phone bill?  Thankfully, [her mother] signed up all of them for unlimited texting.  If not, the 20 cents per text for Reina would have totaled $2,905.60.

Fla. Woman Shocked by $200,000 Cell Phone Bill.  A South Florida woman got a shock when she opened a recent cell phone bill:  she owed $201,000.  It was no mistake.

Study: Many teens ignoring North Carolina cellphone ban.  North Carolina adopted a cellphone ban for teen drivers in 2006, but a recently published study has found that many teens ignore the law and more are engaging in the highly hazardous practice of texting and driving.  The results of the study by the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill appear in the current issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.  It is based on the observation of 5,000 teen drivers leaving high school parking lots.



Section 10:  Health risks (allegedly) connected to cell phone usage

Absorbed device users oblivious to danger.  A man standing on a crowded Muni train pulls out a .45-caliber pistol.  He raises the gun, pointing it across the aisle, before tucking it back against his side.  He draws it out several more times, once using the hand holding the gun to wipe his nose.  Dozens of passengers stand and sit just feet away — but none reacts. [...]"These weren't concealed movements — the gun is very clear," said District Attorney George Gascón.  "These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this.  They're just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot.  They're completely oblivious of their surroundings."

How iPads are turning young eyes old before their time by making us forget to blink.  Increasing dependence on iPads, computers and smartphones has left many young people with an eye problem that usually affects those much older.  Millions are developing 'dry eye', a condition that results in gritty, itchy, inflamed eyes, thanks to hours staring at a screen.

Thanks again, Obama voters.
ObamaCare Subjects Nearly Every Phone and Computer to Government Control.  On July 19, 2011, the Obama Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff on Mobile Medical Applications[, i.e.,] our smartphone, tablet and computer apps.  The Obama Administration — the most unilateral-power-grab Presidency in our nation's history — is asserting that these mobile medical apps may pose "risks."  And thusly should be regulated as medical devices.

Scaring cell users.  There is "an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use," IARC announced in a press release, which then clarifies in a footnote 2:  "chance, bias or confounding could not be ruled out with reasonable confidence."

Hospital splashes cash on 'electro-allergy' room.  Falköping hospital in southern Sweden recently spent just under a million kronor ($146,130) to have a room adapted to suit the needs of the "electro-oversensitive", despite the fact that the allergy hasn't been scientifically proven to exist.

'Electro-oversensitive' man in mobile phone blackout threat.  A Swedish man who sometimes wears a silver-coloured suit to protect himself from mobile phone mast radiation had demanded that local officials in Dalarna in central Sweden create a "radiation-free zone" to protect his health that may leave half the county without mobile phone coverage.

The Editor asks...
How does he feel about radio and TV transmitters?  They're hundreds of times more powerful.

The Cellular Telephone and its Discontents.  In Sweden, where nearly 90 percent of the population has had a cellphone from a very early stage of the technology, national rates of brain tumor have not risen.  Just because cellphones do not harm brains physically, however, does not mean that they do not do other forms of harm.  So I say to users of cellphones:  improve the average quality of human communication, do not make that call.

Largest study on cellphones, cancer finds no link.  The biggest study ever to examine the possible connection between cellphones and cancer found no evidence of any link, suggesting that billions of people who are rarely more than a few inches from their phones have no special health concerns.

Mobile phone users suffering from 'text neck'.  The affliction, caused by flexing the neck for extended periods of time, can be a forerunner of permanent arthritic damage if it goes without treatment.  Cases of the repetitive strain injury are on the rise as smart phones and tablet computers such as the iPad become increasingly popular, experts said.  In severe cases the muscles can eventually adapt to fit the flexed position, making it painful to straighten the neck out properly.

Mobile phone use 'not linked to brain tumours', say experts.  After decades of fear, using a mobile phone may not cause cancer after all, scientific research has claimed.  An independent panel of experts has found "no convincing evidence of a link" between the technology and brain tumours.  But the panel, from a leading cancer research centre, admitted the possibility of small or long-term repercussions could not be ruled out.

Mobile phones can cause brain tumours, court rules.  A landmark court case has ruled there is a link between using a mobile phone and brain tumours, paving the way for a flood of legal actions.

Wireless interference a matter of life and death.  Wireless systems used by many hospitals to keep track of medical equipment can cause potentially deadly breakdowns in lifesaving devices such as breathing and dialysis machines, researchers have reported.  The wireless systems send out radio waves that can interfere with equipment such as respirators, external pacemakers and kidney dialysis machines, the study said.

Will cell phones kill more than cigarettes?  An internationally recognized, award-winning brain surgeon says cell phones could be a greater threat to worldwide public health than smoking or asbestos.  Australian Dr. Vini Khurana says it is because far more people are using cell phones and at earlier ages, increasing their exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

Mobile phone radiation fries sperm — study.  Men who talk for hours on their mobile phones could be jeopardising their chance of fathering a child, Australian research suggests.  An experiment on semen revealed evidence of DNA damage after 16 hours of exposure to radiation similar to the output of a mobile phone.

The Editor says...
A man who is on the phone for 16 hours at a time has bigger problems than the RF exposure.

Mobile phone radiation damages memory: study.  Exposure to mobile phone radiation worsens the short-term memory of rats, according to a new Swedish study.  A doctoral dissertation carried out at Lund University also found that groups of genes involved with behaviour and memory undergo changes due to repeated doses of radiation from mobile phones, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reports.

Progressive Paradise.  Under [Mayor Gavin] Newsom's reign, noted for imposing costly health care and "green" mandates, the city has experienced a serious business exodus that commenced long before the onset of the recession.  City nannies hadn't done much since banning plastic shopping bags a few years ago.  But nannyism gets pent-up too, so last month it released a gusher.  First target:  cell phones, whose sellers were required to calibrate the amount of radiation emitted and post it at the point of sale.

Mind Control by Cell Phone:  If cell phone signals boost a person's alpha waves, does this nudge them subliminally into an altered state of consciousness or have any effect at all on the workings of their mind that can be observed in a person's behavior?  In [a recent] study, James Horne and colleagues at the Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre in England devised an experiment to test this question.  The result was surprising.  Not only could the cell phone signals alter a person's behavior during the call, the effects of the disrupted brain-wave patterns continued long after the phone was switched off.

Mobile phone danger to unborn child:  Use could cause behavioural problems  Pregnant women who use mobile phones are more likely to have children with behavioural problems, a shocking study has found.  Using handsets just two or three times a day is enough to raise the risk of hyperactivity and emotional problems.  Letting children use mobiles before the age of seven also puts them at risk, scientists warn.

The Editor says...
Lousy parenting due to excessive use of the phone has nothing to do with the phone's wirelessness.

Teen on cell phone killed by train.  Police spokesman Paul Petersen said Angie Rodriguez was on her cell phone as she walked across the tracks near the 900 block of First Avenue and was struck just after 11:30.

Padded Lampposts Tested in London to Prevent Cell Phone Texting Injuries.  A London street is experimenting with padded lampposts to protect those not paying attention from banging into them, ITN reports.  A study conducted by 118 118, a phone directory service, found that one in 10 people has been hurt while focusing on their cell phone instead of where they were walking, ITN reports.

