Your Cell Phone as a Beacon

Last night was a pretty typical weeknight at my home, I drove home from work
and filled up with gas before I got home, I left my house again at around 5:30
to take my son to his Karate lesson. While I was out I stopped by the local
library to return some books and then swung over to the dry cleaners to pick up
my shirts and slacks and some stuff for my wife. I picked up my son from his
lesson and we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some bread and milk on
our way back to the house.

Now, you aren’t the first people to know my whereabouts that night. Because I
had my cellular phone with me, the cell phone company that provides my cellular
services knew where I was at the entire time. They tracked me with my cellular

How is this possible?

It is possible because people who use their cell phone need to be able to make a
call whenever and wherever they may be located at the time they dial the number
on their phone. Therefore, the cellular companies must be able to route the call
to the nearest cellular tower, which in turn sends your call to the satellite in
space, which sends your signal to the person you are calling. The tower that
handled the call is typically logged (and stored indefinitely) on the wireless
provider’s computers, though it’s not noted on the customer’s monthly bill. In
order for the cell phone company to know what tower you are at, they must be
able to track the signal from your cell phone when it is on.

In the expanded age of advanced communication and the literally thousands of
issues of privacy that it has since spawned, many people would be horrified to
learn that they can be tracked by the phone company via their mobile phone. The
phone companies claim this is a integral part of the service they provide,
privacy advocates say that this is just another way large corporations have
invaded our lives.

Wading into the fray over this controversy concerning your cell phone is another
larger and important player: law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies are now
utilizing the technology of tracking cellular signals to catch criminals and
terrorists. A few cases of dangerous criminals being tracked and caught while on
their telephones have been documented and law enforcement is now fighting with
the cellular companies to ensure its continued use.

Have we lost our privacy by cell phone tracking or have we just gained a
valuable tool for law enforcement to use in keeping us safe? Do the cell phone
companies need to know where you are in order to provide their service, or have
they found, as some privacy advocates claim, a backdoor into your life, your
locations, your shopping habits?

Part One: Mobile 911.

According to the TechTV Show “Talkback”, Cell phones show where you are, and
that is simply part of their design. Without the ability to pinpoint where the
signal from your phone is coming from, calls could never be connected. Because
cell phones decry the use of wires, and the users making the calls are often on
the move, the call and the receiving signal are not at a fixed location.
Therefore, the signal from the cell phone must be tracked.

Cell phone service areas are divided into “cells,” each of which is serviced by
a base station. When you make a call, your cell phone selects the strongest base
station it can find, which is usually the closest station to you.

If you move out of the coverage of one base station, your phone switches to the
next strongest available base station (which usually means you move into a new
cell). The system always knows your location relative to the nearest cell.

This occurs even when your phone is on but not being used. For efficiency’s
sake, an idle cell phone sends out a message on the access channel so that the
system will know where to direct the page if you get an incoming call. The
system knows where you are. In an urban area, each tower covers an area of
approximately 1 to 2 square miles, so a caller’s general location is fairly easy
to pinpoint.

The proliferation of cellular phones and their usage gave birth to a very unique
problem: How would emergency operators track callers who called 911 on their
mobile phone? Dialing 911 from a traditional, wire-based telephone, allowed the
operator to track where the call was being placed, so that an emergency response
could be sent. On mobile phones, the people calling in the emergency had no idea
where they were, and the 911 operators had no way of exactly pin pointing where
the calls where originating.

Enter e911. According to the web site “Webopedia” , E911 is “short for Enhanced
911, a location technology advanced by the FCC that enables cellular phones to
process 911 emergency calls and enable emergency services to locate the
geographic position of the caller. When a person makes a 911 call using a
traditional phone with ground wires, the call is routed to the nearest public
safety answering point (PSAP) that then distributes the emergency call to the
proper services. The PSAP receives the caller’s phone number and the exact
location of the phone from which the call was made. Prior to 1996, 911 callers
using a mobile phone would have to access their service providers in order to
get verification of subscription service before the call was routed to a PSAP.
In 1996 the FCC ruled that a 911 call must go directly to the PSAP without
receiving verification of service from a specific cellular service provider. The
call must be handled by any available service carrier even if it is not the
cellular phone customer’s specific carrier. Under the FCC’s rules, all mobile
phones manufactured for sale in the United States after February 13, 2000, that
are capable of operating in an analog mode must include this special method for
processing 911 calls. “

In an article entitled “How cell phones reveal your location” published on the
Slate ( web site, with e911, emergency operators were able
to track calls from wireless phones in less to one or one half of a mile from
where the call originated. The technology was so successfully that the
government made it a law that all cellular phones carry the technology that
enables calls to be tracked. This law is called the Wireless Communications and
Public Safety Act of 1999 (911 Act) and signed into law by President Clinton on
October 26, 1999. According to the law, 95 percent of all cell phones must be
E911 compliant by the end of 2005.

