Tag Archives | Wireless

Can mesh networks and offline wireless move from protest tools to news?

FutUndBeidl (CC BY 2.0)

FutUndBeidl (CC BY 2.0)

via Niemanlab:

From the protests in Hong Kong to Occupy and Sandy in New York, a new generation of tools is allowing communities to connect without using the Internet. Can they have a use in news too?

In the rush to get from here to there, not many travelers in Boston’s South Station are likely to notice the two blue wifi icons near the Martin’s News Shop informing them that they are now in range of the “Pulse of South Station.” And if they did, they might rightly assume that it was some kind of marketing campaign.

But at its inception in 2005, the Pulse of Boston (of which that sign was a part) was also much more than this: It was a cutting-edge experiment in hyperlocal, offline, wireless news and community. And while the original Boston Globe effort lasted less than a year, today both global events and advances in DIY wireless technologies are rebooting interest in this physically proscribed approach to hyperlocal communications — exploring how wireless connections that don’t rely on the Internet can serve as both community hubs and crucial information sources.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Motorola Patents Neck Tattoo That Acts As Device-Connected Microphone

tattooEver wish that everything you ever said could be recorded? Me neither. Discovery notes:

According to a patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Motorola has a technology that tattoos a microphone onto a person’s throat. The microphone, which comes with a power supply, an antenna, a receiver and an optional display, would pair with mobile devices over Bluetooth.

Most likely, the “tattoo” would be an extremely thin electronic device that adheres to a person’s skin, as opposed to being woven into it.

Because the microphone is on the throat, it would pick up vibrations from the person’s voice box when she spoke. The close proximity of mic to sound would eliminate background noise that would typically interfere with a call or a voice command.

There’s more. Motorola’s throat tattoo will double as a lie detector. According to the patent: “…The electronic skin tattoo 200 can further include a galvanic skin response detector.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

When Your “Smart Home” Gets Hacked

smart home

Via Forbes, Kashmir Hill reveals that the “demonic house” horror archetype may soon be coming true:

“I can see all of the devices in your home and I think I can control them,” I said to Thomas Hatley, a stranger in Oregon who I had rudely awoken with an early morning phone call.

He and his wife were still in bed. Expressing surprise, he asked me to try to turn the master bedroom lights on and off. Sitting in my living room in San Francisco, I flipped the light switch with a click, and resisted the Poltergeist-like temptation to turn the television on as well.

Googling a very simple phrase led me to a list of “smart homes” that had done something rather stupid. The homes all have an automation system from Insteon that allows remote control of their lights, hot tubs, fans, televisions, water pumps, garage doors, cameras, and other devices, so that their owners can turn these things on and off with a smartphone app or via the Web.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

FBI’s New Secretive Surveillance Unit Can Spy on Skype and Wireless Communications

Reports Declan McCullagh on cNet News:

The FBI has recently formed a secretive surveillance unit with an ambitious goal: to invent technology that will let police more readily eavesdrop on Internet and wireless communications.

The establishment of the Quantico, VA-based unit, which is also staffed by agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency, is a response to technological developments that FBI officials believe outpace law enforcement’s ability to listen in on private communications.

While the FBI has been tight-lipped about the creation of its Domestic Communications Assistance Center, or DCAC — it declined to respond to requests made two days ago about who’s running it, for instance — CNET has pieced together information about its operations through interviews and a review of internal government documents.

DCAC’s mandate is broad, covering everything from trying to intercept and decode Skype conversations to building custom wiretap hardware or analyzing the gigabytes of data that a wireless provider or social network might turn over in response to a court order…

Read More: cNet News

Read the rest

Continue Reading