Offender’s £45k phone bill paid by North Wales Police

North Wales Police paid a bill of £45,000 run up by a burglar while he was on bail after he was given a mobile phone by the force.
  
North Wales Police paid a bill of £45,000 run up by a burglar while he was on bail after he was given a mobile phone by the force.
 
The phone had been given to the offender from Llangefni, Anglesey as part of a project to reintegrate criminals into the community. When the error emerged in 2014, it was found he had been given a contract SIM rather than a pay-as-you-go. A criminal investigation was launched but no charges were brought. The inquiry showed three people may have had access to the phone. Two people were arrested but no charges were brought.
 
North Wales Police said no disciplinary action had been taken against any member of staff and it has since reviewed and tightened up its mobile phone policy. Details released under a Freedom of Information request showed that the Orange mobile was used for a number of months and the bills, which totalled £44,500, were paid monthly.
 
The force said it occasionally used “inexpensive pay as you go mobile phones” to maintain contact with “vulnerable victims of crime and offenders to integrate them back into the community”. This is done through the integrated offender management unit, working with those who are subject to court or prison licences or are not subject to probation supervision.
 
“This multi-agency team works to help individuals to positively change their life through access to support services,” said director of finance and resources Tracey Martin. “A phone allows two way communications between the offender and the support agencies to provide encouragement and to keep the individual on track for the benefit of the community as a whole. Unfortunately on this occasion a contract phone was mistakenly given and then misused. The situation was dealt with as soon as it came to light in 2014 and we have since improved our procedures to ensure that it can’t happen again.”
 
 

Smartphone use blamed for road deaths

A sharp rise in US pedestrian deaths has been partly blamed on people using their smartphones while driving or crossing the road.
  
A sharp rise in US pedestrian deaths has been partly blamed on people using their smartphones while driving or crossing the road.
 
The US Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that there were 6,000 pedestrian deaths in 2016, the highest number in more than 20 years. In the last six years, fatalities have grown at four times the rate of overall traffic deaths. The report says a number of factors are to blame, including mobile use.
 
“A more recent factor contributing to the increase in pedestrian fatalities may be the growing use of smartphones by all road users, which can be a significant source of distraction for both drivers and pedestrians,” the report stated.
 
Other factors include increased driving, due to an improved economy, lower petrol prices and more walking for exercise and environmental reasons. Alcohol is also blamed, with 34% of pedestrians and 15% of drivers involved in fatal crashes being intoxicated at the time. The report is based on data from all states for the first six months of 2016.
 
The UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said it also saw mobile phones as dangerously distracting.
 
“More and more older teenagers and young adults are being injured as a result of ‘distraction’, as a result of crossing [roads] while using their phone. This can be as a result of having a conversation, listening to music, texting or using the net,” said road safety manager Nick Lloyd.
 
Some cities around the world are taking measures to counter the issue of smartphone distraction. In the Bavarian town of Augsburg, the station has fitted red and green lights in the ground to warn people who “stubbornly look at their smartphone”.
 
Officials in the Dutch town of Bodegraven ran trials in February of traffic lights that project a red or green lighting strip across the pavements to alert smartphone “zombies” who were glued to their mobiles as they cross the road.
 
“Social media, games, WhatsApp and music are major distractions in traffic,” town alderman Kees Oskam said at the time. 
 
Dutch road safety group VVN said that the idea “rewarded bad behaviour”.
 
 

Man dies charging iPhone while in the bath

A man was electrocuted as he charged his mobile phone while in the bath, an inquest has heard.
  
A man was electrocuted as he charged his mobile phone while in the bath, an inquest has heard.
 
Richard Bull, 32, died when his iPhone charger made contact with the water at his home in Ealing, west London. A coroner ruled his death was accidental and plans to send a report to Apple about taking action to prevent future deaths. Safety campaigners have warned about the dangers of charging mobiles near water following the inquest.
 
Mr Bull is believed to have plugged his charger into an extension cord from the hallway and rested it on his chest while using the phone, the Sun reports. He suffered severe burns on his chest, arm and hand when the charger touched the water and died on 11 December, the newspaper said.
 
