India Developing ID Tech to Tell Who's Who
Today in international tech news: India is developing technology to identify its estimated 300 million citizens who don't have valid forms of identification. Also, hackers in Germany seize a file-sharing site, Google critiques the UK's plan for an opt-in feature to access adult content, and British telecommincations giant Vodafone slashes billions from its estimated value amid eurozone concerns.
05/23/12 9:20 AM PT
India is hoping that its Aadhaar scheme will enable the government to identify the estimated 300 million Indians who don't have proper identification, according to the BBC.
While the BBC offered no exact numbers, million of India's 1.2 billion people live in poverty. The identification scheme is designed in large part to make it easier for them to receive assistance.
"One of the biggest problems in a country like India is that people don't have a universal ID," Financial Times journalist PK Jayadeven told the BBC. "When you go and claim some sort of subsidies or some sort of benefits from the government, you need to establish that you are who you say you are.
"This is a problem."
Aadhaar is predicated on fingerprint and iris scans. Coupled with a photograph of individuals, the information is fed into a database and could be drawn upon by Indian officials.
The BBC adds that privacy has been an issue, but that the benefits -- namely, feeding impoverished citizens -- overrides privacy concerns.
Vodafone slashes value
British telecommunications company Vodafone has nixed pounds 4 billion -- or roughly US$6.2 billion -- from the value of its southern Europe businesses in the wake of the eurozone crisis, according to The Guardian.
The company has also downgraded earning forecasts.
A lack of spending power in Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal forced Vodafone into "fierce discounting" in order to cling to its market share, The Guardian reported. The devaluation of the euro against the British pound has compounded the situation.
Revenue in Spain dropped by nearly 10 percent, and 6 percent in Italy, the article also states.
There is some good news: Revenues were up 25 percent in Turkey and 20 percent in India. The overall picture, however, is not good.
Hackers Go After German File-Sharing Site
Kino.to, a German site that in 2011 was blocked by authorities for infringing upon copyright laws, has been seized by hackers, according to Suddeutsche.
The hackers who took over kino.to have not reopened it as the illicit downloading and streaming platform it once was. Instead, they apparently want to make sure it doesn't become that again.
The hackers penned a message, translated here in goofy Google Translate language:
We have discovered a serious error in the administration of the domain Kino.to, which made it possible in theory to anyone to buy the domain. We have therefore for safety reasons, the domain itself over and guide them in the usual way on the report of the Judicial Police. We pursue this any evil intentions, but will merely ensure that the domain is not on the road can be collected and used by others eg for advertising purposes. We are very pleased to the domain return, but would first like with the administration in contact appear to the vulnerability fix.
Some of the people who ran the site have been sentenced to prison; the most recent conviction was for nearly four years.
Google Not So Hot on UK's Porn Opt-In Idea
Google said it would be a mistake to enforce an opt-in clause to access adult content, according to the BBC.
The comment from Google came at Google's Big Tent Event in Hertfordshire, England.
British ISPs have come under attack for not doing enough to prevent children from accessing pornography on the Web. And while Google was adamant children shouldn't be viewing pornography, the company stressed the roll of parents.
UK officials proposed the opt-in feature last year and have been consulting with Internet service providers about making it default.