Answer: a whole lot of things. But prospects for the IoT are not all bleak. We talk to the man behind the Internet of Shit Twitter account and others for their insight.

If the Internet of Things (IoT) industry is the Jedi order, with Philips Hue lightsabers and "smart" cloud-based Force powers, then popular Twitter account Internet of Shit is a Sith Lord. At a time when the technology industry seems eager to put a chip in everything, consequences be damned, Internet of Shit puts a name to the problem of new, useless electronics and highlights that some of these products may not be as benign as we think.


I spoke with the account's operator under the condition of anonymity, a courtesy PCMag extends when we feel the public good outweighs all other considerations. I will refer to this person as IOS. I would love to say that I met IOS in a darkened parking garage, but our conversation took place over Twitter direct message and email. Ho-hum.

The Internet of Shit's Twitter account focuses on the niche and the popular. In the case of, say, paying for a meal using a smart water bottle, it rightly questions the utility. It highlights the absurdity of having to wait for fundamental necessities, like light and heat, that are unavailable after "smart" products receive firmware updates.

As you might imagine, the Internet of Shit is able to eviscerate the industry it mocks so effectively because that industry is close to its heart. "It happened so naturally," IOS said. "I used to spend a lot of time on Kickstarter and saw the rise of the Internet of Things there. It seemed like every other day some mundane object was having a chip shoved into it, but nobody—even in the media—was being that critical about it. [Websites] would just say things like, 'Wow, we can finally get the internet in an umbrella.'"

IOS sees himself as something of a devil's advocate or collective conscience for consumer culture. In his eyes, the Twitter account is a much-needed sanity check on Silicon Valley's faux-optimism run amok. "When we go too far, the important question technology people tend to forget is: Who actually needs this? An oven that can't cook properly without the internet? Why aren't people designing these things better?"

But more than poor design and specious claims of utility, IOS's primary concern is one of privacy and, ultimately, personal security: "I do see IoT as inherently risky, though. I don't trust these companies not to leak my data or not to be severely hacked in the future."

In a Medium post written early in the Twitter account's life, IOS said he was worried that companies would begin looking for ways to monetize data gathered from people's homes. From that story: "If Nest wanted to increase profits it could sell your home's environment data to advertisers. Too cold? Amazon ads for blankets. Too hot? A banner ad for an air conditioner. Too humid? Dehumidifiers up in your Facebook." 

IOS still stands by these concerns. "The reason the IoT is so compelling to manufacturers isn't that they're adding smart features to your life—that's just a byproduct," he wrote me. "It's more that by doing so, they get unprecedented insight into how those devices are being used, such as how often, what features you use the most, and all the data that comes with that."

IOS says that IoT companies need to be much more upfront about their data-gathering policies, and who can access information that may be gathered by these devices. "The question we all need to decide is what level of access we're willing to give these companies in exchange for the data they get—and who we trust with that is key."

On Christmas Day in 2016, IOS enabled his lights to blink whenever his handle was mentioned on Twitter. The results were intense, anticlimactic, and brief, illustrating perhaps all that IOS loathes about the Internet of Things.

Internet of Insecurity

Far worse than the effect useless IoT devices have on consumers' wallets, though, is the effect they have on personal security. IOS's fears of a marketplace for user data collected by IoT devices is not far-fetched (how do you think free apps and free internet news companies make money?), and there are already other, very real threats.

Attendees at the Black Hat 2016 conference were treated to footage from security researcher Eyal Ronen. Using his research, he was able to seize control of Philips Hue lights from a drone hovering outside an office building. The attack was notable not only for its dramatic results and for using a drone but also because the building was home to several well-known security companies.

Ronen explained to me that he was attempting to demonstrate that an attack against a top-tier line of IoT devices was possible. "There are a lot of IoT hacks aimed at low-end devices that have no real security. We wanted to test the security of a product that is supposed to be safe," he said. He was also keen to attack a well-known company and settled on Philips. Ronen said that it was harder to crack than he initially thought, but he and his team found and exploited a bug in the ZigBee Light Link software, a third-party communication protocol used by several IoT companies and regarded as a mature and secure system.

"It uses advanced cryptographic primitives, and it has strong security claims," said Ronen. "But at the end, in a relatively short time with very low-cost hardware worth around $1,000, we were able to break it," said Ronen.

Video of Ronen's attack (above) shows the lights of the building flashing in sequence, following his commands sent remotely via a hovering drone. If this were to happen to you, it would be annoying—perhaps no more annoying than any of the scenarios IOS highlights on his Twitter account. But security professionals maintain that there are far greater consequences for IoT security.

"In a previous work, we showed how to use lights to exfiltrate data from [an] air-gapped network and cause epileptic seizures, and in this work we show how we can use lights to attack the electric grid and jam Wi-Fi," Ronen told me. "IoT is getting into every part of our lives, and the security of it can affect everything from medical devices to cars and homes."

A Lack of Standards

Ronen's attack took advantage of proximity, but Chief Security Researcher Alexandru Balan at Bitdefender outlined many other security faults that come baked into some IoT devices. Hardcoded passwords, he said, are particularly problematic, as are devices that are configured to be accessible from the open internet.

It was this combination of internet accessibility and simple, default passwords that has caused havoc in October 2016 when the Mirai botnet took major services like Netflix and Hulu either offline or made them so slow as to be unusable. A few weeks later, a variant of Mirai throttled internet access in the entire nation of Liberia.

"The worst of them are devices that are directly exposed to the internet with default credentials," said Balan. "[These devices] can be found with IoT search engines like Shodan or by simply crawling the internet and accessing them with admin admin, admin 1234, and so forth," continued Balan, listing examples of overly simplistic and easily guessable passwords. Because these devices have minimal security and can be attacked from the internet, the process of infecting them can be automated, leading to thousands or millions of corrupted devices.

Not long after news of Mirai broke, I looked at this scenario and blamed the IoT industry for ignoring the warnings about poor authentication and unnecessary online accessibility. But Balan would not go so far as to call these flaws obvious. "[Attackers] need to do reverse engineering on the firmware to extract those credentials, but it's very often the case that they find hard-coded credentials in the devices. The reason for that is that in a lot of cases, there's no standards when it comes to IoT security."

