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Cellphones

Submission + - Etisalat bungles Blackberry spyware deployment

nwetters writes: "Dubai's Gulf News is reporting a bungled attempt by the national telco Etisalat to deploy spyware to Blackberry devices. ITP.net gives some details of the battery-sapping "performance patch", which has been uploaded to the Blackberry support forum last week. On Sunday Etisalat issued a two paragraph statement apologising for "a phased software upgrade...that led to extra consumption of the handset battery.". It described the patch as a "routine upgrade process", but said it had stopped issuing it as a precautionary measure.""
Government

Submission + - German Supreme Court bans voting machines (heise.de)

An anonymous reader writes: The german Supreme Court has just declared the use of voting machines during the last elections unconstitutional. The decision does not prohibit voting machines per se, but defines strong requirements for transparency and accountability in the future use of these machines. It is thought that in the upcoming State-elections, authorities will have to revert to paper and pencil voting. Spiegel-online also carries the story.
Government

Submission + - Secret Government Legal Memos Released to Public (nytimes.com)

Dekortage writes: After the September 11 terrorism attack in 2001, U.S. government lawyers provided broad interpretations of the law authorizing President Bush to use military within the U.S., conduct raids and wiretaps without obtaining search warrants, suppress freedom of speech and the press, abolish foreign treaties unilaterally, ignore the Geneva Conventions, and more — all in the name of fighting terrorism. "Too often over the past decade, the fight against terrorism has been viewed as a zero-sum battle with our civil liberties. Not only is that thought misguided, I fear that in actuality it does more harm than good," said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. before releasing the previously-secret documents on Monday.
Government

Submission + - German Constitutional Court Bans Voting Machines

Dr. Hok writes: The German Federal Constitutional Court ruled today (German, babelfish translation here) that the use of voting machines in the previous federal election was against the constitution. Voting machines are not illegal per se, but with these machines it wasn't possible to verify the results after the votes were cast. The verification procedure by the German authorities was flawed, too: only specimens were tested, not the machines actually used in the elections, and the detailed results (including the source code) were not made public. The results of the election remain legally valid, though. The ruling is here (in German).
Government

Submission + - Germany: Voting computers ruled unconstitutional 1

Micha Lenk writes: "The German Federal Supreme Court has ruled that the use of electronic voting machines for the General Election (Bundestagswahl) 2005 has been unconstitutional. The judges acknowledge the claim that that the voters were not able to supervise neither the cast votes nor the vote counting itself.

They also decided that the election remains valid because of the low share of electronically cast votes. Approximately two million out of 61.9 millionen voters had voted using electronic voting machines in the election almost four years ago."
Government

Submission + - German Supreme Court says No to Voting Computers

WalterSobchak writes: "Germany's supreme court banned current voting machines from further elections. While the court found no issues with the elections that had already been held, they banned the current technology from further use, deeming them too in-transparent and not tamper proof.

The court specifically said that this decision is not "technophobic", and applies only to the currently used technology (mainly NEDAP machines), If new technology meets the high standards required for elections, it could be used for elections. Also, the court said that given proper technology, even voting by internet is imaginable

Source: Spiegel Online (German)"
The Internet

Submission + - How the Net works: Peering and Transit explained (arstechnica.com)

Raindeer writes: "Ars Technica just posted an article I wrote, where I explain Peering and Transit. In 2005, AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre famously told BusinessWeek, "What they [Google, Vonage, and others] would like to do is to use my pipes free. But I ain't going to let them do that...Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?" The story of how the Internet is structured economically is not so much a story about net neutrality, but rather it's a story about how ISPs actually do use AT&T's pipes for free, and about why AT&T actually wants them to do so. These inter-ISP sharing arrangements are known as "peering" or "transit," and they are the two mechanisms that underlie the interconnection of networks that form the Internet. In this article, I'll to take a look at the economics of peering of transit in order to give you a better sense of how traffic flows from point A to point B on the Internet, and how it does so mostly without problems, despite the fact that the Internet is a patchwork quilt of networks run by companies, schools, and governments."
The Internet