In compliance with the new law, and to better improve the service with its
customers, many cell phone handsets are now equipped with Global Positioning
System chips, which determine a caller’s coordinates by receiving signals beamed
down from a satellite array. The chip factors together the signals’ different
arrival times to calculate the phone’s coordinates, using a mathematical process
known as trilateration. At present, however, GPS data is typically not recorded
for non-emergency purposes, unless the user has explicitly signed up for a
location-based service.

Part Two: The Hacker and the Terrorist

Kevin Mitnick was a hacker. That is to say, he was king of all the hackers.
Mitnick, “America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw,” eluded the police, US
Marshalls, and FBI for over two years after vanishing while on probation for his
1989 conviction for computer and access device fraud. His downfall was his
Christmas 1994 break-in to Tsutomu Shimomura’s computers in San Diego,
California. Shimomura just happened to be the head of computing technology at
the San Diego Super Computer Center. Less than two months after having his
computers hacked, Shimomura had tracked Mitnick down after a cross-country
electronic pursuit. Mitnick was arrested by the FBI in Raleigh, North Carolina,
on February 15th, 1995.

Mitnick was charged in North Carolina with 23 counts of access device fraud for
his activities shortly before his arrest. In California, he was charged with an
additional 25 counts of access device, wire, and computer fraud. On March 16,
1999, Mitnick plead guilty to five of these counts and two additional counts
from the Northern District of California. He was sentenced to 46 months and
three years probation. He was released from prison on January 21, 2000, being
eligible for early release after serving almost 60 months of his 68 month

How was the FBI able to capture “America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw”? By
tracking down a signal from his cell phone.

Luke Helder was going to set off some bombs. Specifically, he was going to set
off bombs in mailboxes across the United States until the locations of his bombs
made a “smiley face” pattern across the map of the U.S. He probably would have
accomplished his morbid feat had he not made one crucial mistake; he turned on
his cell phone.

According to USA Today, as soon as he activated it, FBI agents quickly
triangulated his position between two rural towns and had him in handcuffs
within an hour, according to Nevada authorities. The fact that another motorist
spotted Helder in passing helped authorities, but the cell phone signal was a
dead giveaway

“We got a call from the FBI at approximately 3:20 p.m. that the cell phone that
(Helder) had been known to have had been activated somewhere between Battle
Mountain and Golconda,” said Maj. Rick Bradley of the Nevada Highway Patrol. “We
started hitting Interstate 80.”

Bradley said tracking down Helder without the pinpoint location provided by the
FBI would have been tougher, given the sprawling region.

“It’s really a rural area. There’s not that much police presence,” Bradley said.

Cell phone triangulation is a well-known tracking method within the wireless
industry, said Michael Barker, an equipment sales manager for Cell-Loc, based in
Calgary, Alberta. His company provides tracking services to help people who are
incapacitated and unable to dial for help.

and out of cell tower range.

According to Slate, Location data extrapolated from tower records is frequently
used in criminal cases. It was vital, for example, to the prosecution of David
Westerfield, who was convicted of murdering 7-year-old Danielle van Dam in San
Diego. The killer’s cell-phone usage revealed a bizarre travel pattern in the
two days following the girl’s disappearance, including a suspicious trip to the
desert. In cases like this, wireless providers will not release a user’s records
without a court order, save for rare instances in which a kidnapping has taken
place and time is of the essence.

Domestic crime is not the only arena of law enforcement that is utilizing the
tracking of mobile phone signals, the FBI and CIA have been using this technique
in an effort to capture public enemy number one: Osama Bin Laden.

Author Dan Campbell, writing in the October 2001 issue of Telepolis Magazine,
describes how the world’s most wanted man, coordinated his attacks via his
mobile phone.

“Between 1996 and 1998, when the America’s embassy in Kenya was bombed, the FBI
found that Osama bin Laden and his staff had spent nearly 40 hours making
satellite phone calls from the mountains of Afghanistan. The calls, which can be
sent and received from a special phone the size of a laptop computer, were
relayed via a commercial satellite to sympathizers in the west.

The satellite phone appears to have been a huge convenience for the world’s most
wanted terrorist. He was billed for thousands of minutes of use over two years,
those records indicate, and used it to issue a fatwa in February 1998 that
called on Muslims to kill Americans, including civilians, anywhere in the world.

