Tech and access: Webcam possibilities — and peepers; Harvard email spying, Iran’s VPN block

Quick links to piece about technology and access, the good and the bad:

• The Merc’s Troy Wolverton writes about how Xerox researchers are working on technology that allows doctors to monitor patients’ vital signs via webcam. It still has a long way to go, but as Wolverton writes, the possibilities — derived from monitoring ink colors used in printing technology — are amazing.

Webcams of course have other uses, not all of them so noble. Ars Technica writes about how remote administration tools have become “the revolver of the Internet’s Wild West.” Hackers gain access to and control of people’s computers and spy on them. Their victims are called slaves, and many of them are women being spied on by men. Not only that, the RAT operators share their “slaves” with others.

• A whodunnit at the ivory tower: Harvard administrators searched the emails of more than a dozen resident deans in an attempt to find who leaked an internal memo addressing a cheating scandal at the university, according to the New York Times. “Creepy” and “dishonorable,” some professors say of the university action. Administrators defended their action in a statement reportedly issued today, saying the leaked email “threatened the privacy and due process afforded students before the Board.”

• Iran is blocking most VPNs (virtual private networks) that many of its citizens use to get around the country’s strict and growing Internet filters, Reuters reports. The latest action to limit access to the Internet comes ahead of the June presidential elections. Last year, before parliamentary elections, Iran blocked access to Gmail, as well as the Internet. It is also reportedly creating a national Internet. (See Quoted: on Iran and the Internet.)


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