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Archive for the ‘privacy’ category

May 22, 2017

Scientists Have Created Liquid Metal Drops That Move Like T-1000

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, privacy, robotics/AI

Despite the NSA confirming the existence of Skynet, we all should be grateful that technology has not yet advanced to the stage where a liquid metal T-1000 terminator can shape-shift its way into your home and demand to see John Connor.

But scientists in China are making a solid effort make a less sinister version of this scenario at reality, by creating liquid metal droplets that could one day make “self-powered liquid metal machines” a real possibility.

Because of their excellent conductivity, low toxicity, and shape-shifting abilities, liquid metal alloys have been put to good use in targeting cancer cells, creating nature-inspired self-fuelled motors for robots, and many other liquid metal biomaterials.

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May 12, 2017

Malware, described in leaked NSA documents, cripples computers worldwide

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cybercrime/malcode, government, health, internet, privacy

Malicious software that blocks access to computers is spreading swiftly across the world, snarling critical systems in hospitals, telecommunications and corporate offices, apparently with the help of a software vulnerability originally discovered by the National Security Agency.

The reports of the malware spread began in Britain, where the National Health Service (NHS) reported serious problems throughout Friday. But government officials and cybersecurity experts later described a far more extensive problem growing across the Internet and unbounded by national borders. Europe and Latin America were especially hard hit.

“This is not targeted at the NHS,” British Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters. “It’s an international attack, and a number of countries and organizations have been affected.”

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May 11, 2017

Homeland Security is building a ‘biometric pathway’ for the airport

Posted by in categories: government, privacy, robotics/AI, security, transportation

The US government has rolled out a plan to reshape airport security around facial recognition, playing off a wealth of passport photos and visa applications.

Led by Customs and Border Protection, the plan is built around the Biometric Exit program, which will register visitors leaving the US using facial recognition. But new statements show that CBP’s plans could make facial scans necessary for US citizens as well, documenting them when they reenter the country or pass through TSA checkpoints. The result would eventually grow into an airport-wide system Customs officials call “The Biometric Pathway.”

John Wagner, deputy assistant commissioner at CBP, laid out that vision at the ConnectID conference last week. “We’re going to build this for [Biometric] Exit. We’re out of time, we have to,” Wagner told the crowd. “But why not make this available to everyone? Why not look to drive the innovation across the entire airport experience?”

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Apr 5, 2017

Inside the plan to replace Trump’s border wall with a high-tech ecotopia

Posted by in categories: economics, policy, privacy, solar power, sustainability, transportation

The year is 2030. Former president Donald Trump’s border wall, once considered a political inevitability, was never built. Instead, its billions of dollars of funding were poured into something the world had never seen: a strip of shared territory spanning the border between the United States and Mexico. Otra Nation, as the state is called, is a high-tech ecotopia, powered by vast solar farms and connected with a hyperloop transportation system. Biometric checks identify citizens and visitors, and relaxed trade rules have turned Otra Nation into a booming economic hub. Environmental conservation policies have maximized potable water and ameliorated a new Dust Bowl to the north. This is the future envisioned by the Made Collective, a group of architects, urban planners, and others who are proposing what they call a “shared co-nation” as a new kind of state.

Many people have imagined their own alternatives to Trump’s planned border wall, from the plausible — like a bi-national irrigation initiative — to the absurd — like an “inflatoborder” made of plastic bubbles. Made’s members insist that they’re serious about Otra Nation, though, and that they’ve got the skills to make it work. That’s almost certainly not true — but it’s also beside the point. At a time when policy proposals should be taken “seriously but not literally,” and facts are up for grabs, Otra Nation turns the slippery Trump playbook around to offer a counter-fantasy. In the words of collective member Marina Muñoz, “We can really make the complete American continent great again.”

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Mar 14, 2017

Your brain is unique – here’s how it could be used as the ultimate security password

Posted by in categories: finance, internet, mobile phones, neuroscience, privacy, security

Biometrics – technology that can recognise individuals based on physical and behavioural traits such as their faces, voices or fingerprints – are becoming increasingly important to combat financial fraud and security threats. This is because traditional approaches, such as those based on PIN numbers or passwords, are proving too easily compromised. For example, Barclays has introduced TouchID, whereby customers can log onto internet banking using fingerprint scanners on mobile phones.

