Tag Archives: Data

U.S. Pumps $400 million to fund next-gen wireless research 

The U.S. National Science Foundation will spend more than US$400 million over the next seven years to fund next-generation wireless research in an effort to bring super-fast mobile service to the country.

U.S. officials hope the investments, announced Friday, will speed up the county’s move to next-generation 5G mobile service, potentially offering speeds of 10Gbps, and allow for a rapid expansion of the internet of things. 

The next-generation mobile services will enable self-driving cars, an “always on” IoT, smart cities, new virtual reality offerings, and video to aid police, firefighters, and emergency medical responders, said John Holdren assistant to President Barack Obama for science and technology.

“Time and again, history has shown us that when we make sustained federal investments in fundamental academic research and in public-private partnerships … we as a nation reap the benefits,” Holdren said at an NSF event in Washinton, D.C., Friday.

The NSF funding, part of a new White House Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, includes $50 million as part of a partnership with more than 20 mobile companies and trade groups to roll out advanced wireless testing sites in four U.S. cities. The testing will include deployment of small cells to boost signals of high-band, millimeter wave spectrum.

Friday’s announcement piggybacks on a Federal Communications Commission vote Thursday to open up nearly 11 gigahertz of high-band spectrum to 5G and IoT services.

The NSF expects to spend $350 million over the next seven years on fundamental research and testing of next-generation wireless technologies, the agency said.

The FCC and other agencies want to focus on making spectrum available so that wireless companies can experiment with the best ways to deliver new services, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Some countries have pushed to set 5G standards before moving forward, but not the U.S., he said.

To read more and the original story follow this link to Network World. 

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Samsung Warns Customers To Think Twice About What They Say Near Smart TVs

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(ANTIMEDIA)  In a troubling new development in the domestic consumer surveillance debate, an investigation into Samsung Smart TVs has revealed that user voice commands are recorded, stored, and transmitted to a third party. The company evenwarns customers not to discusspersonal or sensitive information within earshot of the device.

This is in stark contrast to previous claims by tech manufacturers, like Playstation, who vehemently deny their devices record personal information, despite evidence to the contrary, including news that hackers can gain access to unencrypted streams of credit card information.

The new Samsung controversy stems from the discovery of a single haunting statement in the company’s “privacy policy,” which states:

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

This sparked a back and forth between the Daily Beast and Samsung regarding not only consumer privacy but also security concerns. If our conversations are “captured and transmitted,” eavesdropping hackers may be able to use our “personal or other sensitive information” for identity theft or any number of nefarious purposes.

There is also the concern that such information could be turned over to law enforcement or government agencies. With the revelation of the PRISMprogram  by which the NSA collected data from Microsoft, Google, and Facebook — and other such NSA spying programs, neither the government nor the private sector has the benefit of the doubt in claiming tech companies are not conscripted into divulging sensitive consumer info under the auspices of national security.

Michael Price, counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, stated:

“I do not doubt that this data is important to providing customized content and convenience, but it is also incredibly personal, constitutionally protected information that should not be for sale to advertisers and should require a warrant for law enforcement to access.”

Responding to the controversy, Samsung updated its privacy policy, named its third party partner, and issued the following statement:

“Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. The TV owner can also disconnect the TV from the Wi-Fi network.”

Under still more pressure,Samsung named its third party affiliate, Nuance Communications. In a statement to Anti-Media, Nuance said:

“Samsung is a Nuance customer. The data that Nuance collects is speech data. Nuance respects the privacy of its users in its use of speech data. Our use of such data is for the development and improvement of our voice recognition and natural language understanding technologies. As outlined in our privacy policy, third parties work under contract with Nuance, pursuant to confidentiality agreements, to help Nuance tailor and deliver the speech recognition and natural language service, and to help Nuance develop, tune, enhance, and improve its products and services.

“We do not sell that speech data for marketing or advertising. Nuance does not have a relationship with government agencies to turn over consumer data…..There is no intention to trace these samples to specific people or users.”

Nuance’s Wikipedia pagementions that the company maintains a small division for government and military system development, but that is not confirmed at this time.

Despite protestations from these companies that our voice command data is not being traced to specific users or, worse, stored for use by government or law enforcement agencies, it seems that when it comes to constitutional civil liberties, the end zone keeps getting pushed further and further down the field.

