Carrier IQ has recently found itself swimming in controversy. The analytics company and its eponymous software have come under fire from security researchers, privacy advocates and legal critics not only for the data it gathers, but also for its lack of transparency regarding the use of said information. Carrier IQ claims its software is installed on over 140 million devices with partners including Sprint, HTC and allegedly, Apple and Samsung. Nokia, RIM and Verizon Wireless have been alleged as partners, too, although each company denies such claims. Ostensibly, the software’s meant to improve the customer experience, though in nearly every case, Carrier IQ users are unaware of the software’s existence, as it runs hidden in the background and doesn’t require authorized consent to function. From a permissions standpoint — with respect to Android — the software is capable of logging user keystrokes, recording telephone calls, storing text messages, tracking location and more. It is often difficult or impossible to disable.

How Carrier IQ uses your behaviour data remains unclear, and its lack of transparency brings us to where we are today. Like you, we want to know more. We’ll certainly continue to pursue this story, but until further developments are uncovered, here’s what you need to know.


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Go easy on the gas, Speed Racer, because Cordon is on its way. Developed by Simicon, this new speed sensor promises to take highway surveillance to new heights of precision. Unlike most photo radar systems, which track only one violator at a time, Simicon’s device can simultaneously identify and follow up to 32 vehicles across four lanes. Whenever a car enters its range, the Cordon will automatically generate two images: one from wide-angle view and one closeup shot of the vehicle’s license plate. It’s also capable of instantly measuring a car’s speed and mapping its position, and can easily be synced with other databases via WiFi, 3G or WiMAX. Plus, this device is compact and durable enough to be mounted upon a tripod or atop a road sign, making it even harder for drivers to spot. Fortunately, though, you still have time to change your dragster ways, as distributor Peak Gain Systems won’t be bringing the Cordon to North America until the first quarter of 2012. You will find a footage of a field trial that’s currently underway inside. Cars tagged with a green dot are travelling below the speed limit, those with a yellow marking are chugging along within an acceptable range above the limit, while vehicles with a red tab are just asking for trouble.


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Robots (if properly programmed) can be better at anything (motor/calculation wise) than humans. A new area of expertise is juggling. This is not to say that juggling is a particularly easy problem to tackle, because it’s not, but it’s a fun excuse to design a robot to demonstrate precision control and high-speed object tracking. The robot in the video below, for example, was built by three masters students from the Department of Control Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. It uses three linear motors, including one for each arm and a third for a central ball deployment system, along with two pivoting “hands” to catch and toss up to five balls at once. The feedback loop is closed using data from encoders built in the motors, and a high-speed camera helps to fine-tune the trajectories of the balls.


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Google has removed 26 malware infected apps from the Android Market that are believed to have compromised the personal data of thousands of users. Security firm Lookout said that the apps were likely created by the same developers who were responsible for a previous attack of Android malware called ‘Droiddream’ back in March. This affected 21 apps that were also suspended from the Android Market.

Given the moniker Droiddream Light, the malware had code associated with previous Droiddream samples and is believed to have affected between 30,000 and 120,000 users. Magic Photo Studio, Mango Studio, ET Team, BeeGoo, Droidplus and Glumobi were the six developers named as publishing malicious apps with names like Sexy Legs, Volume Manager, Quick SMS Backup and Tetris. None of the apps actually needed you to launch them on your device for the malicious bits to work, instead relying on an incoming voice call.


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Before you and your pooches head out to hunt innocent ducks this year, you might wanna check out Garmin’s new Astro 320 dog tracker — a handheld GPS device designed to help hunters keep even closer tabs on their four-legged sentries. The latest addition to the Astro family can simultaneously track up to ten hunting dogs per receiver, with a revamped antenna and three-axis electronic compass covering up to nine miles of flat terrain. Boasting a 20-hour battery life, the 1.7GB handheld can also tell hunters whether their canines are running or pointing, while its mapping capabilities provide their precise coordinates relative to power lines, buildings, and individual trees. All this information is displayed on a 2.6-inch display, where users will be able to access 100k or 24k topographic and satellite maps. A keypad lock function, meanwhile, will make sure you don’t accidentally press any buttons while you’re in the thick of a hound-led hunt. The handheld will be available in July for $500, with the full system (including a DC 40 tracking collar) priced at $650.


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The city of Beijing will soon begin tracking its citizens’ cell phones – ostensibly “to ease traffic congestion.” According to the website of the Central People’s Government, Beijing’s cell phone-owning population (about 70-percent) will be tracked in real time as part of the “Platform for Citizen Movement Information” project.

Source: DigitalTrends


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Dropcam released a full-fledged app for Android smartphones running Android 2.2 or higher. The key advantage with a Dropcam setup is that it’s entirely cloud-based, and doesn’t need to be connected to your home computer to record or share video (unfortunately, that convenience comes at quite a cost).

 

As for the Android app, it will let you receive things like motion and audio alerts, and of course let you check in on a live stream or access recordings -those just looking try the service can also simply access some public webcams to test it out.


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Anyone who has ever tramped through a dim, Escher-esque parking garage in search of a “lost” automobile might welcome an abracadabra technology that could help locate it. But what if that magic involved an array of 24/7 surveillance cameras and was also available to police and auto repossessers? What if it could be tapped by jilted lovers, or that angry guy you accidentally cut off in traffic? Would the convenience be worth the loss of privacy? Those are some of the questions civil libertarians and others are asking as technology capable of spying on motorists and pedestrians is converted to widespread commercial use.

Santa Monica Place recently unveiled the nation’s first camera-based “Find Your Car” system. Shoppers who have lost track of their vehicle amid a maze of concrete ramps and angled stripes can simply punch their license plate number into a kiosk touch screen, which then displays a photo of the car and its location. Developed by New York-based Park Assist, the Santa Monica Place system goes beyond programs found at the Grove and Westfield Century City shopping centers, where electronic billboards alert shoppers to packed parking aisles and shepherd them to vacant spaces.


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Add two more Internet browser makers to the list of companies planning to offer Web users new ways to control how their personal data is collected online.

Mozilla and Google announced features that would allow users of the Firefox and Chrome browsers to opt out of being tracked online by third-party advertisers. The companies made their announcements just weeks after the Federal Trade Commission issued a report that supported a “do not track” mechanism that would let consumers choose whether companies could monitor their online behavior.

In a blog post by Alex Fowler, Mozilla’s technology and privacy officer, the company unveiled a proposed feature for its Firefox browser that would send a signal to third-party advertisers and commercial Web sites indicating that a user did not want to be tracked. The mechanism, being called a Do Not Track HTTP header, would rely on companies that receive the information to agree not to collect data.

The approach differs from other options currently available to users that rely on cookies or user-generated lists. In December, Microsoft announced a feature called Tracking Protection for Internet Explorer 9 that would rely on lists that users create that indicate which sites they do not want to share information with.


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