Plus: Users perturbed by NYCC tweeting from their accounts without permission.
By Jason Imms on October 18, 2013 at 11:17 am
Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of how ICANN and friends are distancing themselves from the US government, the new wireless tech that achieves speeds of 100Gbps, and a new method advertisers can use to track your phone across the Internet.
The Internet infrastructure group moves away from US government over spying
The Internet is maintained and controlled by a number of groups, dedicated to ensuring that the world’s digital communications remain stable, and free from any one nation’s complete control. These groups, including the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Assigned Numbers Agency (IANA), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), convened a meeting in Uruguay this month, in which the decision was made to move away from the US government based on “strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance,” they said in a statement.
The group has called for the acceleration of “the globalisation of ICANN and IANA function, towards an environment in which all stakeholders, including all governments, participate on an equal footing.”
Azerbaijan ballot app either sees the future, or rigs elections
This isn’t the first time that the government of Azerbaijan has been accused of corruption, and this recent controversy reported by The Washington Post does nothing to improve its image. The iOS and Android ballot app designed to allow users to remotely place their vote for the 2013 presidential election turned out to be capable of providing users with the results, before voting had even begun. The results showed that President Aliyev would retain his post, winning in a landslide.
The app developer claimed that the results were simply test data sourced from the 2008 election that was mistakenly included in the final release, despite the fact that the candidates listed lined up against those in the running for 2013. President Aliyev did end up winning the election, though the actual winning margin was less than that reported by the election app.
Advertisers may be able to track your phone with its accelerometer
Security researcher Hristo Bojinov has discovered a method for distinguishing individual smartphones based solely on accelerometer data, according to SFGate. Accelerometers are predictably imperfect, which means that they exhibit unique behaviours when idle. According to Bojinov, that information alone is enough to identify and track a device around the web.
By quietly introducing a small piece of code to websites, advertisers could capture this information and use it to inform their advertising methods. “I don’t know if it’s been thought of before,” said Dan Auerbach, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s very alarming.” You can find your own device’s unique identifier by navigating to a website set up by Stanford University, and following the instructions on screen.
Image courtesty SFGate.
New Wireless data transmission method smashes previous records, achieving 100Gbps
Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in southwest Germany have developed a method that allows for wireless data transmission at a whopping 100 gigabits per second. Yes, gigabits. By transmitting data at a frequency of 237.5GHz over a distance of 20 meters, and using a unique photonic method of generating radio signals at the transmitter, Professor Ingmar Kallffass and his team were able to reach this new record.
“Our project focused on integration of a broadband radio relay link into fiber-optical systems,” explains Kallffass, “For rural areas in particular, this technology represents an inexpensive and flexible alternative to optical fiber networks, whose extension can often not be justified from an economic point of view.” Here’s hoping that this technology can be rapidly miniaturised and released, to ease the pain of those afraid of poor fixed wireless NBN performance.
New York Comic Con ghost-tweets for unwitting attendees
Embedding RFID chips in New York Comic Con (NYCC) badges seems like a good idea: the technology can stop counterfeiting, speed-up registration, and provide other interesting features, not the least of which is social media integration. Users that chose to tie their Twitter account to their badges were in for a rude shock, as tweets sporting the #NYCC hashtag and linking to the con’s Facebook page were posted without their knowledge or permission.
NYCC has since provided a statement to Mashable apologising for “any perceived overstep,” and saying that it was an “opt-in function after signing in, but we were probably too enthusiastic in our messaging and eagerness to spread the good word about NYCC.”