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Cellphones Pose No Gas Station Hazard

3 min read

Some people have asserted that the use of cellphones should be banned when drivers refuel their cars at gasoline stations. Cellphone signals, they say, can ignite gas fumes and cause a fire or explosion.

Concern about cellphone safety at gas stations arose from anecdotal reports circulated on the Internet and by the media. The first report dates to about 1993 and may have originated in Southeast Asia. But no scientific evidence has shown that danger exists, and we are unaware that any confirmed incident has ever occurred anywhere in the world.

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How Police Exploited the Capitol Riot’s Digital Records

Forensic technology is powerful, but is it worth the privacy trade-offs?

11 min read
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 Illustration of the silhouette of a person with upraised arm holding a cellphone in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Superimposed on the head is a green matrix, which represents data points used for facial recognition
Gabriel Zimmer
Green

The group of well-dressed young men who gathered on the outskirts of Baltimore on the night of 5 January 2021 hardly looked like extremists. But the next day, prosecutors allege, they would all breach the United States Capitol during the deadly insurrection. Several would loot and destroy media equipment, and one would assault a policeman.

No strangers to protest, the men, members of the America First movement, diligently donned masks to obscure their faces. None boasted of their exploits on social media, and none of their friends or family would come forward to denounce them. But on 5 January, they made one piping hot, family-size mistake: They shared a pizza.

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