Assistant coroner Dr Sean Cummings, who conducted the inquest at West London Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, is to write a prevention of future death report to send to Apple.
 
Charity Electrical Safety First said the death highlighted some of the dangers of having electrical appliances around water.
 
Product safety manager Steve Curtler said people would not get electrocuted from a mobile appliance such as a laptop or mobile phone if it was not being charged. Such devices typically have a low voltage of 5V to 20V so “you probably wouldn’t feel it” if they came into contact with water, he added. However, connecting a mobile phone to a charger plugged into the mains electricity supply increases the risk of harm.
 
“Although the cable that is plugged in to your phone is 5V, somewhere along the line it’s plugged into the electricity supply and you’re reliant on that cable and a transformer to make sure you don’t get into contact with the main voltage,” said Mr Curtler.
 
He said cheap, non-branded chargers may not offer such protection, but even with genuine chargers you are still taking an unnecessary risk. “You’re wet, which conducts electricity a lot better; you’re in the bath with no clothes on, so skin resistance is less. You’re vulnerable in the bathroom.”
 
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) warns against using any electrical appliance in the bathroom. Public health adviser Sheila Merrill said: “People need to be aware of taking an electrical appliance into the bathroom. The advice has always been given with regard to hairdryers and radios – not to use in the bathroom. If you have got any appliance attached to the mains electricity circuit, you have to be aware there is a danger there. You’re risking death. Electricity and water don’t mix, but particularly with phones, people probably don’t always think about it. It’s not advisable to use them while they’re plugged in, particularly in a bathroom situation.”
 
She said Rospa did not see this type of accident on a “regular basis” and most mobile phone manufacturers cover the electric shock risk in their safety handling support advice. However, with a lot of mobile phones the advice does not come with the instructions you receive in your hand, she added.
 
 

Pavement lights guide ‘smartphone zombies’

Pavement lights have been installed at a pedestrian crossing in a Netherlands town to help smartphone users cross the road safely.
 
Pavement lights have been installed at a pedestrian crossing in a Netherlands town to help smartphone users cross the road safely.
 
The light strips are designed to catch the eye of people looking down at their device, and change colour to match traffic signals. The lure of games and social media has come “at the expense of attention to traffic”, said councillor Kees Oskam. But Dutch road safety group VVN said the idea “rewards bad behaviour”.
 
“It’s not a good idea to help mobile phone users look at their phones,” said Jose de Jong of VVN, the Dutch Traffic Safety Association. “We don’t want people to use phones when they’re dealing with traffic, even when walking around. People must always look around them, to check if cars are actually stopping at the red signals.”
 
The lights have been installed on a trial basis at one crossing, close to three schools in Bodegraven. The company that developed the technology says it hopes to offer the strips to other towns in the future.
 
Similar pavement lights are being tested in the German city of Augsburg to help so-called “smartphone zombies” navigate level crossings.
 
 

A nation of phone-offenders

Research from Three finds that Brits are more likely to check their phone when they wake up, than say good morning to their partner.
  
Research from Three finds that Brits are more likely to check their phone when they wake up, than say good morning to their partner.
 
New research shows that Brits are more obsessed with their phones than ever before – posting an average of 41 social media updates per week. However, for some of us the constant sharing across social media channels, is wearing thin. The study by the mobile network, Three UK, reveals that a third of us are especially tired of reading about negative issues that are regularly over-shared in social media feeds such as break-ups, pay rises and people’s health issues.
 
However we’re all ears when it comes to positive news such as weddings, weight loss and holidays, with four in five of us enjoying regular updates on these issues.
 
We are so attached to our phone that nearly 60% of us sleep with our phone by our bedside every night.  And we are more likely to check our phones when we wake up (38%) than say hello to our partners (26%), or have a shower. One in 10 of us check our phone within 10 minutes of having sex and 4% claim they check their phone during the act.
 
Three’s research also found that half of respondents (54%) said they’d use their phone on a date, 45% would use it at the dinner table and 35% even said they’d use their mobile at a funeral. Our obsessions don’t stop there, 28% of us would ring someone more than three times if they didn’t pick up and 27% of people think WhatsApp messages should be replied to immediately.
 