Vulnerabilities like these arise, hypothesized Balan, because IoT companies operate on their own, without universally accepted standards or security expertise. "It's easier to build it like this. And you can say that they're cutting corners, but the main issue is that they're not looking into how to properly build it in a secure fashion. They're just trying to make it work properly."

Even when companies develop fixes for attacks like the one Ronen discovered, some IoT devices aren't able to apply automatic updates. This puts the onus on consumers to find and apply patches themselves, which can be particularly daunting on devices that aren't intended to be serviced.

But even with devices that can be easily updated, vulnerabilities still exist. Several researchers have shown that not all IoT developers sign their updates with a cryptographic signature. Signed software is encrypted with the private half of an asymmetric cryptographic key owned by the developer. The devices receiving the update have the public half of the key, which is used to decrypt the update. This ensures that the update is official and hasn't been tampered with, since signing a malicious update or modifying the software update would require the developer's secret key. "If they do not digitally sign their updates, they can be hijacked, they can be tampered with; code can be injected into those updates," said Balan.

Beyond simply flicking lights on and off, Balan said that infected IoT devices can be used as a part of botnet, as seen with Mirai, or for far more insidious purposes. "I can extract your Wi-Fi credentials, because you've obviously hooked it to your Wi-Fi network and being as [the IoT device] is a Linux box, I can can use it to pivot and start to launch attacks within your wireless network.

"Within the privacy of your own LAN network, authentication mechanisms are lax," continued Balan. "The problem with LAN is that once I am in your private network, I can have access to almost everything that's happening in there." In effect, corrupted IoT becomes a beachhead for attacks on more valuable devices on the same network, such as Network Attached Storage or personal computers.

Perhaps it's telling that the security industry has started looking closely at the IoT. Over the last few years, several products have entered the market claiming to protect IoT devices from attack. I have seen or read about several such products and reviewed Bitdefender's offering. Called the Bitdefender Box, the device attaches to your existing network and provides antivirus protection for every device on your network. It even probes your devices for potential weaknesses. Bitdefender will launch the second version of its Box device this year. Norton will enter its own offering (below), boasting deep-packet inspection, while F-Secure has also announced a hardware device.

As one of the first to market, Bitdefender is in the unique position of having a background in software security—and then designing consumer hardware that would, presumably, be impeccably secure. How was that experience? "It was very hard," answered Balan.

Bitdefender does have a bug bounty program (a monetary reward offered to programmers who uncover and provide a solution to a bug on a website or in an application), which Balan confirmed has helped the development of the Box. "No company should be arrogant enough to believe it can find all of the bugs on their own. This is why bug bounty programs exist, but the challenge with hardware is that there may be backdoors within the actual chips."

"We know what to look for and what to look at and we actually have a hardware team that can take apart and look into each one of the components on that board. Thankfully, that board is not that large."

It's Not All Shit

It is easy to discount an entire industry based on its worst actors, and the same is true for the Internet of Things. But George Yianni, the Head of Technology, Home Systems, Philips Lighting finds this view particularly frustrating.

"We took [security] very seriously from the beginning. This is a new category. We have to build trust, and these [attacks] actually damage trust. And that's also why I think the biggest shame of the products that have not done such a good job is that it erodes trust in the overall category. Any product can be made badly. It's not a criticism of the overall industry."

As is often the case for security, how a company responds to an attack is often more important than the effects of the attack itself. In the case of the drone attack on Philips devices, Yianni explained that Ronen submitted his findings through the company's existing responsible-disclosure program. These are procedures that are put in place to allow companies time to respond to a security researcher's discovery before it is made public. That way, consumers can be assured that they are safe and the researchers gets the glory.

Ronen had found a bug in a third-party software stack, said Yianni. Specifically, it was the part of the ZigBee standard that limits communication to devices within two meters. Ronen's work, as you will recall, was able to take control from a distance—40 meters away with a standard antenna and 100 meters with a boosted antenna. Thanks to the responsible disclosure program, Yianni said Philips was able to roll out a patch to the lights in the field before Ronen told the world about the attack. 

Having seen many companies grapple with a public security breach or the result of a security researcher's work, Yianni and Philips's response may sound like after-the-fact back-patting—but it really was a success. "All our products are software-updatable, so that things can be fixed," Yianni told me. "The other thing[s] we do [are] security risk assessment, security audits, penetration testing [hiring people to attack your product or organization, then using the info to keep bad guys from doing the same] on all of our products. But then we also run these responsible disclosure processes, so that if something does come through, we're able to find out in advance and fix it very quickly.

"We have an entire process where we can push software updates from our entire cloud down to the [Hue Hubs] and distribute it to all of the lights. That's super important, because the space is moving so fast and these are products that are going to last 15 years. And if we're going to make sure that they are still relevant in terms of functionality and to be sufficiently secure for the latest attacks, we need to have that."

In his correspondence with me, Ronen confirmed that Philips had indeed done an admirable job securing the Hue lighting system. "Philips [has] put a surprising amount of effort in securing the lights," Ronen told me. "But unfortunately, some of [its] basic security assumptions that relied on the underlying Atmel's chip security implementation were wrong." As Balan pointed out with Bitdefender's work on the Box, every aspect of the IoT device is subject to attack.

Philips also designed the central Hub—the device required for coordinating networks of Philips IoT products—to be inaccessible from the open internet. "All connections to the internet are initiated from the device. We never open ports on routers or make it so that a device on the internet can directly talk to the [Hue Hub]," explained Yianni. Instead, the Hub sends requests out to Philips's cloud infrastructure, which responds to the request instead of the other way around. This also allows Philips to add extra layers to protect consumers devices without having to reach into their home and make any changes. "It's not possible for the [devices] to be communicated with from outside the Hub unless you're routed through this cloud where we can build additional layers of security and monitoring."

Yianni explained that this was all part of a multilayered approach Philips took to securing the Hue lighting system. Since the system is composed of several different pieces—from the hardware inside the bulbs to the software and hardware on the Hue Hub to the app within users' phones—different measures had to be taken at all levels. "All of them need different security measures to keep them safe. They all have different levels of risk and vulnerability. So we do different measures for all of these different parts," said Yianni.

This included penetration testing but also a bottom-up design intended to thwart attackers. "There [are] no global passwords like what was used in this Mirai botnet," said Yianni. The Mirai malware had dozens of default passcodes that it would use in an attempt to take over IoT devices. "Every [Hue Hub] has unique, asymmetrically signed keys to verify firmware, all this stuff. One device having its hardware modified, there's no global risk from that," he explained.

