RFID-tracking at the Olympics to Include Sensitive Personal Data

Opening_ceremony_sample_ticket_of_b

The Chinese Olympic Committee for the 2008 Games has revealed that all tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies will include RFID-enabled microchips with spectators’ passport information and home and e-mail addresses, among other sensitive personal info.

This high-level precaution is in response to the increasingly sensitive security issues surrounding the games, due largely in part to the host’s controversial positions on human rights and freedom of speech.

All tickets for the ceremonies are valued at $720 and the RFID tagging is supposed to decrease the possibility of scalping and pirated tickets, which is obviously a big problem in copy-happy China. But carrying around all of that information with you is still a dangerous proposition.

We’ve heard that tickets were supposed to have the bearer’s photograph printed on them, which would have cut down on theft and the likely problem a family will face when distributing tickets right before a gate entrance. As you can see in the official ticket above, it appears that the idea has not been implemented.

Most security experts vacillate between thinking that a too-secure RFID system will put the Games at a standstill, or that a basic RFID set-up will expose people to hackers. According to Sports Illustrated, all tickets for the games will include RFID tags, but only the main two will have the passport and photo information. The Games’ security team will employ an IT team of at least 4,000 experts with 1,000 servers at their disposal — and they’ll begin testing the system full-bore for the next two months.

Yet, most of the stress about the tickets, apart from the RFID issue, can be traced to the fact that that it’s taken the committee a little bit longer to deliver the tickets than they originally thought –- it’s almost two months to the event and almost no one has received them. This has led some people to believe that the security restrictions are making it difficult for the hosts to actually deliver them on time.

However, the official ticketing website of The Games kept its dates conveniently open-ended –- it says the tickets will be delivered up to the end of June. This is not great if you’re traveling to the city for the opening event on August 8th.

China_demonstrators

The tense atmosphere might also point to the fact that the RFID tags were developed by Tsinghua University in conjuction with Beijing Tsinghua Tongfang Microelectronics Company — and no one wants a company in a country with privacy concerns to have access to your personal information.

So what do you think? Are the committee members practically begging for people to get jumped with those RFID-packed tickets? Or are they making the most out of a very tough situation?

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Weather warfare

‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Michel Chossudovsky is a Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and an editor at the Centre for Research on Globalization, www.globalresearch.ca
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Beware the US military’s experiments with climatic warfare, says Michel Chossudovsky

Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.

Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’.

During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.

Weather-modification, according to the US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report, ‘offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary’, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes: ‘Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.’

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Telstra chief hosts conference as hologram


Telecommuting … Dr Hugh Bradlow appearing in Adelaide as a live hologram, and right, shaking hands with an executive / AAP

HE was slightly flat, a touch blurry and a smidge taller than reality but Telstra chief technology officer Dr Hugh Bradlow made a huge impression on his Adelaide audience today.

In an Australian first, Dr Bradlow’s life-sized, real-time hologram walked, talked and interacted with business executives at an Adelaide conference while he stood in front of cameras in Telstra’s Melbourne office.

Cameras and microphones in Adelaide allowed Dr Bradlow to see and hear his subjects from 725kms away as his audience watched his high definition image projected onto a transparent screen or “foil”.

The technology created by British company Musion Eyeliner has already enabled former US vice president Al Gore to speak to the Live Earth concert’s London audience from Tokyo and retailer Target to host a model-less virtual fashion show in New York last year.

UK band Gorillaz has also used Musion to give life to three-dimensional cartoon characters who performed their song at a 2005 MTV Awards concert in Portugal as rappers interacted with them live on stage.

But it’s not just for entertainment value, said Telstra enterprise and government group managing director David Thodey who shook “airhands” with Dr Bradlow during the function.

There are real applications for this “gee whiz” technology, he said.

He said companies wanting to reduce carbon emissions could replace business flights with live broadcasts.

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Atom-smashing lab says experiment to start end-June

European particle physics laboratory CERN is set to launch its gigantic experiment which hopes to throw light on the origins of the universe within a month, the laboratory’s head said Tuesday.

If things go according to plan, the greatest experiment in the history of particle physics could unveil a sub-atomic component, the Higgs Boson, known as “the God Particle.”

The “Higgs,” named after the eminent British physicist, Peter Higgs, who first proposed it in 1964, would fill a gaping hole in the benchmark theory for understanding the physical cosmos.

Other work on the so-called Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could explain dark matter and dark energy — strange phenomena that, stunned astrophysicists discovered a few years ago, account for 96 percent of the universe.

