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The Internet

Can Mobile Broadband Solve the UK Digital Divide? 113

MJackson writes "Lord Carter's interim Digital Britain report recently proposed a new Universal Service Obligation (USO), which would effectively make it mandatory for every household in the UK to have access to a broadband service capable of 2Mbps by 2012. Since then there has been much talk about Mobile Broadband (3G, 4G) services being used to bridge the UK Digital Divide, but is that realistic? The technology has all sorts of problems from slow speeds and high latency to blocking VoIP, MSN Instant Messaging and aggressive image compression ... not to mention connection stability."

UK Gov't May Track All Facebook Traffic 204

Jack Spine writes "The UK government, which is becoming increasingly Orwellian, has said that it is considering snooping on all social networking traffic including Facebook, MySpace, and bebo. This supposedly anti-terrorist measure may be proposed as part of the Intercept Modernisation Programme according to minister Vernon Coaker, and is exactly the sort of deep packet inspection web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee warned about last week. The measure would get around the inconvenience for the government of not being able to snoop on all UK web traffic."

The Personal Genome Project Hits the Web 87

Ian Lamont writes "The Personal Genome Project has released the data sets and descriptions of traits, ethnic background and other information of the first ten volunteers, which include the project director and nine other people with backgrounds in genetics, medicine, and biotechnology. While the human genome was first sequenced at the beginning of this decade, what's special about this project is these 10 participants are having their names, genome, and other personal data gleaned from questionnaires shared openly on the Web, where interested researchers can freely access them. One of the ultimate aims of the project is to create a public database of 100,000 volunteers that researchers and other parties can use to determine what traits, diseases or other characteristics are associated with specific genetic markers. When asked why volunteers are requested to attach their names to the Web records, the project director said the data could be used by researchers in other fields outside of genetics, including forensic science and historical research. While this project opens the door for some interesting and potentially life-saving research, there may also be difficulties or problems for people whose records are posted on the Web. Would you participate? Would you share your name, along with your genome, disease history, and traits? Why or why not?"

Submission + - UK Parliament Says UK Not A Surveillance Society (theregister.co.uk)

tux_attack writes: "In a report released recently by the Parliament's Home Affairs committee British MPs say that the UK is not a becoming a surveillance society but could become one if databases such as the National Identity Register are not secured against data losses or if the databases become used in citizen profiling. They also asked that the government research if the 4 million CCTV in the UK actually reduce crime. The committee requested yearly reports on surveillance from the Information Commissioner's Office in the UK as well as a closer relationship between the parliament and the government's chief information officer to work on privacy protection. Committee members better database access controls were needed and that overall the government should take a "minimum data, held for the minimum time" approach to citizens personal information. The original report (pdf) is here."

MyLifeBits to Store Every Moment of Your Life 219

Dixie_dean writes "Microsoft researchers are developing a way to enable you to capture every moment of your life and store it on your computer. The principal researcher with Microsoft's research arm, Gordon Bell, is developing a way for everyone to remember those special moments. 'The nine-year project, called MyLifeBits, has Bell supplementing his own memory by collecting as much information as he can about his life. He's trying to store a lifetime on his laptop. He's gone on to collect images of every Web page he's ever visited, television shows he's watched, recorded phone conversations, and images and audio from conference sessions, along with his e-mail and instant messages. Calculating that he saves about a gigabyte of information every month, he noted that he tries to only save photos of a megabyte or less. Bell figures one could store everything about his life, from start to finish, using a terabyte of storage." This is a project we've been talking about for a long time.
The Courts

FBI Posts Fake Hyperlinks To Trap Downloaders of Illegal Porn 767

mytrip brings us a story from news.com about an FBI operation in which agents posted hyperlinks which advertised child pornography, recorded the IP addresses of people who clicked the links, and then tracked them down and raided their homes. The article contains a fairly detailed description of how the operation progressed, and it raises questions about the legality and reliability of getting people to click "unlawful" hyperlinks. Quoting: "With the logs revealing those allegedly incriminating IP addresses in hand, the FBI sent administrative subpoenas to the relevant Internet service provider to learn the identity of the person whose name was on the account--and then obtained search warrants for dawn raids. The search warrants authorized FBI agents to seize and remove any "computer-related" equipment, utility bills, telephone bills, any "addressed correspondence" sent through the U.S. mail, video gear, camera equipment, checkbooks, bank statements, and credit card statements. While it might seem that merely clicking on a link wouldn't be enough to justify a search warrant, courts have ruled otherwise. On March 6, U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Nevada agreed with a magistrate judge that the hyperlink-sting operation constituted sufficient probable cause to justify giving the FBI its search warrant."

Would a National Biometric Authentication Scheme Work? 178

Ian Lamont writes "The chair of Yale's CS department and Connecticut's former consumer protection commissioner are calling for the creation of a robust biometric authentication system on a national scale. They say the system would safeguard privacy and people's personal data far more effectively than paper-based IDs. They also reference the troubled Real ID program, saying that the debate has centered around forms of ID rather than the central issue of authentication. The authors further suggest that the debate has led to confusion between anonymity and privacy: 'Outside our homes, we have always lived in a public space where our open acts are no longer private. Anonymity has not changed that, but has provided an illusion of privacy and security. ... In public space, we engage in open acts where we have no expectation of privacy, as well as private acts that cannot take place within our homes and therefore require authenticating identity to carve a sphere of privacy.' The authors do not provide any suggestions for specific biometric technologies, nor do they discuss the role of the government in such a system. What do you think of a national or international biometrics-based authentication scheme? Is it feasible? How would it work? What safeguards need to be put in place?"

You have a massage (from the Swedish prime minister).