This Former Techie Owes His Fortune to Electronic Devices. Now He Thinks They’re Dangerous. – JOSH HARKINSON JAN. 28, 2017 6:00 AM

Silicon Valley isn’t the best place to be hypersensitive to electromagnetic fields.

Peter Sullivan and I are driving around Palo Alto, California, in his black Tesla Roadster when the clicking begins. The $2,500 German-made instrument resting in my lap is picking up electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from a nearby cell tower. As we follow a procession of BMWs and Priuses into the parking lot of Henry M. Gunn High School, the clicking crescendos into a roar of static. “I can feel it right here,” Sullivan says, wincing as he massages his forehead. The last time he visited the tower, he tells me, it took him three days to recover.

Sullivan is among the estimated 3 percent of people in California who claim they are highly sensitive to EMFs, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless routers, cellphones, and countless other modern accouterments. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome—famously suffered by the brother of Jimmie McGill, the lead character on AMC’s Better Call Saul—is not a formally recognized medical condition in most countries and it has little basis in mainstream science. Dozens of peer-reviewed studies have essentially concluded that the problem is in peoples’ heads.

An estimated 3 percent of Californians believe EMFs are affecting their health.`

Encryption: FBI building fresh case for access to electronic devices – Wednesday 31 August 2016 00.03 EDT

James Comey, the agency’s director, says it is gathering information in preparation for ‘adult conversation’ on balancing privacy with need to fight crime

The FBI sparked a dispute with Apple by calling for backdoor access to the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter.

The FBI sparked a dispute with Apple by calling for backdoor access to the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. | Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Media

Widespread encryption built into smartphones was “making more and more of the room that we are charged to investigate dark”, Comey said at a cybersecurity symposium.

The FBI sought a court order to force Apple to help it hack into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, a demand Apple said would dramatically weaken security of its products.

The FBI ultimately got into the phone with the help of a third party, concluding the court case but leaving unresolved the underpinning legal questions.

Comey made clear on Tuesday that he expected dialogue to continue.

“The conversation we’ve been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that’s fine,” Comey said at a symposium organised by Symantec, a technology company. “Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country.”

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New threat ‘frightening,’ Holder says – By Justin Sink – 07/13/14 11:17 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at Jul 14, 2014 12.25

Intelligence suggesting that bomb-makers from Yemen and terrorists from Syria are working together to create undetectable explosive devices is an “extreme” administration security concern, Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday.

“In some ways, it’s more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” Holder told ABC’s “This Week.”

Holder said the collaborative effort was a “deadly combination” of those with technical skills and “people who have this kind of fervor to give their lives in support of a cause that is directed at the United States and directed at its allies.”

“It’s something that gives us really extreme, extreme concern,” Holder said.

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security announced it was beefing up security measures at international airports out of concern over the terror threat. Individuals will now be required to turn on electronic devices like cell phones and laptops at security checkpoints.

Holder said those measures were “prudent steps that are necessary to protect the flying public.”

“This is not a test,” Holder said. “We’re doing something in reaction to things that we have detected.”

At the same time, the attorney general said he was “really confident in our capacity to understand what’s going on, to monitor what’s going on and working with our allies.”

Earlier this week, Holder held a series of meetings in Oslo, Norway and London in a bid to encourage European allies to do more to counter the possible flow of terrorists into their countries.

He said the meetings were a chance to “exchange information in the way that you can’t if you’re not present” and “come up with techniques to thwart those who would try to do us all harm.”
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The TSA’s Ban on Uncharged Cellphones Isn’t as Stupid as It Sounds – BY ALEX DAVIES     07.10.14  |     6:30 AM  |  



The Transportation Security Administration has found yet another way to make traveling terrible: Passengers boarding U.S.-bound flights at some foreign airports will not be allowed to board with electronic devices that don’t have enough juice to turn on. Forget to charge your gadget and being stuck in line without the joy of checking Twitter is the least of your worries. You’ll have to throw your phone away when it’s finally your turn to run the screening gauntlet.

The new rule—announced with no explanation of why it’s been created—has been widely and swiftly lampooned as one more example of TSA nonsense. It’s impressive that the agency has managed to make the already crummy ordeal of flying even worse. But don’t assume this is more TSA idiocy just yet.

The rule change may be obnoxious, but it’s not stupid, says Rafi Ron, the former director of security at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, notorious for its strict screening procedures. The TSA is likely responding to new intelligence that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has developed explosives that are difficult to detect with current technology, Ron says. That calls for a change in procedure.

“I think that the measures that are taken make a lot of sense,” Ron says.

It should be noted that Ron is not a TSA apologist. He’s the guy who called the agency’s decision to make us all remove our shoes in response to Richard Reid’s shoe bomb debacle “an extremely unintelligent conclusion.”

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US enhanced airport security checks target electronics   6 July 2014 Last updated at 14:45 ET

Police officers patrol at a security gate inside the main terminal of Frankfurt Airport July 3

Germany is among the countries to say it will abide by the new procedures

American officials have ordered some overseas airports with direct flights to the US to intensify screening of electronic devices.

Transport officials said in a statement passengers could be asked to switch on devices, and equipment that does not power up would not be allowed on board.

An official told the BBC that London’s Heathrow was among the airports.

The US announced new security measures last week, apparently in response to a terror threat, but gave no details.

Analysts say the changes appear to be in response to intelligence that Islamic militants in Syria and Yemen are developing bombs that could evade airport security.

American officials said earlier that there was a “credible” threat, but did not link the security changes to any specific intelligence.

Phones singled out

The US does not directly control security at overseas airports.

But airlines and airports are obliged to meet security standards set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in order to carry on operating non-stop flights.

The TSA’s statement for the first time gave details of enhanced screening of electronic equipment.

“During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones,” it said.

“Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening.”

Reuters news agency reported that officials had singled out mobile phones made by Apple and Samsung for extra checks.

The UK, France and Germany have all said they would comply with the American demands.

But it is still not clear how many airports will be affected, or if passengers will be delayed.

FAA eases rules on using electronic devices on planes By Hugo Martin October 31, 2013, 9:32 a.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced plans to ease restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices to play games, read or listen to music during takeoffs and landings of commercial planes.


But federal officials have not lifted restrictions on making cellphone calls from a plane.

Before the changes take effect, the new rules announced Thursday in Washington require airlines to prove that using electronic devices such as electronic readers and tablets on “airplane mode” is safe for their aircraft.

Larger devices, such as laptops, must be stowed during takeoffs and landings to keep them from flying around the cabin during turbulence.

Industry officials warn that the policy, once adopted, could vary from airline to airline. The FAA predicted that most airlines will allow the use of electronic devices by the end of the year.

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