However, this is not foolproof either – it is possible to forge such biometrics. Fingers can after all be chopped off and placed by impostors to gain fraudulent access. It has also been shown that prints lifted from glass using cellophane tape can be used with gelatine to create fake prints. So there is a real need to come up with more advanced biometrics that are difficult or impossible to forge. And a promising alternative is the brain.

Emerging biometric technology based on the electrical activity of the brain have indeed shown potential to be fraud resistant. Over the years, a number of research studies have found that “brainprints” (readings of how the brain reacts to certain words or tasks) are unique to individuals as each person’s brain is wired to think differently. In fact, the brain can be used to identify someone from a pool of 102 users with more than 98% accuracy at the moment, which is very close to that of fingerprints (99.8% accuracy).

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Feb 16, 2017

Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement into electricity—all at once

Posted by in categories: privacy, solar power, sustainability, wearables

Many forms of energy surround you: sunlight, the heat in your room and even your own movements. All that energy—normally wasted—can potentially help power your portable and wearable gadgets, from biometric sensors to smart watches. Now, researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland have found that a mineral with the perovskite crystal structure has the right properties to extract energy from multiple sources at the same time.

Perovskites are a family of minerals, many of which have shown promise for harvesting one or two types of at a time—but not simultaneously. One family member may be good for solar cells, with the right properties for efficiently converting solar energy into electricity. Meanwhile, another is adept at harnessing energy from changes in temperature and pressure, which can arise from motion, making them so-called pyroelectric and piezoelectric materials, respectively.

Sometimes, however, just one type of energy isn’t enough. A given form of energy isn’t always available—maybe it’s cloudy or you’re in a meeting and can’t get up to move around. Other researchers have developed devices that can harness multiple forms of energy, but they require multiple materials, adding bulk to what’s supposed to be a small and portable device.

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Feb 14, 2017

Biometrics, real-time data poised to change dating

Posted by in categories: privacy, sex

There is nothing new about the elusiveness of love.

For millennia, people have written stories, sonnets and songs about the fundamental struggle of finding the perfect mate. Today, technology companies are writing code to help you do just that.

In the Bay Area, innovators like to envision a future in which technology will streamline, simplify and democratize love in its many phases — from dating to sex to marriage and, yes, even heartbreak.

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Feb 14, 2017

Outlawing microchipping humans not so far-fetched, Nevada senator says

Posted by in category: privacy

CARSON CITY — State Sen. Becky Harris said a bill to prohibit forced microchipping of people is not as far-fetched as it might seem, because it happens in some places around the world.

Senate Bill 109 would make it a Class C felony to require someone to be implanted with a radio frequency identifier, such as microchips placed in pets.

The idea for the bill came from a constituent, the Las Vegas Republican said.

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Feb 12, 2017

Distributed Objective Consensus: Beyond POW & POS

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, computing, cryptocurrencies, economics, innovation, privacy, software

At the heart of Bitcoin or any Blockchain ledger is a distributed consensus mechanism. It’s a lot like voting. A large and diverse deliberative community validates each, individual user transaction, ownership stake or vote.

But a distributed consensus mechanism is only effective and faithful if the community is impartial. To be impartial, voters must be fairly separated. That is, there must be no collusion enabled by concentration or hidden collaboration. They must be separated from the buyer and seller; they must be separated from the big stakeholders; and they must be separated from each other. Without believable and measurable separation, all sorts of problems ensue. One problem that has made news in the Bitcoin word is the geographical concentration of miners and mining pools.

A distributed or decentralized transaction validation is typically achieved based on Proof-of-Work (POW) or Proof-of-Stake (POS). [explain]. But in practice, these methodologies exhibit subtle problems…

The problem is that Proof-of-Work can waste an enormous amount of energy and both techniques result in a concentration of power (either by geography or by special interest) — rather than a fair, distributed consensus.

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Feb 9, 2017

Company offers employees RFID microchip implants to replace ID cards

Posted by in category: privacy

NewFusion, a Belgium-based marketing firm, is encouraging staff to ditch their ID cards in favour of microchips implanted under their skin.

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