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Published: 7/8/2005

Fusion: WI-FI thief, www.yourname

WWW.YOURNAME

A Turkish group seeking to improve communications technology is pushing the use of a splinter Internet network that might avoid control by the United States. The Turkish Informatics Association s recommendation comes as the U.S. Commerce Department has announced it would indefinitely retain oversight of the Internet s main traffic-directing computers, known as root servers. A federation of independent root operators, The Public-Root, is trying to become an alternative network with 13 root servers in 10 countries, including Turkey. The Turkish Informatics Association and Amsterdam-based Unified Identity Technology want to use that alternative network to offer Internet addresses that end in a company or individual name such as www.yourname without .com or a country code like .tr for Turkey. Other alternative root systems exist but most computers are configured to use the official system, which the U.S. Commerce Department oversees through the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN.

WI-FI THIEF

Police have arrested a man in St. Petersburg, Fla., for using someone else s wireless Internet network in one of the first criminal cases involving this fairly common practice. Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony. Police say Smith admitted using the Wi-Fi signal from the home of Richard Dinon, who had noticed Smith sitting in an SUV outside Dinon s house using a laptop computer. The practice is so new that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn t even keep statistics, according to the St. Petersburg Times, which reported Smith s arrest this week. Innocuous use of other people s unsecured Wi-Fi networks is common, though experts say that plenty of illegal use also goes undetected: such as people sneaking on others networks to traffic in child pornography, steal credit card information and send death threats. Security experts say people can prevent such access by turning on encryption or requiring passwords.

MOBILE YAHOO

Internet powerhouse Yahoo, continuing efforts to extend its reach beyond the desktop, is launching new features this week to help mobile phone users plumb its online search engine. One is a text-messaging feature. Users send a message to 92466 the numerals used to spell Yahoo on a telephone keypad and get back direct responses to requests about local businesses, weather and stock quotes. Yahoo also promises to deliver a Web link to get more information about the results. The feature is initially available to Cingular, Sprint and Verizon subscribers.

SHARK SENSES

Could technology duplicate the innate ability sharks and stingrays possess to detect electrical fields generated by other creatures in the ocean? A San Diego technology company and two other firms are trying to find out as part of a U.S. Navy research project that could lead to new ways for the military to detect enemy submarines or mines at sea. RD Instruments, which develops acoustic sensors for detecting the speed of currents for marine safety, began working on the project in April, said research specialist Jerry Mullison. Sharks use their ability to detect electric fields created by other animals moving underwater both for navigation and targeting prey, Mullison said. The firm is studying sharks to gauge the feasibility of duplicating that sensory skill.

TOLEDOBLADE.COM

Check out Jamie Farr Classic stories, results, photos, and more local golf at toledoblade.com.

www.toledoblade.com/golf

FROM THE BLADE S WIRE SERVICES AND STAFF.

CONTACT FUSION AT KCESARZ@THEBLADE.COM



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