European Children to Get Control of Their Pre-Generated Data Upon Adulthood

March 21 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Education   Year: 2008   Rating: 9

A key European government committee has established a set of general privacy guidelines that give children control over their previously generated data upon reaching adulthood.

Earlier this week the Working Party, an independent advisory body on data protection and privacy composed of data protection officials from various European countries, published a comprehensive document that lays out a long list of protocols and recommendations concerning children’s data, particularly the digital information collected over the course of a school career.

The new rules establish that “[i]f the processing of a child’s data began with the consent of their representative, the child concerned may, on attaining majority, revoke the consent. But if he wishes the processing to continue, it seems that the data subject need give explicit consent wherever this is required.”

As more and more data is captured and stored, these regulations are a necessary reaction to the potential for misuse and lay the groundwork for a whole new set of developmental digital rights.

“The rationale of this principle is that a person who has not yet achieved physical and psychological maturity needs more protection than others,” the experts explain about the decision, “Its aim is to improve conditions for the child, and aims to strengthen the child’s right to the development of his or her personality. This principle must be respected by all entities, public or private, which make decisions relating to children.”


Continue Reading

The Empty Playgrounds of Tomorrow: Europe's Negative Growth

July 03 2008 / by jcchan / In association with Future
Category: Culture   Year: General   Rating: 5 Hot

By JC Chan

In the next eight seconds 34 babies will be born to the world. Of these five will be from India and four will be from China. In ten years China will be the dominant English speaking country in the world. With world population exploding and shifting so dramatically, it’s easy to envision a future with billions more humans inhabiting Earth than do today. But that may not be the case.

Consider the scenario presented in the sci-fi film Children of Men (2006), a bleak vision of Earth in 2027 where humans have mysteriously lost fertility and the ability to procreate. In one scene, a scruffy-faced man named Theo, played by Clive Owen, and a woman named Miriam walk across the dreary rust of an abandoned school playground. Sitting on the squeaky swing set is the African woman they are protecting, miraculously nursing in her hands the first newborn the Earth has seen in over a decade. Miriam recalls her days as a nurse delivering births. She notes that over time fewer births were recorded until the day they ceased altogether.

“As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices,” she grimly states.

The backdrop for the film is a future England that has adopted a survivalist policy as it attempts to police millions of incoming immigrants into concentration camps to preserve the little remaining natural resources they have left. When I first watched Children of Men, the idea of humanity wiped out by widespread infertility seemed a little far-fetched. Certainly there are many other, more viable ways for us to go: nuclear weapons, terrorism, a nanotechnology nightmare, a super-resistant bacteria strain, asteroids, global warming.

Growing up in the 90’s, schools and media have always drilled into my head the post-war baby boom, exponential growth, limited allocation of resources, and recycling, oh lots of talk about recycling. (Note: I am an avid recycler.) Still, though we can and should do something about issues like global warming and runaway population growth, scenarios like the reality of the 2027 in Children of Men remind us that there may well be other formidable challenges on the horizon that may not be so much in our control.

Case in point, a recent NYTimes Sunday Magazine article by Russell Shorto entitled “No Babies?” addresses the very real possibility of population decline. Shorto examines the sleepy Italian town of Laviano in Southern Italy, a spectacular sight with magnificent steep slopes and wild poppies adorning medieval fortress ruins of a fortress, in which a population of 3,000 has fallen to just 1,600 and still dropping.

This has caused such alarm that the Laviano’s mayor has created a new fund to give any woman that would rear a child in the village, a sum of 10,000 euros ($15,000). Though the plan has resulted in a slight uptick in residents, Laviano is still steadily losing population. (cont.)

Continue Reading

Credit Card Has Touchpad, Three Year Battery Life

November 11 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2010   Rating: 5 Hot

Visa Europe is working hard for your money, and in doing so they have come up with a credit card capable of switching around your security code everytime you enter your PIN on its touchpad. “An alpha-numeric display and keypad is built directly into the card. When making a transaction online, customers type their PIN into the card, which creates a one-time security code.” Visa is working with four major banks, including Bank of America in the UK, to develop this card. Videos of how it works can be found here and here.

