When it comes to choosing the best networks for safety and security, narrowing the options down to just one or two network service providers is more difficult than you may think. All cellular phone networks are guided by legislation that mandates that cell phone network providers provide their customers with a certain level of protection. However, in such cases (such as in GPS locating) those safety features can be exactly what a thief or predator needs to harm the user of the cell phone.
Take T-Mobile for example. T-Mobile is very proud of what they call their Enhanced 9ǃǃ Phase I service. This service to customers allows emergency response teams to identify the site of the cell phone (usually with the user) to be able to provide them with the assistance they may be in need of in the case of a call to 9- 1- 1. Additionally this feature can be used with handsets and even personal computers. While some are excited about this safety feature, others are apprehensive about asking for the service because of the fear that someone other than emergency services could find a way to track them. You can see from this example that what is a motivating security feature for some is an invitation for stalkers to other cell phone users. A lot of the value in determining the best networks for cell phone privacy and safety are up to the discretion of the individual cell phone user.
Different companies vary in their emphasis of specific safety and privacy issues. For example, many cell phone users are concerned about the safety of their contact information. They understand that in the wrong hands the safety of their contacts may be compromised. Some websites and individuals are able to get a hold of phone records and then sell the contact information listed on these records over the Internet. Cell phone networks such as Cingular Wireless and Verizon are at the forefront of fighting the illegal distribution of this data. These two networks have filed lawsuits against those who have obtained personal cell phone records through fraudulent activities.
Some networks realize that the biggest threat for distribution of contact and personal information that belongs to their subscribers exists within the company rather than outside of it. Therefore, network cell phone providers such as Vontu and Vericept have aggressively taken steps to eliminate this internal threat. These companies use data-interception products that monitor e-mail, instant messages, FTP files and other electronic communications on corporate networks, in order to “sniff for leaks” of sensitive information.
Local and federal government officials definitely have a hand in cell phone network safety and privacy issues. Just to use one example, cell phones, and more specifically text messages are becoming a new method for the distribution of mass communication. Such mass communication may consist of threats to safety or safety notifications such as in the case of an AMBER alert. An AMBER alert is an alert given when there is a missing child that is believed to be in danger and therefore needs to be found as soon as possible. Verizon Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Sprint, PCS, Nextel and T-Mobile USA all announced that text messaging fees will be waived for AMBER alert messages. Emergency Alert message retrieval systems through your cell phone are some more security features that you can bet most cell service networks will be offering in the near future.
As the capabilities of a cell phone and our dependency on the convenience that they offer grows, so too will the opportunities that thieves will have to breach through the security features of any network and disturb our safety and privacy. Asking your network if they have the safety features that are most important to you and your cell phone needs is most likely the best way to choose a network that suits you.