The Editor says...
It is a big mistake to accomodate klutzes.  Let them take their lumps and learn a valuable lesson.

Texting May Be Taking a Toll.  Spurred by the unlimited texting plans offered by carriers like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Nielsen Company — almost 80 messages a day, more than double the average of a year earlier.

How cell phones sap your brain:  A study of Australian highway crashes published recently in the British Medical Journal found yakking on a cell phone while driving is four times likelier to lead to a serious crash, regardless whether the driver is talking to a handheld or hands-free phone.  Researchers for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted the study, the first to link actual accident data with phone records, in Western Australia, because phone companies in the United States would not grant access to wireless records, citing privacy concerns.

Heavy mobile phone use a cancer risk.  People who use a mobile phone for hours a day are 50 percent more likely to develop mouth cancer than those who do not talk on them at all, new research has shown.  The study also suggests that mobile users who live in rural areas may be at an increased risk of cancer because handsets need to emit more radiation to locate fewer antennas.

Children who use mobile phones are 'five times more likely to develop brain tumours'.  The Swedish study indicated that under-16s are more at risk of radiation from mobile phones because their brains and nervous systems are still developing.  Because their heads are smaller and their skulls are thinner the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains, it is believed.  After presenting their findings, the scientists said that children under 12 should only use mobiles for emergencies.

Mobile phones 'more dangerous than smoking'.  Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded.  He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their radiation.

Study: Cell phone link to brain tumors.  A groundbreaking, $30 million study into cell phones has found a link between long term use and brain tumors.

The Editor says...
What about second-hand radio waves?

Warning:  Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health.  Ever worry that that gadget you spend hours holding next to your head might be damaging your brain?  Well, the evidence is starting to pour in, and it's not pretty.  So why isn't anyone in America doing anything about it?

Brain tumour link to mobiles.  A long-awaited international study of the health risks of mobile phones has linked extended mobile phone use to an increased risk of developing brain tumours.  The 10-year Interphone study, the world's biggest study of the health effects of mobile phones, found while there was no increased risk of cancer overall, those in the top 10 per cent of phone use are up to 40 per cent more likely to develop glioma, a common type of brain cancer.

The Cellphone Panic.  This week the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a respected WHO panel, touched off a media bonfire with its declaration that the radio-frequency electromagnetic fields that cellphones emit are "possibly carcinogenic to humans."  Maybe this cancer menace will be validated one day, but the WHO seems to be using its public health platform to exaggerate minuscule risks and send a crowd into a burning theater.  The agency promoted the sensationalistic coverage with a news conference, even though it has yet to release either its scientific monograph or the forthcoming summary in the Lancet Oncology.

No evidence that mobile phones harm health: study.  There is no convincing evidence that the use of mobile phones damages human health, a "comprehensive" review of scientific evidence said on Thursday [4/26/2012].  Studies have not demonstrated that the use of mobiles causes brain tumours or any other cancer, according to the review by the Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation.

Good thing you're not a mouse.
Cell Phone Radiation Linked to Behavior Problems in Mice.  A new study could re-ignite the debate over the potentially dangerous effects of cell phone radiation on children's behavior.  Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine found that exposing pregnant mice to radiation from a cell phone affected the behavior of their offspring later.  They found that the mice exposed to radiation as fetuses were more hyperactive, had more anxiety and poorer memory — symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — than mice who were not exposed to radiation.

On the other hand...
Four-country study finds no cancer link to cellphone usage.  A large new study is the latest to find no link between rising cellphone use and rates of brain cancer.  Researchers in four Scandinavian countries found no increase in brain tumor diagnoses from 1998 to 2003, when cellphone use in those countries grew sharply, according to a study published online Thursday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Mobiles 'don't increase brain tumour risk'.  There is no increased risk of brain tumours in people who have used a mobile phone regularly for 10 years, according to an international study including researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Institutet.

Cellphone Fear in San Francisco.  A study involving essentially the entire adult populations of all four Scandinavian countries, 16 million people total, appeared in the prestigious Journal of the National Cancer Institute in December, finding that a dozen years of cellphone exposure did not at all increase brain tumor incidence.  It also observed that if cellphones did cause tumors that would be enough time for them to start appearing in significant numbers.  The National Cancer Institute's Dr. Robert Hoover agrees, telling me we should have "seen an increase in incidence by now."

Stop Me Before I Call Again.  Gavin Newsom is at it again.  The San Francisco mayor's latest foray into annoying nanny statism is a proposal, reported in The Chronicle last week, to require the city's cell phone retailers to post the radiation levels of their products. ... Newsom wants to require cell phone companies to post warnings for an ostensible cancer threat that has not been established.

English Hippies Want Local Wi-Fi Network Turned Off.  Turn off that Wi-Fi network — it's disturbing our chakras.  That's what many residents of Glastonbury, a lovely medieval town turned New Age hub in southwestern England, are demanding the local government do.  Ever since the town's free municipal wireless broadband network went online in May, people have been complaining of, as an online petition puts it, "headaches, dizziness, nausea, severe tiredness, brain fog, disorientation and loss of appetite, loss of balance, inability to concentrate, loss of creativity" — all ailments an examining physician would find it difficult to prove or disprove.



Section 11:  Other items yet to be categorized

Teen Allegedly Kills Man for Cell Phone Then Complains of Phone's Quality.  On February 23rd 17-year-old Byron White allegedly killed a Seattle man for his cell phone then complained that the cell phone "was not a nicer model."  According to The Seattle Times, White was charged as an adult on March 4th "in connection with the fatal shooting."  Other charges include "second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and second-degree attempted robbery."

Seattle teen kills man for cellphone — then complains the device is too cheap: cops .  A Seattle teen shot and killed a man for his cellphone — then went to a friend's house and complained the stolen gizmo wasn't nice enough, police say.  Byron White, 17, now faces charges as an adult for killing David Peterson last month in the Washington city's Greenwood neighborhood.

The Editor asks...
Was his "friend" an accessory after the fact?

What Disney World's Magic Band teaches us about mobile payments.  It takes no less time to pull out a debit or credit card, swipe it, and enter a PIN as it does to position the Magic Band, hold it until the Mickey Mouse icon on the register glowed green, and enter a PIN.  On a smartphone that connects directly to the sales terminal via NFC or Bluetooth, you might save a few seconds pulling out the phone versus digging a card out of your wallet, but you'll likely lose those seconds in the terminal's reaction time to the smartphone.  If you're using a mobile app, you'll spend much more time navigating to, opening, and navigating within the app than you would pulling out a card.

Man Escapes Fire, Dies After Going Back for Phone.  A Texas man who escaped a burning building with his life but not his phone made the fatal mistake of going back for it, firefighters say.  Rex Benson, 72, his adult daughter, and another man made it out of their Plano home when the fire started around 1am yesterday [2/27/2014], but the two men decided to brave the flames and go back in to retrieve their phones to call 911; a neighbor tells the Dallas Morning News he had to stop Benson's daughter from following them in.

