Archive for the ‘Science & Technology’ Category

Terrorists could use internet to launch nuclear attack: report

July 28, 2009

Terrorists groups could soon use the internet to help set off a devastating nuclear attack, according to new research.

The claims come in a study commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), which suggests that under the right circumstances, terrorists could break into computer systems and launch an attack on a nuclear state – triggering a catastrophic chain of events that would have a global impact.

Without better protection of computer and information systems, the paper suggests, governments around the world are leaving open the possibility that a well-coordinated cyberwar could quickly elevate to nuclear levels.

Advertisements

Report: China has more Web users than US has citizens

July 28, 2009

The number of Internet users in China is now greater than the entire population of the United States, after rising to 338 million by the end of June, state media reported Sunday.

China’s online population, the largest in the world, rose by 40 million in the first six months of 2009, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a report by the China Internet Network Information Center.

The number of broadband Internet connections rose by 10 million to 93.5 million in the first half of the year, the report said.

About 95 percent of townships were connected to broadband by early June and 92.5 percent of villages had telephone lines that could be used for Internet access, Xinhua said, citing the official data.

Google Analyzes Your Vacation Snaps to Figure Out Where You Were

June 24, 2009

Where were we when this was taken? Do you remember, dear?

Tired of trying to identify landmarks in your endless folders of travel photos? Google’s image recognition engine could help. Just upload the mystery image to an online album, point the engine at it, and zap — turns out it was the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece.

There’s no product just yet, but Google’s recognition engine has proven capable of identifying more than 50,000 unique landmarks from around the world, and all “without any human intervention,” said Jay Yagnik, head of Google’s Computer Vision Research. His team is scheduled to present its work today at a computer vision conference in Miami, Florida.

Who Killed The Electric Car? TRAILER

June 24, 2009

Mass Use Of Electric Cars Nearing?

June 24, 2009

A trial of over 340 electric cars is currently under way in an effort to accelerate their introduction into the UK. Quentin Wilson, a motoring journalist, told CNBC that this is “a seismic moment in the history of the car.” Among things that must still be tweaked in the environmentally friendly cars, he said, are “battery range and fun.”

Cyber security centre to be launched in Britain

June 15, 2009

The Government is to launch a national cyber security centre to help protect the UK from online attacks.

The centre will advise Whitehall departments and companies on defending against hacking by foreign powers, organised criminals and terror groups, the Guardian reported.

It will form the centrepiece of the new national security strategy to be launched by Prime Minister Gordon Brown later this month, sources confirmed.

China begins internet ‘blackout’ ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

June 3, 2009

China has begun imposing an information blackout ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, blocking access to popular networking websites such as Twitter and BBC television reports inside China.

The measures came as the authorities tried to close all avenues of dissent ahead of Thursday’s anniversary, placing prominent critics under house arrest and banning newspaper from making any mention of the pro-democracy protests.

The co-ordinated internet “takedown” occurred at 5pm local time (10am GMT) on Tuesday as a broad range of websites suddenly became unavailable to Chinese internet users.

Big Brother HAS gone too far … and that’s an ex-spy chief talking

June 3, 2009

The former head of MI6 has hit out at ’striking and disturbing’ invasions of privacy by the Big Brother state.

Sir Richard Dearlove, who led the Secret Intelligence Service from 1999 to 2004, claimed some were an ‘abuse’ of the law.

He attacked the ‘loss of liberties’ caused by expanding surveillance powers and described some police operations as ‘mind-boggling.’

The former spy chief joins a growing number of high-profile critics warning that individual freedom and privacy are being seriously eroded by the Government’s disproportionate efforts to guard against terrorism.

Cybersecurity Is Framework For Total Government Regulation & Control Of Our Lives

June 1, 2009

The Obama administration’s new Cybersecurity system will only make the Internet more vulnerable to attack, while creating the framework for a massively upgraded government surveillance grid that will control and regulate every aspect of our daily lives through the implementation of “smart” technology.

Obama’s announcement of the new cybersecurity grid dovetails with a recently introduced Senate bill, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, that would hand the president the power to shut down the entire Internet in the event of a “cybersecurity” crisis.

“The bill’s draft states that “the president may order a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic” and would give the government ongoing access to “all relevant data concerning (critical infrastructure) networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access,” reports Raw Story.

Obama’s new war doctrine: ‘Cyber dominance’

June 1, 2009

The US military is moving ahead with plans to create its first “cyber command” designed to bolster America’s potential to wage digital warfare as well as defend against mounting cyber threats, officials said on Friday.

After President Barack Obama announced Friday his plans to overhaul cyber security policy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was expected to soon formally propose the new cyber command that will be overseen by a four-star officer, Pentagon officials told AFP.

The move reflects a shift in military strategy with “cyber dominance” now part of US war doctrine and growing alarm over the perceived threat posed by digital espionage coming from China, Russia and elsewhere.