The LHC device “will be in working order by the end of June,” CERN director general Robert Aymar told journalists.

A gamble costing six billion Swiss francs (almost six billion dollars, 3.9 billion euros) that has harnessed the labours of more than 2,000 physicists from nearly three dozen countries, the LHC is the biggest, most powerful high-energy particle accelerator ever built.

Beams of hydrogen protons will whizz around at near-light speed in opposite directions until, bent by powerful superconducting magnets, they will smash together in four bus-sized detector chambers, where they will be annihilated at temperatures hotter than the sun.

But Aymar played down hopes of any immediate discoveries once the LHC is set in motion.

“We will accumulate data for two years and it will take a lot of time to interpret,” he said.

He also scoffed at fears that the massive experiment could create a black hole with potentially devastating consequences for life on Earth.

“The system is totally safe. There is nothing to fear,” he said.

May 27 02:29 PM US/Eastern

Source: AFP

Access To Next Gen Internet May Be Uneven

The lack of high-speed Internet access in some areas of the U.S. has been hotly debated, even as that digital divide has narrowed. But a new, wider gap is being created by technology that will make today’s broadband feel as slow as a dial-up connection.

Much like broadband enabled downloads of music, video and work files that weren’t practical over dial-up, the next generation of Internet connections will allow for vivid, lifelike video conferencing and new kinds of interactive games.

But while access to cable and phone-line broadband has spread to cover perhaps 90 percent of the U.S. in the space of a decade, next-generation Internet access looks set to create a much smaller group of “haves” and a larger group of “have nots.”

The most promising route to superfast home broadband is to extend the fiber-optic lines that already form the Internet’s backbone all the way to homes. Existing fiber-to-the-home, or FTTH, connections are already 10 times faster than vanilla broadband provided over phone or cable lines. With relatively easy upgrades, the speeds could be a hundred times faster.

In the U.S., the buildout of FTTH is under way, but it’s highly concentrated in the 17-state service area of Verizon Communications Inc., which is the only major U.S. phone company that is replacing its copper lines with fiber. Its FiOS service accounts for more than 1.8 million of the 2.9 million U.S. homes that are connected to fiber according to RVA LLC, a research firm that specializes in the field.

Read moreAccess To Next Gen Internet May Be Uneven

Man Builds Electric Car for $4750, Costs $7 For Every 300 Miles

Also here the article (and the video) have been removed.

I have only found a bad but watchable replacement for the video.



YouTube

Source: NBC5

With gas pushing $4 per gallon, many people are looking for ways to save some green at the pump. One North Texas man found a way to help the environment and commute to work for just pennies a day.

David Murray may drive the quietest car in North Texas, powered only by a small electric motor, and not creating any emissions.

“The most common question I get is, ‘Is this an electric car?’ and then they’re like, “Is it a hybrid?’ Nope, it’s a real electric (car),” Murray said.

When his car is low on fuel, Murray simply plugs the power cord into the nearest outlet.

“Yeah, just plug it in here. Just a regular old extension cord,” Murray said.

The self-described computer geek from Kennedale bought the 1993 Eagle Talon from a junkyard for just $750.

“First thing I did when I got the car home was pull the engine out,” Murray said.

He then spent about $4,000 more to convert the gas-guzzler to run on electricity alone, doing all the work himself in his garage at home.

“I bought the electric motor and I was like well, I gotta figure out a way to couple it together with the original transmission,” he said.

The car can hit 55 mph, driving right past the high prices at gas stations.

“I hear people complain about them at work all the time. I just grin,” he said.

Murray spends just $7 per month on electricity to charge the batteries — enough to go about 300 miles.

“I don’t even look at the gas prices,” Murray said.

China: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Excerpts from the long but excellent article:

“Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts.”

“The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.” The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology — thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon:”

“Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.”

“This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the “Great Firewall.” Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.”

“Here is a small sample of what the company (L-1) does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland Security’s massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with “mobile iris and multimodal devices” so they can collect biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department’s “largest facial-recognition database system”; and produces driver’s licenses in Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst to discuss, in “extremely general” terms, what the division was doing with contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company’s CEO would only say, “Stay tuned.””

