Support PJW in the Fightback Against Censorship

Facebook and the mainstream media are trying to silence me by falsely labeling me an “extremist”.

Conservatives and anyone who challenges the leftist orthodoxy are being deplatformed.

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https://www.infowars.com/support-pjw-in-the-fightback-against-censorship/

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Chemicals from sunscreen seep into bloodstream in one day, FDA study shows

It only takes one day for several common sunscreen ingredients to enter the bloodstream, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration study shows.

In the study, the FDA completed research on a dozen chemical sunscreens and found four of the chemicals — avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule — remain in the body for at least 24 hours after sunscreen use stopped.

Now, this absolutely does not mean you should stop wearing sunscreen to prevent cancer. The FDA said much more research is needed to figure out if these chemicals can be considered safe.

Another option is to use barrier sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These physical sunblocks block the sun’s rays and don’t have the chemicals in question.

“I would want to make sure that my patients are not afraid to use sunscreen,” said Dr. Tanya Nino. “Continue to protect their skin from the sun because ultraviolet light is the most preventable risk factor for developing skin cancer.”

Read the full study here.

https://abc11.com/health/sunscreen-chemicals-seep-into-your-bloodstream-in-1-day-fda/5287720/

Apple face-recognition blamed by New York teen for false arrest

A New York student sued Apple Inc. for US$1 billion, claiming the company’s facial-recognition software falsely linked him to a series of thefts from Apple stores.

Ousmane Bah, 18, said he was arrested at his home in New York in November and charged with stealing from an Apple store. The arrest warrant included a photo that didn’t resemble Bah, he said in a lawsuit filed Monday. One of the thefts he was charged with, in Boston, took place on the day in June he was attending his senior prom in Manhattan, he said.

Bah said he had previously lost a non-photo learner’s permit, which may have been found or stolen by the real thief and used as identification in Apple stores. As a result, Bah claimed, his name may have been mistakenly connected to the thief’s face in Apple’s facial-recognition system, which he said the company uses in its stores to track people suspected of theft.

“He was forced to respond to multiple false allegations which led to severe stress and hardship,” Bah said in the complaint.

Apple and Security Industry Specialists Inc., a security firm that’s also named as a defendant, declined to comment on the suit.

The case is Bah v. Apple Inc., 19-cv-03539, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/apple-face-recognition-blamed-by-new-york-teen-for-false-arrest-1.1247685

What Sony’s robot dog teaches us about biometric data privacy

The $2,900 pup is a companion robot, one Sony claims “learns its environment and develops relationships with people.” Aibo even enlists a camera in its nose to scan faces and determine who’s who so it can react to them differently.

Because of our office pet’s face-detecting capabilities, Sony doesn’t sell Aibo in Illinois. The state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) regulates the collection of biometric data, including face scans.

So Aibo’s out in the land of Lincoln, but the story doesn’t stop with Sony’s quirky robot. Illinois also limits access to facial recognition in home security cameras, a feature that’s becoming increasingly prevalent in the consumer security market. Let’s take a closer look at BIPA, the growth of biometric tech in consumer products — and how other states in the US treat your biometric info.

Illinois law

The Biometric Information Privacy Act was established in 2008 to regulate “the collection, use, safeguarding, handling, storage, retention, and destruction of biometric identifiers and information.” BIPA defines “biometric identifiers” as retina scans, iris scans, fingerprints, hand scans, face scans and voiceprints.

Basically, an individual or a company needs “informed written consent” to use another individual’s biometric info.

State senator Terry Link for Illinois’ 30th district introduced Senate Bill 2400 on Feb. 14, 2008 to protect the biometric privacy of Illinois residents. State senators Christine Radogno, Iris Y. Martinez, David Koehler and Heather Steans served as co-sponsors of the bill. It was approved as the Biometric Information Privacy Act on Oct. 3, 2008.

Senator Link filed an amendment to BIPAon May 26, 2016 to redefine “biometric identifier,” to make it easier to collect certain biometric data, but later withdrew the amendment.

A Sony support page titled “Why Is Aibo Not for Sale in Illinois?” simply says:

Due to state regulations and policies, the Aibo™ robotic companion is not for sale or use in Illinois.

In order to mimic the behavior of an actual pet, an Aibo device will learn to behave differently around familiar people. To enable this recognition, Aibo conducts a facial analysis of those it observes through its cameras. This facial-recognition data may constitute “biometric information” under the law of Illinois, which places specific obligations on parties collecting biometric information. Thus, we decided to prohibit purchase and use of Aibo by residents of Illinois.

