According to the largest review of its kind, the British Health Protection Agency says there is no clear evidence that radiation from mobile phones poses a health threat, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Scientists found no convincing proof that radio waves from mobile phones cause brain tumors or any other type of cancer. They did caution that it was “important” to watch for signs of rising cancer cases, however, because they had too little information to assess the risk beyond 15 years of mobile usage. The study was conducted by the Health Protection Agency’s independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR). More →
Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that mobile applications that integrate advertisements pose privacy and a security risks. The team conducted a study that examined 100,000 apps from the Google Play market and noticed that more than half contained “ad libraries,” while 297 of the apps included “aggressive ad libraries” that could download and run code from remote servers. Researchers also found that more than 48,000 of the apps that were examined could track location via GPS, while others could access call logs, phone numbers and a list of all the apps a user has stored on his or her phone. Read on for more. More →
Electronic Arts has cut the prices of several of its top iOS games by as much as 80% as part of its back-to-school sale. The following iPhone games are now just $0.99: Tetris, Scrabble, FIFA 11, Fight Night Champion, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Risk, Madden NFL and NCAA Football. EA’s iPad games are mostly priced between $0.99 and $2.99, and the following titles are included in the sale: Battleship, Monopoly, The Game of Life, NBA Jam, Flight Control, Risk, Max and the Magic Marker, Yahtzee Adventures, Sim City Deluxe, Pictureka, Tetris, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Monopoly: Here and Now, Reckless Racing, Scrabble and Snood. More →
The results of a recent European study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that there is no connection between cell phone use and an increased risk of brain cancer, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. There were 1,000 participants in the study, including 352 people aged seven to nineteen who were diagnosed with a brain tumor between 2004 and 2008. The report “shows that a large and immediate risk of cellphones causing brain tumors in children can be excluded,” Dr. Martin Roosli, an epidemiologist at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute said. The results are in contradiction of a recent World Health Organization study, which said that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic.” However, the WHO report was shot down immediately by the Economist, which said it was not possible for cell phone radio waves to cause cells to mutate, and a second report in Environmental Health Perspectives that argued there is evidence “increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults.” One World Health Organization cancer epidemiologist, Kurt Straif, told The Wall Street Journal that the results from the latest survey may not be 100% accurate. “Participants with brain cancer may not have the best recall for how often they used their phones,” he argued.
The city of San Francisco has approved an ordinance that will require cell phone retailers to warn customers about the dangers of cell phone radiation, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. The ordinance, which was passed in a 10-1 vote, asks that phone retailers “post general warnings” about risks. It’s unclear what exactly will be required of the retailers, and researchers have flip-flopped on whether or not there are any real risks associated with mobile wireless devices. On May 31st, the World Health Organization published a report that said cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic,” but The Economist fired back shortly after and said there’s no way the devices cause cancer. A second group wrote published a separate report in an issue of Environmental Health Perspectives and argued there is evidence “increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults.” A similar law was passed last year that required cell phone makers to publish specific absorption rate (SAR) figures on boxes of cell phones, but the CTIA sued before the law took effect. More →
A new research study published by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests that cell phone use directly increases crash risk among U.S. drivers. The group studied 350 scientific papers that were published between 2000 and 2010 on highway safety. Distractions, which include cell phone use, are responsible for between 15% and 25% of all crashes, including minor fender benders all the way up to fatal accidents. The report also said that there is “no conclusive evidence on whether hands-free systems [are] less risky than hand-held use,” and that results of several tests “imply dialing a cell phone increases crash risk more for a short time while a cell phone conversation increases crash risk less for a longer time.” As you might expect, texting is an even larger risk since it requires that a user look at his or her phone for a longer period of time. “Despite all that has been written about driver distraction, there is still a lot that we do not know,” Barbara Harsha, a GHSA executive director. “Clearly, more studies need to be done addressing both the scope of the problem and how to effectively address it.”
Following the World Health Organization’s revelation last week that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use,” Jabra has issued an easy fix: instead of putting a cell phone to your ear and possibly getting a brain tumor, use one of its Bluetooth headsets. Jabra says its headsets emit 800 times less radiation than cell phones — just 0.0025 watts max output compared to 2 watts max from cell phones. In a Jabra-sponsored survey, 61% said cell phone radiation only concerned them “a little bit” or “to some extent” and 25% said they were not at all concerned. But when informed that using a Bluetooth headset has been scientifically proven to drastically reduce exposure to radiation, more than half of the respondents said they would use a hands-free device. Hit the break for Jabra’s press release. More →
The AP is reporting that the United Arab Emirates has declared BlackBerry smartphones a national security risk. UAE government officials commented saying the handsets “operate beyond the jurisdiction of national laws and are open to misuse. [...] As a result of how Blackberry data is managed and stored, in their current form, certain Blackberry applications allow people to misuse the service, causing serious social, judicial and national security repercussions.” The State is referring to the relaying of data — for compression and optimization — through RIM’s BlackBerry infrastructure data centers. RIM has not released an official comment, and members of the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority have said no decisions about the handsets future in the UAE have been made.
Thanks, Mitch. More →