This also applies to the value of IoT devices. "A lot of these products tend to be connectivity for the sake of connectivity," he said. "The need to automate everything inside your home is not a problem many consumers have, and that's very hard to get your head around. We think that products that do well are the ones which offer an easier-to-understand value toward consumers."

The Irresistible Internet of Things

Knowing the risks about IoT, and even acknowledging its frivolousness, certainly hasn't stopped people from buying smart lighting such as Philips Hue, always-listening home assistants such as Google Home$129.00 at Best Buy or the Amazon Echo$179.99 at Amazon, and yes, smart water bottles. Even the operator of Internet of Shit is a huge IoT fan.

"The real irony behind the Internet of Shit is that I'm a sucker for these devices," said IOS. "I'm an early adopter and work in technology, so a lot of the time I can't resist these things." IOS lists Philips connected lights, the Tado thermostat, the Sense sleep tracker, smart speakers, the Canary camera$159.99 at Amazon, and Wi-Fi-connected plugs among his futuristic home amenities.

"I'm aware that the account got accidentally far bigger than I ever imagined, and I don't ever want to discourage people from going into technology—I think that experimenting with dumb ideas is how great ideas can be born, which is something that Simone Giertz taught me a little bit," said IOS.

Giertz, an absurdist roboticist and YouTuber, is the mind behind Shitty Robots. Her creations include a drone that gives haircuts—or, rather, fails to—and a massive hat that places sunglasses dramatically on her face. Think of it as Rube Goldberg with a healthy dose of Silicon Valley cynicism.

The person behind IOS does report that he is trying to rein in his early-adopter instincts these days. "I think the moment I had to update my lightbulbs' firmware to turn them on was a bit of a realization for me..."

Bitdefender's Balan said he uses light bulbs that double as Wi-Fi repeaters. These devices extend both light and Wi-Fi to every corner of his home. But they are also loaded with many of the vulnerabilities he derided, including weak default passwords. When it comes to the IoT, though, he remains undaunted.

"It's like sex," he told me. "You wouldn't do it without a condom. We like sex, sex is awesome, we're not gonna give up sex just because it's dangerous. But we're gonna use protection when we're doing it." Instead of lapsing into paranoia, he believes consumers should rely on security companies and educated friends who can identify the companies that take security seriously with bug bounties and secure, frequent update tools.

And does the drone-piloting hacker Ronen use IoT? "Currently, no," he said. "I am afraid about the effect is has on my privacy and security. And the benefits are not high enough for my needs."

Even your humble author, who has resisted the siren song of talking smoke detectors and color-changing lights for years, has started to crumble. Recently, in an effort to spruce up the office for the holidays, I found myself setting up three separate smart lights. The result, was horrifyingly, compellingly beautiful.

Meanwhile, a brand-new Philips Hue light is sitting in my Amazon shopping basket. Someday soon, I'll press the Buy Now button.

Source: This article was published on pcmag.com by MAX EDDY

Categorized in Science & Tech

Following Mirai, the Persirai botnet is the latest to take over connected devices and use them to launch denial-of-service attacks

Researchers have uncovered a new botnet that takes over Internet-connected cameras in order to launch denial-of-service attacks, following in the footsteps of the notorious Mirai botnet.

The new malware, called Persirai, appears to be controlled by Iranian nationals, since the addresses of its command servers use the controlled .ir domain and special Persian characters were used in its code, according to Trend Micro.

120,000 vulnerable devices

Persirai targets more than 1,000 models of IP cameras and Trend found more than 120,000 vulnerable devices listed on the Shodan Internet of Things (IoT) search engine.

“Many of these vulnerable users are unaware that their IP Cameras are exposed to the internet,” Trend said in an advisory. “This makes it significantly easier for the perpetrators behind the malware to gain access to the IP Camera web interface via TCP Port 81.”ENISA botnet report, Mirai

The IP cameras use a connection standard called Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), which allows them to open a port on the network’s router and connect to the external Internet as a server without any action on the user’s part, making them vulnerable to malware.

Persirai attacks cameras using a security bug made public several months ago, and installs code that causes the device to automatically begin attacking other cameras using the same vulnerability.

While running the malware code blocks other attacks that make use of the same bug.Since it runs in memory only, the malware is disabled when the device is rebooted – but the device then also becomes vulnerable to attacks once again.

Infected cameras receive commands from the attacker’s servers that can direct distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against other systems, Trend said.

The company said the manufacturer of the device it tested said it had released a firmware update fixing the vulnerability used by Persirai, but Trend wasn’t able to find a more recent firmware version.

Botnet disruption

The security firm advised users to change the default passwords on their Internet-connected devices, if they haven’t already done so.

“Users should also disable UPnP on their routers to prevent devices within the network from opening ports to the external Internet without any warning,” Trend advised.

HSBC, security

DDoS attacks by Mirai and other IoT botnets prompted a similar warning from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in October of last year.

In March, researchers said a Mirai variant had been used to carry out a 54-hour-long attack on a US college, and in April IBM uncovered another variant that used devices’ processing power to mine Bitcoins.

Mirai uses open source code that has been released to the public, making it simpler for attackers to create their own customised versions.

Last month the developer of BrickerBot, which aims to render vulnerable gadgets inoperable so that they can’t be used by botnets, said the tool had disabled two million devices to date.

Source: This article was published on silicon.co.uk by Matthew Broersma

Categorized in Science & Tech

Kiev - Ukraine's security service on Monday searched offices of Russian internet giant Yandex as part of a treason probe after Kiev banned its popular search engine earlier in May.

"Employees of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) conducted sanctioned searches in the offices of the subsidiary of the Russian company Yandex in Kiev and Odessa," the SBU said in a statement.

The security agency said the searches were part of a treason probe and accused Yandex of passing on the personal details of Ukrainian citizens, including military personnel, to authorities in Russia.

"The information was handed over to the Russian intelligence services for the purposes of planning, organising and carrying out espionage, sabotage and subversive operations in our country," it said.

Yandex confirmed the searches at its offices but said it had no "information" about the activities of the Ukrainian security agency.