Calif. teen killed trying to retrieve phone from tracks.  Yet another person has died after putting her phone's safety ahead of her own.  Jenna Betti, 14, was killed by a freight train on Sunday [3/2/2014] when she tried to retrieve a phone she had dropped on the tracks in Martinez, Calif., reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 3.5 Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones.  [M]ost of the smart money thinks I'm wrong by at least three years.  Worldwide, according to Gartner, smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales in 2013, for the first time -- but Africa remains a different story.  Informa UK's terrific Africa Telecoms Outlook (PDF) projects 334 million African smartphone connections in 2017, maybe 30% of the continent's population.

California State Senator Pushing for Smartphone 'Kill Switch'.  A California state senator is pushing for legislation requiring smartphone makers to add "kill switch" technology to disable stolen devices, but wireless carriers and trade groups oppose his plan. [...] A Federal Communications Commission report says 30 percent to 40 percent of all robberies occurring nationwide involve cell phones, at a cost of more than $30 billion in 2012 alone, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Urban Poor Among Those Subsidizing Phones for Nation's Wealthiest Locales.  Researchers are expressing skepticism toward Federal Communications Commission reforms that attempt to end waste in a federal phone subsidy program.  Before the 2011 reforms, federal subsidies provided up to nearly $24,000 per year per phone line in certain high-income areas, including the island of Maui in Hawaii, Colorado resorts, and gated communities in Arizona.  The subsidies have been going to approximately one-half of one percent of the nation's households.  Maximum subsidies per line are smaller now but still far more than the actual costs to provide phone service.

iPhone GPS led investigators to suspects in killing of Washington & Jefferson football player.  [Scroll down]  Police reported little movement in the case since then, although they were busy tracking leads, including a GPS trail left by Mr. McNerney's iPhone, which was stolen from him that night, along with his wallet.  While police are keeping details of the case close to the vest, they said they were led to the suspects through the phone's GPS system, which indicated that the phone was near the Houston Street home of Mr. Hankins and the McDonald house where Mr. Wells was staying at the time.

100,000 Americans Sign WH Petition on Cellphone Unlocking.  On January 26, 2013, the Librarian of Congress issued a ruling that made it illegal to unlock new phones.  Unlocking is a technique to allow your phone to use a different carrier.  Doing so could place you in legal liability for up to 5 years in jail and a $500,000 fine (specifically the Librarian of Congress allowed the existing exception to lapse).  This prohibition is a violation of our property rights, and it makes you wonder, if you can't alter the settings on your phone, do you even own your own phone?

Starting Today, It's Illegal to Unlock Your Cellphone.  You likely have a cellphone that you bought from a carrier, like AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, and that phone only works on that carrier's cellular and data network — unless you "unlock" it.  That is a software process that allows the phone to work on other carriers if you put in a new SIM card or want to take the phone to another carrier for service.

Cell Phones Often Taxed More Heavily than Alcohol or Cigarettes.  Wireless consumers in the United States pay more than 17 percent in taxes and fees on average on their cell phone bills, including more than 11 percent in state and local charges, according to a new analysis by the Tax Foundation.  In Nebraska, the combined federal-state-local average rate is nearly 24.5 percent, and in six other states — Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington — it exceeds 20 percent.

Fees, Taxes on Wireless Services Keep Climbing .  Growing almost as fast as the wireless communications industry are the fees and taxes paid by wireless phone users.  Even as revenue earned per wireless phone falls, taxes and fees climb.

Bloomberg news: Why Cell Phones Went Dead After Hurricane Sandy.  After Hurricane Sandy, survivors needed, in addition to safety and power, the ability to communicate.  Yet in parts of New York City, mobile communications services were knocked out for days.  The problem?  The companies that provide them had successfully resisted Federal Communications Commission calls to make emergency preparations, leaving New Yorkers to rely on the carriers' voluntary efforts.

After Sandy, wired New Yorkers get reconnected with pay phones.  It's worth noting that the push to eliminate POTS phone service — being lead [sic] by AT&T who wants everything to be VoIP (mainly to evade regulations on traditional phone service) could have enormous negative implications for emergency situations when cellular and Internet service fails.  The reason most traditional POTS lines stay up is that they are connected by copper directly to the central office and powered from massive batteries there.

FCC Describes 911 and Cellphone Problems.  I frequently remind people thinking about going cell-only with no landlines, that cell service is usually the first to become overloaded and fail during major disasters.

Supreme Court to determine legality of reselling iphones, cars, textbooks.  In a case that tests the boundaries of copyright law, merchants and consumers say they have the right to resell what they own, but content creators argue they should be protected from shady deals that undercut retail prices.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky calls on followers to burn iPhones.  AN influential ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi ordered his followers this week to burn their iPhones, the latest move by the insular community to keep the outside world at bay.  The decree by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 84, came ahead of Judaism's holiest day, Yom Kippur.  It said that it was forbidden to own the smartphone, and those who already had one must burn theirs.

Thief catches Ebola from stolen mobile phone.  A luckless thief has caught the Ebola virus after nabbing a mobile phone from a hospital patient who was battling the disease.  The 40-year-old thief crept past security at Kagadi Hospital in western Uganda on August 14 before swiping the phone from a man in the hospital's Ebola isolation ward.  The patient later died in hospital from the hemorrhagic fever, according to reports.

Lost cameras "phone home" to catch thieves.  Alison DeLauzon thought the snapshots and home videos of her infant son were gone for good when she lost her digital camera while on vacation in Florida.  Then a funny thing happened:  her camera "phoned home."  Equipped with a special memory card with wireless Internet capability, DeLauzon's camera had not only automatically sent her holiday pictures to her computer, but had even uploaded photos of the miscreants who swiped her equipment bag after she accidentally left it behind at a restaurant.

Pocket-dialed 911 calls increasingly common.  Police here in Ontario, Canada, have been seeing a substantial increase in the number of false-alarm calls to the emergency phone number 911 when no call was intended at all — "pocket dialing" ... In Toronto, about 10% of 911 calls in 2011 were pocket-dialed calls.

Politics lurking in your cellphone.  Here's the bad news if you're burning with frustration over the cellular minutes you just lost listening to a political pitch:  The calls aren't going to stop.  Go ahead and sign up on the Do Not Call Registry, but it won't help.  Cellphones are the new frontier for political "robo-calling," and politicians work the system to make as many of these cheap and easy contacts as they like.  Sadly, for owners of smart phone, most aren't smart enough to block the calls.

North Korea threatens to punish mobile-phone users as 'war criminals'.  North Korea has warned that any of its citizens caught trying to defect to China or using mobile phones during the 100-day mourning period for Kim Jong-il will be branded as "war criminals" and punished accordingly.

How Siri is ruining your cellphone service.  Siri's dirty little secret is that she's a bandwidth guzzler, the digital equivalent of a 10-miles-per-gallon Hummer H1.  To make your wish her command, Siri floods your cell network with a stream of data; her responses require a similarly large flow in return.

