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Crime & Justice

New study will look at the poor's vulnerability to internet hacking




A man checks facebook on his smartphone while waiting for a train in a metro station in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2012.
A man checks facebook on his smartphone while waiting for a train in a metro station in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2012.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

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Having access to the internet can be seen as a convenience, but for some people it's absolutely necessary.

Children might need to be online to complete their homework, and adults rely on the internet to apply for jobs.

But for the poor, one of the only ways to get online at home might be through a smartphone, leaving them more vulnerable to hacking, identity theft and more.

"Users told us that they're spending up to six hours a day accessing the internet on their mobile devices for tasks that most of the population does on their laptops or PCs," said Gwen Shaffer, professor of journalism at Cal State Long Beach. "Things like doing research for school, or helping their kids complete online homework assignments."

She's embarking on a study about internet security issues for working-class families.​

"You are carrying around a tracking device in your pocket or purse wherever you go with so many bits of personal information," she said.

Listen to more of the interview by clicking the blue audio player above.