Even now, as US forces move in for the kill, bin Laden’s satellite phone has not
been cut off. But calls to the terrorist leader are going unanswered. His
international phone number – 00873 682505331 – was disclosed during a trial,
held in New York earlier this year. Calls to his once-active satellite link now
hear only a recorded messages saying he is “not logged on”. “

Indeed, when bin Laden associates went to trial in April on charges of bombing
U.S. embassies in Africa, the prosecution used billing records for calls from
that phone to connect them to bin Laden–but not intercepts of conversations.

Apparently, the FBI are not the only individuals aware of the fact that the
tracing of mobile phone signals can be used to track down an individual’s
location. With American forces closing in on him during the battle of Tora Bora
in late 2001, Osama bin Laden employed a simple trick against sophisticated
United State spy technology to vanish into the mountains that led to Pakistan
and sanctuary.

According to CBS News, A Moroccan who was one of bin Laden’s long-time
bodyguards took possession of the al-Qaeda leader’s satellite phone on the
assumption that US intelligence agencies were monitoring it to get a fix on
their position, said senior Moroccan officials, who have interviewed the
bodyguard, Abdallah Tabarak.

Tabarak moved away from bin Laden and his entourage as they fled, using the
phone to divert the Americans and allow bin Laden to escape. Tabarak was later
captured at Tora Bora in possession of the phone.

The use of Cell phone triangulation and the tracking of other mobile signals
appear to be an effective weapon for law enforcement, one that many agencies are
going to be reluctant to give up. But does the use of technology come at a
price: the sacrifice of privacy and civil rights of the people using mobile

Part Three: Cell Phone Commercials

The ability to track a person using their cell phone has not been lost on
marketing professionals looking to find a new avenue into consumer buying habits
and preferences. The ability to track individuals’ movements through their
mobile signal has very appealing commercial potentials. For example:

∑ Your phone will be able to tell you where the nearest hospital, shopping mall,
or McDonald’s is located

∑ Merchants could automatically send you location-based advertising and special
offers when their technology senses you’re near their stores

∑ If you’ve pre-loaded their phone numbers and personal information, your phone
could alert you when a friend or family member is in the area

“Advertisers are eager to use location services to alert you when you pass near
a store that might be of interest. Such services are likely in some form, but
carriers are proceeding cautiously. They’re aware you may not want to see ads
for McDonalds every time you pass by the golden arches. Carriers don’t want to
annoy users because it’s so easy to switch providers”, says Allen Nogee, a
senior analyst at Cahners In-Stat Group said on the CNN web site.

The idea of advertisers and law enforcement knowing where you are at any given
moment and where you have been has naturally rubbed privacy-advocate groups the
wrong way. While there is some upsides for the use of this technology, privacy
groups say the potential for abuse of this technology is very high and very real
and they would like to see some provisions built into cell-phone tracking laws
that allow for the privacy of the consumer not to be compromised.

“There certainly need to be better emergency procedures [for cell-phone calls],”
says David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center
in Washington, D.C during an interview with ABC news. “But once the technology
exists, there has to be some way for users to control how the info can be used.”

Sobel says while the FCC mandated the E911 program, federal legislators haven’t
put into place how that information may be used or who would have access to it.

“The Justice Department and FBI do routinely get information from cell-phone
service providers,” says Sobel. But, “There are lingering question on what the
legal standard is to be used to get location information from cell-phone
providers. There is nothing in federal law that addresses that issue.”

According to Sobel, another large privacy issue that might be at stake is not
only the information that is being delivered by using this technology, but the
technology itself might be violating the privacy of mobile communications just
by the way the technology works.

“The e911 rules enacted by the Federal Communications Commission govern the
emerging form of telecommunications known as “packet mode” communication. Law
enforcement agencies already have the authority to demand information that
identifies a phone call as long as it is separate from the call’s contents.
However, with packet-mode communication technology, data containing the numbers
cannot be separated from data containing phone conversations. Thus when police
agencies demand phone number data, phone service providers will have to give
them data containing conversations as well,” said Sobel.

Sobel and lawyers from two other organizations are asking the U.S. Court of
Appeals in Washington, D.C., to block the FCC rules. “The FBI is seeking
surveillance capabilities that far exceed the powers law enforcement has had in
the past and is entitled to under the law,” Sobel said.

Similar legislation for the ability to track movements using mobile technology
has met with stiff resistance in other countries. According to ZDNET UK
( in the United Kingdom, civil liberties advocates are
outraged at the implications of the newly passed Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act, which could allow British law enforcement agencies to trace the
movements of mobile phone users with a minimum of accountability. Privacy
advocates have vowed to have this law over-turned in this country, but in the
meantime, the British government plans to fully extend and incorporate this law
into British law enforcement, no matter what privacy groups say.

