There has been talk again in the media about civil rights violations in the US with cell phones. An article in the Financial Times as far back as 2005 reported that cell phone companies can remotely install a piece of software on to any handset, without the owner's knowledge, which will switch on the microphone even when your cell phone is switched off.
Of course we're not just talking about the FBI we are talking about Scotland Yard and most other national police agencies in the developed world.
What makes me laugh about all this is the publics preoccupation with this violation of fundamental rights when all the while, the real issue is the damage that these cell phones are doing to the peoples health.
I can't say I'm enchanted by the idea of the FBI or anybody else listening in to what's going on in my life by switching on my cell phone microphone. But then I can't really see them applying this technology to me. It's a bit like the current controversy of the full body scan which is now being gradually implemented in airports to prevent terrorist attacks. I don't like the idea of somebody in a room being able to look at me naked as I go through airport security but I like even less the idea of getting on a plane with a potential terrorist.
As Senator Tom Harkin said in the 2009 Senate hearings on cell phones and health “ international studies have found that people that use cell phones more than 10 years or more are likely to get a tumor on the side of the head where they hold the phone”. Coincidence, I dont think so. This to me is the real issue with cell phones. It is not the fact that the government may use a rather invasive technology to protect us from terrorist attacks.
Let's just let the full facts be known on the dangers of cell phone use. Let's stop manipulating the evidence, the public’s health is far more important than cell phone companies profits. Believe me the downside of the counterterrorism measures being used in relation to cell phones pales in comparison to the potential long-term health risks of using a cell phone.