Cook Stands Strong Against Weak Encryption

rogersEarlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Obama administration officials to see if a compromise could be met regarding encryption.

Tech companies like Apple and Google supply door-to-door encryption services to their customers, allowing consumers to keep their communications secure from hackers. Some national governments take issue with this, citing recent terrorist attacks as an indication that encryption inhibits necessary government surveillance efforts.

Major enemies of encryption include the US and UK government, who have taken issue with Apple multiple times regarding its encryption services. The United States wants Apple and tech companies like it to program in a “backdoor” through which government officials can investigate communications as they see fit.

Tech companies have vehemently resisted these efforts, claiming that any encryption backdoor could be exploited by hackers as well as government officials, and that government officials should have to obtain a warrant to decrypt consumer messages in the first place.

Amidst this controversy, Cook and a delegation of social media and technology leaders met with top national security, law enforcement and White House officials to determine ways that all parties could work together towards the prevention of terrorist attacks and the spread of ISIS. The meeting took place shortly after the White House announced its intention to create a task force dedicated to coordinating a federal response to ISIS propaganda.

michael rogersThe Obama administration is interested in countering lone wolf attacks inspired by ISIS social media propaganda as well as social-media based ISIS recruitment efforts. Attendees included Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, assistant attorney general for national security John Carlin, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Jjornson, NSA Director Michael Rogers, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, and director of national intelligence James Clapper.

Cook apparently¬†maintained his¬†his anti-backdoor stance, claiming that law enforcement officials should actually back “unbreakable encryption” as opposed to encryption built with weaknesses.

Andrew Crocker, staff attorney for the Electric Frontier Foundation, had this to say:

“Apple and Cook have been very strong on this issue… I think it’s heartfelt on Cook’s part- he says he believes privacy is a human right, and Apple has introduced a number of features that support privacy and security.”

Plenty of other tech advocates have raised concerns regarding the government’s intention to create backdoor technology. The 2015 onslaught of cyberattacks have led many to side with Apple in believing that increased encryption capabilities would be more helpful to national security.

“There is no possibility of a controlled government backdoor, as the biggest issue is who gets to decide which government gets access,” claimed Ian Trump, security lead at Logic Now.

Andrea Castillo, the program manager for the Technology Policy Program at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, agrees: “When it comes to encryption, there simply is not a balance between privacy and national security… Weak encryption means weak national security, since antagonistic groups an exploit vulnerabilities and do harm to the U.S.”

Trump believes a better adjustment would be to hold corporations liable for selling their products to terrorist users: “If governments insisted on corporations doing a better job of vetting their customers, then the issue of needing backdoor into encryption becomes mute.”

Driverless Car Needs Licensed Drivers According to CA DMV

The unexpected invention of driverless cars has come without any real legislation to govern how such technological advancements can be incorporated into a more slowly-changing society on the road.

Law makers seem unsure how to cope with the new phenomenon, but in a knee-jerk reaction announced on Wednesday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles published draft regulations that claimed that truly driverless cars should be initially excluded from operation and that a fully licensed driver must be behind the wheel of a car with autopilot features.

urmsonChris Urmson is the director of Google’s self-driving car development team. He wrote a reaction to his potential legislation in his blog, claiming that the laws were “perplexing” and undermined the entire purpose of self-driving cars, which is to transport people without forcing them to drive.

“This maintains the same old status quo and falls short on allowing this technology to reach its full potential…” he complained. “[All the] while excluding those who need to get around but cannot drive.”

“We’ve heart countless stories from people who need a fully self-driving car today,” he continued. “People with health conditions ranging from vision problems to multiple sclerosis to autism to epilepsy who are frustrated with their dependence on others for even simple errands.”

Google argues that driverless cars should be allowed to proliferate as quickly as possible, especially since they are able to navigate busy streets more safely than most human drivers. According to Google, the cars eliminate the potential for human error that is responsible for most collisions.

According to google, its self-driving vehicles have been on the road for 6 years of testing and have only gotten in 16 minor incidents, each of which with human drivers to blame.