“The whole point of RIP (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) is to
update surveillance,” a spokeswoman from the British Home Office said. “If you
haven’t broken the law then you’ve nothing to fear.”

Conclusion: Cell Phone Spam?

Law enforcement agencies, already beleaguered by an out of control handgun
problem and a across the board rise in crime in the United States, coupled with
the fact that they must now deal with the horrifying specter of terrorism in
their cities, will not be too quick to give up a powerful new weapon in catching
criminals, especially not one that will essentially tell them where they are
exactly. Any fight that privacy groups may put up will ultimately prove to be
futile to lawmakers in Congress, who want to be seen as giving law enforcement
every chance they can to be effective.

However, privacy groups have a legitimate point in their fears that a technology
of this sort is ripe to be exploited unless the lawmakers take action to limit
the very personal data offered by this tracking technology. Email is a perfect
example of a technology that, in its infant stages, was seen as revolutionary
new form of communication. Now, email systems are so overloaded with spam coming
in from not only the United States but also from Russia and Nigeria, that
congress has acted to implement new laws to stem the tide.

Cell phones now have the ability to send and receive photographs, how much
longer will it be before advertising, in full color begins to find its way to
your telephone? The outrage of having “cell-phone spam” may be so great that he
consumer uproar will cause any type of mobile technology to be severely limited
by law, perhaps even stripping out some of the positive aspects such as those
used by law enforcement.

Cell Phone Towers and Mobile Phone Masts – Beacons of Harm

Is it a cactus? A palm tree? A water tower? No! It’s a cell phone tower! That’s right! Cell phone towers today are being disguised in subtle ways unheard of just a few years ago. See a grain silo? Or a church steeple? You guessed it. It could very well be a cell phone tower. There’s even a cell phone tower that looks just like a lighthouse…never mind that it’s over two miles from the ocean.

But don’t let the pretty and ingenious disguises fool you. There is a real and present danger lurking behind the mask of these innocent designs.

Why the disguises? Obviously, for aesthetic reasons. The cell phone companies don’t want to make their neighborhood friends upset. They want to blend in. So they blend in while they blast your home and neighborhood with toxic electromagnetic radiation.

Cell phone towers, sometimes called masts, or mobile phone towers, weren’t an issue years ago when they were few and far between. One could often drive miles and miles through the countryside and never see one. They were few in number and were only found in obscure locations and seen only on an occasional hilltop. Today cell phone towers have increased dramatically in number. There are now more than 1.9 million cell phone towers and antenna towers spread throughout the U.S. They are now found on churches, schools and firehouses as well as being seen on the rooftop of buildings everywhere. Did you know there is even a cell phone tower near Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park? Can’t sleep well at night? It may be that there’s a cell phone tower close by.

Just why would a mobile phone tower be placed on a church, school or firehouse? Why would school boards and churches agree to this? Money. It’s that simple. The mobile phone companies will pay these organizations, and individual property owners, handsomely to install their equipment on their properties. This “rent money” can range from a few hundred dollars a month to several thousand dollars a month. What school district or church couldn’t use extra money to aid a struggling budget? By “renting” the space on an already-constructed building the cell phone industry doesn’t have to purchase land, build a tower or construct a new building. It simply mounts its equipment on a structure that already exists. It’s a win-win deal for the cell phone company and the new ‘landlord.’

Opposition to these cell tower installments used to gone unnoticed and without question. Not so today. Neighborhoods and citizens are becoming vocally opposed. But it’s not the esthetics that causes residents and property owners to oppose these structures. Communities and citizens are afraid of the potential health effects being caused by this technology as well as the adverse affect on property values.

We Can’t Stop Cell Phone Tower Construction

Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do to stop the proliferation and continued build out of cell phone towers and structures. Although thought to be legislation about deregulation issues, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA) was really an open invitation for the cell phone industry to place their towers anywhere they wanted. Section 704 of the TCA basically states that local authorities can’t ban the placement of towers in their jurisdictions. The law says: “No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.” So legally the local government can’t refuse the construction of a cell phone tower in your neighborhood! Any challenge by local communities could easily end up in federal court. Our lawmakers have basically given the cell phone industry free reign to install these towers wherever they want. And, by the way, the cell phone industry helped write this legislation that our government officials passed as law! The public, therefore, now has no voice and no vote. Is there something wrong with this picture? Why didn’t our public officials represent the people instead of big business? Why would you let the very industry you’re trying to regulate write it’s own laws?

Does the income outweigh the potential risks? It appears not. Scores of studies and well-respected research have exposed alarming health effects from various forms of cancer to stress. Many experts today are predicting an epidemic in brain cancer soon.