While Sony simply opted out of selling the face-detecting Aibo in Illinois, other companies, like Nest, sell their facial recognition-enabled cams in Illinois, with the facial recognition feature disabled.

A quick visit to the Nest Cam IQ Indoorpage says “Familiar face alerts require a Nest Aware subscription. Not available on Nest Cams used in Illinois.”

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor has an optional feature called familiar face alerts that you pay a monthly (or yearly) fee to access via the Nest Aware service. Like many other home security cameras with facial recognition, the IQ Indoor allows you to create a database with the faces of friends, family members, caregivers and any other people that regularly visit your home. That way, when you get a motion alert, the Nest app tells you it sees “Molly” or “Tyler.”

That feature won’t work in Illinois, even if you pay for Nest Aware. Google disables Nest’s facial recognition capabilities in the state: “We use a variety of factors to determine a user’s location, including IP address of their devices and the physical address associated with their account,” a Google spokesperson told me over email.

Privacy talk

Although BIPA remains the strictest state privacy law, Texas and Washington also regulate biometric information. A Texas law, established in 2009, similarly defines biometric identifiers as “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or record of hand or face geometry.”

A section of the law states: “A person may not capture a biometric identifier of an individual for a commercial purpose unless the person: informs the individual before capturing the biometric identifier; and receives the individual’s consent to capture the biometric identifier.”

Washington’s 2017 House Bill 493 doesn’t specifically reference face or hand scans in its definition of biometric identifier. The definition also doesn’t include “a physical or digital photograph, video or audio recording or data generated therefrom, or information collected, used, or stored for health care treatment, payment, or operations under the federal health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group for digital privacy, supports state regulation of biometric data.

“When you start to capture biometrics from people it turns a corner to where we think that shouldn’t be happening without the consent of the person who’s biometrics are being taken,” EFF senior staff attorney Adam Schwartz says during a phone interview while referencing Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.

“What it says [BIPA] is that, one private person can’t take biometrics from another private person without their consent. And that’s where we [the EFF] would draw the line,” Schwartz adds.

The facial recognition landscape

At the same time that states are implementing biometric privacy laws, we’re seeing more consumer devices with facial recognition. Here’s a list of home security cameras you can buy today with facial recognition capabilities.

Not only is facial recognition more prevalent, we’re also seeing more products that enlist fingerprints or hand scans. The iPhone and other smartphoneshave fingerprint-scanning capabilities so you can quickly unlock your phone. I saw a smart lock at CES 2019 called the Elecpro US:E that relies on a face scan and a hand scan to unlock.

Airports are increasingly adding tech that scans faces or fingerprints to determine who you are, too. Schwartz refers to the growing popularity of biometric tech as a “normalization of biometrics,” something the EFF finds concerning, he says.

“If you start using biometrics to board your airplane because it’s convenient, other forms of biometrics seem more normal. We’re very concerned about that,” explains Schwartz.

Whether or not you’re personally concerned about your biometric data, expect to see more regulations around it in the coming years. Alaska, Michigan, Montana and New Hampshire are already working on their own biometric laws. And, given the influx of devices that use biometric information both for consumer and commercial purposes, more are probably on the way.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.cnet.com/news/what-sonys-robot-dog-teaches-us-about-biometric-data-privacy/

Conservatives face a tough fight as Big Tech’s censorship expands

As Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives becomes ever more flagrant and overt, the old arguments about protecting the sanctity of the modern public square are now invalid. Our right to freely engage in public discourse through speech is under sustained attack, necessitating a vigorous defense against the major social media and internet platforms.

From “shadowbans” on Facebook and Twitter, to demonetization of YouTube videos, to pulled ads for Republican candidates at the critical junctures of election campaigns, the list of violations against the online practices and speech of conservatives is long.

I certainly had my suspicions confirmed when Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, “accidentally” censored a post I made regarding the Jussie Smollett hoax, which consequently led to me hearing from hundreds of my followers about how they’ve been having problems seeing, liking or being able to interact with my posts. Many of them even claimed that they’ve had to repeatedly refollow me, as Instagram keeps unfollowing me on their accounts.

While nothing about Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives truly surprises me anymore, it’s still chilling to see the proof for yourself. If it can happen to me, the son of the president, with millions of followers on social media, just think about how bad it must be for conservatives with smaller followings and those who don’t have the soapbox or media reach to push back when they’re being targeted?