"Yandex is ready to provide all information regarding its operations in Ukraine, according and limited by Ukrainian legal procedures," said company spokesperson Ksenia Korneyeva.

The latest move comes after Ukraine blocked Russia's most popular social media networks and the Yandex search engine earlier in May in response to the Kremlin's alleged backing of a three-year separatist war in the east.

Moscow and Kiev have been locked in a bitter feud since the Kremlin seized Crimea the Crimea peninsula in 2014.

The Kremlin described Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's decision to ban its sites as "another manifestation of unfriendly, short-sighted policy toward Russia".

The ban remains in effect for three years.

Source: This article was news24.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Digital marketing professional Jayakumar K says users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints


Google and other social-media networks’ resort to ‘filter bubbles’ to divide users into like-minded people will only create a community of ‘frogs in the internet well,’ says an expert.

Filter bubbles created by personalised search technologies restrict a user’s perspective, says Jayakumar K, a digital marketing professional and CEO, Cearsleg Technologies.

Data analytics

A Google analytics expert, Jayakumar also holds the honorary position of a Deputy Commander with the Kerala Police CyberDome here. Google and major social-media companies employ complex data analytics to restrict the access to actual or full facts about a subject.

Personalised search results generated by these bots will give information that may not be adequate, correct or complete.

Google updates its ‘personalised searched’ algorithms and Facebook its ‘personalised news-stream’ algorithms to isolate users in this manner, Jayakumar said.

Ideological bubbles

Users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles.

The aim is to retain publishers to help drive revenue, by forcing them to use paid activity for a longer period.

But this could in turn create an ‘echo-chamber’ effect as users search for information related to a particular topic and bump into each other.

They become insulated within their own online community and fail to get exposed to different views.

The resulting narrow information base could have its own adverse impact on critical discourse on the online medium and, by extension, freedom of expression, Jayakumar said.

Continual process

Google and Facebook claim their latest change in algorithms aims to prioritise content from friends over those of brands.

This is part of a continual process of improving the user experience, they aver. But it could be also an attempt to further limit the ‘organic reach’ of publishers, Jayakumar counters.

According to the latest reports, the European Union has taken measures to lessen the impact of the filter bubble in that region. It is sponsoring inquiries into how filter bubbles affect people’s ability to access diverse news.

India will be better advised to exercise caution and limit the impact of filter bubbles on online discourse in the country, Jayakumar said.

Source: This article was published thehindubusinessline.com By VINSON KURIAN

Categorized in Social

On the heels of Facebook defending its Content Policy after the leak of its content moderation guidelines, a research analyst has said that existing laws on live broadcasts don’t apply to the internet.

“The social media companies have no liability towards online content like murder, rape, terrorism and suicide under intermediary laws around the world. Social media companies’ obligation is restricted to removing the illegal content on being informed of it,” said Shobhit Srivastava, research analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at market research firm Counterpoint Research.

Earlier this week, Facebook’s several documents, included internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts, were leaked, showing how the social media giant moderates issues such as hate speech, terrorism, pornography and self-harm on its platform.

Citing the leaks, the Guardian said that Facebook’s moderators are overwhelmed with work and often have “just 10 seconds” to make a decision on content posted on the platform.

“The recent incidents where harmful videos were posted online raise serious question on how social media companies moderate online content. Facebook has a very large user base (nearly two billion monthly active users) and is expanding, and therefore moderating content with help of content moderators is a difficult task,” Srivastava told IANS.

“Facebook is also using a software to intercept content before it is posted online but it is still in early stages. This means that Facebook has to put a lot more effort to make the content safe,” he added.

According to Monika Bickert, head of global policy management, Facebook, more than a billion people use Facebook on an average day and they share posts in dozens of languages.

A very small percentage of those will be reported to the company for investigation and the range of issues is broad — from bullying and hate speech to terrorism — and complex.

“Designing policies that both keep people safe and enable them to share freely means understanding emerging social issues and the way they manifest themselves online, and being able to respond quickly to millions of reports a week from people all over the world,” she said.

Bickert said it is difficult for the company reviewers to understand the context.

“It’s hard to judge the intent behind one post or the risk implied in another,” she said.

The company does not always get things right, Bickert explained, but it believes that a middle ground between freedom and safety is ultimately the best answer.

She said that Facebook has to be “as objective as possible” in order to have consistent guidelines across every area it serves.

Srivastava noted that “from social and business point of view social media companies like Facebook, etc have to dedicate more resources for content moderating purposes which are inadequate now, otherwise we will see various governments restricting access to these players which will spell bad news for both users and these companies.”

Last month, Facebook announced that it was hiring additional 3,000 reviewers to ensure the right support for users.

Source: This article was published factordaily.com By IANS

Categorized in Social

Google has, perhaps more than any other company, realized that information is power. Information about the Internet, information about innumerable trends, and information about its users, YOU.

So how much does Google know about you and your online habits? It’s only when you sit down and actually start listing all of the various Google services you use on a regular basis that you begin to realize how much information you’re handing over to Google.

This has, as these things tend to do, given rise to various privacy concerns. It probably didn’t help when Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, recently went on the record saying: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

Now let’s have a look at how Google is gathering information from you, and about you.

Google’s information-gathering channels

Google’s stated mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and it is making good on this promise. However, Google is gathering even more information than most of us realize.

