Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–October 6, 2014

Cell Phones Have Made Stalking Easier, Scarier
Some 6.6 million people are stalked in this country each year, and that number has doubled in the last three years. Experts say something many of us own has contributed to the increase, and they are making stalking easier: cell phones. Our calls, texts, emails and apps can all be accessed if a stalker has your phone for five minutes. Experts say as technology evolves, so does the world of stalking. Cheap stalking apps can be downloaded in minutes. All a person needs is access to the phone, and the victim will never know the app is on there. Story by Jennifer Mayerle for WCCO.

Storage Businesses Oppose Mayor’s Promise to Lift Cell Phone Ban in NYC Schools
Some students and parents are happy about Mayor Bill de Blasio reaffirming his plans to lift New York City’s long-standing ban on cellphones in schools. But his declaration isn’t thrilling the entrepreneurs who store the cellphones when their owners are in class, a cottage industry that cropped up when schools began confiscating the electronics in 2006. “It would change my life completely,” said Jhonn de La Puente, who runs Safe ‘n’ Secure Cellutions out of a windowless Ford E250 across the street from the International High School at Prospect Heights in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. “This is my livelihood.” Vans such as Mr. de La Puente’s have showed up over the past few years outside of the 79 city schools that have metal detectors. Some bodegas and other small businesses also charge to store cellphones–usually for a dollar a day. But the ban was controversial from the beginning. Some parents, citing the need for their children to have a cellphone for safety’s sake, sued unsuccessfully to overturn the ban. Story by Adam Janos for The Wall Street Journal.

European Safety Watchdog Gives Greenlight to Making Mobile Phone Calls in the Air
Passengers flying into, or out of Europe, will now be able to use portable electronics including phones and tablets at any time during their flights. Starting immediately, European-based airlines can, at their own discretion, allow passengers to leave electronics on throughout the entire flight, without putting them into Airplane Mode. But, airlines will need to certify their planes aren’t affected by transmission signals before allowing devices to be used. Story by Victoria Woollaston for MailOnline.

How To Use Your Cell Phone Internationally
Using your cell phone internationally can lead to exorbitant bills if you’re not careful. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you stay connected to friends and family while traveling–without paying more than you have to. Story in the Huffington Post.

Prisons Can’t Stop Influx of Illegal Cellphones
Smuggling a cellphone to an inmate is a felony, and everyone who enters a prison is searched for contraband. And yet, inside Florida’s prisons, the phones are everywhere. Cellphones have become a hot commodity in prison black markets, according to Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jessica Cary. They can be used “to commit more crimes or victimize people inside and outside [and could be used for] formulating escape plans. It’s dangerous to the public.” Story by Dan Sweeney and Lisa J. Huriash for the Sun-Sentinel.

Are Smartphones Making It Harder To Get Away From Work?
New debates are emerging about increased stress levels in our personal lives resulting from the use of smartphones. There may not be a great deal of scientific data yet, but several recent studies indicate we may not be able to “shut off” work when we get home due to the availability of information on our smartphones. Arnold Bakker, a professor at Erasmus University, launched a study in 2012 that focused on companies that gave their employees phones to use. The implication was that the workers must be on-call 24 hours a day, which limits their ability to fully relax while at home. Story by Natalie Rutledge for SaveOnPhone.com.

Why Has the Government Erected Fake Cell Phone Towers Across Washington D.C.?
Fake cell phone towers have been discovered throughout the Washington D.C. area. Their existence boggles the mind. Who would take the time to erect these structures that are of no use to anyone? The towers are located near the White House, the United States Capitol and the Supreme Court. These towers’ existence have sparked new fears about possible phone hacking at the United States’ headquarters for sensitive and secret information. Story in Catholic Online.

Donating Old Cellphones Will Help Fight Domestic Violence
State government offices across Kentucky are serving as collection sites for wireless phones, tablets and accessories no longer in use during October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, in an effort to reduce the number of domestic violence incidents that move into the workplace. The devices collected by the Kentucky Commission on Women Statewide HopeLine Drive will be turned into a cash grant for WorkSafe, which provides domestic-violence prevention training for Kentucky businesses. Story by Madeline Abramson and Eleanor Jordan for Kentucky.com.

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.