Marlborough spies on the world
We live in a beautiful, quiet part of the World - the
Province of Marlborough, New Zealand.
I did not realise until a couple of weeks ago that
Marlborough has 'technically' played a part in the war in Iraq. According to
one NZ MP (Green Party) Keith Locke the Waihopai spy base in Marlborough is
being used as part of a dirty tricks campaign by the United States - to spy on
fellow United Nations members. Waihopai is apparently part of the "Echelon"
programme that globally intercepts electronic communications.
"The two satellite dishes at the Waihopai station near
Blenheim pull down all the phones, faxes and e-mails passing through two
communications satellites over the equator," Mr Locke said. "These messages
are filtered by the NSA for key words and sender and recipient details."
Communications from 'swinging' Security Council members like Pakistan or
Chile could well be forwarded from Waihopai to the NSA" Herald 5/3.
Security issues and 'business continuity plans' have been
a hot topic since 9/11. Technology has come to the fore as many employee's are
greeted to work by ID swipe cards, metal detectors, x ray screening,
surveillance camera's and retina scans.
It is estimated that 70% of the businesses represented in the
world trade centre terror attacks did not recover -– primarily because they
lost their hardware, software and other vital records. With terrorist's
threatening to hit 'soft targets' around the globe, hotels and
people-businesses are needing to re-strategise their safety procedures, not
having been built with terrorism in mind.
A bizarre crime in New Zealand in 1999 became the catalyst
for the development of new laws which focus on "E Crime". It followed the
Appeal Court case of R v. Wilkinson, which threw out a theft conviction
involving a convoluted electronic transfer of funds. Theft didn't apply
because nothing physical was stolen.
The story was reported in the Business Herald 4/3..."It was
a small loophole for an unusual type of transfer that could be fixed with a
better definition of "property". But the scare was enough to let the law
making dogs out. Leading the pack was the Law Commission, which in May 1999
produced its Computer Misuse report." (www.lawcom.govt.nz/documents/publications/R54.pdf).
In the Misic case, the Appeal Court ruled that the existing
definition of "document" applied to electronic as well as paper mediums -–
opening the way for successful fraud and forgery prosecutions.
In making hacking illegal, the bill would also permit police
and security services to hack. At present the police can't legally hack -–
interception warrants apply only to oral communications.
"...It's not quite the same with the SIS or GCSB, which
are probably hacking at this very moment and we wouldn't even know."
The prosect for abuse of this new found power to monitor
computers from a remote location, to hack into computer databases and to monitor
systems with keyword searching is a concern expressed by both Privacy
Commissioner Bruce Slane (www.privacy.org.nz/slegisf.html) and the Greens
(www.grens.org.nz/campaigns/sis/snoopfactsheet.html) whose opposition to
the bill has delayed its passage.
Robots, farming and Matilda
Matilda the cloned sheep has died. It appears that it's one
thing to clone a creature and replicate life, and another thing to keep
the cloned being alive for a decent term, with any semblance of quality of life.
Illness and fragility of life seem to plague the recipients of cloned life.
On a more mechanical note, technological advances of a
robotic kind have 'driverless tractors' revving and rearing to go. The
technology is all there -– legal liability issues are the only thing holding up
the works (who is liable if a driverless tractor runs someone over...). It is a
GPS based system -– with accuracy down to about 1 cm now!
Retail Therapy in a techno world
Innovations in technology are coming thick and fast in the
consumer shopping world. At this stage, much of this technology is behind the
scenes (including automated stock control and check out efficiencies), but is
definitely making the consumers shopping experience quicker, more convenient and
with less hassles than in yesteryear.
Soon, we will witness a quantum leap forward in the way we
shop. If you like taking your time as you shop, you might find this news
Consider research going on at IBM to turn personal digital
assistants (PDA's) such as Palm Pilots into interactive shopping tools.
Combine the philosophy of customer loyalty cards with the technology of homing
devices and you have the concept behind current research. "When you go into a
store, the merchant doesn't know you are there until you're out of the
store, and he can't do anything to make you love them," said Hopping,
Consulting Marketing Manager for IBM. "With the PDA, which the customer gets
customised for the specific merchant, the store can cater messages to a customer's
personal profile" he said. "That could be alerting the pet owner to a dog
food special or the frequent shopper that he will qualify for a free turkey by
spending an extra $20." Weekend Business Herald 15-16/3.
Tagging and Tracking Clothes
Some product lines hold microchip technology enabling
retailers to track their 'inventory' -– from the point of manufacture to
the point of sale....and beyond?
Clothes sold at Benetton stores will soon contain microchip
transmitters that allow the Italian retailer to track its garments from their
point of manufacture to the moment they're sold in any of its 5000 stores.
"Benetton's introduction of "smart tag" tracking
technology will be the largest example of a trend now emerging in the retail
industry, according to Phillips Semiconductors....
While there is no indication Benetton intends to track its
customers with the tags, privacy advocates are worried that the technology could
lend itself to unauthorised customer monitoring...
Because the ID is embedded in the clothes (it's an
antenna-bearing chip smaller than a grain of rice, attached to the clothes'
labels) any item returned to the store automatically re-enters the inventory.
Since the chips contain no power source they can transmit their data only when
within 1metre of a receiver -– either a handheld unit or a shelving monitor in
a Benetton store or warehouse, Ottenberg (Vice President Philips Semiconductors
Elbert Hubbard was right when he said "The world is moving
so fast these days, that a person who says it can't be done, is normally
interrupted by someone doing it".
The prophesy given to Daniel (Daniel 12:4) says that at the time of
the end, knowledge will increase -– certainly the media and communications
revolution are seeing a fulfilment of these words....it also seems to indicate
that the pace of life will speed up, and that many ('believers' ed's note)
shall be purified through trials (verse 10), and that the wicked will do
wickedly ('an increase' in wickedness ed's note) -– and will not have
understanding, BUT THE WISE WILL UNDERSTAND.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...