  • Searches (web, images, news, blogs, etc.) – Google is, as you all know, the most popular search engine in the world with a market share of almost 70% (for example, 66% of searches in the US are made on Google). Google tracks all searches, and now with search becoming more and more personalized, this information is bound to grow increasingly detailed and user specific.
  • Clicks on search results – Not only does Google get information on what we search for, it also gets to find out which search results we click on.
  • Web crawling – Googlebot, Google’s web crawler, is a busy bee, continuously reading and indexing billions of web pages.
  • Website analytics – Google Analytics is by far the most popular website analytics package out there. Due to being free and still supporting a number of advanced features, it’s used by a large percentage of the world’s websites.
  • Ad serving – Adwords and Adsense are cornerstones of Google’s financial success, but they also provide Google with a lot of valuable data. Which ads are people clicking on, which keywords are advertisers bidding on, and which ones are worth the most? All of this is useful information.
  • Email – Gmail is one of the three largest email services in the world, together with competing options from Microsoft (Hotmail) and Yahoo. Email content, both sent and received, is parsed and analyzed. Even from a security standpoint this is a great service for Google. Google’s email security service, Postini, gets a huge amount of data about spam, malware and email security trends from the huge mass of Gmail users.
  • Twitter – “All your tweets are belong to us,” to paraphrase an early Internet meme. Google has direct access to all tweets that pass through Twitter after a deal made late last year.
  • Google Apps (Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendar, etc.) – Google’s office suite has many users and is of course a valuable data source to Google.
  • Google Public Profiles – Google encourages you to put a profile about yourself publicly on the Web, including where you can be found on social media sites and your homepage, etc.
  • Orkut – Google’s social network isn’t a success everywhere, but it’s huge in some parts of the world (mainly Brazil and India).
  • Google Public DNS – Google’s newly launched DNS service doesn’t just help people get fast DNS lookups, it helps Google too, because it will get a ton of statistics from this, for example what websites people access.
  • The Google Chrome browser – What is your web browsing behavior? What sites do you visit?
  • Google Finance – Aside from the finance data itself, what users search for and use on Google Finance is sure to be valuable data to Google.
  • YouTube – The world’s largest and most popular video site by far is, as you know, owned by Google. It gives Google a huge amount of information about its users’ viewing habits.
  • Google Translate – Helps Google perfect its natural language parsing and translation.
  • Google Books – Not huge for now, but has the potential to help Google figure out what people are reading and want to read.
  • Google Reader – By far the most popular feed reader in the world. What RSS feeds do you subscribe to? What blog posts do you read? Google will know.
  • Feedburner – Most blogs use Feedburner to publicize their RSS feeds, and every Feedburner link is tracked by Google.
  • Google Maps and Google Earth – What parts of the world are you interested in?
  • Your contact network – Your contacts in Google Talk, Gmail, etc, make up an intricate network of users. And if those also use Google, the network can be mapped even further. We don’t know if Google does this, but the data is there for the taking.
  • Coming soon – Chrome OS, Google Wave, more up-and-coming products from Google.

And the list could go on since there are even more Google products out there, but we think that by now you’ve gotten the gist of it… 

Much of this data is anonymized, but not always right away. Logs are kept for nine months, and cookies (for services that use them) aren’t anonymized until after 18 months. Even after that, the sheer amount of generic user data that Google has on its hands is a huge competitive advantage against most other companies, a veritable gold mine.

Google’s unstoppable data collection machine

There are many different aspects of Google’s data collection. The IP addresses requests are made from are logged, cookies are used for settings and tracking purposes, and if you are logged into your Google account, what you do on Google-owned sites can often be coupled to you personally, not just your computer.

In short, if you use Google services, Google will know what you’re searching for, what websites you visit, what news and blog posts you read, and more. As Google adds more services and its presence gets increasingly widespread, the so-called Googlization (a term coined by John Batelle and Alex Salkever in 2003) of almost everything continues.

The information you give to any single one of Google’s services wouldn’t be much to huff about. The really interesting dilemma comes when you use multiple Google services, and these days, who doesn’t?

Try using the Internet for a week without touching a single one of Google’s services. This means no YouTube, no Gmail, no Google Docs, no clicking on Feedburner links, no Google search, and so on. Strictly, you’d even have to skip services that Google partner with, so, sorry, no Twitter either.

This increasing Googlization is probably why some people won’t want to use Google’s Chrome OS, which will be strongly coupled with multiple Google services and most likely give Google an unprecedented amount of data about your habits.

Why does Google do this?

As we stated in the very first sentence of this article, information is power.

With all this information at its fingertips, Google can group data together in very useful ways. Not just per user or visitor, but Google can also examine trends and behaviors for entire cities or countries.

Google can use the information it collects for a wide array of useful things. In all of the various fields where Google is active, it can make market decisions, research, refine its products, anything, with the help of this collected data.

For example, if you can discover certain market trends early, you can react effectively to the market. You can discover what people are looking for, what people want, and make decisions based on those discoveries. This is of course extremely useful to a large company like Google.

And let’s not forget that Google earns much of its money serving ads. The more Google knows about you, the more effectively it will be able to serve ads to you, which has a direct effect on Google’s bottom line.

It’s not just Google

It should be mentioned that Google’s isn’t alone in doing this kind of data collection. Rest assured that Microsoft is doing similar things with Bing and Hotmail, to name just one example.

The problem (if you want to call it a problem) with Google is that, like an octopus, its arms are starting to reach almost everywhere. Google has become so mixed up in so many aspects of our online lives that it is getting an unprecedented amount of information about our actions, behavior and affiliations online.

Google, an octopus?
Google, an octopus?

Accessing Google’s data vault

To its credit, Google is making some of its enormous cache of data available to you as well via various services.

If Google can make that much data publicly available, just imagine the amount of data and the level of detail Google can get access to internally. And ironically, these services give Google even more data, such as what trends we are interested in, what sites we are trying to find information about, and so on.

An interesting observation when using these tools is that in many cases information can be found for everything except for Google’s own products. For example, Ad Planner and Trends for Websites don’t show site statistics for Google sites, but you can find information about any other sites.

No free lunch

Did you ever wonder why almost all of Google’s services are free of charge? Well, now you know. That old saying, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” still holds true. You may not be paying Google with dollars (aside from clicking on those Google ads), but you are paying with information. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but you should be aware of it.

Source: This article was published royal.pingdom.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Hello. It’s my first day back covering technology for The Atlantic. It also marks roughly 10 years that I’ve been covering science and technology, so I’ve been thinking back to my early days at Wired in the pre-crash days of 2007.

The internet was then, as it is now, something we gave a kind of agency to, a half-recognition that its movements and effects were beyond the control of any individual person or company. In 2007, the web people were triumphant. Sure, the dot-com boom had busted, but empires were being built out of the remnant swivel chairs and fiber optic cables and unemployed developers. Web 2.0 was not just a temporal description, but an ethos. The web would be open. A myriad of services would be built, communicating through APIs, to provide the overall internet experience.

The web itself, en toto, was the platform, as Tim O’Reilly, the intellectual center of the movement, put it in 2005. Individual companies building individual applications could not hope to beat the web platform, or so the thinking went. “Any Web 2.0 vendor that seeks to lock in its application gains by controlling the platform will, by definition, no longer be playing to the strengths of the platform,” O’Reilly wrote.

