RV Lifestyle eZine

Jan 2018  Issue #360

In This Issue

Cell Phone Privacy Issues
World's Smallest Phone

USA Trivia

RV Lifestyle Books

by Margo Armstrong


Click cover for Details

















Cellphone Privacy Unleashed


With Smartphone ownership at an all-time high and unlimited data plans now available at the leading phone services, is our life an open book?


If so, how do you feel about that, does it make you paranoid or give you a sense of security?


Is Your Cellphone
Always Listening?


To find out if your phone is always listening, review the access you have already granted to apps, like Google.


On a Samsung, Motorola, or other Android-based phone, go to Settings > Privacy and Safety > App permissions.


On an iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy. Both have an entry for microphone, which lists all the apps that have access.


If you see something suspicious, invest-igate. With services like Siri or Google Assistant, your phone is always listening for a keyword, but that is processed locally. It does not record your audio until it hears “Ok Google” or “Hey Siri.”


At that point, it records and uploads an audio file. You can turn these features off easily; for example, on Android, go to Settings > Google > Search & Now > Voice. Turn “Ok Google” detection Off.


Tired of Products Pushed
Into Your Face


Kim Komando, a leader in gathering high-tech information to share with the consumer, stated that back in March 2015, AT&T surprised everyone when it added a new option to its GigaPower fiber Internet service: privacy.


Yes, for just $29 more a month AT&T promises it will not sell your search and browsing history to advertisers. How generous!


While there is still some doubt about how private your personal data is kept even after you pay the $29, Kim feels at least AT&T is being honest about how it finances operations.


The truth is, major cellphone carriers are more than happy to sell your information to advertisers and serve you targeted ads over their networks.


The Next Generation in
Tracking Software


Carriers are working on ways to track that you cannot stop. Verizon and AT&T have experimented with "supercookies" that let any website know who you are when you visit.


AT&T dropped the supercookie idea when customers complained, but Verizon still uses it.


To opt out of targeted ads at Verizon, visit your account and click MyPrivacy.


When possible, one solution is to use Wi-Fi instead of your cellular signal for browsing.


Tracking and selling your personal data is not just a problem with cellular carriers. There are ways every ad company can track where you go online.


You probably already know that Facebook shares your information with advertisers, right along with all the other social media websites.


Online Phone Games May be Collecting Your TV-viewing Data


Are you ready for this? The latest invasion on your privacy is underway. You just settled in for some game time on your phone during the halftime break.


Meanwhile game apps like Pool 3D, Beer Pong, TrickShot, or Real Bowling Strike 10 Pin are busy monitoring your TV-viewing habits, even when not activated. There are over 1,000 games with access to the microphone that participate in data gathering.


This is yet another example of how companies are using devices to document how you are viewing television and commercials.


This information is sold to advertisers to target ads more precisely. Some companies like to find out which ads prompted a person to go to a car dealership, for instance.


If the game has access to the microphone, there is a good chance data-gathering is going on. Everything that is heard is recorded, wow!


Non-Tracking Search Engines


Here are a few search engines that do not allow tracking:

Possible Reactions to Privacy Restrictions


This is a good time to mention some of the downsides to privacy protection. As you make your cellphone and computer as safe as you can, there are limits that Google and other browsers put on your search requests.


Some websites reject your request if their ads do not appear. But...what about information you willingly give to Google and other ad-producing entities.


This eZine covered this topic in the April and May issues. Take a look at some of the permissions you may be giving them without realizing the long-term effect on your everyday life.


With phablets boasting huge Ultra HD screens, it's hard to remember a time when mobile phones were racing to be the smallest. That long-forgotten race might now have a winner, as UK phone company Zanco has unveiled the Zanco tiny t1, the smallest – and probably the least practical – phone ever made.


USA Trivia

1. If you wanted to stand at the northernmost point of the United States, where would you go?
a. Point Barrow, Alaska
b. Caribou, Maine
c. Hallock, Minn.

Hint: Next stop: North Pole.

2. What state has the highest average elevation?
a. Alaska
b. Colorado
c. New Mexico
Hint: The Rocky Mountains live here.

3. There is a spot in the U.S. that lies 282 ft below sea level, the lowest point in all the states. Where is this
a. Death Valley, Calif.
b. Atlanta, Ga..
c. New Orleans, La.
Hint: This place is landlocked.

4. What 27-acre island is home to an important place in American immigration history?
a. Alcatraz
b. Ellis Island
c. Bermuda
Hint: This piece of land is owned jointly by New York and New Jersey.

5. What six states comprise New England?
a. Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York
b. Maine, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware
c. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island
Hint: The nation’s smallest state is in New England

6. Which landlocked harbor is one of the largest and best natural harbors in the East Pacific Ocean?
a. Valdez Harbor, Alaska
b. Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii
c. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Hint: This harbor was the site of a surprise attack by the Japanese during WWII.

7. The Lechuguilla Cave is part of what series of underground chambers?
a. Carlsbad Caverns
b. Luray Caverns
c. Jenolan Caves
Hint: You must travel to southeast New Mexico to visit.

8. Which of the following territory, colony, or dependency is NOT under U.S. jurisdiction?
a. Guam
b. Puerto Rico
c. Cayman Islands
Hint: A popular vacation spot, this overseas territory consists of three islands.


1. Point Barrow, Alaska. Bring your mukluks, it’s cold in Alaska.
2. Colorado. Colorado and its Rockies boast the nation’s highest average elevation: 6,800 ft/2,073 m.
3. Death Valley, Calif. New Orleans is 4 ft below sea level, and Atlanta is 940 ft above sea level.
4. Ellis Island. Government-controlled since 1808, Ellis Island was long the site of an arsenal and a fort, but most famously served (1892–1954) as the chief immigration station of the United States.
5. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. John Smith because of its resemblance to the English coast.
6. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Nineteen naval vessels, including eight battleships, were sunk or severely damaged during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
7. Carlsbad Caverns. The Carlsbad Caverns contain some of the largest and most impressive stalactites and stalagmites in the U.S.
8. Cayman Islands. The Caymans are a British dependency.