Saturday, November 28, 2009

Secret CCTV cameras fitted INSIDE people's homes to spy on neighbours outside

Another step on the road to a complete surveillance state... as civil surveillance takes its test:

Town halls are installing cameras inside suburban homes to spy on the neighbourhood.The Big Brother tactic - which is allowed under the anti-terrorist Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - is being used by Croydon council in South London to catch those suspected of 'anti-social behaviour'.The CCTV cameras are placed inside the house of a willing resident, but trained on the street.If deemed successful, the £1,000 cameras could be installed across the country to catch low-level offenders...

...Charles Farrier, of the campaign group No-CCTV, said: 'There is no evidence they act as a deterrent and we should be concentrating on the root problem anyway and working to gel our communities.'
Simon Davies, of Privacy International, said: 'Unless the public are aware of where these cameras are, I believe this council should be taken to court for a breach of human rights.'
The cameras are used to look for anti-social behaviour (file picture)

Critics say the scheme has echoes of the East German Stasi secret police, which recruited members of the public as spies.

Read more:


Read article - 'Secret CCTV cameras fitted INSIDE people's homes to spy on neighbours outside'

Thursday, November 26, 2009

India to have 'billion plus' mobile users by 2015

First it was all about China and its rise of mobile & Internet users.... now India is back on the map:

India could have more than one billion mobile phone users by 2015, with the bulk of that growth in rural areas, one of the country's top telecom executives said Wednesday. Manoj Kohli, chief executive of India's biggest mobile phone group Bharti Airtel, told an industry conference in Hong Kong that his firm is aiming to almost double its customer base to 200 million people in the next few years. "Achieving a billion plus (Indian mobile users) by 2015 is possible," he told the Mobile Asia Congress, the region's largest telecom industry gathering.

"The largest growth will happen in the rural market," he said, adding that pricing wars between providers were knocking down rates in the Indian market and making phones affordable to more people. Competition in India has become even more aggressive as new players unleash deeper price cuts with innovative per-second billing plans that have pushed call costs down to less than a cent a minute.

"There is hyper-competition like no other place in the world," he said.

India is the world's second-biggest cellular market with more than 400 million users, lagging behind only China, which has over 600 million users.

Read more at - 'India to have 'billion plus' mobile users by 2015: executive'


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Age of cyber warfare is 'dawning'

 Although not 'new', at least it is now being officially stated that the world's nations are prepared for future cyber wars:

Cyber war has moved from fiction to fact, says a report.
Compiled by security firm McAfee, it bases its conclusion on analysis of recent net-based attacks.
Analysis of the motives of the actors behind many attacks carried out via the internet showed that many were mounted with a explicitly political aim.It said that many nations were now arming to defend themselves in a cyber war and readying forces to conduct their own attacks.

While definitions of what constitutes cyber war are not shared, it was clear that many nations were preparing for a future in which conflict was partly conducted via the net."There are at least five countries known to be arming themselves for this kind of conflict," said Greg Day, primary analyst for security at McAfee Europe.
The UK, Germany, France, China and North Korea are known to be developing their own capabilities.

Read more at 'Age of cyber warfare is 'dawning''


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dutch drivers to pay tax on road time, not on car

This new scheme to track drivers and cost them for their travel rather than paying standard car tax was always on the cards... now its on paper:

The Dutch government plans to bring the polluter-pays principle into the home garage.

Rather than an annual road tax for their cars, drivers will soon pay a few cents for every kilometer (mile) on the road, in a plan aimed at breaking chronic traffic jams and cutting carbon emissions, the Cabinet decided Friday.

The GPS monitoring system could be a test case for other countries weighing options for easing crowded roads. Some cities like London have created congestion charges to control traffic in downtown areas, but only Singapore has a similar scheme for charging according to the amount of travel.

When the plan takes effect in 2012, new car prices will drop as much as 25 percent with the abolition of a purchase tax and the road tax, which now totals more than euro600 ($900) per year for a mid-sized car.

Instead, an average passenger car will pay euro0.03 per 1 kilometer ($0.07 per mile), with higher charges levied during rush hour and for traveling on congested roads. Trucks, commercial vehicles and bigger cars emitting more carbon dioxide will be assessed at a higher rate, the Transport Ministry said.

The GPS devices installed in cars will track the time, hour and place each car moves and send the data to a billing agency.

Of course, they will need to install GPS devices in every car in order to track and bill you... but I'm sure it was coincidental...

Read more at 'Dutch drivers to pay tax on road time, not on car'


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

INTERPOL issues its first ever passports

Well, it looks like the 'kinetic elite' just became a little more 'kinetic'.... and this time in the area of crime-busting.... INTERPOL has just declared that it is issuing 'its first ever passports which will enable Heads of National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and staff to travel internationally without requiring a visa when assisting in transnational investigations or urgent deployments to incidents':

Two countries, Pakistan and Ukraine, have already agreed to waive visa entry requirements for INTERPOL passport bearers, recognizing that those individuals will be travelling on behalf of the organization in the furtherance of international police co-operation.