Your iPhone Was Built, In Part, By 13 Year-Olds Working 16 Hours A Day For 70 Cents An Hour.  We love our iPhones and iPads.  We love the prices of our iPhones and iPads.  We love the super-high profit margins of Apple, Inc., the maker of our iPhones and iPads.  And that's why it's disconcerting to remember that the low prices of our iPhones and iPads — and the super-high profit margins of Apple — are only possible because our iPhones and iPads are made with labor practices that would be illegal in the United States.

Obamas bring custom cellphone tower to vacation.  While cell service can be iffy across Martha's Vineyard, the most consistent problems are in Chilmark and Aquinnah, the island's two outermost towns.  Many residents and visitors said they considered the few weeks of better connections a kind of gift from the White House.  Some described jumping when their phones went off in the library or post office, unaccustomed as they are to hearing them ring at all.

How many ditch diggers carry smart phones?
Obama admin makes Smartphone app to tell outdoors workers when it's hot outside.  President Barack Obama's Department of Labor launched a new Smartphone app last week that tells outdoor workers when it's hot and humid outside.  The DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's new "Heat Safety Tool," designed for outdoor workers who are already outside, tells workers the temperature and humidity level of where they're at. [sic]  From that data, the app calculates the "heat index" and "risk level" for workers in the given location.

The Editor says...
The "humidity level of where they're at"?  What atrocious grammar!

The Hot New Smartphone App From Your Labor Department.  Following the President's cybernetic lead, the Department of Labor has entered The Matrix with a sweet new smartphone application, developed at taxpayer expense, that provides vital information to workers who are preparing to enter a hazardous work environment.  More specifically, it's a "Heat Safety Tool" that displays the temperature and humidity level of your current location, calculates the heat index, and reminds you to drink plenty of water when it's hot outside.

Has '4G' lost its meaning?  Wireless carriers in the U.S. have turned 4G into a meaningless marketing term, and standards purists are none too pleased about it.  With good reason:  All four of the major U.S. wireless carriers are calling their faster wireless networks 4G, but the truth is that none of these networks meets the International Telecommunication Union's specifications for 4G. ... [But] some of the most influential wireless operators have chosen to ignore the ITU's specifications and instead are pushing forward with their own marketing labels.

Cell phone ring tones spark copyright questions.  When a music ring tone goes off in a restaurant or during a company meeting, it's often heard by more than just the intended recipient.  But can that seconds-long clip of a song be considered a public performance of a musical work?

Lost Without Your Mobile?  Sounds Like a Case of Nomo-phobia.  Fear of being out of mobile phone contact affects over 13 million people across the UK and is causing stress levels to soar, according to a report from the Post Office.  The Post Office has coined a new term to describe this latest affliction to hit the ipod generation — "nomo-phobia".  The term characterises a generation of mobile phone users who worry about being out of mobile phone contact with friends, family and colleagues.  The term is an abreviation of No Mobile Phobia.

Free Cell Phones Offered To Poor Tennessee Residents.  A cell phone company is offering free wireless phones and 68 minutes of free air time to more than 800,000 low-income Tennessee residents in a program aimed at ensuring they can make a call in an emergency.

Cell Phones for the Poor on the Taxpayers' Dime.  The federal government is now busy working with telecommunications companies to make sure everyone enjoys the comfort of cell phone ownership — even if they can't afford it. ... Does the federal government, in partnering with companies like Assurance Wireless, see owning a cell phone as a right?

Welfare Creep in Laredo.  [Scroll down]  Poke around the Assurance Wireless web site a bit, and you find that this program, which is already available elsewhere and similar to existing programs, is made possible by the Universal Service Fund.  That was set up in 1996, ostensibly to expand communications networks.  At the time, some predicted that it would end up as some sort of welfare.  And so it has.

Got Food Stamps? Get Free Sprint Wireless Services.  Can government subsidies help Sprint Nextel bounce back?  Perhaps so, in a way you may not think.  Sprint, which reported fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, seems to be having success with its Assurance Wireless brand, a prepaid offering.  Sprint launched the government-subsidized Assurance program in early 2010.  Sprint now markets the Assurance brand in 22 states and Washington, D.C.  Sprint expanded the Assurance brand to Pennsylvania today [2/14/2011].

Free cell phones for the needy drawing both cheers and jeers.  In Pennsylvania, two programs offer free cell service:  Assurance Wireless and SafeLink from Tracfone Wireless, which specializes in "no-contract" cellular service.  The federal Universal Service Fund, which all telecommunications providers support as required by federal law, pays for the programs.  Amy Storey, a spokeswoman for CTIA -- The Wireless Association in Washington, said all U.S. wireless carriers charge consumers a fee to recover the cost of their contribution to the fund, which varies quarterly as determined by the Federal Communications Commission.

Paying Telephone Customers Forced to Buy Cellphones for Others.  Undoubtedly it was just an oversight on Thomas Jefferson's part when he wrote that man's unalienable rights include "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" — but not free cellphones.

Free cell phones are now a civil right.  Pennsylvanians on public assistance now have a new 'civil right' — free cell phones.  Meanwhile, the rest of us get to pay higher cell bills as a result.  Recently, a federal government program called the Universal Service Fund came to the Keystone State and some residents are thrilled because it means they can enjoy 250 minutes a month and a handset for free, just because they don't have the money to pay for it.

The Editor says...
This is the exact inverse of capitalism.  The customer gets a cell phone because he or she does not have the money to pay for it.

Texas member proposes ending federally subsidized cellphones.  Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) this week proposed new legislation that would terminate part of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that Republicans say is improperly used by phone companies to offer customers free cellphone service.  Farenthold says his bill, the Lifeline Reform Act, would save about $500 million annually.  "These 'free' cellphones come at cost to hardworking American taxpayers because the program is funded by a tax on phone service," Farenthold said.

When you give away cheese, expect a flood of rats.
Over 26,000 Ohioans abusing free cell phone plan.  Companies are flooding low-income households with free cell phones and minutes under a plan overseen by the federal government that is prone to abuse, a Dayton Daily News investigation has found.  The investigation found the free cell phone program is growing rapidly because cell phone companies are promoting it heavily and is so commonly abused that 26,500 Ohioans this month have been notified they are violating the rules.  The program is paid for with fees mandated by the government and tacked onto most cellphone and home phone bills, often listed as the Universal Service fee.

Washington Footing the Cell Phone Bill for Millions of Low Income Americans.  Last year, a federal program paid out $1.6 billion to cover free cell phones and the monthly bills of 12.5 million wireless accounts.  The program, overseen by the FCC and intended to help low-income Americans, is popular for obvious reasons, with participation rising steeply since 2008, when the government paid $772 million for phones and monthly bills.  But observers complain that the program suffers from poor oversight, in which phones go to people who don't qualify, and hundreds of thousands of those who do qualify have more than one phone.

About the entitlement to cellphone service...  The Lifeline program was launched in 1985 to provide discounted landline service to low-income Americans.  Now it covers cellphone service as well.  The government pays carriers as much as $10 a month for each Lifeline customer they sign up.  Recipients — people who qualify for such programs as Medicaid or food stamps — get free phones and 250 free minutes per month.  The companies get the revenue and the chance to sell extra minutes if customers max out.