For years, technologists and smart device enthusiasts claimed webcam and voice recording devices did not store our information. While Samsung may be telling the truth about the use of that data, there are countless companies integrating smart technology who may not be using proper encryption methods and may have varying contractual obligations to government or law enforcement.

Is it really safe for us to assume that the now exceedingly evident symbiotic relationship between multinational corporations and government agencies does not still include a revolving door for the sharing of sensitive consumer data?

This article (Samsung Warns Customers To Think Twice About What They Say Near Smart TVs) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commonslicense with attribution to Jake Anderson and theAntiMedia.org.Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, emailedits@theantimedia.org.

Americans are wary about IoT privacy

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Americans are in an “it depends” state when it comes to disclosing personal information over internet-connected devices, according to a new Pew Research Center study. The study proposed different scenarios to which 461 Americans expressed whether they believed being monitored by a device was acceptable, not acceptable, or depended on the situation. Pew Research Center found that some scenarios were acceptable to the majority of Americans, but the answers often came with caveats. For example, most consumers find a security camera in the office acceptable, but with restrictions; one person said, “It depends on whether I would be watched and filmed every minute of the day during everything I do.”

Here are the responses to the IoT-related scenarios the study presented:

• Office surveillance cameras: More than half (54%) of Americans believe that it’s acceptable for a surveillance camera in the workplace, making it the most acceptable of the six proposed scenarios. Another 21% answered “it depends,” while 24% said it would not be acceptable.

• Sharing health information with your doctor: 52% of Americans believe it’s acceptable for their doctor to utilize a website to manage patient records and schedule appointments, 20% answered “it depends,” and 26% thought it was not acceptable. This correlates with iTriage survey, which indicated that 76% of consumers feel comfortable transferring wearable health data to their practitioner. 

• Usage-based auto insurance: 37% of respondents answered it was acceptable for auto insurance companies to collect information via a UBI dongle, such as Progressive’s Snapshot, and offer discounts for safe driving. 45% said it was not acceptable, while 16% said “it depends.”

• Smart thermostat: 27% of respondents said it was acceptable for a smart thermostat in the house to track where the occupant is and share that data. More than half of respondents (55%) said it was not acceptable, and 17% answered “it depends.”

Through focus groups and open-ended answers, Pew narrowed down the top reasons consumers believe sharing information is unacceptable: Through focus groups and open-ended answers, Pew narrowed down the top reasons consumers believe sharing information is unacceptable:

1) The threat of scammers and hackers;
2) Being repeatedly marketed from companies collecting data;
3) They do not want to share their location;
4) They think it’s “creepy”;
5) The companies collecting the data have ulterior motives to use it.

Data privacy will continue to be a big trend as the Internet of Things market matures. Device makers should be transparent about the data being collected and what it’s used for. Further, they should ensure the devices and their associated data storage bases are secure.

To read more of this article and the original story follow this link to Business Insider.

Power beamed to camera via ambient wi-fi signals

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The power beaming system used modified wi-fi routers and hubs

Wi-fi signals have been used to beam power to a surveillance camera.

The battery-free camera was modified so it could scavenge power from ambient wi-fi signals, store it and then use it to take photos.

The experiment was one of several by US researchers looking at ways to use wi-fi as a power source.

The team behind the project believes its techniques will be useful for powering the many devices expected to form the “internet of things”.

Adding noise

The system, known as power-over-wi-fi, has been developed by PhD student Vamsi Talla and colleagues at the Sensor Systems Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The team realised that the energy contained in ambient wi-fi signals that are now ubiquitous often came close to the operating voltages required by a variety of low power devices.

Unfortunately, because wi-fi signals are broadcast in bursts across different frequencies the required amount of energy was only available too intermittently to be useful.

To fix this, the research team modified standard wi-fi hotspots and routers to broadcast noise when a channel was not being used to send data. This meant the power of the wi-fi signals stayed constant and, though low, was high enough to power some components.

Adding the noise did little to slow data rates across hotspots, said the team.

The team used the power beaming system to run a temperature sensor and a small surveillance camera that both sat several metres away from a wi-fi hotspot.

The low-power camera gathered energy from wi-fi and stored it in a capacitor that prompted the camera to take a picture when it was charged. By leaching off the ambient radio signals, the camera gathered enough energy every 35 minutes to take a snap.

In a paper detailing their work, Mr. Talla and colleagues said it had the potential to help power the small, low-power sensors and actuators that are expected to become common in homes and workplaces as part of the internet of things.

