Tag Archives: cell phone

Sun, July 6th, 2014 by Graves and Allen

Privacy Is Not Just An Illusion

For some time we have found ourselves in the Internet Age and, as a result have given up much of what we used to call “privacy”.  As a practical matter, privacy as we knew it in the last century has ceased to exist. The Internet has proven a mixed blessing for us.  Along with all the advantages and benefits that the Internet brought us, it also brought a far more public presence for all of us.  As perceptions of expected privacy levels decreased, so did the protections of the 4th Amendment regarding “unreasonable” searches.

Recently, however, the United States Supreme Court struck a blow for traditional privacy rights in the face of modern technology.  By so doing, the Supremes potentially restored a bit of the privacy that we have lost due to technology. On June 25, 2014 in Riley v. California, Justice Roberts, writing for a unanimous court explained that the protections of the 4th Amendment extended to cellular telephones.  The court held that as a general rule, the police may not search the content of a cell phone seized during an arrest without first obtaining a search warrant.  

As obtaining a warrant requires the police to go to a judge and convince the judge that they have good cause to obtain the warrant, the process offers the potential of providing some protection to the information we carry on our cell phones.  While the ultimate question will move to the discretion of jurists approached for warrants, the process does, at least, provide the opportunity for protection and preservation of the privacy of our information.

In writing for the court, Justice Roberts noted that most of us carry a considerable amount of personal and professional information on our cell phones.  Given the correctness of that observation,  any protection is better than none.

Presumably, the Riley decision will ultimately result in similar protection for all portable digital devices seized by the police incident to an arrest.  It would be difficult to differentiate between information stored on an iPad or similar device from that stored on a cellular phone.

Kudos to the Supremes for stepping up the Constitution’s recognition that some privacy rights should continue to exist in the Internet Age.

 

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Tue, May 27th, 2008 by Graves and Allen

IS THERE A BLESSING FOR THE SAR?

In a scene from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof“, the Jews of Anatefka understanding that Judaism has a blessing for everything ask the Rabbi “Is there a proper blessing for the Czar?” He pauses and then chants: “May God bless and keep the Czar… far away from us!” Although the spelling and the meaning may differ, the principal is the same. ‘Keep the SAR far away from us’.

“SAR”, an acronym for Specific Absorption Rate, relates to the body’s absorption of radiation emanating from a mobile phone. Intermittently, we hear frenzied concerns that cell phones cause brain cancer. Studies to date have proven largely inconclusive. Accordingly, I have not found them convincing one way or the other. Remember, however, that the cell phone has only recently become a part of the daily routine of such a large portion of humanity. We will know a lot more in 30 years, but by then, many of us may already have suffered irreparable damage. Don’t forget that people did not consider cigarettes dangerous to health for a very long time. While I intend to monitor the results of future studies, prudence suggests implementing some precautions in how we use our cell phones. bronchitis cipro

In the US, the FCC imposes a SAR limit of 1.6 watts per kilogram (”W/kg“) over a volume of 1 gram of tissue. Europe uses a standard of 2W/kg averaged over 10 grams of tissue. Many phones have come out first in Europe and then later in the US.

For some time, people have purchased unlocked GSM phones in Europe and brought them back to the US. If you wish to reduce exposure to SAR, you may want to wait until new models come out here.

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The theoretical danger comes from the fact that basically, the RF waves ”cook“ tissue by heating it. While use of the cell phone held up to your ear for short periods of time may pose a minor risk, logic dictates that, if the risk exists, the longer you hold the phone by your ear, the more likely that brain tissue near the ear will suffer heat damage. Does this mean that we should all dump our cell phones or that the Surgeon General should require a warning printed on the back of the phone? Probably not, but, common sense suggests that we should exercise some caution. RF waves dissipate over distance. The farther that we keep the phone from our body, the less likely that it will cause any problem for us. Using the phone’s speakerphone and keeping the phone on a desk or table when you talk offers one way of reducing exposure. As Bluetooth uses a lower power, it poses a smaller risk and, therefore, using a Bluetooth headset and keeping the phone in a brief case seems prudent. A wired headset does not generate radiation, but generally results in keeping the phone closer to our bodies.

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Selecting a phone with a lower SAR also should reduce the risk of exposure. CNET has a nifty chart showing the 10 highest and l0 lowest SAR rated cell phones in the US and also providing information about other phones on a lookup basis. You can access the CNET chart at http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phone-radiation-levels/?tag=lnav. I found it somewhat surprising that there appears little consistency within manufacturers and that some of the highest SAR phones had siblings in the lowest category. depakote numbness

Battle for Haditha movies According to CNET, the representatives in the highest category include several Motorola phones, one from Samsung and two versions of the Blackberry Curve.

The 10 lowest included phones from Motorola (two iterations of the Motorola Razr the Razr V3x and Razr2 V8), five phones from Samsung and two from Nokia. The Palm Centro models ranged from 0.74 to 1.35 W/kg, while the Treo models ranged from 1.26 to 1.5 W/kg. The original Apple iPhone came in at 0.974 W/kg and the iPhone 3G rates a 1.38 W/kg. Memory size appears to have no impact on the ratings. The Blackberry Pearl models lists at 1.22 to 1.48 W/kg.

Copyright 2008, Jeffrey Allen.  All rights reserved.

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