“We’ve seen in our own testing that drivers can’t be trusted to dip in and out of the task of driving when the car is encouraging them to sit back and relax,” explained Urmson.

Whether or not a licensed driver is in the front seat of a self-driving Google car is even less consequential for the newer self-driving cars Google is putting out; they don’t even have manual controls like steering wheels and ignition/brake pedals.

According to the DMV, residents could not ride in one of these cars until their safety could be assessed in “subsequent regulatory packages.”

According to the DMV, their draft regulations are an attempt “to address complex questions related to vehicle safety, certification, operator responsibilities, licensing and registration, privacy, and cybersecurity.”

self driving car3They plan to hold a public consultation on their most recently released draft at some point in 2016. They’re likely to get a lot of push back from those who don’t have licenses and see the driverless car as a way to maintain their independence.

Self-driving features are now necessary to any member of the auto industry attempting to remain relevant. Ford recently announced that it had obtained the proper permits to begin test driving its own driverless cars throughout California. Ford’s vehicles will have manual controls and an autopilot feature.

Internet Basics; Take Your First Step Towards Understanding What’s Happening Off-Screen

A very small proportion of the population knows about even the basic infrastructure responsible for the internet. If you’re interested in kindling this knowledge in yourself, here’s a brief description of what’s going on:

When you type in the URL (uniform resource locator) of a specific website into your web browser and press enter, your computer connects to a Web server and requests that specific page. Let’s break down that specific part of the process. Your web browser started by organizing the URL you entered into three different parts: the protocol, the server name, and the file name. If you were to be interested in viewing the webpage www.bbc.com/news/technology, the protocol is www, the server name is bbc.com and file name is news/technology.

htmlYour browser sent a GET request to the BBC server, requesting specifically news/technology. The BBC server registered the request and in response sent the appropriate HTML tags to your computer, formatting the page for your specific screen.

As you can see, to comprehend even the base level processes responsible for the internet, you have to develop a certain vocabulary. At this point you may even be realizing that your working definition for the internet is starting to look a little empty. Just know this: the internet is a word that refers to the connection of millions of computers and the data that that interconnection allows any one computer to access. When you surf the web, you’re looking through documents and web pages that are saved on particular physical devices and then delivered to you through the use of those servers, which act as the middlemen.

The network connecting to these individual computers range in size and strength (from home networks to the local area networks generally possessed by large businesses), but they all ultimately connect to web servers.

web serverOk but what is a web server? All machines connected to the internet can be categorized as either servers or clients. If you’re simply accessing the internet and not providing access to anyone else, your device is a client. The exact service provided by a server can vary. It might have software running on it that allows it to act as a Web server, an email server or a FTP (file transfer protocol) server. Yahoo! is a well-known service provider that allows people to use its many large machines for the sake of web browsing and email.

Your device and every other device with internet access capabilities has a 32-bit number IP address. It’s all you need to talk to a server and receive information back.

A little about domain names: they’re human-readable and memorable for easy operation. The name www.bbc.com supplies information regarding the host name (www), the domain name (bbc) and the top-level domain name (com). Verisign is a registrar that manages .com and .net domain names and makes sure that no domain names are copied to avoid mix-ups.

Then there’s domain name servers (DNS) that help to map the human-readable names to their IP addresses. When you type www.bbc.com/news/technology into your web browser, it will extract the domain name, run it through a domain name server and find the correct IP address for the device that possesses the page you want. This process may actually involve multiple servers, like the name server for the “com” top-level domain, which will then know the server for the host names, which may in turn actually understand the actual IP address for the howstuffworks server machine.

What Determines Your CPU’s Clock Speed?

The clock cycle, or the amount of time between two oscillator pulses, determines the speed of a CPU. The oscillator, or oscillator crystal, is an electronic oscillator circuit that uses the mechanical resonance of a vibrating crystal of piezoelectric material to create an electric signal with a precise frequency.

piezoelectricityPiezoelectricity is the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials (such as crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matter such as bone, DNA and various proteins) in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means, literally, electricity resulting from pressure. The piezoelectric effect is understood as the linear electromechanical interaction between the mechanical and the electrical state in crystalline materials, the effect is a reversible process, meaning that just as the internal generation of electrical charge can result from an applied mechanical force, an applied electrical field can result in the generation of internal mechanical strain.