It seems we’re becoming a nation of over-sharing every aspect of our lives. 18 million* Brits have used their phones to share risqué photos of themselves, with 16% taking selfies in their bathroom. Seven per cent even admitted they’d taken a selfie on the toilet. However it’s not just us mere mortals who are guilty of revealing too much, celebrities are oversharing and also guilty of not checking their social posts either. Little Mix, rapper Bow Wow, and Nikki Minaj, have all been victim to social media slip ups.
 
The survey also found that 40% of us want people to put their phones away at gigs and concerts and that 27% are tired of people constantly taking photos on nights out.  
 
Sylvia Chind, head of devices and products at Three, said: “We all love to share stuff, whether it’s our holiday photos, dancing ponies or the latest cat meme. As the network that loves data we give our customers the opportunity to share content and update their status to their heart’s content. This research suggests that we just need to be a little more aware of our surroundings and the appropriateness of when and where we share. We can’t forget that we all still need to make the most of our experiences and not live it all through our mobile screen.” 
 
 

Molecules found on phones reveal lifestyle secrets

Molecules found on mobile phones reveal an astonishing amount about the owner’s health and lifestyle – including their food preferences and medication.
 

  
Molecules found on mobile phones reveal an astonishing amount about the owner’s health and lifestyle – including their food preferences and medication.
 
Californian scientists found traces of everything from caffeine and spices to skin creams and anti-depressants on 40 phones they tested. We leave traces of molecules, chemicals and bacteria on everything we touch. Even washing hands thoroughly would not prevent the transfer to everyday objects, the researchers said.
 
Using a technique called mass spectrometry, the University of California San Diego research team tested 500 samples taken from 40 adults’ mobile phones and hands. They then compared them to molecules identified in a database and produced a “lifestyle profile” of each phone owner.
 
Dr Amina Bouslimani, an assistant project scientist on the study, said the results were revealing. “By analysing the molecules they left behind on their phones, we could tell if a person is likely to be female, uses high-end cosmetics, dyes her hair, drinks coffee, prefers beer over wine, likes spicy food, is being treated for depression, wears sunscreen and bug spray – and therefore likely to spend a lot of time outdoors – all kinds of things,” she said.
 
Most of the molecules are thought to be transferred from people’s skin, hands and sweat to their phone. Mosquito repellents and sunscreens were found to linger for a particularly long time on people’s skin and phones, even when they had not been used for months. Previous research by the same team found that people who had not washed for three days still had lots of traces of hygiene and beauty products on their skin.
 
The study said the testing method could: identify an object’s owner in the absence of fingerprints, check if patients were taking their medication, provide useful information about a person’s exposure to pollution.
 
The researchers now want to find out more about the multitude of bacteria that cover our skin – and what they reveal about us. Senior author Prof Pieter Dorrestein said there were at least 1,000 different microbes living on the average person’s skin, in hundreds of locations on the body.
 
 

Celebrity YouTube promotion fee ‘$187,000 on average’

YouTube personalities charge an average of $187,500 (£143,000) for each sponsored video, a talent agency says.
  
YouTube personalities charge an average of $187,500 (£143,000) for each sponsored video, a talent agency says.
 
San Francisco based Captiv8 said internet “influencers” with a following of three to seven million people could also make $75,000 on average for a promotional post on Instagram. A native advert on Twitter cost about $30,000 on average, it added.
 
The Advertising Standards Authority said these posts must be properly marked as advertisements. Celebrities and their agents have in recent years found lucrative opportunities to endorse goods and services across social media and video websites.
 
Last week, Kim Kardashian published a video clip on Instagram in association with the hair vitamins provider SugarBear Hair. The message began with the hashtag #ad – which denotes it as an advertisement – and read: “Excited to be partnering with @sugarbearhair to share their amazing hair vitamins with you! These chewable gummy vitamins are delicious and a favourite part of my hair care routine.”
 
