Archive for April, 2011

Finally India as come out with online censorship. April 2011 saw the enactment of Information technology Rules Act 2011 and the new rules curtail freedom of internet peech to a very big extent.

The new restriction on web content has left many offended as it destroys the image of internet as a platform of speech and beliefs.

The Act says that any statement that threatens the unity, integrity; defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order are ought to be removed from the content of web. Hence the act is very vague as to its definition. This is likely to invoke even more controversy in days ahead.

The new rules empower any official or private citizen to demand the removal of content that they consider objectionable on the basis of long list of criteria prepared by the information department.

The Department of Information Technology is empowered to block any site that displays any disparaging material. The Center for Internet and Society, a Bangalore-based research and advocacy group, recently obtained and published a list of 11 web sites banned by the Department of Information Technology.

Article 19 of the Indian constitution provides freedom of speech with reasonable restriction. These restrictions have been used so far to ban books, movies on sensitive subjects like sex, politics and religion. India has been famous in condemning speeches by famous personalities as seditious.

Recently Arundhoti Roy was criticized vehemently for her speech on Kashmir issue. Again in another instance a book on Mahatma Gandhi’s biography written by an American author was banned.

Now Indian laws have moved towards technology and web. In 2010 India increased to 100,000,000 internet users from 81,000,000 in 2009. It is developing at a very fast pace.

However India has always protested against various displays of images and statements in the social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook. Very recently a FIR was registered against facebook for potraying Indian Gods in an indecent manner.

Internet has been hugely responsible in contributing towards bringing revolutionary changes. It played a very important role in bringing political change in Egypt. And India too saw huge response and support in Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption.

A new online tracking system will allow websites to pinpoint your location to within a few hundred meters, without your permission.

Internet sites will be able to work out where users are within an average of 690 meters, using information about their internet connection.

At the moment they can only track users’ locations to within a radius of about 200 km, but the new technique will narrow this down to as little as 100 meters, the Daily Mail reports.

The development comes as privacy concerns were also raised about iPhone users having their locations and movements secretly tracked and stored.

Researchers discovered that the Apple devices save the user’s latitude and longitude along with a time and date stamp that can be easily accessed.

The tracking method will allow online advertisers to target web browsers with tailored messages, but it has raised concerns about privacy.

Similar techniques of mapping the internet protocol (IP) address that every computer has are already in use, but are far less accurate.

The new system, which has been designed by American and Chinese researchers, compares the time it takes to send data to computers to the time it takes to send to computers it knows the location of using Google Maps.

Using a rough estimation of how far away the computer connection is, the system locates nearby landmarks, such as universities and schools, and compares their location to narrow down the computer’s whereabouts.

On an average, the method gets to within 690 metres of the target, but it can be as close as 100 metres, good enough to identify the location of the computer to within a few streets.

To locate computers to this accuracy has previously required people to agree to share location, but the new system does not need any particular software on the computer to work or even the user’s permission.

Yong Wang, one of the researchers who designed the method, said: “This is a client-independent method. The client does not need to approve anything.”

The tracking system will be particularly valuable to advertisers who will be able to target browsers with advertisements for shops and service just down the street.

Many find the act of dialing a mobile number too tedious and time consuming. US researchers have now figured out a way that relies on thought power alone to make such calls without lifting a finger.

Users wear a specially designed headband hooked up to a Bluetooth device that wirelessly sends commands to a Nokia N73 mobile phone.

The technology works by responding to cues from the brain and experts believe anyone with training will be able to master the technique, the Daily Mail reports.

Tzyy-Ping Jung at the Swartz Centre for Computational Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, said the device relies on electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes on the scalp to work out what the brain is trying to say.

Jung believes it could be 100 percent accurate with just a bit of training.

The breakthrough is likely to create safer hands-free mobile phones to help the disabled and elderly and help out professionals in high pressured working environments.

Those used in the initial experiments were between 70 percent to 85 percent accurate when trying to dial a 10-digit phone number.

Thought powered computers have been around for a while, however this is the first time it has been adapted for mobile phones.

A research team from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, has discovered a method of using common body movements to generate power for LCD displays, radio signal transmissions and diodes.

The ultimate goal of the research is to find a method to use body movements to power medical devices that would reside within the body.

The technique could also be used to charge portable electronics such as iPods and cell phones.

“This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets,” said Zhong Lin Wang, the lead scientist of the project.

“Our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one’s imagination,” Zhong added.

The research is still in the early stages, but once it’s fully developed, it may be used in personal electronics items which would not require any batteries at all. This will help companies to make even smaller iPods and cell phones.

The technology uses zinc oxide nanowires to generate power from usual body movements. Even heart beats can generate power.

In order to generate current, millions of nanowires are used in a nanogenerator. These are so small that 500 of them could fit in one human hair.

The voltage created by five nanogenerators matches that of two AA batteries. The nanowires could even be used in clothing in future to create current from body movements. In future, a person may decide to charge his phone by climbing stairs.