Thanks to a brave Facebook whistleblower who approached James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant developed algorithms to “deboost” certain content, limiting its distribution and appearance in news feeds. As you probably guessed, this stealth censorship was specifically aimed at conservatives.

Facebook appears to have deliberately tailored its algorithm to recognize the syntax and style popular among conservatives in order to “deboost” that content. “Mainstream media,” “SJW” (Social Justice Warrior) and “red pill” — all terms that conservatives often use to express themselves — were listed as red flags, according to the former Facebook insider.

Facebook engineers even cited BlazeTV host Lauren Chen’s video criticizing the social justice movement as an example of the kind of “red pills” that users just aren’t allowed to drop anymore. Mainstream conservative content was strangled in real time, yet fringe leftists such as the Young Turks enjoy free rein on the social media platform.

Despite the occasional brave gesture, politicians have been far too sluggish in recognizing the extent of the problem. But the Republican Party and the conservative movement are becoming more vigilant against the suppression of our speech, as we saw at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Silicon Valley lobbyists have splashed millions of dollars all over the Washington swamp to play on conservatives’ innate faith in the free-market system and respect for private property. Even as Big Tech companies work to exclude us from the town square of the 21st century, they’ve been able to rely on misguided conservatives to carry water for them with irrelevant pedantry about whether the First Amendment applies in cases of social media censorship.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has been making a name for himself as a Republican prepared to stand up to Big Tech malfeasance since his time as Missouri’s attorney general. He delivered a tour de force interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel in front of the CPAC crowd, one that provided a clear-eyed assessment of the ongoing affront to the freedoms of conservative speech and expression.

Hawley demolished the absurd notion that “conservative principles” preclude taking action to ensure free debate online simply because Big Tech firms — the most powerful corporations in the world — are private companies.

Hawley pointed out that Big Tech companies already enjoy “sweetheart deals” under current regulations that make their malfeasance a matter of public concern. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, for instance, allows them to avoid liability for the content that users post to their platforms. To address this problem, Hawley proposed adding a viewpoint neutrality requirement for platforms that benefit from Section 230’s protections, which were originally enacted to protect the internet as “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.”

“Google and Facebook should not be a law unto themselves,” Hawley declared. “They should not be able to discriminate against conservatives. They should not be able to tell us we need to sit down and shut up!”

It’s high time other conservative politicians started heeding Hawley’s warnings, because the logical endpoint of Big Tech’s free rein is far more troubling than conservative meme warriors losing their Twitter accounts. As we’re already starting to see, what starts with social media censorship can quickly lead to banishment from such fundamental services as transportation, online payments and banking.

Left unchecked, Big Tech and liberal activists could construct a private “social credit” system — not unlike what the communists have nightmarishly implemented in China — that excludes outspoken conservatives from wide swaths of American life simply because their political views differ from those of tech executives.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/434407-conservatives-face-a-tough-fight-as-big-techs-censorship-expands

LED streetlights could damage eyesight and disrupt sleep, warns Public Health England

New streetlights installed on British roads could harm people’s eyesight and disrupt their sleep, Public Health England (PHE) has warned.

Councils across the country hope replacing existing bulbs in streetlights with new light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will help save money and reduce emissions.

Authorities in London, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Cheshire and Dundee, among others, have spent millions of pounds upgrading their lights.

But PHE warned the powerful new bulbs could interfere with people’s natural sleeping patterns, resulting in a feeling similar to “permanent jet lag”.

“Humans have a natural body clock that has an approximate 24-hour cycle. However, light is the main trigger to ensure that we stay entrained,” said John O’Hagan, head of the PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ed-streetlight-bright-sleep-damage-eyesight-public-health-england-a8285981.html

Facial recognition’s ‘dirty little secret’: Millions of online photos scraped without consent

Facial recognition can log you into your iPhone, track criminals through crowds and identify loyal customers in stores.

The technology — which is imperfect but improving rapidly — is based on algorithms that learn how to recognize human faces and the hundreds of ways in which each one is unique.

To do this well, the algorithms must be fed hundreds of thousands of images of a diverse array of faces. Increasingly, those photos are coming from the internet, where they’re swept up by the millions without the knowledge of the people who posted them, categorized by age, gender, skin tone and dozens of other metrics, and shared with researchers at universities and companies.

As the algorithms get more advanced — meaning they are better able to identify women and people of color, a task they have historically struggled with — legal experts and civil rights advocates are sounding the alarm on researchers’ use of photos of ordinary people. These people’s faces are being used without their consent, in order to power technology that could eventually be used to surveil them.

