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Posted at 03:04 PM ET, 08/07/2012

GAO to FCC: Reassess cellphone standards #thecircuit

GAO report: Mobile phone exposure limits and testing requirements should be reassessed, according to a Government Accountability Office study released Tuesday.

The study, the culmination of a year-long review done at the urging of lawmakers, comes at a time of heightened concern about the possible impact of cellphone radiation on human health. Its findings may prompt the Federal Communications Commission to update its standards to more accurately reflect how people use their cellphones.

While the report did not suggest that cellphone use causes cancer, the agency did say that the FCC’s current energy exposure limit for mobile phones, established in 1996, “may not reflect the latest evidence on the the effects” of cellphones. The study recommends that the FCC reassess two things: the current exposure limit and the way it tests exposure.

In response to the report, the FCC said that it will ask multiple stakeholders — including federal health agencies — for input as it assesses its standards.

"The U.S. has among the most conservative standards in the world,” FCC spokesman Neil Grace said in a statement. “As part of our routine review of these standards, which we began earlier this summer, we will solicit input from multiple stakeholder experts, including federal health agencies and others, to guide our assessment. We look forward to reviewing today's GAO report as part of that consideration."

Canvassing feature in Obama app: The campaign to reelect President Obama has taken canvassing to the next technological level by including a map that shows users the names and addresses of Democratic voters in the area.

At least one privacy advocate, Shaun Dunkin, called the app a “privacy fail” in a tweet last week. But others said that the campaign is well within its rights to publish the data, which is public. With more data than ever at the fingertips of political campaigns, experts said this election could include even more initiatives like this.

“Party affiliation is public information, available through the state voter registration records. I don't see the problem there,” said Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg told The Washington Post. “Still, both campaigns are digging deep into the private lives of voters. It will only get more interesting as the November election approaches.”

Apple drops YouTube app from iOS 6: Apple said that its license from YouTube to include an app featuring the video service in iOS has expired, though users can watch YouTube through the Web browser. There will be no pre-installed YouTube app in the next version of the operating system, according to a report at 9 to 5 Mac that was subsequently confirmed by the Verge.

YouTube will be developing its own app for devices running iOS 6, and Engadget reported that the current YouTube app will still be available on all devices running iOS 5.

Apple has already introduced its own maps program for its next operating system, taking over for Google Maps. So while Google continues to make several prominent apps for iOS devices — Chrome, Google Drive and Gmail being just a few examples — it looks like it won’t be nearly as baked-in as it was before.

People more satisfied with tablets than smartphones:According to new data from comScore, tablet owners are more satisfied with their devices than smartphone owners. The data, released Tuesday, found that tablets scored an average of 8.6 in owner satisfaction on a 10-point scale, while smartphones earned a score of an 8.1.

The iPad had the highest satisfaction rating — 8.8 — while Android tablets, overall, scored an 8.2 on the scale. The Kindle Fire, which runs a separate version of Android, scored an 8.7 on the scale.

By  |  03:04 PM ET, 08/07/2012

 
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