April 24, 2019

Archives for December 2013

Princeton CS research on secure communications

Continuing our series on security research here at Princeton Computer Science, I’d like to talk about how new information about government surveillance is driving research on how to secure communications.

For a long time, users and companies have been slow to adopt secure, encrypted communication technologies. The new surveillance environment changes that, with companies racing to deploy security technologies. Mostly, they’re deploying known security measures rather than inventing new ones. At the same time, researchers are working on developing new security measures.

Our work in this area falls into three main areas: understanding what is vulnerable to surveillance; making security practical for users; and reconciling appropriate surveillance with oversight. [Read more…]

New Research: Cheating on Exams with Smartwatches

A Belgian university recently banned all watches from exams due to the possibility of smartwatches being used to cheat. Similarly, some standardized tests in the U.S. like the GRE have banned all digital watches. These policies seems prudent, since today’s smartwatches could be used to smuggle in notes or even access websites during the test. However, their potential use for cheating goes much farther than that.

As part of my undergrad research at the University of Michigan, I’ve recently been focusing on the security and privacy implications of wearable devices, including how smartwatches might be used for cheating in an exam. Surprisingly, while there’s been interest in the security implications of wearable devices, the focus within the research community has been on how these devices might be attacked rather than on how these devices challenge existing social assumptions.

[Read more…]

Digital radio broadcasting in Brazil, a technopolitical struggle.

On the last week of November/2013 the second edition of ESC took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ESC is the acronym to “Espectro, Sociedade e Comunicação” (Spectrum, Society and Communication); as the name suggests people in this meeting discussed a fair use of the Radio spectrum in order to empower society by the use of a multiple and free mean of communication: the digital radio broadcasting.

Yes, the radio broadcasting is still important in many ways and not only in Brazil. At least since Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) wrote “Radio as a means of communication” in 1932 there is a struggle related to the right to speak trough the radio waves. Communitarian and unlicensed free radios have been trying to survive despite the efforts from big communication groups to take them down. The radio spectrum scarcity has always been used as technical excuse to keep the communication power concentrated in fewer hands.

But now this picture can be changed in Brazil. [Read more…]