49.5% of Americans Pay No Federal Income Tax.  The number of Americans on food stamps has risen to a record 45.8 million.  The previous record was 31 million in 2009.  Likewise, the number of people using free government-provided cell phones has shot up exponentially.  In 2008, the free cell phone program cost tax-payers $772 million, and in 2011 it cost $1.6 billion.  (Those free cell phones are expensive.)

Arkansas congressman wants to disconnect $1 billion free cell phone program.  No one likes paying cell phone bills.  What if you could get a free phone with a calling plan whose cost was paid by the federal government?  What if you could have eight free cell phones?  You can, and people do, Rep. Tim Griffin told The Daily Caller.  The annual bill runs over $1 billion, and he's trying to stop it.

Spending Off the Hook: Free Phones Costing Taxpayers $2.1 Billion Per Year.  You're probably familiar with the food stamp program which grew from $35 billion in 2008 to $75 billion last year.  But did you know that getting food stamps also makes you eligible for a free government cell phone?  A program called Lifeline provides free phones and free monthly minutes to anyone on food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, Head Start, and several other government programs.  And just like food stamps, Lifeline (aka "phone stamps") has been growing by leaps and bounds since 2008, at significant cost to taxpayers.

Now Available: Free "Obama" Phones.  If you are already receiving any public service, you are probably entitled to a Volksphone.  There are upwards of 20 million people enjoying what they are told are "free Obama phones".  The rest of us are forced to subsidize the Volksphone through hidden taxes assessed by the Obama Federal Communications Commission (FCC), through the universal service fund. [...] Obama's emissaries created the program, mandate the assessments on the telecommunications companies, who then pass the cost to us.  Then candidate Obama can enjoy the fruits of the giveaway, while Chief Executive Obama can deny responsibility for levying the taxes.

Who gets rich off 'free' government phones?  One of America's fastest-growing wireless carriers is a company you've probably never heard of:  Tracfone Wireless.  It's the U.S. arm of a telecom empire controlled by the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, and it's the biggest player in an increasingly lucrative market:  subsidized mobile phones for low-income Americans.

On D.C. Streets, the Cellphone as Lifeline.  To the usual trappings that help many homeless people endure life on the streets — woolen blankets, shopping carts or cardboard box shelters — add the humble cellphone.  Today, it's not unusual for the homeless to whip out Nokia 6085 GoPhones (with optional Bluetooth and USB connectivity), stop at a public computer to check e-mail or urge friends to read their blogs.

Cell phones for Alabama's poor hits roadblock.  Most poor Alabamians will have to wait months, and perhaps longer, to get free, government-subsidized cell phones and cell phone service.  The state board that oversees emergency 911 service on Friday told the Miami company behind plans for the free phones that the board lacks the authority to grant statewide certification that the phones are compatible with 911 systems.  The certification is required by the Federal Communications Commission to qualify the company, TracFone Wireless, for federal subsidies.

King Uncorks Clunker:  The Cell Phone Clicky Noise Act.  In a what-was-he-thinking move, Representative Peter King (R-NY) has recently introduced H.R. 414, the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act which is aimed at preventing "predators" from taking illicit photos of others in public with cell phones.  The bill will force cell phone manufacturers to make the camera feature of a cell phone emit a noise so that it will be audibly obvious when a picture is taken.

The Editor says...
What if someone is surreptitiously taking pictures during a bank robbery, a mugging or a rape?  This law could get somebody killed.

Random calls woo gamblers.  The online bookmaking agency Sportsbet has started calling mobile phones randomly encouraging people to bet.  When the phone is answered, a pre-recorded voice message says:  "What are you waiting for?  Hit six [on the keypad] for a $60 betting voucher.  Go on, hit six for $60 and you could win big."

Grandmother fights $10,000 phone bill.  Opal Savage, a Charlotte grandmother and retired nurse, says she was shocked when her Verizon Wireless bill looked more like the down payment for a small house.  The $10,539.72 bill was mostly for about six weeks of calls to Secret Encounters, an adult chat line based in St. Georges, Granada. … Savage believes the phone company had a duty to block the calls or call her when the bill reached into the thousands, in the same way some credit card companies deny suspect and out-of-the-ordinary transactions.

A cellphone bill roams to the stratosphere.  Santa Monica resident Aurelie Foucaut traveled last month to Paris with her two kids.  During a brief stopover in Montreal, she made six calls on her BlackBerry to friends and family members, each lasting less than three minutes.  Foucaut's wireless bill from T-Mobile arrived a few weeks ago.  It included $59.77 in ordinary usage charges.  It also included a $2,367.40 "data service roaming charge" for nearly 158 megabytes' worth of Internet access while in Montreal — the equivalent of downloading about 80 novels.

Cell phone scammer preying on city's zoo.  Someone is using cell phone text messages to monkey around with the Houston Zoo.  Zoo officials have asked the FBI to investigate a possibly malicious texting campaign that has deluged the main switchboard with telephone calls, including 3,500 received on Sunday [5/4/2008] — about 10 times the normal volume.  The calls are prompted when a cell phone user receives a cryptic text message, such as:  "Somebody talking down on you, look for them."  The text is followed by the zoo's main phone number….

The Editor says...
It sounds to me as if someone is trying to see if an indirect denial-of-service attack would be effective against something more important than the zoo.

Writing text messages could hurt a writer's command of standardized English.  We had to LOL when we read how txt-msg lingo is replacing stndrd english in student academic pprs.  1 casualty of da trend is uz of capital letter to start a sentence.  kids feel free to lowercase everything.  pnktu8n is also dissed.  tchaz try to help but its often 2 l8.

Lock-in:  Buying an iPhone isn't the same as buying a car or a toaster.  Your iPhone comes with a complicated list of rules about what you can and can't do with it.  You can't install unapproved third-party applications on it.  You can't unlock it and use it with the cell phone carrier of your choice.  And Apple is serious about these rules:  a software update released in September 2007 erased unauthorized software and — in some cases — rendered unlocked phones unusable.  "Bricked" is the term, and Apple isn't the least bit apologetic about it.

Nationwide text message alert system approved.  Federal regulators Wednesday [4/9/2008] approved a plan to create a nationwide emergency alert system using text messages delivered to cellphones.  Text messages have exploded in popularity in recent years, particularly among young people.  The wireless industry's trade association, CTIA, estimates more than 48 billion text messages are sent each month.  The plan stems from the Warning Alert and Response Network Act, a 2006 federal law that requires upgrades to the nation's emergency alert system.

FCC Approves Emergency Alerts Via TXT Messages.  The FCC says in an effort to better warn you about emergencies a new text message warning system will be in place.  The text messaging system comes in response to the Warning, Alert and Response Network Act (WARN Act) which required the FCC to establish new and effective ways of alerting the public to emergencies.

Cellphone text-alert system OK'd.  Federal regulators Wednesday [4/9/2008] approved a plan to create a nationwide emergency-alert system using text messages delivered to cellphones. Texting has exploded in popularity in recent years, particularly among young people.  The wireless industry's trade association, CTIA, estimates more than 48 billion text messages are sent each month. ... Cellphone subscribers would be able to opt out of the program.

The Editor says...
Yes, but if you "opt out", wouldn't you be flagged as a potential troublemaker?  I mean, are you trying to get audited by the IRS?

