Barry FoxThe New Scientist article Cellphone chaperone by Barry Fox said
Watch out nannies, baby-sitters and wayward teenagers. An innocent-looking cellphone from Sony-Ericsson also works like a remote bugging device.
It’s always good to know that a baby-sitter, elderly relative or child out late is carrying a cellphone. But it’s also worrying when they don’t answer a “just-checking” call.
The new device provides a simple solution. Software on the handset checks the number of each incoming call against an address list, to see if the caller has been previously flagged. If they have, the phone rings in the usual way but switches to auto-answer after a predetermined number of rings. So the called phone becomes a live microphone listening to whatever is happening nearby.
Barry Fox is Contributing Editor, Europe for
and has contributed regularly to
New Scientist magazine for thirty years,
initially reporting on new patents and invention for the printed
magazine and now for the online version of
He also writes for numerous specialist, hobbyist and trade weeklies and
monthlies including the
BBC Music Magazine,
Hi Fi News,
What Satellite and Digital TV,
Personal Computer World and
Everyday Practical Electronics.
Barry has authored several books, including Why didn’t I think of it first? about odd inventions. He is European Contributing Editor for the US-based Warren group of subscription newsletters, including Consumer Electronics Daily. He broadcasts on national and local radio and TV, commenting on technology news and giving consumer electronics advice and is winner of several UK Technology press awards.
He graduated from Oxford University after spending two years in the British Royal Air Force on electronics work. He trained as a UK patent attorney, then moved into full time journalism, writing about new inventions and all aspects of technology, but specializing in consumer and entertainment electronics including audio, video, radio, TV, satellite, telecoms and computers.
Barry has retained independence as a journalist and severely curtailed earning potential! by adopting a strict policy of never doing any public relations work or commercial consultancy.