Anyway, the crystal oscillator produces a fixed sine wave that makes up the frequency reference signal. Electronic circuitry then translates that into a square wave at the same frequency for digital electronics applications (or, in using a CPU multiplier, some fixed multiple of the crystal frequency reference frequency). The clock distribution network inside the CPU then carries that clock signal to all the parts that need it.

The time between the two oscillator pulses, or the clock speed, is measured in MHz or GHz. For example, a 5GHz processor performs 5,000,000,000 clock cycles per second.

For some time now, the clock speed achievable by crystal oscillators every year has increased by roughly 2 times the top speed of the previous year, allowing for processors to run faster and faster.

no speed limitElectrical engineers are constantly trying to figure out how to combat the heat generated by the oscillator once it passes certain speeds and gate delays. Liquid nitrogen and liquid helium have both been utilized in an attempt to combat the heat.

That said, the clock speed achievable by a CPU is not the only determinant of the processing speed of that CPU. For an example of this, take the fact that some processors can send one instruction per clock pulse while others can send more than one.

An instruction is an order that a computer program gives to a computer processor. The order is composed of a set of binary codes that together describe a physical operation the computer is to perform as well as information regarding particular storage areas that may contain data relevant to that order.

Processors that can send multiple instructions per clock pulse will work faster at a given clock speed than processers that can perform only one instruction per clock pulse.

Bus speed is another factor outside of clock speed that affects processing speeds. A bus is a circuit between two parts of a motherboard. The width of the circuit determines how much data that circuit can handle at once, with wider circuits being able to handle more. Bus speed refers to how much data can be moved across the bus simultaneously.

Excessive clock speed can actually destabilize a processor that doesn’t have matching upgraded components.

The conveniences offered by computers: A necessity to businesses today

Computers and internet have taken our lives to an all different level making it convenient where everything is accessible with just a click of the button. Right from education to entertainment to gaming and live television; computers have made it easy to get anything and everything we want. And with the popularity of e-commerce you no longer have to go for shops but can shop online. In fact online shopping enables you to buy things that are actually not that easy to otherwise find in stores; legal steroids for instance. Computers and internet defy this era where you are directly or indirectly dependent on them.

Mobile data the proof of dependence on the net

This dependency on the World Wide Web has made internet go mobile where you can access the internet through mobile data internet connectivity. Computers have also evolved and shrunken in size such that they can be easily carried wherever you go and tablets, iPads are the perfect example of this where they perform a dual function of cellular smart phones and computers. The Kindle app or e-reader is another fitting example where you no longer have to heavy paperback books but download hundreds of electronic books on your devices and read them whenever you wish. This is the entertainment and social aspect of computers and internet; but the fact that computers have helped businesses is something that one cannot ignore.

Computers and businesses

Computers are very important for business where they help in more than one ways. Data are crucial for every business where confidential company information or information of their clients is the important data. Instead of going old school and filing it all up in a ledger, you can store tons of data on the computer either in the hard disk or use a secondary memory device.

Businesses are making most of the internet and electronic commerce enables the businesses to earn extra profits where they can have a wider client base from across the globe. In fact most businesses earn 60% more profit by having their presence online. All the businesses today need to have a presence online to gain the competitive edge. Especially when consumers are seeking services and buying products after referring to the net having a web presence becomes crucial.

The changes brought by computers

Publicity and advertisements and marketing have also taken an all new level with the advent of computers and internet where most of them use it as a platform for marketing their products with the increase in the number of internet users over the years. In fact, mobile internet connectivity is something that most of us cannot do without. Life was convenient of course before internet and computers but it has become even better after them.

Businesses can use computers as a medium t advertise their products where of late they are using the social networking sites and increasing their client base through it. Internet has enabled people to connect to one another and share opinions and likes which has popularized the concept of buying things based on recommendations from cyber friends.