Full text of H.R. 5556 [109th]:  Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act.  [Scroll down to the bottom] The Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of the Department of Commerce may borrow from the Treasury beginning on October 1, 2006, such sums as may be necessary, but not to exceed $106,000,000, to implement this section.  The Assistant Secretary shall reimburse the Treasury, without interest, as funds are deposited into the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund.

FCC approves rules that would create national cell phone alert system in U.S.  U.S. federal regulators have approved a plan to create a nationwide emergency alert system using text messages delivered to cell phones.

FCC: Presidential emergency alerts to be tested.  [Scroll down]  At the same time, said [Lisa] Fowlkes, the FCC is looking at how wireless broadband could also enhance the EAS as part of a recommendation that was in the FCC's National Broadband Plan from last year.  The idea is to leverage broadband and the Internet for emergency alerting with the "Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) being developed by FEMA and the wireless industry."

The Editor says...
"Reverse 9-1-1" is essentially the same thing, but for landline phones.

GR8, Obama Is Texting Me.  Friday, July 6 was the day many Americans were on an extended 4th of July vacation and paying more attention to barbecuing and lighting fireworks than the news.  Obama seized the day to bypass Congress and release an executive order whereby he effectively gave himself control over the infrastructure that supports your smartphone, internet, radio, TV and satellite dish.  This infrastructure includes "...wireline, wireless, satellite, cable, and broadcasting, and... transport networks that support the Internet..." according to the website for the Department of Homeland Security's National Communications Systems.  The President argues that that he "must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances" for the sake of "national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP)."  There's one teensy weensy problem with this executive order:  It's unconstitutional.

The vulnerabilities of this system have already been demonstrated:
EAS hacked in Montana.  A terrifying emergency broadcast shocked local Montana residents on Monday [2/11/2013] when KRTV's midday programming was interrupted by a report of "dead bodies" "rising from their graves" in several counties. [...] KRTV posted a notice on the internet apologizing for the mistake and blaming a hacker for the erroneous report of a zombie attack.

Amber alert wakes thousands of New Yorkers at 3:51 a.m..  Is it a needless interruption, or a valuable life-saving tool?  Thousands of New Yorkers were awoken early Wednesday morning when their cell phones began blaring because of an amber alert notifying them of a missing child.

The Editor says...
They're not interrupting much at 3:51 a.m., except a good night's sleep.  And if you don't want to hear about Amber Alerts on your cell phone, you can opt out.  If you cannot opt out of some feature (like Presidential statements), wrap your cell phone in foil, or at least put the phone in a sound-proof box.  Here's the bottom line:  There was a time when you didn't have a cell phone, and somehow you survived.  You do not need to have a cell phone attached to you 24 hours a day, no matter who you are.

Emergency Alert System to Be Announced in NYC.  A new national emergency alert system that will send messages to cell phones during disasters will be launched in New York City by the end of the year.

Emergency alert system set to launch.  If you get an urgent message on your cell phone from President Obama later this year, it's not a prank.  Under a new emergency notification system being announced tomorrow by Mayor Bloomberg and federal officials, anyone carrying an "enabled" mobile device within range of a cell phone tower would be alerted what to do in case of emergency.

The first five Presidential Emergency Text Messages.  The nation's top cell phone carriers (Verizon and AT&T) are already signed on for the system, but users can opt out of receiving the local alerts and Amber alerts.  However, no one will be able to opt out of the Presidential Alerts, which as a result will eventually become compulsory for all cell phone users nationwide.
[Emphasis in original.]

Spammer-in chief?  Remember the Emergency Alert System, with the annoying tone that periodically came across the radio when stations were testing it?  This is the 21st-century version.  Cell phones with a special chip — which will soon include all new phones — will automatically receive Amber Alerts and presidential and local emergency texts.  "A PLAN alert will be accompanied by a unique attention signal and vibration," FEMA says. ... So maybe if President Obama gets an internet kill-switch, he can keep us entertained during the blackout with inspirational text messages.

Amber Alerts on Your Cell Phone.  Millions of Americans are about to be startled by alert messages on their cellphones next time a child is abducted nearby.  A new national Amber Alert system has officially rolled out in the US and because the alerts are automatically active on most newer phones, the messages have already taken tens of thousands of people by surprise.

Emergencia: FCC might require Spanish version of broadcast weather alerts.  The Obama administration is considering whether to require that television broadcasts of emergency announcements be provided in different languages. [...] The rule would require certain stations to air all presidential messages in both English and Spanish.  To a lesser extent, emergency broadcasts in certain areas may also be aired in other languages, such as French or Mandarin.  Spanish is the primary language for more than 38 million people living in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  But many Spanish speakers do not speak English, so the FCC wants to ensure that they can be reached by emergency broadcast.

The Editor says...
People whose television sets are tuned to an English-language program don't need to hear weather alerts in Spanish.  And if they do, that's what the SAP channel is for.  The only way "to ensure that they can be reached by emergency broadcast[s]" is to make it impossible to turn radio and television receivers off — like the telescreens in 1984.  Anybody with two eyes and a window can see a storm coming, and tornado sirens speak everybody's language.  If you think you might miss out on a tornado warning, learn some English.  But here's a tip:  Don't take English lessons from that synthesized voice on the NOAA weather radio.

Time to throw that old analog phone away.  On Feb. 18, most analog phone service will cease to exist.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is no longer requiring that cellphone providers offer both digital and the older analog service after that date, so most are pulling the plug.  What this means, explained Kirk Hatting of the Plymouth County Communications Center, is that the few people still using analog phones right now won't even be able to make any calls, not even 911, from their phone after Feb. 18.

Running L8 But CU Soon.  Luv, Mom.  Maria de la Vega, the wife of AT&T Mobility's chief executive, regularly texts her two college-age boys.  Although she was lured into text messaging to vote for "American Idol" contestant Bo Bice three years ago, she's now also texting her husband, sometimes when they are both at home to let him know dinner is ready.

The Editor says...
It would be interesting to know what percentage of wireless phone calls and text messages are exchanged between parties that are less than 100 yards apart.

New Mobile Service Fights Speed Traps.  The developer of Trapster, Pete Tenereillo, said the system, which requires punching in a few keys such as "pound-1" to submit information to Trapster's database, should comply with laws banning talking on cell phones.  Tenereillo insisted he isn't encouraging motorists to break the law or drive dangerously, saying drivers who speed are bound to do so anyway.  And he said police officials he's talked to haven't complained about the service because it inevitably encourages drivers to slow down.

"Cellphone Users' Bill of Rights" Bad for Arizonans.  "The wireless industry has been one of the fastest growing of modern times.  That fast growth has been due to the fact that consumers have been driving demand and innovation while government has stayed out of the way," said Tracy King, vice president for public affairs at AT&T.  "Consumers continue to call for newer innovations," King said, "and the race is on to find them.  Government intrusion in the name of the consumer almost always results in one thing — a higher cost for that consumer."