Representatives from the industry are quick to point out the microwaves emitted by cell phone towers are well below federal standards. And indeed they may be. At least on paper. Most towers operate at a power output of 100 watts. However, this isn’t the total wattage of the tower. What they aren’t telling you is that 100 watts is the power per channel. Since one tower may have dozens of channels you can see that the power output could be highly excessive and well beyond 100 watts. It’s a technical loophole. And, of course, who is monitoring the power output from these towers after they are erected? The FCC certainly isn’t. It doesn’t have the manpower or money to properly regulate the millions of towers and antennas now online. And who is to prevent these companies from turning up the wattage when no one is around? Some have reported that many of these towers have already shown power outputs in the 900 to 1000 watt range.

You Can’t Escape The Radiation. It’s Everywhere.

We simply can’t escape the exposure to this radiation. It’s everywhere. There are so many people using cell phones and wireless connections today that you don’t even have to own a cell phone to be exposed. You’re just as exposed as everyone else. Every time someone makes a call from a mobile phone the signal is sent to a cell phone tower. There are so many calls being made by everyone all around us and now there are so many mobile phone towers in operation, that all of us are caught in the crossfire. It’s like second-hand smoke from cigarettes, except that we can’t get away from it. There simply isn’t anywhere to escape.

How Mobile Phone Towers Work

Cell phone towers emit signals in a “flower petal” pattern around the tower. This 360-degree radius around the tower is called a “cell” and this is what the term “cell” in cell phone means. When your phone is in a “cell” you get good reception and when it isn’t in a?”cell” you get poor reception. So, for a cell phone company to provide complete coverage cell phone towers and antenna towers must be positioned all across the country so that the “cells” overlap. You can begin to see what a huge infrastructure needs to be created to provide complete cell phone coverage. That’s why cell phone towers and antenna towers are so prevalent. Furthermore, that’s why these antennas are installed in so many places like rooftops, fire stations, schools and churches. This is what is necessary for complete coverage.

Studies Show Adverse Health Effects From Cell Phone Towers

If you aren’t sure that cell phone towers and masts are harmful the following study summaries should convince you. Below are listed six studies that have shown significant adverse health effects on people living near cell phone towers. According to Dr. Grahame Blackwell “these are the only studies known that specifically consider the effects of masts on people. All six studies show clear and significant ill-health effects. There are no known studies relating to health effects of masts that do not show such ill-health effects.”

  • Santini et al. found significant health problems in people living within 300 meters of a cell phone base station or tower. The recommendation was made from the study that cell phone base stations should not be placed closer than 300 meters to populated areas. Pathol Biol (Paris) 2002; 50: 369-373.
  • A Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research study entitled, “Effects of Global Communications System Radio-Frequency Fields On Well Being and Cognitive Function of Human Subjects With and Without Subjective Complaints” found significant effects on well being including headaches, muscle fatigue, pain, and dizziness from tower emissions well below the “safety” level.
  • Gerd, Enrique, Manuel, Ceferino and Claludio conducted a Spanish study called “The Microwave Syndrome” and found adverse health effects from those living near two cell phone base stations. The health effects included fatigue, a tendency toward depression, sleeping disorders, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems.
  • From an Israeli study published in the International Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 1, No. 2, April 2004, Wolf and Wolf reported a fourfold increase in the incidence of cancer in people living within 350 meters of a cell phone tower as compared to the Israeli general population. They also reported a tenfold increase specifically among women.
  • In the Naila Study from Germany, November 2004, five medical doctors collaborated to assess the risk to people living near a cell phone tower. The retrospective study was taken from patient case histories between 1994 and 2004 from those who had lived during the past ten years at a distance up to 400 meters from the tower site. The results showed that the proportion of newly developed cancer cases was significantly higher in those patients living within the 400-meter distance and that the patients became ill on average eight years earlier. In the years 1999 to 2004, after five years of operation of the transmitting tower, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for residents of the area in the proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants of Naila outside the area.
  • An Austrian Study released in May 2005, showed that radiation from a cell phone tower at a distance of 80 meters causes significant changes of the electrical currents in the brains of test subjects. All test subjects indicated they felt unwell during the radiation and some reported being seriously ill. According to the scientists doing the study, this is the first worldwide proof of significant changes of the electrical currents in the brain, as measured by EEG, by a cell phone base station at a distance of 80 meters. Subjects reported symptoms such as buzzing in the head, tinnitus, palpitations of the heart, lightheadedness, anxiety, shortness of breath, nervousness, agitation, headache, heat sensation and depression. According to scientists this is the first proof that electrical circuits in the brain are significantly affected by a cell phone tower. The distance in this study was a mere 80 meters.