O’Reilly had just watched Microsoft vanquish its rivals in office productivity software (Word, Excel, etc.) as well as Netscape: “But a single monolithic approach, controlled by a single vendor, is no longer a solution, it's a problem.”

And for a while, this was true. There were a variety of internet services running on an open web, connected to each other through APIs. For example, Twitter ran as a service for which many companies created clients and extensions within the company’s ecosystem. Twitter delivered tweets you could read not just on twitter.com but on Tweetdeck or Twitterific or Echofon or Tweetbot, sites made by independent companies which could build new things into their interfaces. There were URL shortening start-ups (remember those?) like TinyURL and bit.ly, and TwitPic for pictures. And then there were the companies drinking at the firehose of Twitter’s data, which could provide the raw material for a new website (FavStar) or service (DataSift). Twitter, in the experience of it, was a cloud of start-ups.

But then in June of 2007, the iPhone came out. Thirteen months later, Apple’s App Store debuted. Suddenly, the most expedient and enjoyable way to do something was often tapping an individual icon on a screen. As smartphones took off, the amount of time that people spent on the truly open web began to dwindle.

Almost no one had a smartphone in early 2007. Now there are 2.5 billion smartphones in the world—2.5 billion! That’s more than double the number of PCs that have ever been at use in the world.

As that world-historical explosion began, a platform war came with it. The Open Web lost out quickly and decisively. By 2013, Americans spent about as much of their time on their phones looking at Facebook as they did the whole rest of the open web.

O’Reilly’s lengthy description of the principles of Web 2.0 has become more fascinating through time. It seems to be describing a slightly parallel universe. “Hyperlinking is the foundation of the web,” O’Reilly wrote. “As users add new content, and new sites, it is bound into the structure of the web by other users discovering the content and linking to it. Much as synapses form in the brain, with associations becoming stronger through repetition or intensity, the web of connections grows organically as an output of the collective activity of all web users.”

Nowadays, (hyper)linking is an afterthought because most of the action occurs within platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and messaging apps, which all have carved space out of the open web. And the idea of “harnessing collective intelligence” simply feels much more interesting and productive than it does now. The great cathedrals of that time, nearly impossible projects like Wikipedia that worked and worked well, have all stagnated. And the portrait of humanity that most people see filtering through the mechanics of Facebook or Twitter does not exactly inspire confidence in our social co-productions.

Outside of the open-source server hardware and software worlds, we see centralization. And with that centralization, five giant platforms have emerged as the five most valuable companies in the world: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook.

Market Capitalization for Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB), Google (GOOGL), and Microsoft (MSFT), May 14, 2007 to present

In mid-May of 2007, these five companies were worth $577 billion. Now, they represent $2.9 trillion worth of market value! Not so far off from the combined market cap ($2.85) of the top 10 largest companies in the second quarter of 2007: Exxon Mobil, GE, Microsoft, Royal Dutch Shell, AT&T, Citigroup, Gazprom, BP, Toyota, and Bank of America.

And it’s not because the tech companies are being assigned astronomical price-to-earnings ratios as in the dot-com bust. Apple, for example, has a PE ratio (17.89) roughly equal to Walmart’s (17.34). Microsoft’s (30.06) is in the same class as Exxon’s (34.36).

Massive size has become part and parcel to how these companies do business.“Products don't really get that interesting to turn into businesses until they have about 1 billion people using them,” Mark Zuckerberg said of WhatsApp in 2014. Ten years ago, there were hardly any companies that could count a billion customers. Coke? Pepsi? The entire internet had 1.2 billion users. The biggest tech platform in 2007 was Microsoft Windows and it had not crossed a billion users.

Now, there are a baker’s dozen individuals products with a billion users. Microsoft has Windows and Office. Google has Search, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Android, Chrome, and Play. Facebook has the core product, Groups, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

All this to say: These companies are now dominant. And they are dominant in a way that almost no other company has been in another industry. They are the mutant giant creatures created by software eating the world.

It is worth reflecting on the strange fact that the five most valuable companies in the world are headquartered on the Pacific coast between Cupertino and Seattle. Has there ever been a more powerful region in the global economy? Living in the Bay, having spent my teenage years in Washington state, I’ve grown used to this state of affairs, but how strange this must seem from from Rome or Accra or Manila.

Even for a local, there are things about the current domination of the technology industry that are startling. Take the San Francisco skyline. In 2007, the visual core of the city was north of Market Street, in the chunky buildings of the downtown financial district. The TransAmerica Pyramid was a regional icon and had been the tallest building in the city since construction was completed in 1972. Finance companies were housed there. Traditional industries and power still reigned. Until quite recently, San Francisco had primarily been a cultural reservoir for the technology industries in Silicon Valley to the south.

But then came the growth of Twitter and Uber and Salesforce. To compete for talent with the big guys in Silicon Valley, the upstarts could offer a job in the city in which you wanted to live. Maybe Salesforce wasn’t as sexy as Google, but could Google offer a bike commute from the Mission?

Fast-forward 10 years and the skyline has been transformed. From Market Street to the landing of the Bay Bridge, in the swath known as South Market or, after the fashion of the day, SOMA, has been reshaped completely by steel and glass towers. At times over the last decade, a dozen cranes perched over the city, nearly all of them in SOMA. Further south, in Mission Bay, San Francisco’s mini-Rust Belt of former industrial facilities and cargo piers became just one big gleam of glass and steel on landfill. The Warriors will break ground on a new, tech industry-accessible basketball manse nearby. All in an area once called Butchertown, where Mission Creek ran red to the Bay with the blood of animals.

So, that’s what I’ll be covering back here at The Atlantic: technology and the ideas that animate its creation, starting with broad-spectrum reporting on the most powerful companies the world has ever known, but encompassing the fringes where the unexpected and novel lurk. These are globe-spanning companies whose impact can be felt at the macroeconomic scale, but they exist within this one tiny slice of the world. The place seeps into the products. The particulars and peccadilloes from a coast become embedded in the tools that half of humanity now finds indispensable.

Source: This article was published theatlantic.com By ALEXIS C.MADRIGAL

Categorized in Science & Tech

China’s already-big WeChat is searching for how to get even bigger. The answer? Search.

Today the company publicly unveiled (link in Chinese) a feature—called “Search,” simply enough—that lets users enter keywords and find relevant information.