Homeland Security to scan fingerprints of travellers exiting the US

June 1, 2009

The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States.

From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of international travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta.

Biometric technology such as fingerprint scans has been used by US Customs and Border Patrol for several years to gain a biometric record of non-US citizens entering the United States.

NASA Sun cycle ‘lowest since 1928′

June 1, 2009

An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots.

“If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78,” says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

It is tempting to describe such a cycle as “weak” or “mild,” but that could give the wrong impression.

Obama Set to Create A Cybersecurity Czar With Broad Mandate

May 27, 2009

President Obama is expected to announce late this week that he will create a “cyber czar,” a senior White House official who will have broad authority to develop strategy to protect the nation’s government-run and private computer networks, according to people who have been briefed on the plan.

The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final.

FCC’s Warrantless Household Searches Alarm Experts

May 27, 2009

You may not know it, but if you have a wireless router, a cordless phone, remote car-door opener, baby monitor or cellphone in your house, the FCC claims the right to enter your home without a warrant at any time of the day or night in order to inspect it.

That’s the upshot of the rules the agency has followed for years to monitor licensed television and radio stations, and to crack down on pirate radio broadcasters. And the commission maintains the same policy applies to any licensed or unlicensed radio-frequency device.

Tiny Implantable Devices to Help Treat Chronic Pain

May 27, 2009

MicroTransponder, a company out of Dallas, Texas, is developing an implantable neural stimulator to alleviate chronic pain. Looking like an RFID implant, the prototype device uses low energy radio technology for communication and has no batteries on board.

Fury as Commons Denied DNA Vote

May 27, 2009

Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, has been warned that the government risks further damaging the public’s faith in politics after it emerged that plans for the police to keep innocent people’s DNA profiles for up to 12 years will become law without a Commons vote. Opposition parties and civil liberty groups united to condemn plans that are being steered through parliament while MPs are distracted by the expenses row.

The Man Who Beat Big Brother Britain

May 27, 2009

Police could be forced to destroy huge archives of surveillance photographs taken at protests, riots and football matches following a landmark judgment. Appeal Court judges ruled yesterday that a law-abiding arms trade activist had his human rights breached when police took photos of him at a protest and kept them on file. In a judgment that could change the way all UK police forces monitor protesters, the Metropolitan Police was told to destroy all pictures of Andrew Wood.

Who’s Watching You?

May 27, 2009

A new three part series looks at why the UK has become one of the most watched places in the world – with millions of CCTV cameras, a growing network of number plate recognition cameras, one of the largest DNA databases in the world and government plans for the basic details of all our phone calls e-mails, and every internet site we visit to be logged and kept.

GPS system ‘close to breakdown’

May 20, 2009

It has become one of the staples of modern, hi-tech life: using satellite navigation tools built into your car or mobile phone to find your way from A to B. But experts have warned that the system may be close to breakdown.

BBC Chief Demands Charge For iPlayer to Stop Viewers ‘Getting a Free Ride’

May 20, 2009

‘The BBC is looking to close the loophole which allows non-licence fee payers to watch programmes on iPlayer. The BBC’s technology chief said viewers were getting ‘a free ride’ by watching its shows on the internet-based iPlayer rather than on television. More and more viewers – particularly students – are thought to be watching BBC programmes on demand via iPlayer without having to pay for a TV licence.’

I’m not a traffic warden … call me a civil enforcement officer

May 20, 2009

It is the end of the road for parking attendants as we know them.

They are now called “civil enforcement officers” and come complete with new powers – and uniforms – thanks to the Traffic Management Act, introduced today.

Call to suspend ‘whole-body imaging’ at airports

May 19, 2009

Privacy advocates plan to call on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to suspend use of “whole-body imaging,” the airport security technology that critics say performs “a virtual strip search” and produces “naked” pictures of passengers, CNN has learned.

Robot warriors will get a guide to ethics

May 19, 2009

Smart missiles, rolling robots, and flying drones currently controlled by humans, are being used on the battlefield more every day. But what happens when humans are taken out of the loop, and robots are left to make decisions, like who to kill or what to bomb, on their own?

Ronald Arkin, a professor of computer science at Georgia Tech, is in the first stages of developing an “ethical governor,” a package of software and hardware that tells robots when and what to fire. His book on the subject, “Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots,” comes out this month.

Children’s database launched

May 18, 2009

A database which holds the details of every child in the UK has become operational.

ContactPoint holds the name, ages, address and other information for an estimated 11 million youngsters in England for access by childcare professionals.

The £224 million system was set up following the death of Victoria Climbie, who was abused by her great aunt and her boyfriend, but has been hit by a series of delays and fears over security.

Patent for killer chip denied in Germany

May 15, 2009

A Saudi inventor’s proposal to insert semiconductors subcutaneously in visitors and remotely kill them if they misbehave will not be patented in Germany.