Two-time Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Gerald Hyland, a physicist, had this to say about mobile phone towers. “Existing safety guidelines for cell phone towers are completely inadequate. Quite justifiably, the public remains skeptical of attempts by governments and industry to reassure them that all is well, particularly given the unethical way in which they often operate symbiotically so as to promote their own vested interests.”

Dr. Bruce Hocking did a study in Syndey, Australia, of children living near TV and FM broadcast towers, which by the way, are very similar to cell phone towers. He found that these children had more than twice the rate of leukemia as children living more than seven miles away from these towers.

Results in yet another recent study conducted on inhabitants living near or under a mobile phone base station antenna yielded the following prevalence of neuropsychiatric complaints: headache (23.5%), memory changes (28.2%), dizziness (18.8%), tremors (9.4%), depressive symptoms (21.7%), and sleep disturbances(23.5%). In this study the participants were given a neurobehavioral test battery measuring such things as problem solving, visuomotor speed, attention andmemory. Symptoms of exposed inhabitants were significantly higher than control groups.

Furthermore, Europe’s top environmental watchdog group, European Environment Agency (EEA), is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to mobile phone masts. EEA suggests action to reduce exposure immediately to vulnerable groups such as children.

The development of brain tumors in staff members working in a building in Melbourne, Australia, prompted the closing of the top floors of the building. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is housed in the building. Seven staff members were diagnosed with brain tumors and five of the seven worked on the top floor. A cell phone antenna is located on the roof of the building.

The Orange phone company in England is being forced to remove its mast tower on a building in Bristol, England. The removal is a result of a five-year effort by residents and local authorities to have the mast removed. Cancer rates in the building, which has become known internationally as the “Tower of Doom,” have soared to ten times the national average for the 110 residents living there. The two masts sitting on the roof, one owned by Orange and the other by Vodafone, were installed in 1994. Vodafone has refused the remove its mast.

Cell Phone Towers Affect Animals

Animals aren’t exempt from exposure the cell phone tower radiation either. One veterinary school in Hanover, Germany, reports that dairy cows kept in close proximity to a cell phone tower for two years had a reduction in milk production in addition to other health problems including abnormal behavior patterns.

Firefighters Vote To Suspend Cell Tower Construction On Fire Stations

Concerned about the effect that masts have on the nation’s firefighters, The International Association of Fire Fighters voted in 2004 to voice its opposition to cell phone towers and antennas being place on and around fire stations. They want proof first that there isn’t a safety issue and have asked for a moratorium on further construction and placement of any more towers or antennas on or around firehouses until such a study can be conducted.

What Are These Antennas Doing To Our Kids While They’re In School?’t worth the risk. They should not be subjected to microwave radiation when science has proven there could clearly be devastating effects as outlined in the previously mentioned studies. School boards and parent organizations need to be aware of the inherent dangers from such an exposure. It’s been clearly shown that microwave radiation penetrates the head of a child much easier than that of an adult. This is due to the thinner and softer bones in the head of child. Skull bones don’t fully harden until about age 22.

How Many Cell Phone Towers Are Near You?

The average person lives within one-half mile of a cell phone tower. Have you ever wondered how close you live or work to one of these towers? Would it bother you if one were right in your backyard? How many of these towers and antennas do you think there are in your immediate area? Find out by visiting the website Simply type in your address and you’ll get a listing and a map of all the towers and antennas within a short radius of your address. Like most people you’ll probably gasp when you see the numbers. These towers are literally everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of them are probably located within a few miles of your home or office.

Watch The Signal Bars On Your Cell Phone

The signal bars on your cell phone tell you how strong the signal is that are connecting to your cell phone. In other words, the closer you are to a cell phone tower the stronger the signal. The stronger the signal the less power your phone has to use to maintain the connection. A strong signal is indicated by a full set of “bars” showing on your cell phone display. Fewer bars mean a weaker signal. A weaker signal means the cell phone has to work harder to maintain the signal. Consequently, more power is needed to maintain the connection. The more power needed the greater the amount of radiation produced by your phone and the greater exposure to you. So always try to talk in outdoors or in an open space. This allows an easier connection from your cell phone to the nearest cell phone tower. Your phone won’t have to work as hard and less power is used to maintain the signal, which translates, to less radiation exposure for you.

What Can We Do?

Obviously, can’t escape the exposure. We’ve established that fact. So what can we do to minimize the damage?

