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Fujitsu To Develop Vigilante Computer Virus For Japan 129

wiedzmin writes "Japanese Defense Ministry has awarded Fujitsu a contract to develop a vigilante computer virus, which will track down and eliminate other viruses, or rather — their sources of origin. Are 'good' viruses a bad idea? Sophos seems to think so, saying, 'When you're trying to gather digital forensic evidence as to what has broken into your network, and what data it may have stolen, it's probably not wise to let loose a program that starts to trample over your hard drives, making changes.'"

Weaponizable Police UAV Now Operational In Texas 416

crackspackle writes "The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in suburban Houston, Texas is preparing to launch operations with a newly received Shadowhawk MK-III unmanned aerial vehicle, paid for by grant money received by the Department of Homeland Security. The MK-III is a product marketed for both military and law enforcement applications. Michael Buscher, chief executive officer of manufacturer Vanguard Defense Industries, said this is the first local law enforcement agency to buy one of his units. 'The aircraft has the capability to have a number of different systems on board. Mostly, for law enforcement, we focus on what we call less lethal systems,' he said, including Tazers that can send a jolt to a criminal on the ground or a gun that fires bean bags known as a 'stun baton.' 'You have a stun baton where you can actually engage somebody at altitude with the aircraft. A stun baton would essentially disable a suspect,' he said. The MK-III also has more lethal options available, capable of carrying either a 40mm or 37mm grenade launcher or 12 gauge shotgun with laser designator."

New Approach For Laser Weapons 188

An anonymous reader writes "Laser guns and other 'directed energy weapons' have remained in sci-fi lore because of their inefficiency, bulkiness, and poor beam quality. Now an MIT Lincoln Lab spinoff called TeraDiode is developing a diode laser that uses 'wavelength beam combining' to create what it calls the brightest and most powerful laser of its kind. The two-year-old company, backed by $3 million from the U.S. Department of Defense and $4 million from venture capitalists, is working on a compact airborne laser system for planes to shoot down heat-seeking missiles. Eventually, the lasers could be mounted on a tank or ship to destroy enemy UAVs or even incoming artillery shells. That's still at least three to five years away, but with advances in semiconductor lasers there seems to be quite a renewed interest in weaponry."

British NHS Patient Records Go To the Cloud 73

smitty777 writes "The Telegraph is reporting on an effort by the NHS to put a London hospital's patient records in the cloud. One of the more interesting aspects of this is the suggestion that patients would have control over who has access to their medical data. Many have understandable security concerns, which are even more relevant considering the recent issues with Dropbox cloud storage."

Google Health Opens To the Public 199

Several readers noted that the limited pilot test of Google Health has ended, and Google is now offering the service to the public at large. Google Health allows patients to enter health information, such as conditions and prescriptions, find related medical information, and share information with their health care providers (at the patient's request). Information may be entered manually or imported from partnered health care providers. The service is offered free of charge, and Google won't be including advertising. The WSJ and the NYTimes provide details about Google's numerous health partners.

Swarm Robot Immune System? 47

schliz writes "Researchers are investigating large swarms of up to 10,000 miniature robots which can work together to form a single, artificial life form. A resulting artificial immune system is expected to be able to detect faults and make recommendations to a high-level control system about corrective action — much like how a person's natural immune system is able to cope with unfamiliar pathogens."

US Set to Use Spy Satellites on US Citizens 513

duerra writes "A plan to use U.S. spy satellites for domestic security and law-enforcement missions is moving forward after being delayed for months because of privacy and civil liberties concerns. The plan is in the final stage of completion, according to a department official who requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about it. While some internal agencies have had access to spy satellite imagery for purposes such as assisting after a natural disaster, this would be the first time law-enforcement would be able to obtain a warrant and request access to satellite imagery."

California Utilities to Control Thermostats? 503

TeraBill writes "It seems that the California Energy Commission is looking to give utilities in the state the power to control the thermostats in private homes via a radio signal. The idea is that during times of significant energy crunch, the utilities could force thermostats to higher temperatures rather than having to implement a rolling blackout. The thermostats have been around for a while and new ones were on display at the CES show in Vegas this week. While I can see the argument for it, we just had a kid take over a tram system with a remote control, so how long before our thermostat gets hacked by the neighbors. And I'd almost rather have the power drop than have someone significantly raise the temperature in my home if I had a computer running there. (UPS and a graceful shutdown versus cooking something.)"

No problem is so formidable that you can't just walk away from it. -- C. Schulz