That’s a particular concern for minorities who could be profiled and targeted, the experts and advocates say.

“This is the dirty little secret of AI training sets. Researchers often just grab whatever images are available in the wild,” said NYU School of Law professor Jason Schultz.

The latest company to enter this territory was IBM, which in January released a collection of nearly a million photos that were scraped from the photo hosting site Flickr and coded to describe the subjects’ appearance. IBM promoted the collection to researchers as a progressive step toward reducing bias in facial recognition.

But some of the photographers whose images were included in IBM’s dataset were surprised and disconcerted when NBC News told them that their photographs had been annotated with details including facial geometry and skin tone and may be used to develop facial recognition algorithms. (NBC News obtained IBM’s dataset from a source after the company declined to share it, saying it could be used only by academic or corporate research groups.)

“None of the people I photographed had any idea their images were being used in this way,” said Greg Peverill-Conti, a Boston-based public relations executive who has more than 700 photos in IBM’s collection, known as a “training dataset.”

“It seems a little sketchy that IBM can use these pictures without saying anything to anybody,” he said.

John Smith, who oversees AI research at IBM, said that the company was committed to “protecting the privacy of individuals” and “will work with anyone who requests a URL to be removed from the dataset.”

Despite IBM’s assurances that Flickr users can opt out of the database, NBC News discovered that it’s almost impossible to get photos removed. IBM requires photographers to email links to photos they want removed, but the company has not publicly shared the list of Flickr users and photos included in the dataset, so there is no easy way of finding out whose photos are included. IBM did not respond to questions about this process.

To see if your Flickr photos are part of the dataset, enter your username in a tool NBC News created based on the IBM dataset:

IBM says that its dataset is designed to help academic researchers make facial recognition technology fairer. The company is not alone in using publicly available photos on the internet in this way. Dozens of other research organizations have collected photos for training facial recognition systems, and many of the larger, more recent collections have been scraped from the web.

Some experts and activists argue that this is not just an infringement on the privacy of the millions of people whose images have been swept up — it also raises broader concerns about the improvement of facial recognition technology, and the fear that it will be used by law enforcement agencies to disproportionately target minorities.

“People gave their consent to sharing their photos in a different internet ecosystem,” said Meredith Whittaker, co-director of the AI Now Institute, which studies the social implications of artificial intelligence. “Now they are being unwillingly or unknowingly cast in the training of systems that could potentially be used in oppressive ways against their communities.”

HOW FACIAL RECOGNITION HAS EVOLVED

In the early days of building facial recognition tools, researchers paid people to come to their labs, sign consent forms and have their photo taken in different poses and lighting conditions. Because this was expensive and time consuming, early datasets were limited to a few hundred subjects.

With the rise of the web during the 2000s, researchers suddenly had access to millions of photos of people.

Amazon Rekognition enables users to track people through a video even when their faces are not visible.Amazon

“They would go into a search engine, type in the name of a famous person and download all of the images,” said P. Jonathon Phillips, who collects datasets for measuring the performance of face recognition algorithms for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. “At the start these tended to be famous people, celebrities, actors and sports people.”

As social media and user-generated content took over, photos of regular people were increasingly available. Researchers treated this as a free-for-all, scraping faces from YouTube videos, Facebook, Google Images, Wikipedia and mugshot databases.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/facial-recognition-s-dirty-little-secret-millions-online-photos-scraped-n981921

Are AirPods dangerous? 250 scientists sign petition warning of cancer

  • In 2018, Apple sold 29 million pairs of AirPods
  • The tiny wireless Bluetooth headphones fit into the ear canal
  • 250 scientists from over 40 countries have signed a petition to the WHO and UN to warn against radiowave radiation from WiFi, Bluetooth and cell data
  • The close proximity of AirPods to the brain and inner ear may raise cancer risks

Apple’s popular wireless AirPods headphones may pose cancer risks to wearers, according to a United Nations and World Health Organization petition.

Some 250 have signed the petition, which warns against numerous devices that emit radiofrequency radiation, which is used in WiFi, cellular data and Bluetooth.

AirPods in particular are concerning because they sit deeply enough within the ear canal to emit expose these fragile parts of the ear to dangerous among of radiation, some experts warn.

The scientific jury is still out on the whether or not the particular devices an cause cancer, but animal studies on the kind of radiofrequency radiation that they emit has suggested a link to cancer.