Here are few ideas: We need to limit our exposure any way possible. Don’t live near a cell phone tower if you have a choice. Don’t buy a home near one even if the price is right. Limit your use of wireless devices. Go back to ‘wired’ connections whenever possible. Maximize your health through proper nutrition and good hydration. Eat foods high in antioxidants and take supplements. Eat organically as much as possible. There is no safe distance to locate away from a mast tower. Obviously, the closer to the tower the greater the exposure risk so do locate as far away as possible. Whenever possible encourage your local government officials to consider transitioning to the use of fiber optic cable. Most of it has already been laid underground. It’s just not being used. There are no masts with fiber optics and the small amount of radiation at the exits can be neutralized with technology now available. Discourage the use of Wi-Fi in schools by meeting with your school officials and school boards. Wi-Fi hotspots are popping up everywhere now. Even whole cities are going wireless with the installation of Wi-Fi. Again, it’s all done through a wireless signal, which is damaging to your health. Don’t let cell phone companies install cell phone antennas on the roofs of schools where your children attend. The radio waves are disruptive to their ability to focus, not to mention the health hazards we’ve already outlined. If you can’t change your current situation there is some hope. There are some intervention devices now available that you can use in your home, school and office to help lessen the risk of exposure. Some very good cutting-edge technology has been developed that will intervene and help mitigate the damage being done by wireless connections.

If you’d like to discuss those options feel free to get in touch with me.

Smart Phone Buyer’s Guide

Choosing a smart phone seems to be an exercise which becomes more complicated each year as phones become increasingly advanced. Just when a buyer thinks he has all of the information he needs to make an informed decision, some sort of new feature becomes all the rage. When one considers that the computer which flew the astronauts to the moon had less computing power than a four-function calculator, it’s amazing to consider what the modern smart phone can do and how far technology has come in just the last decade regarding these amazingly useful handsets.

Choosing the Most Important Features

Each smart phone user is going to utilize his or her phone for a different purpose. While some users may simply use their handset for phone calls and texting, other users might want to have as much power as possible packed into their device. This means that the first thing to do when searching for a new phone is to identify the most important features that one desires, and to then base their search off of those parameters.

For example, battery life, large screen resolution, and app functionality might be the most important features for one user, while another person might be more focused on call quality and the weight of the phone. Given all of the variables available in purchasing a smart phone, it makes sense to list one’s “must haves” and to then look at phones that provide all of those needs. There’s very little reason to compromise on phone features with all of the different devices that are on the market today.

Operating System

Everything that a smart phone can do as well as its compatibility with various apps and programs is dependent upon its operating system. Depending on what a user might want to do with his or her phone, getting the right operating system is important. Although many app creators are starting to make their applications available for the widest possible market, the iOS (from Apple) still has a significant lead in overall available applications. Android is catching up to Apple’s popularity, while Windows and Blackberry are a little further behind.

The most common operating systems are:

Android – A very customizable open source operating system that is easily changed, manipulated, and molded to fit whatever functionality you have in mind. Android has true multi-tasking capabilities and the second largest app store.

iOS – A closed platform. All applications look and function with the continuity of the Apple operating system in mind. IOS is a very secure and stable environment with little customization features. The screen is much smaller than most of it’s competitors, but the iPhone has the largest app store and selection of available accessories.

Windows and BlackBerry – The two other major smartphone platforms (Windows and BlackBerry) also have individual perks, but realistically it is too early to call whether they will be successful since they haven’t reached the level of app proliferation of Android and the iPhone.

Carriers and Plans

Not all smart phones are available from every single carrier. If a buyer has been a customer of a particular cellular service provider for years, he or she might be reluctant to change companies just to accommodate the need of a new phone. While not all smart phone users are particularly loyal to their carriers, there are often discounts and loyalty coupons that come with repeat business with a single carrier. This may mean that a buyer could pick up a more expensive phone with those discounts applied. Taking a quick look at available phones is a good idea when beginning the smart phone search.

Another decision that will be required once a buyer has settled on a carrier is which plan will be appropriate. Group plans that offer users the ability to put all of their devices on the same account along with data usage are starting to become popular, but whatever data plan is chosen, it needs to be monitored after the smart phone purchase to ensure that excessive data usage doesn’t drive up bill cost. Keeping an eye on data usage is very important to avoid overages, and smart phones typically come with simple features to help users keep on top of their usage with ease.

Call Quality

Smart phones can do some amazing things, but at their very core they are still used as a communication device. Using a smart phone like a traditional telephone remains one of its most popular uses. A cool design and some great apps can’t make up for poor call quality. Finding a way to test out different phones and their call quality is a worthwhile investment of time. Fortunately, most cell phone providers do offer retail outlets where phones can be tested. Beyond pushing all of the buttons on the device, it’s important to make sure call quality is tested as well.