Such adverts can bring in serious money if your subscriber numbers are high, according to Captiv8, a marketing company that brokers social media deals. According to Captiv8’s data, which was given to the New York Times, “someone with three million to seven million followers can charge, on average, $187,500 for a post on YouTube”. It added that $75,000 was the average fee for “a post on Instagram or Snapchat”, while $30,000 was the charge for a message on Twitter.
One digital marketing agency said Captiv8’s findings seemed “possible but a little high”, while another said the number was “not surprising at all”. Both asked not to be named.
 
Influencers with a more modest following on social media still stand to make meaningful income from native advertisements. Personalities with 50,000 to 500,000 followers can make $2,500 per YouTube ad, and $1,000 for an Instagram post.
 
The Advertising Standards Authority, which regulates advertisements across TV, print and the web, says these promotional posts must be clearly marked. “If a social media user has been paid to post something and does not have editorial control over the post, then it becomes an ad,” an ASA official said. “In this instance, they need to label the post appropriately and clearly state it is an ad. This label must be immediately obvious to the reader before they engage in watching or reading the post.”
 
Gifts and other perks should technically be deemed as payments, it added. The ASA regulates adverts produced and distributed in the UK only.
 
In 2012, it banned a Nike promotional campaign published on footballer Wayne Rooney’s Twitter feed after ruling it had not been clearly “identifiable as marketing communications”. However, to this day the Tweet remains online.
 
Then two years later, the ASA blocked a series of YouTube videos that promoted a challenge to an Oreo biscuit “lick race”. Meanwhile, in July, Warner Bros reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, after the entertainment group was found to be paying YouTube personalities for promotional videos of its game Shadow of Mordor.
 
 

 

Freshers’ phone decorum @ Uni

New research from Three UK reveals important social media etiquette for new university students
  
New research from Three UK reveals important social media etiquette for new university students
 
Whether it’s in lectures, halls of residence, or on a night out, university Fresher’s Week is all about forging new friendships. And in 2016 it’s online friendships that count – with new research from Three UK revealing that the average fresher student adds more than 23 friends to Facebook in their first two weeks of university, more than any other time of their life.
 
To help students in their quest for online popularity and to demystify the multiple methods of communication now available to students – whether that’s WhatsApp, Facebook, text or Snapchat – Three UK surveyed 1,000 students to create the 10 phone commandments of Freshers’ Week to increase the chances of making friends.
 
So what sort of social media decorum do this year’s batch of freshers need to keep in mind for 2016?
 
1.    DON’T send a friend request until you’ve known someone for more than a day
 
2.    DO wait two weeks before using an ‘x’ at the end of a text message, said 76% of students
 
3.    DON’T use a dating app in your first two weeks at university, according to 94% of students
 
4.    DO wait an hour before accepting someone’s friend request to avoid looking too keen, said over two thirds (65%) of students
 
5.    DO wait a day before asking for someone’s phone number, according to the majority of students (74%)
 
6.    DO use social media to find out about what’s going on around campus, said half of students (52%)
 
7.    DON’T post pointless status updates and refrain from ‘over sharing’ as you’re likely to lose friends on social media, said half of students
 
8.    DO use Facebook Messenger to arrange meet ups with new friends just as 76% of students do but DON’T use twitter (said 4%)
 
9.    DO choose an iPhone as your smartphone of choice to fit in with 52% of students  
 
 
The report also revealed it’s crucial to pick your friends carefully this Fresher’s Week. Whilst the average fresher adds more than 23 ‘friends’ to their Facebook during their opening weeks of university, the majority (56%) admitted they currently speak to five or less of those they digitally befriended, with 12% saying they don’t stay in touch with any at all. 60% meanwhile even confessed to deleting people they’d previously added due to no longer being in contact with them.
 
Jolene Sickelmore, head of communications and execution at Three said: “We appreciate that Fresher’s Week, while being a lot of fun, can also be a daunting experience, as you leave home for the first time and embark on making a whole new group of friends. Smart phones now play such an integral role during this time, with social media and apps ruling the way we communicate. We want to provide students starting uni this September with a guide on how to master making friends based on the experience of past freshers, so they can avoid the pitfalls of phone etiquette.”
 
