Industry News

This Week in Telecom & Tech – July 7, 2016

It has been an interesting week for human rights and access with regard to the telecom industry. Below are synopses of a couple of the top stories. Links to source material follow the body of the article for your continued research. Enjoy!

On Friday July 1, the United Nations declared internet access a basic human right. In a report issued by the UN’s Special Rapporteur, Frank La Rue, it was announced that disconnecting individuals from the internet is a violation of human rights and a violation of international law.

The report calls upon all states to ensure that internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest. The UN report comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.

The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression,” according to the report’s summary, “but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole.”

In Finland this week, developer Ville Ylläsjärvi of Haltian, launched a simple tracker phone targeted for use by kids ages 6-12. The device has no screen and only one button. It is touted as play proof and easy to use. The goal of the company is to provide peace of mind and basic connectivity for parents and children, while the young ones venture out on small neighborhood expeditions.

The minimalist cube shaped device relays GPS location information back to the registered Snowfox tracker app user (parents). Parents are the primary users of this tech. With this app, parents have the ability to respond to one touch call requests placed by their little ones using Snowfox. Kids can only contact their parents.

With the added connectivity of Snowfox, valuable childhood experiences like unchaperoned neighborhood exploring get a security upgrade, without increasing screen time interference with nature and real world play. The device is being offered at $150 retail, and requires a monthly subscription for service.

To-market production of this device is being facilitated by an Indiegogo campaign. One of the perks of participating as a contributor is a first generation tracker phone for a donation of $99. This seems like a really cool new toy for parents. Just be sure to confirm that the tech ships to your current country of residence and that subscriptions for service will be available when you receive your device. Best of luck to Haltian on their crowd sourced endeavor of singular purpose!


1. UN says Internet Access a basic human right.

2. Snowfox Markets screenless trackerphone for kids


Tiffany Dyess- 1stel Blog Contributor

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werkLab Studios

werkLab Studios