Exterior Design and Physical Appeal

A simple scan of available smart phones from any major carrier will usually showcase phones in just about every color of the rainbow. While choosing the color might be fairly simple, the actual feel and look of the phone when it’s used can be a little more complex. Smart phones with keyboards will usually be thicker (the keyboard is often housed in slide-out form) while phones that offer a hefty battery life will be heavier as well.

Another element of design which is important is how the phone actually feels when it’s in use. With some phones, there is a distinct feeling that the components are very plastic-like and that the materials just don’t feel solid and durable. The feel and weight of the phone along with its tactile appeal is definitely another reason to hold the phones in person before any purchases are made, so even if someone ultimately makes their purchase online (usually to take advantage of special deals), going into a brick and mortar operation to hold the phone first is important.

Battery Life

Batteries seem to be a topic of contentious debate within the smart phone world. The only solution seen thus far for such issues has been the addition of a larger battery on the smart phone, which has resulted in some rather hefty devices. While a heavier device isn’t likely to bother everyone, holding a phone up to talk when it feels like a brick can annoy some users.

The issue that drains a battery the most on a smart phone is the use of applications, so if a person is only talking on the phone as their primary use for the device, sometimes that big, heavy battery and phone aren’t actually required. There are simple ear pieces that can help with excessive phone weight so that the device can be placed in a purse or pocket during use, but being able to hold a light and spry phone is more convenient.

Display and Screen Resolution

Many smart phone manufacturers today are seeking ways to enlarge the screen size without making the phone the size of a tablet device. This has led to some crossover options that have hovered between the size of a tablet and a smaller smart phone, allowing for some of the increased functionality that would be available on a tablet but would still be unavailable on a smaller smart phone interface.

The addition of just a fraction of an inch of screen space doesn’t seem like it would make a big difference, but observing two phones next to one another makes the difference surprisingly apparent. After several years of offering a 3.5″ screen and a 480×320 resolution, the latest Apple iPhone made the jump to a 4″ screen and a larger resolution of 640×1136. Some initial complaints regarding the iPhone 4S when it came out revolved around the smaller screen size even though the resolution had been enhanced by that point.

Generally, most of the screen sizes of the newest smart phones on the market are going to be at least 4″ while some of the hybrid or cross-over phones might get as large as 4.3″ to 4.8″ or even larger on a select few. The best screen size to choose is often going to be a decision made in tandem with the choice regarding the overall size of the entire device. Not everyone has the room to carry around what is essentially a small tablet computer.


All smart phones today have a camera built in. Some manufacturers will even tout the cameras inside these phones as being great devices, but it usually will not have a heavy impact on the purchase decision. Cameras within smart phones will continue to be handy features, but they still are not a proper substitute for a stand-alone camera.

Basic Technical Information

Two commonly discussed features of a phone are its processor speed and how much storage the device offers. With each passing year, the phones are getting faster and it’s easy to figure out whether a phone will have a large amount of storage within it because it will be much more expensive. Doubling the storage space tends to add about a hundred dollars onto the overall purchase price. Getting the most storage isn’t always the most important factor in choosing a phone, but it is an important factor for anyone with significant multimedia and music collections that they want to store on their smart phone.

Regarding speed, the idea that “faster is better” is always going to be appropriate. Whether someone only uses their phone occasionally for its advanced features or whether someone is on the internet all the time and plays games on their phone every day, a fast processor will be noticeable. Today’s phones have processors within them that rival the power of a desktop computer from just a few years ago (or around 1.5GHz or higher) and so they are virtual powerhouses in a tiny size.

Advanced Technical Specifications

Terms like “4G” and “3G” are bandied about with regularity in most commercials for smart phones, but these terms are fairly easy to understand in that a 3G connection is one that would allow a maximum of 400kbps, while a 4G connection is supposed to be much faster and offer increased performance and speed for apps and communication.

There hasn’t been a lot of conformity regarding the implementation of 4G as a standard speed. The additional designation of “LTE” is thought by some to be a good indicator of whether a 4G phone is in fact a significant upgrade over a 3G device. The reasons why a smart phone user might want to seek out a 4G network will generally include web surfing, big downloads and big streaming habits.

One of the most important issues regarding 4G availability and choice is whether a buyer’s chosen cell phone carrier will offer a 4G network. Not all carriers offer the widest availability of such networks, so if someone lives in a particularly remote area, issues with 4G availability could become a problem.

Other technical elements which might be under discussion during a smart phone purchase are whether a phone is CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) or GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). The easiest way to understand these phone types is that a CDMA phone is going to keep its number associated with the actual handset, while a GSM phone will have a device called a “sim card” installed within it that houses the phone number and account information. In recent years, the majority of device manufacturers have moved to a GSM device standard.

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