“It is L-1’s deep integration with multiple U.S. government agencies that makes its dealings in China so interesting: It isn’t just L-1 that is potentially helping the Chinese police to nab political dissidents, it’s U.S. taxpayers. The technology that Yao purchased for just a few thousand dollars is the result of Defense Department research grants and contracts going as far back as 1994, when a young academic named Joseph Atick (the research director Fordyce consulted on L-1’s China dealings) taught a computer at Rockefeller University to recognize his face.”
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Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn’t exist. Back in those days, it was a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads and traditional temples. That was before the Communist Party chose it – thanks to its location close to Hong Kong’s port – to be China’s first “special economic zone,” one of only four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis.

The theory behind the experiment was that the “real” China would keep its socialist soul intact while profiting from the private-sector jobs and industrial development created in Shenzhen. The result was a city of pure commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture – the crack cocaine of capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen experiment quickly expanded, swallowing not just the surrounding Pearl River Delta, which now houses roughly 100,000 factories, but much of the rest of the country as well.

Read moreChina: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Laser Gunship Blasts Beams, Preps for ’08 Flight Test

Step by step, Boeing and the Defense Department are getting closer to flying a gunship that fires lasers, instead of bullets.

After years and years of development, Boeing’s Advanced Tactical Laser, a modified C-130H turbprop plane, last week fired its chemically-powered ray gun “in ground tests for the first time,” the company says in a statement.

The plane is supposed to be a prototype for a flying laser blaster that can “destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.”

If “it performs to spec,” Lew Page at the Register notes, the ATL could “take out targets such as individual vehicles or cellphone towers, silently and from as far as 18-20 kilometers. People in the vicinity of an ATL strike might not realize what had happened until well after the event, if at all. This could be especially handy for Boeing’s initial customer – the US military’s secretive Special Operations Command.”

Last year, in lab tests at Kirtland Air Force Base, the ATL’s laser was fired 50 times. By the end of 2008, the plane is scheduled to “fire the chemical laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets… through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft’s belly,” according to the company.

“Later this year, we will fire the laser in-flight at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon,” Scott Fancher, vice president of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, says.

It’ll certainly be a major day in ray gun history, if it happens. But the ATL relies on vats of toxic chemicals, to produce its laser blasts — which seriously limits its utility. So the military is hoping to get the integration, aiming, and beam-control kinks worked out with this chemical-powered ATL — and then switch over to electric lasers in the coming decade, to make for a more manageable airborne ray gun.

Read moreLaser Gunship Blasts Beams, Preps for ’08 Flight Test

‘Peel and Stick’ Tasers Electrify Riot Control

Pretty soon, cops won’t just be packing stun guns. They’ll be carrying electrically-charged riot shields, zapping their unruly without unholstering their weapons. That is, if the folks at Taser International have their way.

The company just introduced the “Taser Shield Conversion Kit featuring the Taser Repel Laminate Film Technology.”

The kit “features a peel and stick perforated [f]ilm, power supply and necessary conversion equipment. This laminate becomes electrified providing a powerful deterrent to protect officers and keep suspects or rioters at bay.” What could possibly go wrong?

Taser is demoing all kinds of gear this week — from shock-inducing shotgun rounds to “area denial” zappers that can fry groups of people at once. It’s all part of the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization’s Mock Prison Riot, a showcase for new police and correctional tech, held annually at on the grounds of the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville. (David Axe covered the so-called “Rage in the Cage” for DANGER ROOM last year.)

The peel-and-stick zapping film will be available towards the end of the year, the company says. Our buddy Lew Page, over at El Reg, wonders, “Whatever’s next? Electrified body-armour suits? Gauntlets? Truly, the day of the electric cop would seem to be upon us.”

And we can think of lots of other things one might do with this sort of Taser-on-a-roll technology. Troublesome dogs or drunks relieving themselves against your wall? People keep touching your car? Borrowing your stuff? Cover it in peel-and-stick zappercoat (with a car-key-style remote disarm as required), plug it in and watch the fun (and lawsuits) begin.

By Noah Shachtman
13, 2008 | 10:29:00 AM

Source: Wired

Microwaves ‘cook ballast aliens’

Ship loaded with freight containers (Image: AP)
The vast majority of international cargo is transported by sea

US researchers say they have developed an effective way to kill unwanted plants and animals that hitch a ride in the ballast waters of cargo vessels.

Tests showed that a continuous microwave system was able to remove all marine life within the water tanks.

The UN lists “invasive species” dispersed by ballast water discharges as one of the four main threats to the world’s marine ecosystems.

The findings will appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Shipping moves more than 80% of the world’s commodities and transfers up to five billion tonnes of ballast water internationally each year, data from the UN shows.

(Microwaves from your cellphone destroy your brain. – The Infinite Unknown)

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