“The ability to deliver power wirelessly to a wide range of autonomous devices and sensors is hugely significant,” said a story about the research in MIT’s Technology Review. ” Powi-fi could be the enabling technology that finally brings the internet of things to life.”

Please follow this link to BBC News for the original story.

This World Map Shows Every Device Connected To The Internet

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A striking map created by John Matherly at search engine Shodan shows significant disparities in internet access across the world.

The graphic maps every device that’s directly connected to the internet. We first noticed it when geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer tweeted it.

Some of the dark spots on the map could be attributed to low population density in those areas, but by looking at the map it’s clear that internet access isn’t equal across the world.

The different colors indicate the density of devices — blue indicates fewer devices and red indicates more devices at a given location.

As you can see from the map, the US and Europe have very high levels of internet connectivity, with the exception of the less-populated areas of the western US. Africa is mostly an internet blackout, and Asia has much less internet connectivity than Europe and the US despite having very dense population centers in some areas.

Matherly told Business Insider how he put the map together (at least for a tech guy):

The way it was performed is fairly straightforward:

1. Use a stateless scanner to send a Ping request to every public IPv4 address

2. Keep track of which IPs responded with a Pong

3. Find out where the IP is physically located using a GeoIP library (i.e. translates from x.x.x.x -> latitude/ longitude)

4. Draw the map

Steps 1-3 took about 5 hours and the final step took 12 hours. This is possible because nowadays we have the technology (stateless scanning) to very efficiently talk to millions of devices on the Internet at once.

Source: Business Insider

Charter Users In St. Louis Get Sudden Speed Boost

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A magical and wonderful thing has happened to some customers who have Charter Internet service After restarting their cable modems for some reason or another, they found that their home internet connections had received a speed boost. It was a big one, boosting real-life speeds from about 30 mbps to 100 mbps.

Reports of the speed boost cropped up on DSLReports on a thread about a planned speed boost elsewhere. St. Louis residents shared their good fortune with the world.

Confusingly, Charter does offer a 100 mbps service tier to customers. As Legit Reviews points out, these speedsters received a speed boost from 100 to 120 mbps, but is that enough to continue paying for the upgrade?

If you’re a Charter customer in that area, try power cycling your modem to find out whether you get the update, too. You may find a pleasant surprise.

The question is: why? Sure, St. Louis is in the same state as Google Fiber rollout site Kansas City, but it’s a long drive and a heck of a commute.

Source: Consumerist

Laser Demonstration Reveals Bright Future for Space Communication

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Dec. 23, 2013 — The completion of the 30-day Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration or LLCD mission has revealed that the possibility of expanding broadband capabilities in space using laser communications is as bright as expected.

Hosted aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer known as LADEE, for its ride to lunar orbit, the LLCD was designed to confirm laser communication capabilities from a distance of almost a quarter-of-a-million miles. In addition to demonstrating record-breaking data download and upload speeds to the moon at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) and 20 Mbps, respectively, LLCD also showed that it could operate as well as any NASA radio system. “Throughout our testing we did not see anything that would prevent the operational use of this technology in the immediate future,” said Don Cornwell, LLCD mission manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

For example, LLCD demonstrated error-free communications during broad daylight, including operating when the moon was to within three degrees of the sun as seen from Earth. LLCD also demonstrated error-free communications when the moon was low on the horizon, less than 4 degrees, as seen from the ground station, which also demonstrated that wind and atmospheric turbulence did not significantly impact the system. LLCD was even able to communicate through thin clouds, an unexpected bonus.

Operationally, LLCD demonstrated the ability to download data from the LADEE spacecraft itself. “We were able to download LADEE’s entire stored science and spacecraft data [1 gigabyte] in less than five minutes, which was only limited to our 40 Mbps connection to that data within LADEE” said Cornwell. Using LADEE’s onboard radio system would take several days to complete a download of the same stored data. Additionally, LLCD was to prove the integrity of laser technology to send not only error-free data but also uncorrupted commands and telemetry or monitoring messages to and from the spacecraft over the laser link.

LLCD also demonstrated the ability to “hand-off” the laser connection from one ground station to another, just as a cellphone does a hand-off from one cell tower to another. An additional achievement was the ability to operate LLCD without using LADEE’s radio at all. “We were able to program LADEE to awaken the LLCD space terminal and have it automatically point and communicate to the ground station at a specific time without radio commands. This demonstrates that this technology could serve as the primary communications system for future NASA missions,” said Cornwell.