Radiowaves from Bluetooth AirPods may be carcinogenic, a group of 250 international scientists warned in a petition against minimally regulated wireless technology

Radiowaves from Bluetooth AirPods may be carcinogenic, a group of 250 international scientists warned in a petition against minimally regulated wireless technology

And, in some cases, the levels of radiation found to be carcinogenic were significantly lower than the maximum allowed by federal and international guidelines.

Last year, Apple sold 28 million pairs of its tiny, white wireless earbuds. The year before, they sold 16 million pairs. With a new design reportedly on the way, the technology company is set to profit even more on sound.

But the devices could be pumping more than beats into wearers’ heads.

The AirPods wirelessly connect with a phone via Bluetooth, the popular short distance radio communication technology.

Essentially, anything that communicates wirelessly using electromagnetic energy waves of varying types.

Bluetooth operates on one form involving low-power radiowaves.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6796679/Are-AirPods-dangerous-250-scientists-warn-be.html

Web inventor urges users to seek ‘complete control’ of data

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee on Monday slammed the increasing commodification of personal information and appealed for internet users to strive to maintain “complete control” of their data.

Berners-Lee, credited with creating the web in 1989, is on a mission to save his invention from a range of problems increasingly dominating online life, including misinformation and a lack of data protection.

“You should have complete control of your data. It’s not oil. It’s not a commodity,” he told a small group of journalists gathered at Europe’s physics lab CERN, where he first came up with the idea for the web 30 years ago.

When it comes to personal data, “you should not be able to sell it for money,” he said, “because it’s a right”.

Berners-Lee, who last year launched a development platform called “Solid” aimed at giving users control of their data, described a frightening future if we do not rise to the challenge of privacy protection.

“There is a possible future you can imagine (in which) your browser keeps track of everything that you buy,” he said.

In this scenario, “your browser actually has more information then Amazon does”, he said, warning against complacency in expecting no harm will come from this loss of control over one’s own data.

“We shouldn’t assume that the world is going to stay like it is,” he said.

People needed to do more to protect themselves and their data and not to simply expect that governments will look out for their best interests, he argued.

Berners-Lee told a Washington Post event last week that he launched the Solid projet in response to concerns about personal data being bought and sold without the consent of users.

– ‘Don’t fail the web –

The platform aimed “to separate the apps from the data storage” so users could decide where and how they would share their personal information, he said.

He acknowledged Monday that enforcible laws would be needed to protect the most sensitive personal data.

“Sometimes it has to be legislation which says personal data, you know, genetic data, should never be used,” he said.

In addition to his work advocating for data protection, Berners-Lee has launched a “Contract for the Web”, aimed at ensuring the integrity of online information.

In a letter published Monday, he hailed the opportunities the web had created, giving marginalised groups a voice and making daily life easier.

But he warned, “it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crimes easier to commit”.

He was nevertheless optimistic that the problems could be fixed.

“Given how much the web has changed in the past 30 years, it would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web as we know it can’t be changed for the better in the next 30,” he wrote.

“If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us. We will have failed the web.”

Internet users must fight to keep control of their data, says the inventor of the World Wide Web, British scientist Tim Berners-Lee

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://au.news.yahoo.com/inventor-urges-users-seek-complete-control-data-210123158–spt.html

Mind Control by Cell Phone

Hospitals and airplanes ban the use of cell phones, because their electromagnetic transmissions can interfere with sensitive electrical devices. Could the brain also fall into that category? Of course, all our thoughts, sensations and actions arise from bioelectricity generated by neurons and transmitted through complex neural circuits inside our skull. Electrical signals between neurons generate electric fields that radiate out of brain tissue as electrical waves that can be picked up by electrodes touching a person’s scalp. Measurements of such brainwaves in EEGs provide powerful insight into brain function and a valuable diagnostic tool for doctors. Indeed, so fundamental are brainwaves to the internal workings of the mind, they have become the ultimate, legal definition drawing the line between life and death.

Brainwaves change with a healthy person’s conscious and unconscious mental activity and state of arousal. But scientists can do more with brainwaves than just listen in on the brain at work-they can selectively control brain function by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This technique uses powerful pulses of electromagnetic radiation beamed into a person’s brain to jam or excite particular brain circuits.

Although a cell phone is much less powerful than TMS, the question still remains: Could the electrical signals coming from a phone affect certain brainwaves operating in resonance with cell phone transmission frequencies? After all, the caller’s cerebral cortex is just centimeters away from radiation broadcast from the phone’s antenna. Two studies provide some revealing news.

