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Wireless in the News…

Wireless in the News…

There have been a lot of hot wireless topics in current events as of late, a trend indicative of the continuing acceptance of wireless in the mainstream consumer market. In this month's editorial, I'd like to weigh in on a few of the biggest issues.

Wireless Security
When most people think of wireless security, the image of rogue criminals driving around the city in vans, trying to steal your cell phone number, tends to come to mind. What's more important to remember, the current way wireless data is being stolen is directly from the mainframe. The security of your personal data has never been more in the limelight than it is now with the recent news that customer data may have been stolen from two of the nation's largest wireless carriers. Verizon Wireless Inc. and AT&T Wireless Group Inc. have both started investigations into a security breach that may have allowed hackers to see confidential information of hundreds, if not thousands of their customers. The situation has also prompted investigations by at least two police units in California and Oklahoma. It's currently unknown if the stolen data came from unencrypted files at the wireless companies themselves, or if instead it was a third-party credit bureau whose data was hacked. Either way...it's out there.

Private data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, driver's license information, and more, were posted in online chat rooms. Logs of the chat rooms show that the private information was being posted at the rate of two customers per minute. No small amount by any means, but not as bad as it could have been.

This situation certainly could have been worse and, hopefully, since it's being investigated, it will heighten attention to improving security across the board so there is no next time. Customer data is some of the most precious information a company has, and protecting it needs to be priority number one.

Cell Phones and Cars - A Dangerous Mix
According to a government study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 3% of all drivers are talking on their cell phones while driving at any given time. This translates to approximately 500,000 people. While the study did not assess the role cell phones play in crashes, government data indicates that some sort of driver distraction is a contributing factor in 20-30% of all accidents. Roughly 40 U.S. states are considering legislation to restrict driver use of handheld cell phones. Just recently, New York became the first state to completely ban cell phone use while driving, except of course for handsfree devices. Several other states are considering the same or different legislation. The New England Journal of Medicine has recently added fuel to the "anti-cell phones while driving fire" by noting that drivers are four times more likely to be in an accident if talking on a cell phone while driving. Seems like common sense to me - if you haven't already, now's the time to go handsfree - it's the safe way of the future!

Unwired Profits
Wireless companies are struggling along with the rest of the technology sector to cut costs and increase profits across the board. While we're certainly not out of the woods yet, it looks like we could be on a bit of an upswing. Over the next few months, look for some innovations on new ways to make money from some of the largest companies in the industry. The first of these has come from AT&T, which is now courting subscribers to prepay an allotted amount of time on phone cards. If AT&T succeeds with this new effort, look for the others to follow suit.

More Stories By Robert Diamond

Robert Diamond is the founder and editor-in-chief of BroadwayWorld.com, the premiere theater site on the net now receiving over 100,000 unique visitors a day. He is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media - a leading designer of entertainment and technology web sites. He is also the lead producer on BroadwayWorld.com's consistently sold-out Joe's Pub concert series, and Standing Ovations benefit concerts. Diamond was also named one of the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by Folio magazine. Robert holds a BS degree in information management and technology from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. Visit his blog at www.robertdiamond.com.

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