While WeChat has had a search feature in the past, this one is more powerful. It’s not quite a search engine in the style of Google or Baidu, the reigning search engine of China. Rather, it’s an alternate vision of search, one that’s uniquely suited to a social media app. And it could very well become huge in China.

Searching Google for “Apple iPhone” will typically yield ads at the very top, followed by recent news articles, YouTube and Wikipedia pages, and addresses of nearby Apple stores. Baidu works in a similar way. Clicking on the offered links takes the user to a page completely outside of Google or Baidu.

Searching in WeChat.

 Searching in WeChat. (Quartz)

WeChat’s search feature is a bit more social. Searching for “Apple” yields recent news at the very top, followed by mentions of Apple made by one’s friends. An assortment of random articles follows at the bottom. Tapping on any of these links—even the articles—always keeps one within WeChat’s built-in browser, and many of the linked articles are ones published directly to WeChat (much like Facebook’s “Instant Articles”). Tencent, WeChat’s parent company, did not answer questions about how it devises its results rankings.

To put it simply, it’s a “walled garden” approach to search. Whereas Google and Baidu’s vision of search entails aggregating everything published on the internet, WeChat’s entails aggregating everything that’s published and shared on WeChat. And when you tap on something, you always stay inside WeChat.

WeChat has plenty of data to draw from to build and perfect a search engine. With 938 million registered monthly users, it not only knows who your friends are (more than Baidu or Google do), it knows what they read and share, and what you read and share. It knows where you and your friends are located, and what you buy. And it’s addictive—50% of WeChat users spend more than 90 minutes per day on the app.

WeChat can also benefit from Tencent owning a stake in Sogou, which is an also-ran search engine in China but has potentially valuable data and technology.

Meanwhile, in recent years, WeChat has become a major publishing platform for traditional news sites, online media, and solo bloggers alike. Publishers will often push articles directly to WeChat through “Public Accounts” (rough analogs to Facebook Pages) that subscribers will read and share, eschewing external websites altogether. This search feature collects all the content published to WeChat (and more), and makes it easier for everyone to discover. And when they cruise through news-oriented search results, they’ll still never leave the confines of WeChat.

While the feature remains in its early stages, it will likely become a boon to Tencent. Many Chinese internet users spend most of their online lives in WeChat. This search feature gives them one more reason to do so.

If WeChat perfects its search capabilities, expect a giant of the Chinese internet to suffer. Baidu, China’s Google analog, has reported slowing revenue growth and declining operating profits. It makes most of its money from Chinese advertisers that are now keen to put their ads in more vibrant real estate—like WeChat.

While Tencent’s stock price has soared over the past two years, Baidu’s has wavered. Since Nov. 14, 2014, its last high, Baidu’s share price has tanked 25.5%, according to FactSet. Within the same time period, Tencent’s has jumped 96.9%.

Source: This article was published qz.com By Josh Horwitz

Categorized in Search Engine

Neuralink – which is “developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers” – is probably a bad idea. If you understand the science behind it, and that’s what you wanted to hear, you can stop reading.The Conversation

But this is an absurdly simple narrative to spin about Neuralink and an unhelpful attitude to have when it comes to understanding the role of technology in the world around us, and what we might do about it. It’s easy to be cynical about everything Silicon Valley does, but sometimes it comes up with something so compelling, fascinating and confounding it cannot be dismissed; or embraced uncritically.

Putting aside the hyperbole and hand-wringing that usually follows announcements like this, Neuralink is a massive idea. It may fundamentally alter how we conceive of what it means to be human and how we communicate and interact with our fellow humans (and non-humans). It might even represent the next step in human evolution.


But what exactly is Neuralink? If you have time to read a brilliant 36,400-word explainer by genius Tim Urban, then you can do so here. If you don’t, Davide Valeriani has done an excellent summary right here on The Conversation. However, to borrow a few of Urban’s words, NeuraLink is a “wizard hat for your brain”.

Essentially, Neuralink is a company purchased by Elon Musk, the visionary-in-chief behind Tesla, Space X and Hyperloop. But it’s the company’s product that really matters. Neuralink is developing a “whole brain interface”, essentially a network of tiny electrodes linked to your brain that the company envisions will allow us to communicate wirelessly with the world. It would enable us to share our thoughts, fears, hopes and anxieties without demeaning ourselves with written or spoken language.

One consequence of this is that it would allow us to be connected at the biological level to the internet. But it’s who would be connecting back with us, how, where, why and when that are the real questions.

Through his Tesla and Space X ventures, Musk has already ruffled the feathers of some formidable players; namely, the auto, oil and gas industries, not to mention the military-industrial complex. These are feathers that mere mortals dare not ruffle; but Musk has demonstrated a brilliance, stubborn persistence and a knack for revenue generation (if not always the profitability) that emboldens resolve.

However, unlike Tesla and Space X, Neuralink operates in a field where there aren’t any other major players – for now, at least. But Musk has now fired the starting gun for competitors and, as Urban observes, “an eventual neuro-revolution would disrupt almost every industry”.

Part of the human story

There are a number of technological hurdles between Neuralink and its ultimate goal. There is reason to think they can surmount these; and reason to think they won’t.

While Neuralink may ostensibly be lumped in with other AI/big data companies in its branding and general desire to bring humanity kicking and screaming into a brave new world of their making, what it’s really doing isn’t altogether new. Instead, it’s how it’s going about it that makes Neuralink special – and a potentially major player in the next chapter of the human story.

Depending on who you ask, the human story generally goes like this. First, we discovered fire and developed oral language. We turned oral language into writing, and eventually we found a way to turn it into mechanised printing. After a few centuries, we happened upon this thing called electricity, which gave rise to telephones, radios, TVs and eventually personal computers, smart phones – and ultimately the Juicero.


Fire: a great leap forward. Shutterstock

Over time, phones lost their cords, computers shrunk in size and we figured out ways to make them exponentially more powerful and portable enough to fit in pockets. Eventually, we created virtual realities, and melded our sensate reality with an augmented one.

But if Neuralink were to achieve its goal, it’s hard to predict how this story plays out. The result would be a “whole-brain interface” so complete, frictionless, bio-compatible and powerful that it would feel to users like just another part of their cerebral cortex, limbic and central nervous systems.

