The City of Cape Town has published its amended traffic by-laws for public comment.
If passed, changes will include:
- Strict new rules on using smartphones while driving will be applied
- Mobile phones may be impounded (rather than be destroyed or auctioned off) if a motorist is caught using a handset while driving
- Confiscated phones may be donated to neighbourhood watches, NGOs, or non-profit organisations
- Motorists will have a number of opportunities to get their phones back first
No, the debate over the risks of cell phone radiation isn’t over yet. The US National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program has published details of draft studies which suggest that normal cell phone radiation levels aren’t harmful to humans. The research subjected rats to very high levels of RF radiation at 2G and 3G cellular frequencies, and produced results where there was no clear pattern of harm even at the exaggerated radiation levels.
In one study, some male rats subjected to the radiation did develop cancer tumors around their hearts. But the female rats didn’t, and neither sex suffered symptoms in another study. And then there’s the truly odd data. Both newborn rats and their mothers had reduced weight but grew to normal sizes, and exposed rats lived longer than those that hadn’t. And these are at exposure rates that are “much higher” than the current cell phone safety standard, the Food and Drug Administration said.
In its comments on the study, the FDA stressed that the study didn’t translate neatly to typical human experiences beyond the exposure levels. Rats are clearly much smaller than humans, so they’re enduring that intense radiation across their entire bodies where a human might only deal with those levels near their ears or thighs. This didn’t include 4G frequencies, either, so any risk that was there might not have been present with an LTE connection.
Things aren’t entirely set in stone yet. There will need to be finished studies with outside reviews that might interpret the findings differently or prompt follow-ups. However, the early data illustrates exactly why there’s no firm proclamation on the safety of cell phones. Lab tests can only tell you so much, and long-term tests tend to provide ambiguous, incomplete results. These latest studies mostly imply that there’s no obvious short-term effect.
By Jon Fingas for Engadget
The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) has uncovered a new cell phone scam where South African mobile users are secretly subscribed to a paid-for adult service.
Following a complaint, WASPA’s Media Monitor identified the case of auto-subscription – where a consumer is subscribed to a service without asking or consenting to be subscribed.
All a user needed to do to be subscribed to the service was to visit a Web site and click on a link. No indication was given they would be subscribed to the service.
A panel of three adjudicators, who are specialists in information and communications technology law, reviewed the complaint and details provided to determine if there is any breach of the WASPA Code of Conduct.
How it happens
The investigation of the service shows that the user of the cell phone would not have known he was being subscribed to a subscription service, as the network confirmation page was not visible to the user.
The user never saw the network confirmation page, and therefore could not click on it to subscribe to the service.
However, this network-hosted confirmation page is ostensibly approved by the user, as the provider of the service fools the confirmation page into reporting that the user confirmed the subscription.
The first time the consumer becomes aware of subscribing to the service is after R5 has been billed to their account and when they receive an SMS welcoming them to the subscription service.
According to the panel, the service involved adult content, and there were no warnings to this effect.
There was also no reference to the fact that this was a subscription service on the Web site, nor were pricing, billing, or terms and conditions shown to the user.
Your number available without your consent
In this case, the cell phone number of the user is harvested without their knowledge or consent, simply by the consumer browsing a particular Web site.
“The consumer would probably wonder how the subscription service was able to know which cell phone to bill, as the consumer never typed their cell phone number into a text field on the Web site,” the panel said.
This insidious collection of personal information intrudes on a consumer’s right to privacy, said the panel.
It would appear that the “Mobile Network Providers” allow for this information to be made available to third-party Web sites.
WASPA temporarily shuts down service
The panel said this is a good example of a cynical and criminal attempt to make money at the expense of the consumer.
“No real attempt is made to comply with the WASPA Code of Conduct at all, and so the breaches are numerous and both flagrant and extreme,” the panel concludes.
In an emergency panel meeting on the matter, it found that there was a high likelihood of considerable harm to the public if this service was not stopped.
The service provider’s WASPA membership was suspended until all of its services were provided to the Media Monitor for review and testing to rule out any further harm to consumers.