The ability of LLCD to send and receive high definition video was proven with a message from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, completing the trip to the moon and back with only a few seconds of delay. “Administrator Bolden’s message demonstrates NASA’s support for advancing this technology for both space and Earth applications,” said Cornwell. “It also allowed the LLCD team to showcase the quality and fidelity of our HD video transmissions over our laser communication link to and from the moon.”

Cornwell acknowledged that the LLCD mission is another great example of NASA partnerships with outside organizations to advance unproven technologies. He credits the work of Don Boroson and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory (MIT/LL) in Lexington, Mass., for developing and operating both the space and ground laser communications terminals for LLCD. “We could not have made such great strides without the work of our partners at MIT/LL,” Cornwell said. “Their years of work and knowledge produced a communications system that far exceeded our expectation.”

NASA’s follow-on mission for laser communications will be the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LRCD). Also managed at Goddard, LCRD will demonstrate continuous laser relay communication capabilities at over one billion bits per second between two Earth stations using a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. The system also will support communications with Earth-orbiting satellites. More importantly, LCRD will demonstrate this operational capability for as long as five years, thus building more confidence in the reliability of this laser technology.

“We are very encouraged by the results of LLCD,” said Badri Younes, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) in Washington, which sponsored the mission. “From where I sit, the future looks very bright for laser communications.”

So it appears NASA could be making the next paradigm shift in communications in the not too distant future. The same technology that has vastly upgraded our broadband connections on Earth could be expanding communications possibilities for NASA in the not-too-distant future.

Source: Science Daily

Report: U.S. ranks 31st in broadband speed tests

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According to the latest numbers from Ookla’s Net Index, the United States ranks 31st among every other country for internet download speeds, and 42nd for upload speeds. The data was gathered from the average of the past 30 days of speed tests done on Seattle-based Ookla’s Speedtest.net site.

While that still puts the U.S. in the top 20 percent of countries, there’s a lot of room for improvement. As Internet-connected devices continue to drive economic growth, increasing broadband speeds to keep up with the rest of the world is key.
The expansion of fiber networks, including Google Fiber and Seattle’s effort to bring fiber connectivity to parts of the city brings the promise of improving the U.S.’s standings.

But overall, the U.S. is in a tough spot, because of its size compared to some of the other countries on the list. Bringing effective Internet infrastructure to a country that spans almost 3.8 million square miles is a much different challenge, compared to 4th place South Korea, which measures 38,691 square miles.

Click here for the graphic on internet connectivity for 186 countries in report.

Source: GeekWire

NASA Laser Communication System Sets Record with Data Transmissions to and from Moon

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NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) has made history using a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 239,000 miles between the moon and Earth at a record-breaking download rate of 622 megabits per second (Mbps).

LLCD is NASA’s first system for two-way communication using a laser instead of radio waves. It also has demonstrated an error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps transmitted from the primary ground station in New Mexico to the spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.

“LLCD is the first step on our roadmap toward building the next generation of space communication capability,” said Badri Younes, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation (SCaN) in Washington. “We are encouraged by the results of the demonstration to this point, and we are confident we are on the right path to introduce this new capability into operational service soon.”

Since NASA first ventured into space, it has relied on radio frequency (RF) communication. However, RF is reaching its limit as demand for more data capacity continues to increase. The development and deployment of laser communications will enable NASA to extend communication capabilities such as increased image resolution and 3-D video transmission from deep space.

“The goal of LLCD is to validate and build confidence in this technology so that future missions will consider using it,” said Don Cornwell, LLCD manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “This unique ability developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory has incredible application possibilities.”

LLCD is a short-duration experiment and the precursor to NASA’s long-duration demonstration, the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD). LCRD is a part of the agency’s Technology Demonstration Missions Program, which is working to develop crosscutting technology capable of operating in the rigors of space. It is scheduled to launch in 2017.

LLCD is hosted aboard NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), launched in September from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. LADEE is a 100-day robotic mission operated by the agency’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. LADEE’s mission is to provide data that will help NASA determine whether dust caused the mysterious glow astronauts observed on the lunar horizon during several Apollo missions. It also will explore the moon’s atmosphere. Ames designed, developed, built, integrated and tested LADEE, and manages overall operations of the spacecraft. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LADEE mission.

