Safety News Roundup: This Week’s Top Headlines

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • This week in safety news: AI facial recognition controversy, banned food additives, Utah takes TikTok to court, and Fire Prevention Week.

Here's our weekly roundup of the most crucial safety news you need to know. From the risks of facial recognition and  states suing TikTok to Fire Prevention Week and how to protect your privacy if you use AirDrop, we've got you covered.

Stay informed, stay safe, and dive into the headlines that matter most in today's ever-evolving landscape of hazards and precautions. Your safety matters and this is where you'll find the news you need to protect what matters most.

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Utah sues TikTok: "Baiting" kids into social media addiction

Utah joins the legal battle against TikTok, accusing the platform of enticing children into excessive social media use and misrepresenting safety features. This lawsuit highlights public health concerns, citing research linking extended social media use to heightened risks of mental health issues in children.

Utah seeks to hold TikTok accountable, imposing fines and penalties to help fund educational efforts to address harm to children. TikTok defends its safety measures, including parental controls, while the U.S. Supreme Court considers broader regulation of social media platforms.

Learn more:
Is TikTok Safe? Here’s what you need to know

PimEyes: The online facial recognition tool raising concerns

Meet PimEyes, the powerful facial recognition tool that's raising eyebrows online. This AI-driven platform can identify strangers from photos in mere seconds, making it a hot topic on TikTok. However, concerns arise as the tool skirts the line of privacy and safety, with videos showcasing its capabilities going viral despite community guidelines.

While the company claims its service can help people monitor their online presence, it has generated controversy for its use as a surveillance tool for stalkers, collecting countless images of children, and even adding images of deceased individuals to its database without permission. PimEyes, founded in 2017, operates like a reverse image search, uncovering hidden photos of individuals from the depths of the internet, a revelation that has left many surprised.

Related article:
Security Camera Laws, Rights, and Rules

California leads the way: First U.S. state to ban harmful food additives

California is breaking new ground in food safety by becoming the first U.S. state to prohibit four food and drink additives linked to cancer and other diseases. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Food Safety Act into law on October 7, taking action against additives already banned in several other countries. The banned substances include brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye 3.

The law will go into effect in 2027, allowing companies time to modify their recipes with safer alternatives. Bill sponsor Jesse Gabriel emphasized that this legislation won't ban any products but will ensure Californians can enjoy their favorite foods with greater confidence in their safety. Many major brands, including Coke, Pepsi, Dunkin', and Panera, have voluntarily removed these additives from their products.

iPhone users beware: Why you should never use your full name on AirDrop

A TikTok video by a user called Kelly has sent an urgent message to iPhone users—especially women—about a potentially dangerous feature. Kelly explains that Apple's AirDrop can reveal your full name to strangers, making it a potential tool for stalkers. She urged users to change their AirDrop name to protect their privacy.

Kelly's warning comes from personal experience, highlighting the need for vigilance when it comes to personal information and technology. While waiting at the airport, a man kindly offered Kelly a charging outlet. Later, he sat next to her despite her disinterest—attempting to strike up a conversation. Startled and alarmed, he suddenly revealed her full name, explaining that he had found it via AirDrop.

Users can safeguard themselves by using initials or a partial name instead of their full name by going into iPhone settings and editing the name field.

Related article:
What Are Apple AirTags and How Do They Work?

Tragic balloon mishap: Mother's warning after 7-year-old's loss

A Tennessee mother, Channa Kelly, is cautioning parents following her 7-year-old daughter Alexandra's tragic death while deflating helium balloons from her birthday celebration. The incident involved a large Mylar helium balloon, and Alexandra was found lifeless with the balloon around her head after a brief nap.

The exact cause of death remains uncertain. Kelly's plea serves as a somber reminder to parents about balloon hazards, and she hopes to raise awareness and educate others about the risks involved. Local authorities are investigating the incident.

Cooking safety in focus for Fire Prevention Week

As Fire Prevention Week takes the spotlight, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) highlights cooking safety as a crucial theme this year. Your kitchen, often underestimated, can be a danger zone, as statistics reveal:

  • Cooking fires led home fire reports from 2017 to 2021, causing injuries and fatalities.Ranges and cooktops contributed significantly to these incidents.

To ensure kitchen safety, here are three actionable tips:

  1. Test your smoke detector: Regularly check your kitchen smoke detector, replacing batteries and the unit itself as needed. Consider smart smoke detectors for added benefits.
  2. Clean for safety: Prioritize kitchen cleaning from a fire safety perspective, addressing grease, flammable materials, and fire extinguisher placement.
  3. Practice safe cooking habits: Never leave meals unattended, especially during frying or broiling. Learn how to handle grease fires and have a plan in place.

Fire Prevention Week reminds us to protect our homes, especially as the holidays approach.

Learn more:
Fire Prevention Week 2023: How to Protect Your Home And Loved Ones From Kitchen Fires

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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