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Telecommunications

Software brings eye contact to Skype, with a little help from Kinect

Skype has been around for ten years now. Once a science fiction dream, the video calling service has 300 million users making two billion minutes of video calls a day. The only problem is, most of them can't look each other in the eye. Claudia Kuster, a doctoral student at the Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich, and her team are developing a way to bring eye contact to Skype and similar video services with software that alters the caller's on-screen image to give the illusion that they’re looking straight at the camera.Read More

Text Anywhere off-the-grid satellite messaging lets you text ... anywhere

Touted as a simpler, subscription-free alternative to the Delorme inReach, the Text Anywhere is a portable, satellite-powered hot spot that adds virtually unlimited text-messaging range to your phone. If your work or play takes you to remote regions of the world out of mobile phone range, this device can keep you in touch with the folks back in civilization. Read More

City of London clamps down on snooping recycle bins

We first reported on Renew's recycling bins with integrated display screens back in February, 2012. Though at the time these were spun as benevolent information-imparting godsends, as Gizmag readers noted it was always on the cards that they would be used for advertising – reportedly 95 percent of the time, it turns out. However, in recent days it has emerged that Renew has kitted out 12 of its bins with technology that allows it to detect the smartphones of passers by, and potentially target ads accordingly. Today the City of London asked Renew to stop using the tracking technology.Read More

Feature

False sense of security: Your TV, car, neighborhood may be hackable

The cyber security convention DefCon and its corporate counterpart, Black Hat, that are held annually in Las Vegas present a unique tableau where the traditional (and traditionally overstated) conflict between underground hacking culture and corporate and government security professionals is suspended with the goal of openness and education. If you enjoy and own technology and gadgets of any kind, the conferences highlight a looming security crossroads that affects every layperson. Gizmag takes a look at some of the more important hacks from this year. Read More

CreepyDOL system can destroy your privacy for about US$500

Brendan O'Connor is an unabashed hacker who has worked for DARPA and taught at the US military's cybersecurity school. CreepyDOL (Creepy Distributed Object Locator), his new personal tracking system, allows a user to track, locate, and break into an individual's smartphone. "For a few hundred dollars," he says, "I can track your every movement, activity, and interaction, until I find whatever it takes to blackmail you." Read More

Twitter finally gets tougher on death and rape threats

It's been an exceedingly ugly fortnight on Twitter. Following a successful campaign orchestrated by journalist and feminist Caroline Criado-Perez to have a woman reinstated on Bank of England banknotes, she has been subjected to a relentless campaign of harassment, with rape and death threats being received by Criado-Perez at a rate of nearly one per minute on July 24, the day it was confirmed that her campaign had been a success. After being the platform for sustained threats and abuse for almost two weeks, Twitter has finally begun to act.Read More

Opinion: Please, sir, may I have some porn? On David Cameron's proposed porn blocker

On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a sweeping censorship plan that would block internet users in the United Kingdom from accessing online pornography unless they specifically request otherwise. British ISPs will be obliged to contact each of their customers to ask whether they want their content filtered, and if no answer is forthcoming, the filter will be applied by default. Speaking of how "online pornography is corroding childhood," Cameron also proposed that search engines stop showing returns for child pornography – and in doing so demonstrated a lack of understanding of the medium.Read More

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