The LLCD system, flight terminal and primary ground terminal at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, N.M., were developed by the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT. The Table Mountain Optical Communications Technology Laboratory operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is participating in the demonstration. A third ground station operated by the European Space Agency on Tenerife in the Canary Islands also will be participating in the demonstration.

For more click the source link below.

Source: NASA

World Record: Wireless Data Transmission at 100 Gbit/S

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Setup for the world record of wireless data transmission at 100 gigabits per second: The receiver unit (left) receives the radio signal that is recorded by the oscilloscope (right). (Credit: Photo KIT)

Extension of cable-based telecommunication networks requires high investments in both conurbations and rural areas. Broadband data transmission via radio relay links might help to cross rivers, motorways or nature protection areas at strategic node points, and to make network extension economically feasible. In the current issue of the nature photonics magazine, researchers present a method for wireless data transmission at a world-record rate of 100 gigabits per second.

In their record experiment, 100 gigabits of data per second were transmitted at a frequency of 237.5 GHz over a distance of 20 m in the laboratory. In previous field experiments under the “Millilink” project funded by the BMBF, rates of 40 gigabits per second and transmission distances of more than 1 km were reached. For their latest world record, the scientists applied a photonic method to generate the radio signals at the transmitter. After radio transmission, fully integrated electronic circuits were used in the receiver.

“Our project focused on integration of a broadband radio relay link into fiber-optical systems,” Professor Ingmar Kallfass says. He coordinated the “Millilink” project under a shared professorship funded by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Since early 2013, he has been conducting research at Stuttgart University. “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.” Kallfass also sees applications for private homes: “At a data rate of 100 gigabits per second, it would be possible to transmit the contents of a blue-ray disk or of five DVDs between two devices by radio within two seconds only.”

In the experiments, latest photonic and electronic technologies were combined: First, the radio signals are generated by means of an optical method. Several bits are combined by so-called data symbols and transmitted at the same time. Upon transmission, the radio signals are received by active integrated electronic circuits.

The transmitter generates the radio signals by means of an ultra-broadband so-called photon mixer made by the Japanese company NTT-NEL. For this, two optical laser signals of different frequencies are superimposed on a photodiode. An electrical signal results, the frequency of which equals the frequency difference of both optical signals, here, 237.5 GHz. The millimeter-wave electrical signal is then radiated via an antenna.

“It is a major advantage of the photonic method that data streams from fiber-optical systems can directly be converted into high-frequency radio signals,” Professor Jürg Leuthold says. He proposed the photonic extension that was realized in this project. The former head of the KIT Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ) is now affiliated with ETH Zurich. “This advantage makes the integration of radio relay links of high bit rates into optical fiber networks easier and more flexible.” In contrast to a purely electronic transmitter, no intermediate electronic circuit is needed. “Due to the large bandwidth and the good linearity of the photon mixer, the method is excellently suited for transmission of advanced modulation formats with multiple amplitude and phase states. This will be a necessity in future fiber-optical systems,” Leuthold adds.

Reception of radio signals is based on electronic circuits. In the experiment, a semiconductor chip was employed that was produced by the Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) within the framework of the “Millilink” project. The semiconductor technology is based on high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMT) enabling the fabrication of active, broadband receivers for the frequency range between 200 and 280 GHz. The integrated circuits have a chip size of a few square millimeters only. The receiver chip can also cope with advanced modulation formats. As a result, the radio link can be integrated into modern optical fiber networks in a bit-transparent way.

Already in May this year the team succeeded in transmitting a data rate of 40 gigabits per second over a long distance in the laboratory using a purely electronic system. In addition, data were transmitted successfully over a distance of one kilometer from one high-riser to another in the Karlsruhe City center. “The long transmission distances in “Millilink” were reached with conventional antennas that may be replaced by fully integrated miniaturized antenna designs in future compact systems for indoor use,” says Professor Thomas Zwick, Head of the KIT Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik und Elektronik (Institute of High-Frequency Technology and Electronics). The present data rate can be still increased. “By employing optical and electrical multiplexing techniques, i.e., by simultaneously transmitting multiple data streams, and by using multiple transmitting and receiving antennas, the data rate could be multiplied,” says Swen König from the KIT Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ), who conceived and conducted the recent world-record experiment. “Hence, radio systems having a data rate of 1 terabit per second appear to be feasible.”

Source: Science Daily