This is quite amazing. Having a touchpad on your credit card ensures that the code on the back of your card (that little number, usually three digits, on the back) could never be compromised without a thief knowing your PIN number. I wonder though if the numbers you press would look worn, making it easy for the thief to determine what you PIN is.

Although it’s kind of unnerving to think that your credit card has a battery life, the fact that it can run for three years could help boost confidence. You could possibly even charge it at your local bank every year on a simple flat tray. Of course, someone hacking into it within a few days is possible but by then hopefully you’d have canceled it. All we need now is a credit card that can take your fingerprint.

Check out more at ITPRO

via Gizmodo

Europeans Make Big Dent in the Auto Industry

October 24 2008 / by Adam Cutsinger / In association with Future
Category: Environment   Year: 2011   Rating: 4

Chicago Tribune, 2012

According to a June 15 analysis published in the French bi-monthly magazine L’Auto-Journal, a long-standing car magazine, the European Union will soon no longer be on the short list of the top 3 contributors of greenhouse gases. The French-originated NAC (Nouvelle Affaire de Carburant) program, widely known as the New Fuel Deal by the English-speaking world, was initially criticized by citizens of nearly every European nation for being an economic fiasco.

The brainchild of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who served a six month stint as EU president, has certainly paid off for the environment, despite the widespread criticism and dire predictions. The Affaire was created by the members of the EU’s French-led APRE Summit (Automobile-fabricants pour la Protection et la Régénération de l’Environment, or ACRE – Auto-makers for the Conservation and Regenration of the Environment) in 2011, which formed an impressive international think-tank consisting of automobile manufacturers, leaders in the alternative fuel industry, financial wizards and various government officials. Despite initial opposition from such countries as the Czech Republic and Ireland, the plan was consensually ratified in February, 2010.

Continue Reading

Will a Falling U.S. Dollar Spell the End of U.S. Sports Dominance?

October 04 2008 / by JohnNg / In association with Future
Category: Economics   Year: General   Rating: 2

The globalization of sports such as Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association has been a dream come true for the American sports economy, but now a plummeting U.S. dollar has created the conditions for a mass exodus of our top professional athletes. The result: Athletes like Kobe and Lebron are now openly entertaining the idea of playing overseas if income prospects there exceed what they’re currently earning on U.S. soil.

Basketball: The NBA has made the most significant jump globally. It all began in Barcelona with the original Olympic Dream Team of 1992. As American legends Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson tore it up on the court, future superstars Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki were watching from the stands, soaking up their unique styles of play. Gradually the foreign talent got better and soon earned roster spots on American NBA teams. Finally, this was capped by the emergence of Yao Ming, a 7’6” Chinese phenom selected first in the NBA draft. What ensued was the end of U.S. dominance in international play. At the same time, some big talent including the likes of the NBA’s Josh Childress signed with Greek League club Olympiacos and future college star Brandon Jennings have been lured away to play on the Italian League club Lottomatica Roma. Now, a falling U.S. dollar is threatening to erode the NBA itself.

It appears to be yet another unexpected consequence of accelerating change and a flattening world.

Baseball: The All-American Pastime has been a true global sport since before I was born. Latin America and Asia have been producing exceptional talent over the past 2 decades, a trend that shows no signs of slowing. Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Miguel Tejada and David Ortiz are just a few of the international players who became stars in the US. But according to a recent ESPN documentary, the MLB does not replace the talent that they take. The Japanese league refers to it as not replanting for the trees they cut. However, this could quickly stop, then reverse, if the dollar falls far enough.

Football: The National Football League is perhaps most resistant to globalization. It’s an American bred sport that hasn’t really caught on around the globe. Instead, the stadium sport of choice is soccer. But if other nations can lure away NFL franchises with the prospects of bigger financial markets, then perhaps this too will change, albeit very gradually. Until recently, there have been rumors of the Buffalo Bills moving to Toronto.

Continue Reading