These U.S. regulations stall innovation.
Christopher S. Yoo writes:The decade-long debate over network neutrality reached a moment of truth earlier this month when a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., heard oral arguments in the judicial challenge to the open Internet rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February. Admittedly, the questions that judges ask often provide little guidance as to what they will eventually decide. But both proponents and opponents of network neutrality agree that the FCC had a tough day.
The court focused attention on three aspects of the FCC’s order. First, the judges questioned the agency’s authority to regulate the handling of traffic within fixed-line networks, such as cable modem or DSL systems. Second, they challenged the propriety of the rules mandating network neutrality within wireless networks. Third, they scrutinized the rules governing interconnection, which is how networks exchange traffic with each other.
The judges seemed to challenge the agency hard on the second and third issues, the ones regarding mobile networks and interconnection. Their primary concern focused on certain last-minute changes to the order. Specifically, the judges questioned whether the public was given proper notice of those changes and whether the changes were properly integrated into the overall regulatory scheme. The FCC fared the best on the first issue, but even then it faced tough questions about why the scheme differed so much from the way the rules were initially proposed. Read the rest of this entry »
The Wand Company Unveils Upcoming Bluetooth ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ ‘Communicator’ at Comic-Con in San DiegoPosted: July 13, 2015
The Wand Company unveiled its upcoming fully functioning Bluetooth Star Trek: The Original Series Communicator at Comic-Con in San Diego. Using the new product, Trek fans of all ages will be able to make and receive mobile telephone calls using an exact replica of the iconic communicating device that Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew famously flipped open to request Scotty’s transportation services. [more]
Mysterious “interceptor” cellphone towers that can listen in someone’s phone call despite not being part of any phone networks have turned up near the White House and Senate.
“It’s highly unlikely that federal law enforcement would be using mobile interceptors near the Senate.”
A company that specializes in selling secure mobile phones discovered the existence of several of the towers in and around the nation’s capitol.
“My suspicion is that it is a foreign entity.”
— ESD America CEO Les Goldsmith
“It’s highly unlikely that federal law enforcement would be using mobile interceptors near the Senate,” ESD America CEO Les Goldsmith told the technology website Venture Beat on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »
Dave Lewis writes: It seems rather far fetched at first glance. There is news that came out last week that rogue cell phone towers around the US are forcing mobile devices to disable their encryption making it possible that someone might be able to listen in to your call. “That could never happen to me,” you think out loud. But, apparently it could.
In 2010 at the DEF CON in Las Vegas, security researcher Chris Paget did the unthinkable. He built a cell tower of his own so that he could spoof legitimate towers and intercept calls.The device would mimic the type used by law enforcement agencies to intercept phone calls. In this case, he was able to build it for roughly $1500 US. Paget’s device would only capture 2G GSM phone calls. Carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile would be vulnerable as they use GSM, unlike Verizon which relies on CDMA technology.
I was in attendance for this particular presentation and I had a disposable phone with me at the time. During the presentation when the device was switched on my phone was more than happy to oblige and seamlessly associated with the contraption that was across the room. Had I not been aware that this was going on, it was quite conceivable that I could have not noticed the change to the rogue tower. The point of this presentation was to raise awareness of the security flaws that affect GSM related phones. Read the rest of this entry »
Major ruling updates privacy laws for 21st century
For the Washington Times, Stephen Dina writes: The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police cannot go snooping through people’s cell phones without a warrant, in a unanimous decision that amounts to a major statement in favor of privacy rights.
Police agencies had argued that searching through the data on cell phones was no different than asking someone to turn out his pockets, but the justices rejected that, saying a cell phone is more fundamental.
The ruling amounts to a 21st century update to legal understanding of privacy rights.
“The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the unanimous court. Read the rest of this entry »
SA Forum is an invited essay from experts on topical issues in science and technology. This column was produced in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. Justine Cassell is director of the Human–Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Read the full article here, and read more about Cassell here.
Imagine you have a great-aunt, a vibrant woman in her 70s who refuses to be trapped in a rocking chair. In fact, she holds a full-time job and insists on walking there and back, a couple of miles each way. She says it keeps her young, but you can’t help worrying. No one is healthy forever.
Like many people her age, your great-aunt follows a set routine. Before her trip to work, she stops at a nearby café for a cup of
tea, and as she walks she phones a friend on her mobile phone. After work, she likes to call another friend to ask about a visit. She picks up a small cake or a few cookies at a shop on the way. Afterward she buys groceries to take home for supper.
A big departure from this pattern could mean your great-aunt is having problems. If you had access to her cell phone records and GPS data, you could see that something was up. It could even help you tell how urgent the situation might be. If she’s quit socializing and is just shuttling to work and back, it might signal depression—you’d make a note to drop by and make sure she’s okay. If she stops leaving the house entirely and doesn’t answer her phone, you know the problem is urgent. If you can’t get over there immediately, you’d better call a neighbor to look in on her. Read the rest of this entry »
For Techdirt, Tim Cushing writes: The US government has entered its reply brief in the US vs. Wurie case and its argument in favor of warrantless searches of arrestees’ cell phones contains some truly terrible suppositions. Here’s a brief recap of the situation in this case:
In 2007, the police arrested a Massachusetts man who appeared to be selling crack cocaine from his car. The cops seized his cellphone and noticed that it was receiving calls from “My House.” They opened the phone to determine the number for “My House.” That led them to the man’s home, where the police found drugs, cash and guns.
The defendant was convicted, but on appeal he argued that accessing the information on his cellphone without a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Earlier this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals accepted the man’s argument, ruling that the police should have gotten a warrant before accessing any information on the man’s phone.
