Monday, 11 April 2011
No Prosecution for BT and Phorm
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided not to consent to a request from an individual to begin a prosecution of BT Group Plc and Phorm Inc in relation to alleged unlawful interception of internet browsing data.
Prosecutions for unlawful interception require the CPS's consent. After a thorough review of the available evidence, the CPS has decided there is currently insufficient evidence to begin a prosecution under section 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 and it would not be in the public interest to proceed any further.
The PageSense software (later known as Web Wise), created by Phorm and used by BT, stored a cookie on a user's computer and covertly gathered selected information on their internet browsing habits. The software used this data to automatically target web-based advertisements at the user.
An unannounced trial of this technology, involving about 18,000 BT customers, took place during 2006.
Andrew Hadik, reviewing lawyer for CPS London's Complex Casework Unit, said: "We have thoroughly reviewed all of the material supplied by the individual who wished for us to consent to a prosecution, as well as the evidence provided by City of London Police, BT and Phorm. On the basis of the evidence gathered and with advice from legal and technical experts, we have determined the extent and seriousness of the alleged criminality. "At present, the available evidence is insufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. In the vast majority of cases, we would only decide whether to prosecute after the investigation had been completed and after all the available evidence had been reviewed. In rare cases, however, it may become clear prior to the collection and consideration of all the likely evidence that a prosecution would not be in the public interest.
$3 Billion Virtual Economy Provides Jobs in Developing Countries
A new study by the World Bank Group's infoDev program shows that virtual online currencies and digital work now provide real income opportunities to poor and unskilled workers in developing countries.
Tim Kelly, infoDev's Lead ICT Policy Specialist, said, "Some of the poorest people in the world are already connected to digital networks through their mobile phones. The study shows that there are real earning opportunities in the virtual economy that will become accessible as mobile technology develops. This could significantly boost local economies and support further development of digital infrastructure in regions such as Africa and southeast Asia."
While the virtual economy unlocks a plethora of business opportunities, it should be noted that not all these activities are viewed positively. According to the infoDev study, certain business ventures and services offered may actually detract from the experience of other Internet users. For example, harvesting and selling online gaming currencies or mass clicking "Like" on corporate Facebook pages can create an unfair environment where legitimate game play and user opinion loses value and is represented inaccurately.
infoDev is a global technology and innovation-led development finance program of the World Bank and IFC. The study, funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, is available on infoDev's website and in print. For more information, visit www.infodev.org.
GuardRFID introduces the first high-functionality 433MHz Active RFID Staff Tag
Guard RFID Solutions Inc. announces it has completed development of its much anticipated, feature-rich 433MHz active RFID Staff Tag. Designed to enable powerful Real-time locating systems (RTLS) applications in healthcare, enterprise security, and industrial environments.
The tags and GuardRFID's active RFID system will also uniquely enable hands-free access control for locations requiring multi-level security. This family of tags offers configurable buttons, two-way communications, on-tag annunciation, and fall-detection all in a thin ID-badge form factor. The Staff Tag can be worn like a standard ID-badge and can be adhered to a proximity card without degradation of performance. The 12-month batteries are user-replaceable yielding many years of useful tag life.
Users of the Staff Tag are taking advantage of being able to specify their own custom functions of the two configurable buttons, two separate LED indicators, and audible alert. The two-way communication gives the tag wearer the ability to send and receive commands to and from the active RFID/RTLS network and have the indicators provide feedback.
The Staff Tag will also be available in the form of a Low-Profile Article Tag to secure equipment such as laptop computers. To facilitate equipment maintenance, the active RFID/RTLS system first locates the article tag and then the two-way communication and indicators quickly help identify the specific piece of equipment requiring service.
Zahir Abji, GuardRFID's President and CEO said. "The rich feature set of the Staff Tag and the unique capabilities of our RTLS infrastructure enable countless new applications."
Cubic Unveils Vision for Integrated Transport Payments
Cubic has unveiled its vision for a fully integrated, whole of transport, journey and payments management platform -- Nextcity.
Presented at the UITP 2011 World Congress & Exhibition, the vision is to enable transport operators to regulate demand by setting fees and fares across all modes of transport within a region. Nextcity will also enable customers to manage how they travel -- whether by train, bus, taxi, private vehicle or bike -- by providing both operators and travellers real-time, dynamic information that will make their journey faster and more reliable. Cubic will develop Nextcity through evolution of Cubic's existing Nextfare and Nextaccount platforms. Nextcity will integrate with the payment and information systems of other transport modes, without the need to replace any existing infrastructures.
Nextcity will allow regions and cities to educate their population -- in real-time -- about the cost, timeliness, reliability and environmental impact of their personal journey choices.
Steve Shewmaker, president of Cubic Transportations Systems, commented on Nextcity: "For smarter travel to become a reality, more dynamic and fully integrated information and payment management systems are needed. The benefit will be faster, simpler and more efficient travel."
He added, "If transport stakeholders can understand, at a macro and micro level, which factors are most prevalent in causing congestion points and bottlenecks in their cities, they can take appropriate action to vary these factors to influence demand and therefore maximize efficiency."
Cubic believes the opportunity to understand, predict, manage and influence transport -- across all modes -- with the use of Nextcity's transport asset will be significant. It is what is needed in global cities and is what is coming next.
SIMalliance Open Mobile API boosts Smartphone Application Security
To combat the growing number of malicious attacks on smartphone applications and operating systems, the SIMalliance announces the availability of its Open Mobile API.
For the first time this allows application providers to access and utilize the Secure Element within the internet-connected mobile device, providing highly secure two-factor authentication to enable the secure delivery of a host of NFC, payment and identity services.
Current levels of single factor authentication - where users log in to a mobile application or service using a password - has been shown to be inadequate as attacks on smartphone and tablet applications increase in number and sophistication.
By connecting the application to the Secure Element via the Open Mobile API, many security breaches we see today will become easily preventable.
Created by the SIMalliance Open Mobile API workgroup, Release v.1.01 of the Open Mobile API delivers the transport layer between the smartphone application and the Secure Element.
"The development of a standardised API is a very significant step towards reducing the threat of identity theft and fraud on today's generation of smartphones and tablets," says Frederic Vasnier, Chairman of the Board, SIMalliance.
Texas Instruments to Acquire National Semiconductor
Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) and National Semiconductor announced they have signed a definitive agreement under which TI will acquire National for $25 per share in an all-cash transaction of about $6.5 billion. The acquisition combines two industry leaders in analogue semiconductors, each with unique strengths in delivering products to improve performance and efficiency and convert real-world signals in electronic systems. The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction.
Each company has unique strengths. Among them are the breadth of TI's 30,000 analogue products, extensive customer reach, and industry-leading manufacturing including the world's first 300-millimeter analogue factory. National brings a portfolio of 12,000 analogue products, a strong position with customers in the industrial power market, and excellent customer design tools. Upon close of the transaction, National becomes part of TI's analogue segment, and sales of analogue semiconductors will represent almost 50 percent of TI's revenue.
Under terms of the agreement, National stockholders will receive $25 in cash for each share of National common stock they hold at the time of closing. TI expects to fund the transaction with a combination of existing cash balances and debt. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including review by U.S. and international regulators and approval by National's shareholders. The transaction is expected to close in six to nine months.
The market for analogue semiconductors was $42 billion in 2010. TI is the market leader with 2010 analogue revenue of $6.0 billion, or 14 percent of the market.
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