In Iraq...
Taliban now target mobile phones.  For once, the Taliban may have taken on the wrong target:  the country's mobile phone network.  In recent weeks, four mobile phone towers have been destroyed in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, areas where the Taliban hold sway.  But in the process, the insurgents appear to have alienated much of the local population, which is willing to turn a blind eye to a public execution but is infuriated when they lose their phone service, for many their only link to the outside world.

Cell phone shutdown angers Afghans.  Taliban attacks on telecom towers have prompted cell phone companies to shut down service across southern Afghanistan at night, angering a quarter million customers who have no other telephones.  Even some Taliban fighters now regret the disruptions and are demanding that service be restored by the companies.  The communication blackout follows a campaign by the Taliban, which said the U.S. and NATO were using the fighters' cell phone signals to track them at night and launch pinpoint attacks.

Busy Signals in Iraq.  "The number you have called cannot be connected."  Ever heard a recording like this on your telephone? … Now think about that kind of message being heard by virtually every cell phone subscriber in an entire country.  That may be about to happen in Iraq.  If it does, it could well derail progress made in recent months and have long-term adverse consequences for U.S. interests in the region.

Cellphones challenge poll sampling.  With more American households giving up their old-fashioned land lines and using cellphones for all calls, public opinion researchers are facing a challenge of how to make sure they are getting representative samples when conducting polls.  Since the 1970s, pollsters have relied on sampling techniques that depend on talking with people on their home land line telephones.

Study:  Omitting cell phone users may affect polls.  People with only cell phones may differ enough from those with landline telephones that excluding the growing population of cell-only users from public opinion polls may slightly skew the results, a study has concluded.  The finding, in a report this week by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, may increase pressure on polling organizations to include people who use only cell phones in their surveys.

Oklahoma, Utah lead in cell-only households.  Step aside high-tech California and uber-hip New York.  If you're looking for the states that lead the nation in ditching landline telephones for wireless, you're looking for Oklahoma and Utah.  At least 26 percent of households are now cell-only in Oklahoma and Utah, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in a report released Wednesday [3/11/2009].

The Editor says...
That's all very interesting, but what does that have to do with disease control and prevention?

9 Things to Say Goodbye To:  [#5] The Land Line Telephone.  Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore.  Most people keep it simply because they've always had it.  But you are paying double charges for that extra service.

Verizon customer calls phone alarm 'dangerous'.  An Austin woman who dialed 911 recently discovered what she said could be a fatal flaw in some new cell phones.  "I think it's a danger to everyone," she says.  Carol, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of making herself or her land a target for vandals, called for help recently when she arrived at some vacant property she owns in east Austin and found her security chain gone.

Pay phones fade away at AT&T.  The phone booth is a relic of an age nearly gone by.  On Monday [12/3/2007], the venerable AT&T announced plans to phase out its pay-phone business by the end of 2008.  The move affects AT&T pay phones in its traditional 13-state service area.  BellSouth, acquired by AT&T in 2006, had previously exited the business.

Engineer Apparently Sent Text Message Before Crash.  Metrolink officials Saturday put the blame squarely on the engineer of the train for the deadly crash that has claimed at least 25 lives.  They say he ran a red light. … One minute before the deadliest crash in Metrolink history, [a teenager] said he received a text message on his cell phone from the engineer….

Train Operator Sent 29 Texts on Crash Day.  A train operator at the helm during a deadly collision in California last month sent 29 text messages while on the job that day — including one just 22 seconds before the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board announced Wednesday [10/1/2008].  Cell phone records examined by the safety board indicate that Metrolink train engineer Robert Sanchez was sending text messages on both his morning and evening shift the day of the accident.

Three Percent Fee On Cell Phones Started 107 Years Ago.  Anybody who has ever tried to decipher a cell phone bill knows how tough it can be.  One of the charges is a 3 percent fee on every cell phone bill in America.  The origin of the tax predates the invention of the cellular phone by nearly a century.

Michigan House Mulls 9-1-1 Fee for Prepaid Cell Phones.  Michigan House Bill 5468, now under consideration, would change the way 9-1-1 fees are collected on prepaid cell phones in the state.  Currently those fees are charged at wholesale, which leads to complications in apportionment and consistency.  The bill would change the process so fees are charged at retail. [...] Several states, including Georgia and Hawaii, have used 9-1-1 collections to close budget deficits.

Phone Taxes are Cell Hell.  You can't hang up on the taxman.  Eleven federal, state and city levies add as much as 33 percent to the cost of New Yorkers' cellphones, a [New York] Post analysis found.

Tax Man's Target: The Mobile Phone.  The use of company-issued mobile phones could trigger new federal income taxes on millions of Americans as a "fringe benefit," spurring efforts by the wireless industry and others to kill the idea.  The Internal Revenue Service proposed that employers assign 25% of an employee's annual phone expenses as a taxable benefit.

The IRS Phones Home.  With federal spending in 2009 at 28% of the economy and deficits heading north, Democrats are eyeing tax increases on everything from soft drinks to electricity to health benefits to charitable contributions.  But the palm for creativity goes to the Internal Revenue Service, which is contemplating a new tax on the use of business cellphones.

The cell-phone tax burden.  One thing all cell-phone bills have in common is a lengthy, confusing list of government taxes, surcharges and fees imposed at the local, state and federal level.  These charges add up quickly.  An average $48 monthly bill in Nebraska, for example, includes $11.35 in tithes to the bureaucracy.  That's according to TaxAnalysts, a group that on Monday [2/14/2011] released a survey of the state-by-state burdens imposed on wireless communications.

Obama Pushes Cell Phone Rate Hike, Without Congress.  The president is pushing a plan to raise money by hiking cell phone fees and use the revenue generated to wire up local schools with high-speed Internet access.  The idea of allowing states and towns to figure out how to pay for their own Internet access is evidently anathema to this administration, as is the idea that government should stay within its constitutional boundaries.  He's also planning to do this without input from Congress, via the Federal Communications Commission, according to the Washington Post.  Congress, not the executive branch, is empowered by the Constitution with the ability to levy or reject taxes.

Bam's phone-y tax.  Take note of the Obama administration's latest "for the children" initiative:  expanding high-speed Internet for schools across the country. [...] Team Obama recognizes there's little appetite in Congress for another program.  So it's not even going to try for legislation.  Instead the plan is to stick AT&T with the bill.  And Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc. [...] To the extent Americans notice the new fee, they are likely to direct their anger at the private carriers rather than the politicians.

Students get message:  Leave phones at home.  Schools across the USA are cracking down on students whose cellphones disrupt classes and make it easier to cheat.  Starting Monday [1/29/2007], the 222 public schools here will enforce a ban prompted by fights that escalated into brawls when students used cellphones to summon family members and outsiders.

Verizon customer calls phone alarm 'dangerous'.  An Austin woman who dialed 911 recently discovered what she said could be a fatal flaw in some new cell phones.  "I think it's a danger to everyone," she says.  Carol, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of making herself or her land a target for vandals, called for help recently when she arrived at some vacant property she owns in east Austin and found her security chain gone.

Verizon phones make an audible alarm when 911 is dialed.  Just the thing for those hostage and robbery situations — I don't think:  "The alarm is not ear-splitting, but it is loud enough to be heard at least several yards away."  Verizon claims the FCC requires this.  The FCC says it's not that stupid.

