Are Cell Phone Calls Private?
Cell phones are actually two-way radios that connect the telephone with a nearby cellular tower, and through that tower to the regular wired telephone system.††Because the cell phone uses a radio signal, it theoretically can be listened to†with the right radio equipment.† However, laws have been enacted that prohibit bringing such equipment into the country or using such equipment without special permission.† In addition, cell phones have a very limited range, and many phones share the same radio frequencies.† Consequently, the likelihood of someone†intercepting a cell phone call is almost nonexistent in this country, but possible.
How does a cell phone work? A cell phone is a special type of phone that is not connected to your telephone in the house and works both inside and away from your house. For example, you can use a cell phone to make and receive calls in your car, at the park, at the mall, or even at the beach. A cell phone turns your voice into a special type of electricity and sends it over the air to a nearby cell tower; the tower sends your voice to the person you are calling. Cell phones work well when they are near cell towers, but not so well if they are too far away from a cell tower. Cell phones are important because they let us keep in touch with our families when we are away from the house, and can be used almost anywhere to make 9-1-1 calls in case of an emergency. Some cell phones have games you can play; some let you send email or send instant messages to your friends; and some let you take pictures and send them to people.
What year were cell phones invented? In 1973 Martin Cooper invented the first cell phone. It weighed two pounds! Because they were so big and expensive, at first cell phones were only used by the military and businesses. By 1983 they were smaller and much less expensive and used by more people in the general population.
Do cell phones cause brain cancer? There is no scientific evidence to date that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects, including headaches, dizziness or memory loss. However, studies are ongoing and key government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to monitor the results of the latest scientific research on this topic. In 1993," the FDA, which has primary jurisdiction for investigating mobile phone safety, stated that it did not have enough information at that time to rule out the possibility of risk, but if such a risk exists, "it is probably small." The FDA concluded that there is no proof that cellular telephones can be harmful, but if individuals remain concerned several precautionary actions could be taken, including limiting conversations on hand-held cellular telephones and making greater use of telephones with vehicle-mounted antennas where there is a greater separation distance between the user and the radiating antennas. The Web site for the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health provides further information on mobile phone safety: www.fda.gov/cdrh/phones/index.html.
Why canít you use cell phones in hospitals or airplanes? Some of the places that you should never use your mobile phone are inside hospitals and airplanes. When you make or receive calls, electromagnetic waves are sent through the air. Hospitals have a lot of electronic devices that monitor patient's heartbeats and other thing when they are getting surgery or when they are recovering from an illness. When electromagnetic waves try to go through them, the devices sometimes stop working. You can imagine how bad that would be for doctors and nurses in hospitals who are trying to save lives. That's why we should never use mobile phones inside of a hospital.
It's the same thing in airplanes because they use computers to fly through the air. If the computers don't work properly, the airplane may not go the right direction or fly at the right height, or they may even crash! Next time you get on a plane, make sure that turn off your mobile phone so that everyone can have a safe flight.