Without the delay of visa processing procedures, any INTERPOL team can be immediately deployed to scenes of terrorist events, major crimes or natural disasters and officials from NCBs can easily cross borders to assist in fugitive extraditions.

The first member of the Executive Committee to receive the new passport, INTERPOL President Khoo Boon Hui, said that the document would significantly support the organization’s work.

“As the world’s largest police organization, INTERPOL needs to remain at the forefront of all activity which enhances member country security and safety,” said President Khoo.

While the rest of us have to wait in line....

Read official site - 'INTERPOL issues its first ever passports'


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

World-first Sustainable Racing Car Runs On Chocolate

Here's one for the choca-holic racing fans - a esearch team at the University of Warwick, have designed and built the worldfirst fully sustainable Formula 3 racing car:

The car is made from woven flax, recycled carbon fibre, recycled resin and carrot pulp for the steering wheel. It runs on biofuel made from chocolate and animal fats and is lubricated with plant oils. But it's not just an environmentally friendly car, it is also fast. The car has a top speed of 135 mph, can achieve 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and is turbo charged to give it more torque.

Having got the seal of approval from drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Adam Carroll as well as F1 team boss Ross Brawn, the car will make its first competitive debut in the Formula 3 Championship final at Brands Hatch on 17th October. The team hope to prove that high performance, competitive cars can be built from sustainable materials.

According to Dr Kirwan the idea behind the project is to show that: "being sustainable and green can be incredibly sexy, fun and fast." He goes on to say that even though people's perception of motorsport is that it's wasteful, this project is "aiming to show ways for the future, for people to race and be green."

Read original article - 'World-first Sustainable Racing Car Runs On Chocolate'


Saturday, November 07, 2009

The pocket spy: Will your smartphone rat you out?

NewScientist Tech has an article on how firms are able to extract personal information from mobile phones... sometimes at the behest of jealous partners.... a new trend! The post states that:

THERE are certain things you do not want to share with strangers. In my case it was a stream of highly personal text messages from my husband, sent during the early days of our relationship. Etched on my phone's SIM card - but invisible on my current handset and thus forgotten - here they now are, displayed in all their brazen glory on a stranger's computer screen.

I've just walked into a windowless room on an industrial estate in Tamworth, UK, where three cellphone analysts in blue shirts sit at their terminals, scrutinising the contents of my phone and smirking. "If it's any consolation, we would have found them even if you had deleted them," says one.

Worse, it seems embarrassing text messages aren't the only thing I have to worry about: "Is this a photo of your office?" another asks (the answer is yes). "And did you enjoy your pizza on Monday night? And why did you divert from your normal route to work to visit this address in Camberwell, London, on Saturday?"

I'm at DiskLabs, a company that handles cellphone forensic analysis for UK police forces, but also for private companies and individuals snooping on suspect employees or wayward spouses. Armed with four cellphones, which I have begged, borrowed and bought off friends and strangers, I'm curious to know just how much personal information can be gleaned from our used handsets and SIM cards.

Read article at - 'The pocket spy: Will your smartphone rat you out?'


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wi-Fi Making a Leap Forward

Apparently a new Wi-Fi 'certification' is nearing completion ...'to allow direct connections between Wi-Fi devices without joining a traditional Wi-Fi network. Known as Wi-Fi Connect, Alliance plans to begin certifying devices by mid-2010.' Read more:

The Wi-Fi Alliance is nearing completion of a new specification to allow Wi-Fi devices to connect to one another without joining a traditional home, office or hotspot network. The Wi-Fi Alliance expects to begin certification for the new specification in mid-2010 and is currently called Wi-Fi Direct. In its early stages of development it was known as Wi-Fi Peer-to-Peer.

The new specification can be implemented in any Wi-Fi device, including mobile phones, cameras, printers, notebook computers, keyboards and headphones. Certified devices will also be able to create connections with Wi-Fi certified legacy devices already in use. Devices will be able to make a one-to-one connection or a group of several devices can connect simultaneously.

The new specification targets both consumer electronics and enterprise applications, providing management features for enterprise environments and includes WPA2 security. Wi-Fi Direct devices will support typical Wi-Fi ranges and the same data rates as can be achieved with an infrastructure connection, so devices can connect from across a home or office and conduct bandwidth-hungry tasks.

Read original article - 'Wi-Fi Making a Leap Forward'

Monday, November 02, 2009

U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets

Wired's Danger Room has a post on how America’s spy agencies want to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates — even check out your book reviews on Amazon!

Read on... but you may be tracked...

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using ”open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the flood of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports generated every day.

Visible crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. (It doesn’t touch closed social networks, like Facebook, at the moment.) Customers get customized, real-time feeds of what’s being said on these sites, based on a series of keywords.

Read more at - 'U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets'