The search for a missing boy in Moulins, France, ended with the woman who started it in custody after investigators found that the child only existed in the virtual world.
Authorities are still unsure if the woman claiming to be 2-year-old Chayson Basinio’s great aunt has a psychological problem or if she invented the crime for other reasons, like revenge. What they do know is that “Chayson” is only real on Facebook.
The woman came to police with the claim that the child has disappeared from a supermarket parking lot, the Guardian reports. Local police began an all-out search, dredging a lake after a judge opened an inquiry for kidnapping and sequestration.
But inconsistencies in the woman’s story made detectives suspicious. That’s when they discovered that Facebook accounts had been hashed together and that the boy did not actually exist. Fabricated photographs of the boy with his “father,” 20-year-old Rayane Basinio, also appeared on the social media site.
The woman’s teenage daughter and a cousin, both minors, are the ones who set up the fake accounts and pirated the photos, police believe. They are also being questioned, while the woman faces six months in prison and a fine of €7,500, or about $10,000, if found guilty of inventing a crime.
"The inquiry for kidnapping and sequestration has obviously been redirected into one of reporting an imaginary crime or offence," said Eric Mazaud, the public prosecutor. "It [the inquiry] was long and complicated, but we can now say that the young Chayson has never existed and nor have his father or mother."
“Sadly, this is a very modern-day story. Someone decided to create false Facebook accounts and took pictures from real accounts to feed the false accounts and make these people seem real," Mazaud added.
An Ohio-based surveillance technology company is pioneering a “live Google Earth” that would allow cops to monitor crimes in real time.
The wide-area surveillance system was first used in Compton, C.A. last year when a spate of necklace-snatchings led sheriff’s deputies to Persistent Surveillance Systems, a company owned by retired Air Force veteran Ross McNutt.
The Center For Investigative Reporting describes it as Google Earth with rewind—a city captured down to its last detail, and available for zooming and tracking.
“We literally watched all of Compton during the time that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” McNutt said. “Our goal was to basically jump to where reported crimes occurred and see what information we could generate that would help investigators solve the crimes.”
McNutt first developed the surveillance technology to search out bombing suspects in Iraq and Afghanistan. The wide-area surveillance relies on high-powered surveillance cameras attached in clusters to small civilian aircrafts.
“Our whole system costs less than the price of a single police helicopter and costs less for an hour to operate than a police helicopter,” McNutt said. “But at the same time, it watches 10,000 times the area that a police helicopter could watch.”
The CIR reports that McNutt’s technology is one of many digital innovations that give law enforcement Hollywood-like capabilities, like mobile facial-recognition technology.
With that comes a host of ethical and constitutional dilemmas. For example, the FBI has been compiling a data complex of over 147 million mug shots and fingerprints—many of which belong to people who have never committed crimes. Soon that database will become searchable.
In the case of the necklace-snatchers, Los Angeles law enforcement realized that its monitoring might not go over well on the public.
“The system was kind of kept confidential from everybody in the public,” said L.A. County sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Iketani. “A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush.”
And in fact, the suspects ended up fleeing from the camera’s view before they were identified. Iketani said the technology led to useful leads, but that the pictures weren’t detailed enough to land a suspect.
A researcher has built a huge 3D printer capable of building a house in 24 hours and, possibly, of revolutionizing the construction industry.
Business Insider reports that Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis at the University of Southern California has already built the technology, complete with a nozzle that dispenses concrete. The robot builds a house based on a set computer pattern.
Khoshnevis told MSN that the technology is “basically scaling up 3D printing to the scale of building.” Dubbed Contour Crafting, the robot replaces construction workers with its super-efficient capacities, which can churn out a 2,500-square-foot home in just a day.
The printer will not eliminate jobs, Khoshnevis said, but ultimately create them. And it could provide people around the world with affordable housing.
“At the dawn of the 21st century [slums] are the condition of shelter for nearly one billion people in our world,” said Khoshnevis. “These buildings are breeding grounds for disease a problem of conventional construction which is slow, labor intensive and inefficient.”
As Khoshenevis pointed out, buildings are about the only things these days that have to be constructed by hand. Construction is a slow, laborious, expensive, and dangerous process. The Iranian-born professor foresees workers laying down rails for the robot to operate — and letting the computer take over. The nozzle would spray concrete to create hollow walls, then fill the walls with additional concrete. Manpower would be required “to hang doors and insert windows.”
Khoshenevis even shipped off a prototype to NASA back in 2005, according to an article in Discover magazine. The agency wants to explore the possibilities of constructing buildings on the moon from lunar dust.
Mozilla announced Sunday that it will begin making $25 phones in a chip deal with Spreadtrum.
The company made the announcement in a press release before the kick-off of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Mozilla, a non-profit, will be turning to mobile OS with smartphone capabilities with a focus on developing markets and global carriers looking for a third option, Forbes reported.
Mozilla launched its Mobile OS in 2012. Then Chinese manufacturer ZTE announced it would collaborate with the company on an open software-based device.
“It’s all part of our wider plans to create a better balance of products using various operating systems. We won’t just rely on Android or Windows,” said ZTE Director of Corporate Branding & Communications David Dai Shu.
Firefox OS is slated to move into Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama this year as Telefonica expands to those countries. Deutsche Telekom will contribute markets in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia and Montenegro.
While Windows has targeted the lower-end of the mobile market, Mozilla may be emerge the victorious underdog, according to Forbes.
Google is aiming to run completely on alternative energy sources, its Energy and Sustainability head said Sunday. Already a third of the search engine giant’s operations rely on wind and solar energy.
Rick Needham, the director of Google’s Energy and Sustainability office, told CNBC that the company is investing in raising its 34 percent reusable energy use to a full 100. In the last quarter it spent $2.25 billion on data centers and general infrastructure—giving it an incentive to use clean energy to cut day-to-day operational costs.
"We've invested over a billion dollars in 15 projects that have the capacity to produce two gigawatts of power around the world, mostly in the US, but that's the equivalent of Hoover's Dam worth of power generation," Needham said.
Google just opened the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station, a gigantic field of mirrors on the California-Nevada border southwest of Las Vegas that harnesses solar energy and reduces energy costs.
"The fact is that all of these things, procuring power for ourselves, investing in power plants, renewable power plants, they all make business sense, they make sense for us as a company to do. We rely on power for our business," Needham told CNBC.
Other Silicon Valley companies are investing in renewable energy sources, if not with as much enthusiasm as Google.
"Silicon Valley is leading the charge to be more efficient, to work on solutions to some of these problems. Google is ahead of the pack and we'll have to wait and see how it works out. They are certainly trying many different initiatives to figure out how best to manage their footprint in the environment, as well as how to manage the cost of all their energy," said Ben Schachter, senior Internet analyst at Macquarie Securities.
That means that your next Google search could be powered by the sun.
Google’s San Francisco “mystery barge” is being kicked off the island. The much-discussed floating data center/showroom/party boat will have to find a new home, a state agency ordered, due to a number of complaints.
"It needs to move," Larry Goldzband, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, told the Associated Press Monday.
Google doesn’t have the proper permits for the four-story construction, Goldzband said. Both the Treasure Island Development Authority and the City of San Francisco could face fines, too, for failing to enforce the rules.
The story of the “mystery barge” first broke in late October, when CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman found “Google’s fingerprints all over” the floating barge off the coast of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Though Google didn’t own up at the time, the reporter found that the structure matched that of a water-based data center, which Google had received a patent for in 2009.
Later the executive director at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Corporation (BCDC) confirmed that Google was the force behind the barge. KPIX 5 reported that the space would be a VIP showroom and party deck, personally overseen by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
But whatever it is, the mystery barge has to go, according to BCDC authorities. Google can move the barge to a permitted construction facility.
Environmental activists are happy with the agency’s no-nonsense enforcement. Jason Flanders, program director at San Francisco Baykeeper, a nonprofit pollution watchdog, said that regulation was essential for the bay’s wellbeing.
"Obviously, the bay is a valuable resource to everybody," Flanders said. "Requiring people and companies large and small to pass all environmental regulations before using the bay is essential."
Deric Lostutter, the Anonymous hacktivist who helped expose the brutal rape of a 16-year-old girl, faces more jail time for his actions than the football players convicted of committing the rape.
Lostutter posted a video of the rape on the high school football team's "Roll Red Roll" fan page, drawing national media attention to the brutal assault. He admits to appearing in the video behind the Guy Fawkes Anonymous mask, but denies having hacked the site. If convicted of hacking, he could face 10 years in jail— five times what the rapists face.
Lostutter, a 26-year old corporate cyber security consultant, was handcuffed and detained by the FBI in his small town of Steubenville, Ohio while the feds ransacked his house. Agents took his computer and Xbox, claiming they had a search warrant in connection to Lotstutter’s hacking of the Roll Red Roll website, which claims to be “the most famous high school website in the world!”
The website became infamous with the story of two “Big Red” high school football players who were charged with raping a 16-year-old girl who was drunk and unresponsive at a party.
Lotstutter also released a cell phone video of the attack and threatened to release the suspects’ personal information. He was bluffing, but it did the trick. The video went viral.
"Yeah," said Lotstutter, who quickly revealed the man behind the “KYAnonymous” mask. "And it should've. All these kids stood around filming it, laughing, watching it and mocking it and none of them stood up...they're all pieces of crap human beings. It was kind of appalling to me and to the nation, if not the world."
“It was everything that I’d ever preached, and now there’s this group of people getting off the couch and doing something about it. I wanted to be part of the movement,” he said.
The rape investigation revealed a cover-up on the part of the school’s principal, Steubenvile school superintendant, former football coach and other adults. Charges have just been dropped against Lynnett Gorman, an elementary school principal charged with failing to report child abuse, but the cases remain unresolved for the others.
One of the rapists, Ma'lik Richmond, has been released from juvenile detention after serving six months of his one-year term. He will have to register as a sex offender for the next 20 years. The other, Trent Mays, was sentenced to an additional year for another charge.
A high-tech police car is cruising the streets of Brooklyn as the NYPD tests out a prototype of a “supersmart” Fort Hybrid, which can scan license plates and digitally record everything it “sees” from its windshields.
NYPD Project Management Office Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo told the New York Daily News that the hyper-intelligent vehicle is being taken for a spin in the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO neighborhoods.
“It’s inevitable that police cars will be bringing more and more technology to the street,” del Pozo told the paper. “This car features the best technology currently available. It will be able to take information from the street and send it back to the commanders in headquarters so they can make correct, on-the-spot decisions.”
The Ford Hybrid cop car is as quick as they come for scanning license plates in search of a stolen vehicle, or testing the air for radiation. But the car’s suped-up crime fighting powers are paired with a green mission.
“Police cars in general are getting smaller as the NYPD and the city are becoming more fuel-conscious,” said del Pozo.
The car’s testing is part of an NYPD2020 strategic plan, in which the department brought on a consulting firm to suggest various possible improvements, both technological and administrative. The Wall Street Journal reported that 500 officers have already received smartphones that deliver real-time crime data, and that new guidelines have been instated for recruiting officers.
The car gathers a lot of intelligence. Data about license plates— including the owners' unpaid tickets and other infractions— are stored in the police department’s system.
"It reads any set of numbers," Del Pozo said. "If it doesn't get a hit, it gets stored. We don't look at [the results] unless an investigation points to them.”
The car may also be equipped with fingerprint scanners and facial recognition sensors.
The next police commissioner, William Bratton, will decide if the smart car, and the other initiatives, will move forward.