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Opening spread from femtocell featureWho's keeping an eye on the kids when you're not home? If David Nowicki, vice president of marketing for Airvana, has his way, it will be their mobiles. At the Femtocells World Summit held in London last year, unveiled what he called the 'boyfriend buster' - a detector for people who protective parents don't want their daughters to take home when they are not around.

The boyfriend buster is no more than software running on a cellular basestation designed for the home. Being a basestation, this femtocell - named because it covers a smaller range than the picocells used in shopping centres and microcells in city streets - notices which phones come into range and if they are allowed to register, lets those phones make calls through it. The femtocell can, potentially, do more with that information, possibly letting the concerned dad know by text message or email that the wrong cellphone has turned up at the house or that, with 30 strong signals in the house, the family pile may be home to a Facebook party.

The boyfriend buster is just one service that people such as Nowicki think will consumers will use. There will be femtocells that synchronise users' phones as they arrive home, transferring contacts and diary appointments between their handsets and their home computers. Or the unit may turn the hallway lights on as you walk up the garden path on the way home.

A wave of revulsion against a law that targets filesharers has swept the Pirate party into a seat at the European parliament.

Not even in existence when the last European elections took place, the Pirate party managed to secure 7% of the national vote in Sweden, beating the country's Eurosceptic party, June List, which suffered a collapse in its vote.

Two events have taken copyright to the fore in Sweden, which has the highest penetration of high-speed broadband-fibre connections in Europe. In April, the Swedish government brought into force the EU's intellectual property (IP) enforcement directive, which demands that internet service providers turn over traffic data to copyright holders who are trying to track down filesharers. Later that month, a court sentenced The Pirate Bay's owners to a year in jail on top of awarding damages of SKr30m (£2.5m).

Following the case, the Pirate party, which campaigns for patents to be scrapped and copyright to last just five years instead of 70, trebled its membership to more than 45,000.

You can read the rest at the Guardian website.

The digital human

23 August 2005

digital human opening spreadWhat should have been the scientific advance of the new millennium - and put forward as the key to human life - turned up more mysteries than it solved. In 2003, the Human Genome Project delivered a long list of amino acid sequences and the genes that those sequences comprised. In principle, molecular biologists had everything they needed to tie genes to functions in the body.