The first, led by Rodney Croft, of the Brain Science Institute, Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, tested whether cell phone transmissions could alter a person’s brainwaves. The researchers monitored the brainwaves of 120 healthy men and women while a Nokia 6110 cell phone—one of the most popular cell phones in the world—was strapped to their head. A computer controlled the phone’s transmissions in a double-blind experimental design, which meant that neither the test subject nor researchers knew whether the cell phone was transmitting or idle while EEG data were collected. The data showed that when the cell phone was transmitting, the power of a characteristic brain-wave pattern called alpha waves in the person’s brain was boosted significantly. The increased alpha wave activity was greatest in brain tissue directly beneath to the cell phone, strengthening the case that the phone was responsible for the observed effect.

Alpha Waves of Brain
Alpha waves fluctuate at a rate of eight to 12 cycles per second (Hertz). These brainwaves reflect a person’s state of arousal and attention. Alpha waves are generally regarded as an indicator of reduced mental effort, “cortical idling” or mind wandering. But this conventional view is perhaps an oversimplification. Croft, for example, argues that the alpha wave is really regulating the shift of attentionbetween external and internal inputs. Alpha waves increase in power when a person shifts his or her consciousness of the external world to internal thoughts; they also are the key brainwave signatures of sleep.

Cell Phone Insomnia
If cell phone signals boost a person’s alpha waves, does this nudge them subliminally into an altered state of consciousness or have any effect at all on the workings of their mind that can be observed in a person’s behavior? In the second study, James Horne and colleagues at the Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre in England devised an experiment to test this question. The result was surprising. Not only could the cell phone signals alter a person’s behavior during the call, the effects of the disrupted brain-wave patterns continued long after the phone was switched off.

“This was a completely unexpected finding,” Horne told me. “We didn’t suspect any effect on EEG [after switching off the phone]. We were interested in studying the effect of mobile phone signals on sleep itself.” But it quickly became obvious to Horne and colleagues in preparing for the sleep-research experiments that some of the test subjects had difficulty falling asleep.

Horne and his colleagues controlled a Nokia 6310e cell phone—another popular and basic phone—attached to the head of 10 healthy but sleep-deprived men in their sleep research lab. (Their sleep had been restricted to six hours the previous night.) The researchers then monitored the men’s brainwaves by EEG while the phone was switched on and off by remote computer, and also switched between “standby,” “listen” and “talk” modes of operation for 30 minute intervals on different nights. The experiment revealed that after the phone was switched to “talk” mode a different brain-wave pattern, called delta waves (in the range of one to four Hertz), remained dampened for nearly one hour after the phone was shut off. These brainwaves are the most reliable and sensitive marker of stage two sleep—approximately 50 percent of total sleep consists of this stage—and the subjects remained awake twice as long after the phone transmitting in talk mode was shut off. Although the test subjects had been sleep-deprived the night before, they could not fall asleepfor nearly one hour after the phone had been operating without their knowledge.

Although this research shows that cell phone transmissions can affect a person’s brainwaves with persistent effects on behavior, Horne does not feel there is any need for concern that cell phones are damaging. The arousal effects the researchers measured are equivalent to about half a cup of coffee, and many other factors in a person’s surroundings will affect a night’s sleep as much or more than cell phone transmissions.

“The significance of the research,” he explained, is that although the cell phone power is low, “electromagnetic radiation can nevertheless have an effect on mental behavior when transmitting at the proper frequency.” He finds this fact especially remarkable when considering that everyone is surrounded by electromagnetic clutter radiating from all kinds of electronic devices in our modern world. Cell phones in talk mode seem to be particularly well-tuned to frequencies that affect brainwave activity. “The results show sensitivity to low-level radiation to a subtle degree. These findings open the door by a crack for more research to follow. One only wonders if with different doses, durations, or other devices, would there be greater effects?”

Croft of Swinburne emphasizes that there are no health worries from these new findings. “The exciting thing about this research is that it allows us to have a look at how you might modulate brain function and this [look] tells us something about how the brain works on a fundamental level.” In other words, the importance of this work is in illuminating the fundamental workings of the brain-scientists can now splash away with their own self-generated electromagnetic waves and learn a great deal about how brainwaves respond and what they do.

Mind Matters is edited by Jonah Lehrer, the science writer behind the blog The Frontal Cortex and the book Proust was a Neuroscientist.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mind-control-by-cell/