Though it has successfully resisted pressure to install a mandatory "panic button" on users' home pages, Facebook has permitted the U.K.'s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to build an app for its platform that members of the social-networking site can use to report online abuse directly to CEOP or seek advice about potential dangers of the Web.
Called ClickCEOP, the app has been released following negotiations and eventually a partnership with Facebook. On Tuesday, U.K.-based Facebook members between the ages of 13 and 18 will see an ad on the site that … Read more
This is what happens when the Force comes down upon you.
Just a few weeks ago, there was much stimulation around a product called the Spyder III Pro Arctic Laser.
This sweet little object does bear a passing resemblance to a "Star Wars" lightsaber. In addition, it can burn your skin and permanently blind you. And that's not all. The manufacturer, Hong Kong-based Wicked Lasers, proudly tells you on its Web site that it is "the most dangerous laser ever created."
Some people have been a little concerned that this fine laser might bring the nasty side of celestial wars rather closer to Earth than is healthy.
"Star Wars" creator George Lucas seems not to be a fan. According to CNN, he and Lucasfilm sent a cease and desist letter expressing, among others, the following concern: "It is apparent from the design of the Pro Arctic Laser that it was intended to resemble the hilts of our lightsaber swords, which are protected by copyright."
The letter added that the Pro Arctic is "a highly dangerous product with the potential to cause blindness, burns, and other damage to people and/or property." It demanded that the product should be recalled.
In a press release, Wicked Lasers offered that there are several differences between a lightsaber and its own bright idea.… Read more
If you're a swimmer splashing around for help in the ocean near Malibu this summer, don't be afraid if you spot a red object speeding toward you. It's not a sunburned shark with a first-aid symbol tattooed on its back, but a robot lifeguard coming to rescue you.
Emily (Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard) is a remote-controlled motorized contraption containing a sonar device that can scan for underwater movements associated with distressed swimmers. Lifeguards toss it into the surf from a beach, aircraft, or ship, and it zooms toward its target at speeds up to 28 mph. Once … Read more
Audi equipped a test vehicle with forward-looking, 3D-imaging sensors, a processing unit that identifies traffic situations, and affixed internal cameras that keep an eye on the driver in an effort to develop next-generation active pedestrian and cyclists safety and crash-avoidance technology.
As part of the German Adaptive and Cooperative Technologies for Intelligent Traffic (AKTIV) consortium, Audi is participating in a three-pronged program consisting of Safety for Pedestrians and Cyclists, Active Emergency Braking, and Driving Safety and Attentiveness, which aims to use advanced automotive technology and communication to reduce traffic accidents.
On the road, 3D sensors on the Audi's test … Read more
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has spearheaded the creation of a database of "digital fingerprints" to flag child pornography and keep it off social networks, his office announced Thursday.
With the hash values of over 8,000 known child-porn images stored in the database, Cuomo said that he hopes its intended clients--social-networking, file-sharing, and photo-storage sites--will start to use it "immediately."
Facebook and MySpace have already signed on as partners in the new initiative, and Cuomo's office has sent letters to BlackPlanet, Buzznet, eCrush, Yahoo's Flickr, Flixster, Fotolog, Friendster, Hi5, LiveJournal, MyLife (the … Read more
Scaring children about the dangers of the Internet and blocking access to social-networking sites can do more harm than good, according to a report released Friday by a committee tasked by the U.S. government to explore online safety.
Parents, teachers, government agencies, and other organizations should promote online citizenship and media-literacy education, and actively encourage the participation of children in the process, concludes the report entitled "Youth Safety on a Living Internet." It was produced by the Online Safety and Technology Working Group, which was created by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The report addresses some … Read more
LAS VEGAS -- Texting while driving. No issue provokes more public fear and outrage about driver distraction.
Several startup companies say they have an answer, and they hope major automakers take notice.
This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas devoted lots of space to companies touting safe-driving technology.
Among the exhibitors was Matt Howard, CEO of Zoomsafer Inc., which sells a cell phone application that blocks text messages when people are driving.
The app uses global positioning satellite data to determine whether the phone is moving above a certain speed. If a text message comes in, the sender … Read more
Oprah Winfrey, who's famous for giving away cars to audience members, is now promoting driver safety by making cars a "No Phone Zone."
The Governors Highway Safety Association, and its member state highway safety agencies, today announced it is joining forces with Winfrey and Harpo Studios to fight distracted driving during "No Phone Zone Day" on Friday, April 30, 2010.
Since January 2010, Winfrey has been promoting a ban on cell phone use while driving--especially texting.
LONDON--Thanks to the volcanic ash pouring out of Iceland, I had some extra time in London last week, giving me an opportunity to try my hand at shuttle diplomacy between Facebook and a British police agency called the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center, or CEOP.
I came to London en route to a tech conference in Spain that was canceled due to the air travel issues and also to give a talk at a Family Online Safety Institute conference in Bahrain that starts Tuesday.