Submission + - OECD: fiber may mean less broadband competition (arstechnica.com)

foptical writes: A massive report (PDF) from the OECD says that fiber is the key to keeping up with expected demand for broadband in the years ahead. Conversely, the reliance on fiber may ultimately result in less broadband competition, even in places with mandated line sharing like Europe. From Ars Technica's coverage: 'Even if line-sharing is still desired by regulators, it may be more difficult in practice. It turns out to be much cheaper for alternative ISPs to provide one backhaul link from a central office serving 70,000 people to their own network. Doing that from 20 local nodes is substantially more expensive and could also prove technically difficult on systems that share bandwidth, such as cable and fiber PON networks (separating out one user's traffic is much harder than on point-to-point systems like DSL).'
Communications

Submission + - OECD says 50Mbit/s minimum and wireless not enough (oecd.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (famous for the Broadband Stats the US has been slipping in) has published two papers on Developments in Fibre Technology and Investment and Public rights of way for fibre deployment to the home Conclusions are: For the period 2010-2020 speeds of 50 Mbit/s downstream and 10 Mbit/s upstream may be required to enable the parallel consumption of services (HDTV, radio, videoconferencing, security etc.) over the network. These speeds are significantly higher than the current OECD definition of broadband at 256 kbit/s, but are necessary to allow the end-user to enjoy a full range of services in parallel and to allow competition between the providers of these services over the network.
Both in performance as in investment the wired technologies have the advantage. Wireless will be used to bridge the first meter, but not the first mile.
Cable and DSL-based networks are already deployed worldwide and it is likely that Docsis 3.0 and VDSL2 respectively will be the upgrade technologies chosen by most telecommunications companies. Both, however, have limits to the amount of bandwidth they can provide to end-users and no clear upgrade paths should bandwidth become constraint. All-fibre networks have no foreseeable bandwidth problems.

Google

Submission + - OECD Broadband stats using Google Moving Graphs (blogspot.com)

Raindeer writes: "Google recently gave people the possibility to use motion charts, just like prof. Hans Roslin of Gapminder.org fame. I haven't used it to show the distribution of wealth and health around the globe, but to display the progress of broadband in the OECD. One of the variables is the amount of households that have a PC. In countries where this percentage is relatively low (USA) broadband penetration is low too."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - The day the Routers died (secret-wg.org)

Raindeer writes: "The RIPE 55 meeting has just concluded. There was much debate on what to do on the imminent depletion of the unallocated IPv4 pool in 2010. We could do nothing or we could create a market place and facilitate transfer of IP-adresses, but it's all a train wreck waiting to happen. This is best shown however by a beautiful song "The day the routers died" also available on Youtube written and performed by Gary Feldman. So please all upgrade to IPv6 soon, or else you will not get 40Gbit/s to your mother."
Privacy

Submission + - U.K. kids get RFID chips in school uniforms

Stony Stevenson writes: Ten schoolchildren in the United Kingdom are being tracked by RFID chips in their school uniforms as part of a pilot program. If the program proves successful as a way to hasten registration, simplify data entry for the school's behavioral reporting system, and ensure attendance, Trevor Darnborough, whose company, Darnbro, filed for a patent on securing RFID tags to clothing, hopes other schools will be interested.

David Clouter, a parent and founder of Leave Them Kids Alone, a children's advocacy group, condemned the plan. "With pupils being fingerprinted and now this it seems we are treating children in a way that we have traditionally treated criminals," he told the Doncaster Free Press.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - UK conspired with mobile companies on roaming (timesonline.co.uk)

Raindeer writes: "The Times revealed that the UK government actively conspired with phone companies to keep mobile roaming charges high. A Freedom of Information Request revealed that the UK Government were "not happy bunnies", when the European Union wanted to lower charges for mobile roaming in the EU dramatically. Ewan Sutherland, a leading telecoms policy consultant, said: "I hadn't fully appreciated that the Government had gone over to the Dark Side to that extent." Even now the charges are excessively high at 49 eurocent per minute. But the chances that the EU would actually support a simple idea that would promote competition are marginal. Data roaming charges (for Brits) are even more excessive at up to 21USD per Mbyte."

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