New York Town Kills Cell Tower.  In a move that broadband advocates fear is part of an increasing trend, a small grassroots group forced the town government in the Westchester County suburb of Lewisboro, New York to back out of a deal with the governing board of a local church that had agreed to serve as a site for a cellular tower.  The antenna would have been mounted inside the church's steeple, making it rise about 50 feet higher into the air, and would have been invisible to the surrounding area, which had long been prone to dropped calls and dead zones.

The Editor says...
It's too bad that all three sides couldn't lose.  Here we have a church that is willing to prostitute its steeple as a cell phone site.  The church is hoping to profit by accomodating the people who can't bear to live without continuous cell phone contact.  Then there are the "community" busybodies who want to meddle with other people's use of private property.  They all deserve each other.

T-Mobile Sues City of Olathe Over Proposed Tower.  T-Mobile Central is suing the city of Olathe to allow a 60-foot tower to be built next to a church.  The Gathering Place Pentecostal Holiness Church agreed to allow the cell phone company to erect the pole, as long as T-Mobile added a beam that made the tower look like a cross.  But city planners objected to the plan on the grounds that it represents a sign not allowed in a residential area.

[Since when is a cross not permitted at a church?]

Bell tower
Bloomington imposes design rules for wireless antennas.  A year after passing an ordinance limiting the height of church steeples and bell towers, Bloomington has tweaked its regulations by imposing design requirements to make it clear that the same bell tower can't be replicated over and over again on church grounds all over town.  It's not that churches have gone mad for bell towers.  The new rule is aimed at providers of cell phone service who are looking for places to hide wireless antennas in residential areas.

Cell Service Lets Parents Track Kids by GPS.  Up until now, parents had to deal with a separate company or buy special equipment to track their children through their cell phones.  Sprint Nextel Corp. becomes the first U.S. wireless provider to sell its own product when the Family Locator Service rolls out Thursday [4/13/2006].

Group wants Wi-Fi banned from public buildings.  A group in Santa Fe says the city is discriminating against them because they say that they're allergic to the wireless Internet signal.  And now they want Wi-Fi banned from public buildings.  Arthur Firstenberg says he is highly sensitive to certain types of electric fields, including wireless Internet and cell phones.  "I get chest pain and it doesn't go away right away," he said.

The Editor says...
I wonder how he feels about cell phones, walkie-talkies, police radar, weather radar, or microwave ovens.  What about the dozens of TV stations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe?  Is he allergic to AM and FM radio, or just digital signals?  Stories like this usually end up on this page.

Judge's jailing of 20 in cell phone flap upheld.  A Niagara Falls City Court judge who jailed 20 defendants after a cell phone or wristwatch alarm went off in his court last year was acting within his judicial authority, a federal district judge has ruled.

The most dangerous foods to eat while driving:  Drinking coffee is dangerous behind the wheel.  But imagine trying to enjoy a chili dog or some hot soup while stuck in traffic.  Insurance.com, a Web site that compares auto insurance rates, has released its list of the most dangerous foods to consume on the road.

Cellular user privacy at risk.  If you own a cell phone, you should care about the outcome of a case scheduled to be argued in federal appeals court in Philadelphia tomorrow [2/12/2010].  It could well decide whether the government can use your cell phone to track you — even if it hasn't shown probable cause to believe it will turn up evidence of a crime.

Cops love iPhone data trail.  Detective Josh Fazio of the Will County Sheriff's Department loves it when an iPhone turns up as evidence in a criminal case.  The sophisticated cell phone and mobile computer is becoming as popular with police as it is with consumers because it can provide investigators with so much information that can help in solving crimes.

Green madness, &c.  [Scroll down]  Cellphones and laptops were illegal [in Cuba] until 2008.  And even today, two years later, very few people have them:  The cost of those items is out of reach.  An American tried to alleviate this situation.  He is Alan P. Gross, and he is now in a Cuban prison.  Gross works for a subcontractor of the U.S. Agency for International Development.  He went to Cuba to distribute cellphones and laptops to civil-society groups and to individuals.  On December 4, he was at the airport, about to leave the country.  And the regime arrested him as a spy.

Nielsen survey:  Blacks talk the most on cell phones.  African-Americans are the chattiest group on cell phones, talking almost twice as long each month compared with whites, according to a Nielsen Company survey released this week.  And the Southeast, including Alabama, had the highest average use of voice minutes in the nation.

T-Mobile Claims Right to Censor Text Messages.  T-Mobile told a federal judge Wednesday it may pick and choose which text messages to deliver on its network in a case weighing whether wireless carriers have the same "must carry" obligations as wire-line telephone providers.  The Bellevue, Washington-based wireless service is being sued by a texting service claiming T-Mobile stopped servicing its "short code" clients after it signed up a California medical marijuana dispensary.  In a court filing, T-Mobile said it had the right to pre-approve EZ Texting's clientele, which it said the New York-based texting service failed to submit for approval.

AT&T named the worst mobile phone network in the U.S..  It will come as no surprise to its customers, but AT&T has been named as the worst mobile phone network in the United States.  Cellphone users put it in last place because too many calls dropped off, leaving them frustrated and irate.

The 7 Greatest Scientific Achievements Of The Last 50 Years.  [#7]  Cell phones:  Phones have been around since the late 1800s, but cell phones only started to become widely available in the seventies.  Today, by some estimates, more than 90% of Americans and more than 4.6 billion people worldwide have mobile phones.  Anything that useful, that spreads that fast, has to be considered one of the greatest inventions of all time.  Of course, it has also made it possible for jerks to talk on the phone in the movie theater, but every leap forward has a price.

The Editor says...
Cell phones "widely available" in the 1970's?  Really?  There were a few people with mobile phones back then, but they were just VHF radios dressed up like a telephone.  The first time I saw a hand-held cell phone was about 1985.  Before that, a few people had portable cell phones that were about the size of a lunch box, with a handset on top.  The Cellular Technology Industry Association didn't exist until 1988, although Japan began testing cellular phone service in 1979.*

Your iPhone uses more energy than a refrigerator.  A midsize refrigerator that qualifies for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating uses about 322 kW-h a year, while your iPhone uses about 361 kW-h if you stack up wireless connections, data usage, and battery charging.

The Editor says...
Really?  How much power does "data usage" consume?  Does your phone put out as much heat as your refrigerator?  How big is a "midsize refrigerator" and is the latest Energy Star "midsize" model as good as the one you owned ten years ago?  Even if the assertion (stated in the title) is true, so what?  Your electric appliances consume energy, and you pay the electric bill and enjoy the convenience.  There is no problem here.  The article goes on to say that all the computers in the country "are taking up a larger and larger slice of the world's energy pie."  So what?  That's because our country runs on computers now, and not so much on steel mills and trolley cars.  It is also because the U.S. produces a huge percentage of the world's prosperity.  And "the world's energy pie" is not growing fast enough because of the tree-hugging, earth-worshiping hippies who oppose every practical source of energy — starting with coal.  We should be building more coal-fired power plants, not shutting them down.

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Updated April 15, 2014.

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