Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–October 27, 2014

How Cell Phones Can Predict Where Ebola Strikes Next
While many people are deeply suspicious about data collection—you can hardly blame them after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the U.S. government’s mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone and email communications—it could be critical to containing Ebola. The intelligence gathered from scanning the internet and cell phone data is helping governments and health agencies in West Africa respond more quickly and effectively to the crisis. They can potentially spot new outbreaks, identify areas at risk and deploy resources to areas where they are most needed. Story by Allison Jackson for USA Today.

Apple Pay: Who Won and Who Lost?
If Apple Pay becomes as ubiquitous as most observers expect, it won’t just change the way consumers pay for things, it’ll reshape the financial institutions that facilitate our purchases. That’s not good news for everyone—many companies felt pushed to join up with Apple so they weren’t left behind. For some, it was either the Apple Pay-way or the highway. Here’s a list of the major players, roughly in order of who won the most to who won the least. Story by Sam Frizell for Time.

FBI Asks Congress For Backdoor Access To All Cellphones For Surveillance
FBI Director James Comey is asking Congress to force smartphone developers into building “backdoors” into all devices for law enforcement surveillance—a response to new customer data encryption standards adopted by Apple and Google. Law enforcement heads at all levels across the country, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have criticized Google and Apple since the companies announced new encryption standards for smartphone users, which law enforcement reps argue will make it easier for criminals—especially pedophiles trading in child pornography—to evade arrest. Story by Giuseppe Macri for The Daily Caller.

New Smartphone Battery Charges in under 2 Minutes
Scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have discovered a way to speed up smartphone battery charge times considerably with a simple substance found in most sunscreens. The new battery reportedly can be 70% charged in under two minutes. The researchers replaced the graphite normally used for the negative pole on the battery with a gel made from titanium dioxide. This substance speeds up the chemical reactions in the battery. It is available in great abundance. The battery is projected to last nearly 20 years before it needs to be replaced. Story by Lynn Oldshue for SaveOnPhone.com.

The Reality of Cell Phone Radiation
We can’t see electromagnetic frequencies/radiation but these detrimental electric waves have been proven over and over again. They are not only a very strong frequency, but a very damaging one to human health as well. We are sadly now completely surrounded by EMFs with Wi-Fi, cell phones, electrical wiring, smart meters, microwaves, cell phone towers, and the like. So what can be done to protect ourselves from these harmful EMFs that are everywhere? Here are a few of my favorite, and most basic ways. Story by Dr. Ida Allen-Bergman for the Star Journal.

Florida Supreme Court Says Warrantless Cell Phone Spying a No-Go
Thanks to the Florida Supreme Court and a drug dealer, Sunshine State police can no longer track unsuspecting citizens through their cell phones without a warrant. That’s welcome news to those concerned about local law enforcement’s use of advanced surveillance technology, sometimes supplied by military contractors, to monitor cell phone locations and incoming and outgoing phone numbers. Public records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union show the practice has been widespread and mostly under the radar. Story by William Patrick for Watchdog.org.

An Austin Airport Is Counting Cell Phones to Predict TSA Wait Times
If you’re passing through security at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, do everyone a favor and make sure you have your phone’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth turned on. Sure, it might be a teensy bit of a battery suck—but it will also help tell everyone around you just how long they’ll be spending in airport security hell. Thanks to the airport’s new Boingo-powered security-wait warning system, big screens outside each security checkpoint light up with passengers’ estimated wait times, which it figures out by counting each individual (Wi-Fi-enabled) cell phone in the immediate area. Story by Ashley Feinberg for Gizmodo.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of SaveOnPhone.com. He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.