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Stealing from Emergency Information

In the United States, the Enhanced 911 service has been around since the early 1980’s. Enhanced 911 or E911 was born out of the necessity of emergency operators to be able to know from where a 911 call has been dialed, because it is often difficult to receive this information from the caller who could be panicking and barely capable of staying on the line. The original E911 service, meant for wireline phone numbers, uses a mapping through a database to find the location of the caller. This service; however, is not available to cell phones, for you could map the phone to a specific location, but merely the owners billing address. The phone, and the caller, will not necessarily be there. Along with the rise in cell phone usage, the FCC extended the need of the E911 to cell phones as well as wired lines. Wireless carriers are to comply with the second phase of the wireless E911 service by the end of 2005, which would allow emergency operators to know the location of a wireless caller to within 100 meters. While currently there are only good intentions involved, many people believe that the E911 infrastructure could be used by police agencies to monitor the public and turn the cell phone into a tracking device.

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published Tue Oct 25, 05 | History and Philosophy

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Problems with the Therac-25

Finger pointing has been a time honored tradition since the time of the caveman. No one is happy in a bad situation until blame can be place on someone or something. In the case of medical mistakes, blame is often the only way to find closure when grave errors occur. In the case of the Therac-25, in which 3 deaths and 2 severe injuries occurred, blame could be easily placed on the machine. However, what part of the machine was to blame?

Tue Oct 4, 05 | History and Philosophy
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Should the .xxx be accepted?

A high school student is given an assignment in her biology class to do a report on a certain type of cancer. It just so happens that this student decides to research breast Cancer. Yet, when she sits down at her computer at home and googles breast cancer, she sees nothing but an error page because her parents have blacklisted the word “breast” from the computer.

Tue Sep 13, 05 | History and Philosophy
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Behind a Motherboard

This month’s article is a continuation of my computer fundamentals series. This month I will continue with the Motherboard.

What is it? A motherboard

If you ever open up that black box sitting next to you, the first thing you will notice (besides all the wires and dust) is a green or yellow colored electronic board with all sorts of things sticking out of it and plugged into it…

Thu Dec 2, 04 | About Computers
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