As was noted by Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy, a lot has changed since 2007. The phone the police searched seven years ago was a grey flip phone with limited capabilities. Unfortunately, the Court is using this case to set precedent for a nation full of smartphones, which contain considerably more data and are roughly the equivalent of a person’s home computer, rather than the address book the government refers to in its arguments. Read the rest of this entry »
Craig Timberg and Ashkan Soltani report: 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 agency’s ability to crack encryption used by the majority of cellphones in the world offers it wide-ranging powers to listen in on private conversations.
U.S. law prohibits the NSA from collecting the content of conversations between Americans without a court order. But experts say that if the NSA has developed the capacity to easily decode encrypted cellphone conversations, then other nations likely can do the same through their own intelligence services, potentially to Americans’ calls, as well.
For our second Weekend Projects Hangout On Air we’ll be talking with MAKE Technical Editor Sean Michael Ragan about the Pedal Power Phone Charger, a simple AC-to-DC generator circuit for charging your cell phone (or any other gadget that sips a steady stream of 5VDC) while on the go using your bicycle. We’ll talk about the inspiration behind the project and demonstrate how energy generated from a dynamo can charge your USB devices. LIVE at 3:30pm PT/6:30pm ET
While I’m sure this photo, taken on a Guangzhou metro platform, will elicit cries of ‘whipped’ or ‘friend zone’, I’m choosing to view this as a sweet demonstration of one guy’s love for his girlfriend, who was clearly super tired and… needed to check her phone.
Shanghaiist [via: Netease, China Smack]
Apple sends invites to Chinese media for special Sept. 11 event fueling China Mobile iPhone launch rumorsPosted: September 4, 2013
Roughly 21 million adult Americans don’t own a cellphone—and they’re getting by just fine, thank you.
By GARY SERNOVITZ
THIS YEAR MARKS the 40th anniversary of the first official call by a hand-held cellphone, made by Motorola, in front of reporters on the streets of New York. This week marks my 40th birthday. A few weeks after that milestone I will be buying my first cellphone. I am not doing this because of a fascination with amazing inventions from 1973, like the Bic lighter or the Iditarod. I am buying one because my wife accepted a fellowship in California, and I will need to work remotely from there when I visit her.
Some tech holdouts boast of their monastic resolve. Others try to hide it. But for all of us, the choice becomes part of our public identity. One day you’re Jane Smith, lawyer and marathon runner. Then, like Kevin Costner among the Sioux, you’re He Who Lives Without Facebook.
For the last two decades, I have spent 83% of my waking hours enjoying the freedom of not owning a cellphone, 5% feeling smug about it, 2% in situations in which a phone would have been awfully convenient and 10% fielding incredulous questions. The first is always: How do you do your job? (I’m not the junior blacksmith at the Renaissance Faire; I’m a managing director at a private-equity firm.) I explain that my colleagues are very tolerant, the firm provides me with all of the latest communication tools (computer, telephone, Post-its) right at my desk, and accomplishing my daily tasks without a smartphone is not beyond human capability. Indeed, people lived this way back at the Dawn of Civilization, circa 1992.
A woman who falsely accused a taxi driver of a knifepoint sex attack has been jailed after he exposed her lies using an app on his mobile phone.
By Rosa Silverman and agencies
Mohammed Asif was left in tears in a police cell after Astria Berwick told officers he had carried out an assault on her in his cab.
But the 34-year-old eventually proved his innocence with a voice recording app he was using in his taxi because his CCTV was broken.
Berwick, of Bingham, Notts, was sentenced to 16 months in prison after admitting perverting the course of justice.
Nottingham Crown Court heard she had used Mr Asif’s taxi on February 20, then called police to say she had been the victim of a serious sexual assault.
Judge Michael Stokes QC, The Recorder of Nottingham, said: “This was outrageous behaviour by the defendant against a wholly innocent man who had been saved by the recording on his phone.”
Mr Asif, a father-of-two from Carlton, Nottingham, said the experience had torn his life apart, leaving him unable to face working again for a month, having problems sleeping and causing him to lose a stone in weight.
He said: “She changed my life. I’m completely different now. I’m scared to go out.
“I keep thinking, ‘I just dropped her off, she was just a normal passenger, why has she done that?”
He said he felt “really lucky” he had switched on the app on the day of the alleged attack, as without it he believed he would now be on remand waiting to face trial.
He added: “If I ever met her again, although I don’t want to, I’d just ask ‘why?'”
Now here’s the invention that we’ve all been waiting for: A device that instantly charges our cell phones.
A gadget like this might soon be on its way thanks to a bright 18-year-old from Saratoga, Calif., who was recently honored at an international science fair.
Eesha Khare is the mind behind a super-powerful and tiny gizmo that packs more energy into a small space, delivers a charge more quickly, and holds that charge longer than the typical battery. Khare showed off her so-called super-capacitor last week at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz. In her demonstration, she showed it powering a light-emitting diode, or LED light, but the itty-bitty device could fit inside cell phone batteries, delivering a full charge in 20-30 seconds. It takes several hours for the average cell phone to fully charge.
Khare also pointed out that the super-capacitor “can last for 10,000 charge cycles compared to batteries which are good for only 1,000 cycles.”
Khare’s invention is flexible and could be used in roll-up devices and might even have applications for car batteries.
The judges at the science fare were wowed by Khare’s brilliant invention and the senior at Lynbrook High School in San Jose received the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and $50,000.
“With this money I will be able to pay for my college and also work on making scientific advancements,” Khare told a cheering audience after receiving the prize money.
I’m sure her parents are proud and thrilled!