 

World’s first public website went online 25 years ago today

On this day 25 years ago the world’s first website went live to the public. The site, created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was a basic text page with hyperlinked words that connected to other pages.
 
On this day 25 years ago the world’s first website went live to the public. The site, created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was a basic text page with hyperlinked words that connected to other pages.

 
Berners-Lee used the public launch to outline his plan for the service, which would come to dominate life in the twenty-first century.
 
“The WWW project merges the techniques of information retrieval and hypertext to make an easy but powerful global information system,” said Berners-Lee on the world’s first public website. “The project started with the philosophy that much academic information should be freely available to anyone.”
 
Berners-Lee wanted the World Wide Web to be a place where people could share information across the world through documents and links navigated with a simple search function.
 
The first step to making that a reality occurred on August 6, 1991, and was hailed with little fanfare when Berners Lee launched the first web page from his NeXT computer at CERN’s headquarters in Geneva. 
 
Housed at http://info.cern.ch, the founding website contained basic instructions for how the web worked, including how to access documents and set up your own server. CERN reinstated the page at its original address in 2013.

 
 

Selfies fuel boom in make-up sales

Some call it extreme narcissism, for others, it is just a bit of fun. For Estee Lauder, the selfie is a trend that has helped drive a rise in make-up sales.
 
Some call it extreme narcissism, for others, it is just a bit of fun. For Estee Lauder, the selfie is a trend that has helped drive a rise in make-up sales.
 
Cosmetics was the fastest growing division for the company for the full-year to 30 June, with turnover up 9%. The owner of brands such as Clinique, MAC and Bobbi Brown, said there has been a “shift in consumer preferences”. The upshot is that the snap-happy want to be camera ready at all times. That impulse helped Estee Lauder’s sales to rise by 4% to a total of $11.2bn for the year.
 
The company said that there has been strong demand for lipsticks and foundation, with a particular growth spurt in Britain. MAC, Bobbi Brown and Smashbox, which it acquired in 2010, all reported double digit sales growth.
 
A spokeswoman for Estee Lauder, said: “Everyone is taking photos now and make-up can allow you to transform yourself according to the mood.”
 
This shift, however, may not be good news for the traditional department store make-up lady.
 
Women and men are now more likely to go online to get make-up tips from how-to beauty “vlogs” made by self-made YouTube stars who boast millions and millions of subscribers. Estee Lauder itself tapped up Lilly Singh to be the face of Smashbox. She brings with her nine million subscribers.
Estee Lauder’s spokeswoman said: “In the past, beauty advisors in department stores were the sole means of getting educated on products and benefits. Consumers now have many more choices in terms of how they interact and learn.”
 
The company said sales of products such as make-up palettes have increased because they are a favourite of the internet beauty vloggers. A big Instagram following is also advantageous. Estee Lauder is about to launch a new make-up range with designer Victoria Beckham who has 12.1 million followers, as does US model Amber Rose, who is the face of Flirt Cosmetics, which Estee Lauder is launching on
line.
It is also advantageous that Rose has a strong following in the drag queen community – she was a judge on the Emmy-nominated RuPaul’s Drag Race – with cosmetics increasingly crossing the gender-divide. Estee Lauder said, for example, men in Korea will buy cosmetics and are particularly keen to have good brows, nice skin and a “glow”.
 

It will also continue to invest in other companies though it keeps shtum on whether it would be interested in Kylie Cosmetics, the phenomenally successful brand launched by reality TV and internet darling Kylie Jenner, who is the sister of Estee Lauder’s “face” Kendall Jenner.
 
Its spokeswoman said: “We never talk about specific acquisitions but we are always looking at the market.” The company’s name is synonymous with perfume, and it has an impressive range of high-end scents.
 
For the future, the company will continue to grow its niche perfumes range after buying “prestige” brands By Kilian, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle and Le Labo.
 
With the global cosmetics market set to grow to $675bn by 2020, according to Research and Markets, there will be no shortage of potential new brands for Estee Lauder to target.