USA Intends to Provide Internet to Villages via Laser

According to US technology news website, TechnologyReview, several US communications carriers are going to pilot a technology which will see a laser beam internet up to speeds of 2 Gbps through the air – meaning underground cables don’t need to be laid. This advanced laser and millimeter wave technology is said to be a replacement for conventional fiber, utilized in situations where the population is sparsely populated – including remote US towns and African Villages.

Why not mobile technology? The reports claim that although mobile technology is generally a good alternative, cables will still need to be run to telephone towers tracing to the ‘internet backbone’  – providing a huge cost for manufacturers. This new laser and millimeter technology will allow these US communications carriers to beam a data transmission at a distance of up to 10 kilometers without the need to dig trenches or erect towers. The first countries to be testing this technology are the United States, Mexico, Nigeria and some parts of Africa.

AOptix is the original inventor of this capability, claiming that they believe laser communications will provide an ideal alternative to optical fiber – once again due to the costing nature of laying cables. Data shows that in New York City, the cost of laying just one kilometer of fiber optic cable can cost up to $800,000.

This isn’t a simple point a to point b device either. AOptix claims that you can set up multiple devices to be set as a relay, allowing for 10km worth of transmission to take place per unit. There are a few possible issues with this technology that they haven’t covered in their releases however. How much do these units cost and do they need line-of-sight?

The announcement of this new technology also could have military use, but we’re very interested to know if it needs direct line-of-sight to function.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Facebook Make a Stand for Equality in Zambia

Everybody deserves equality and it starts by understanding your basic human rights. Facebook and Internet.org are now making a stand for women rights in Zambia with their new app. It gives free internet access for people without a data plan, to access resources like MAMA, WRAPP and Facts For Life by UNICEF.

MAMA provides critical health information to new and expecting mothers. Facts For Life offers tactical tips for handling pregnancy, childbirth, childhood illnesses and childcare. WRAPP helps Zambian women to learn about what their rights are, what legislation protects those rights and what to do if those rights are violated.

It launched this week and Facebook worked with the local government and the Zambian carrier Airtel to identify the needs and bake them into Internet.org’s new app. It is both a standalone Android app and a mobile-website available on the feature phones most Zambians carry. The Facebook for Android app will also get a tab for it.

The app gives free access to a limited number of Internet services including Facebook, Wikipedia and Google Search as well as local info on weather, jobs, government, and human rights. Airtel hopes the free plan will influence people to buy a data plan to gain access to the rest of the internet.

“’Women’s access to technology – and their ability to use it to shape and drive change in their communities – is critical to gender equality” says Global Fund for Women’s President and CEO Musimbi Kanyoro. “This technology will give voice to millions of people, including women, in Zambia, Africa and the whole world, and empower them to share ideas, drive innovation, and build more inclusive and democratic societies.”

Most women in African countries don’t have a data plan, so it is easy to see how this can have a huge impact on their rights and the overall equality. Facebook plans to roll out the app to more countries, but it is a fine line for them to walk. Other parts of Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, where gender discrimination is more institutionalized and women have historically been oppressed, might not welcome the app with open arms. It is however a fight worth fighting.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Facebook

All Snowden Files Rumored To Be Published in July

Multiple tweets from the digital library site Cryptome indicates that further, if not all, of Edward Snowden’s NSA files will be published later on this month. Vague ‘predictions’ on the site indicate that “during July all Snowden docs released”, followed by “July is when war begins unless headed off by Snowden full release of crippling intel. After war begins not a chance of release,”.

Other indications from Cryptome point to two upcoming events, the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) event in New York City starting July 18, and the Aspen Institute’s yearly Security Forum following after the previous event, where former NSA directors Keith Alexander and Michael Hayden have been stated to attend. Former United States Department of Defense staff person, Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the “Pentagon Papers” during the Vietnam War, is rumored to have a role in the possible Cryptome release. He is apparently scheduled to a keynote address at HOPE, having Cryptome tweeting that whoever wants more information about the Snowden docs should stayed tuned to that event for his speech and another from a ‘special’ guest.

In addition to the given information, it appears that a journalist from Vocativ has been in contact with Cryptome in order to get more details. His correspondence with the founder of Cryptome appears to have a back and forth approach to whether or not the events will be the point of release for the Snowden documents. There is however a reference to a ‘kick-spy’ Kickstarter camping started by the site last month, having raised already over $14,000.

A more interesting statement is seen at the end of the correspondence, where it says that “all of the documents will be released to kickstart the war on terrorism, in Iraq, in Iran, in North Korea, in the Holy Land, across Africa, Caribbean Drug Sea, the US-Mexican border, and the areas of operations always on alert in DC, Fort Meade and Colorado Springs.”

Vocativ has also released an article based on the given information. The most notable fact in the given article is said to be that Cryptome’s founder “has also ducked inquiries about how (or from whom) Cryptome received the document,” and “did not respond directly to questions about what the content of those leaked documents would reveal, other than to say that there may exist some ‘technical documents’ used ‘to combat technology’ of spying well beyond those promoted for ‘public debate’.”.

Thank you RT for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of RT

Tablet Sales Will Hit 381 Million By 2017 Says Analysts

Forrester Analysts predict that by 2017 we could see 381 million tablets per year sold. They suggest that by 2017 one in eight people on earth will be a table user as existing sales of tablets will mean there will be about 905 million tablets in use.

By 2017 they claim that 60% of “online” Americans will own a tablet, 42% of European “online” consumers will have one and in the developing world figures will be much lower. In the developing world penetration rates are expected to be below 25% aggregate. In wealthier markets like Singapore and South Korea they are expected to still do well.

Of the total sales only 18% will be enterprise purchases meaning 82% of total sales will be made up from consumer purchases.

Image courtesy of ASUS