A whole-brain interface would give your brain the ability to communicate wirelessly with the cloud, with computers, and with the brains of anyone who has a similar interface in their head. This flow of information between your brain and the outside world would be so easy it would feel the same as your thoughts do right now.

But if that sounds extraordinary, so are the potential problems. First, Neuralink is not like putting an implant in your head designed to manage epileptic seizures, or a pacemaker in your heart. This would be elective surgery on (presumably) healthy people for non-medical purposes. Right there, we’re in a completely different ball park, both legally and ethically.

There seems to be only one person who has done such a thing, and that was a bonkers publicity stunt conducted by a Central American scientist using himself as a research subject. He’s since suffered life threatening complications. Not a ringing endorsement, but not exactly a condemnation of the premise either.

Second, because Neuralink is essentially a communications system there is the small matter of regulation and control. Regardless of where you stand on the whole privacy and surveillance issue (remember Edward Snowden) I cannot imagine a scenario in which there would not be an endless number of governments, advertisers, insurers and marketing folks looking to tap into the very biological core of our cognition to use it as a means of thwarting evildoers and selling you stuff. And what’s not to look forward to with that?

And what if the tech normalises to such a point that it becomes mandatory for future generations to have a whole-brain implant at birth to combat illegal or immoral behaviour (however defined)? This obviously opens up a massive set of questions that go far beyond the technical hurdles that might never be cleared. It nonetheless matters that we think about them now.

Brain security

There’s also the issue of security. If we’ve learned one thing from this era of “smart” everything, it’s that “smart” means exploitable. Whether it’s your fridge, your TV, your car, or your insulin pump, once you connect something to something else you’ve just opened up a means for it to be compromised.

Doors are funny like that. They’re not picky about who walks through them, so a door into your head raises some critical security questions. We can only begin to imagine what forms hacking would take when you have a direct line into the minds of others. Would this be the dawn of Cognitive Law? A legal regime that pertains exclusively to that squishy stuff between your ears?

What it really all comes down to is this: across a number of fields at the intersection of law, philosophy, technology and society we are going to need answers to questions no one has yet thought of asking (at least not often enough; and for the right reasons). We have faced, are facing, and will face incredibly complex and overwhelming problems that we may well not like the answers to. But it matters that we ask good questions early and often. If we don’t, they’ll be answered for us.

And so Neuralink is probably a bad idea, but to the first person who fell into a firepit, so was fire. On a long enough time line even the worst ideas need to be reckoned with early on. Now who wants a Juicero?

Christopher Markou, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Categorized in Science & Tech
At the lab at the Department of Electronic Systems at Aalborg University, Elisabeth De Carvalho and her team are developing a massive MIMO-system; hundreds of antennas that will make mobile data transmission far more efficient and safe in the future. Credit: Jakob Brodersen
Mobile base stations for 5G solutions will consist of hundreds of small antennas. Benefits include faster transmission, improved energy efficiency, better security and wider coverage. Researchers at Aalborg University are at the forefront of developing the new antenna technology.

As we move toward a world that is increasingly interconnected with a 5G network that is expected to roll out during the next 3-5 years, the need for a well-functioning mobile network with ample room for more connected devices as well as increased data traffic becomes increasingly important.

"With the 'internet of things,' as it is popularly known, more and more devices need to be connected," says Elisabeth De Carvalho, Associate Professor in the Department of Electronic Systems at Aalborg University. Along with her colleagues Associate Professors Patrick Eggers, Jesper Ødum Nielsen and PhD fellow Anders Karstensen and with funding from the Chinese technology giant Huawei she is working on a new type of base system that caters to the seemingly endless increased need for .

The system that is still in its early stages is called a 'massive MIMO'. MIMO is an abbreviation for 'Multiple-Input Multiple-Output' – a wireless technology used to transmit and receive data between a large crowd of connected devices and users at the same time.

In mobile base stations attached to tall buildings or rooftops, each unit might have a maximum of eight antennas that point out in different directions, spreading out data transmission over a large area. But the team in Aalborg is working on a  unit that holds several hundred antennas, making it possible to connect much more precisely to each mobile unit.

"We don't know exactly what it is going to look like in the end. Maybe it could be a wall of a building that is covered in antennas on the outside—or on the inside. We are still uncertain about that," says Elisabeth De Carvalho.

Adding hundreds of antennas to a base station increases the data transmission rate many times because the energy is much more focused. And because focused energy is also able to travel farther, the mobile coverage is likely to improve.

At the same time, base station energy consumption is expected to drop in comparison to present day systems:

"With many antennas, it is like having thin, concentrated water hoses that are aimed directly where you want them, rather than a huge, leaky fire hose that just splashes water all over the place," explains Patrick Eggers.

"With the new technology, we are not simply sending out data in all directions like a radio transmitter; we hope to be able to create a sort of virtual cable that is focused and narrow between the base station and the connected unit. We confine the space that we use for the transmission. This provides a faster and better connection."

Improved security

Confining the transmission space is not only a capacity issue. One of the added benefits of having a massive number of antennas is that it improves the security of the data transmission.

"The more you can confine space, the harder it gets for others to listen in," says Patrick Eggers. "When you have a broadcast, you can always put up an  and pick up the signal if you are CIA or KGB or whatever, if you have equipment that is strong enough to decode the signal. But if you can't get the signal in the first place, it becomes really difficult. That is a major advantage for industries as well as private persons. The more you control space, the harder it gets for intruders to get in," he says.

However, many of the benefits of a massive MIMO system will remain assumptions for some time to come. So far, the team has built a scaled-up model of a part of a massive MIMO array in the lab in order to do channel measurement and to figure out how to build a base station later on.

"Currently, we are looking at which types of performances you can get out of a massive MIMO. The performances depend very much of what is happening in the air between your device and the base station. We want to build channel models from those measurements. The models are necessary for engineers to test their algorithms," says Elisabeth De Carvalho. "There is a lot of research that we still need to do before we build our prototype."

At the moment, there is practically no real life information about how a massive MIMO would work and what the wireless channel looks like, and that information is crucial to the way that the system is going to be built.

"There are a lot of assumptions and theories, but they all assume that what happens in the air goes on in a certain way, but no one really knows. Not yet, at least," says Jesper Ødum Nielsen.

Source: This article was published phys.org

Categorized in Science & Tech

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