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Be Alert!

Moriel Ministries Be Alert! has added this Blog as a resource for further information, links and research to help keep you above the global deception blinding the world and most of the church in these last days. Jesus our Messiah is indeed coming soon and this should only be cause for joy unless you have not surrendered to Him. Today is the day for salvation! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, - Psalms 95:7

Friday, October 30, 2009

Two-Thirds of Americans Object to Online Tracking

NEW YORK TIMES [NYTimes Group/Sulzberger] - By Stephanie Clifford - September 29, 2009 ABOUT two-thirds of Americans object to online tracking by advertisers - and that number rises once they learn the different ways marketers are following their online movements, according to a new survey from professors at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley. The professors say they believe the study, scheduled for release on Wednesday, is the first independent, nationally representative telephone survey on behavioral advertising. The topic may be technical, but it has become a hot political issue. Privacy advocates are telling Congress and the Federal Trade Commission that tracking of online activities by Web sites and advertisers has gone too far, and the lawmakers seem to be listening. Representative Rick Boucher, Democrat of Virginia, wrote in an article for The Hill last week that he planned to introduce privacy legislation. And David Vladeck, head of consumer protection for the F.T.C., has signaled that he will examine data privacy issues closely. Marketers are arguing that advertising supports free online content. Major advertising trade groups proposed in Julysome measures that they hoped would fend off regulation, like a clear notice to consumers when they were being tracked. The data in this area, however, has been largely limited to company-financed research or Internet-based research, which survey experts say they believe is not representative of all Americans. So the study - among the first independent surveys to examine this issue - has attracted widespread interest. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/business/media/30adco.html?th=&adxnnl=1&emc=th&adxnnlx=1254316646-aKun0OM1VaGiFVEuPECy5w FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The shopping experience of the future? RFID Tracking from Start to Finish

How Destiny would track shoppers at Carousel Center expansion THE POST-STANDARD, Syracuse, New York [Advance/Newhouse] - By Rick Moriarty - August 24, 2009 Syracuse, NY -- Hidden in a secret location deep inside the Carousel Center mall is what Destiny USA officials believe is the future of the retail industry. A 1,000-square-foot room with translucent flooring contains what appears to be a small clothing store with just two products -- T-shirts and cloth handbags with the words "Surrender the past" printed on them. But what makes the "store" unique isn't the see-through floor. It's the technology behind the walls, under the shelves and attached to each T-shirt and handbag. Through the use of a radio frequency identification system, the store can track what products a customer picks up, instantly send detailed information and customer reviews of those products to the shopper's iPhone, and make suggestions, via nearby computer screens, of other products that might interest the customer. The system even tracks customers as they walk through the store and displays on the computer screens items, in their size and preferred fabrics, that they might want to consider, based on their past shopping habits. At the self-checkout desk, the customer just drops merchandise on the desk and an antenna built into the desk picks up a radio signal from a sticker attached to each of the items and rings them up. There are no UPC symbols to scan. The customer swipes a credit card through a reader and the sale is complete. It's paperless, too. The system e-mails a receipt to the customer and records the purchase on the customer's account. Shoppers in this store cannot actually buy anything. It's set up just to give select visitors a demonstration of the technology behind Destiny's new retail concept, which it calls Arendi. Destiny partner Bruce Kenan said the model combines the convenience of Internet shopping -- the instant availability of detailed product information and comparisons from multiple manufacturers and user reviews -- with the ability to touch, smell and try a product. "This is a marriage of Internet and physical retail," said Kenan. "People are going to like it. They're going to demand it." Kenan and three executives from Terakeet Corp., the Syracuse company that is assembling the technology behind Arendi, gave a Post-Standard reporter and photographer a tour of the "store." The only condition was that the newspaper could not reveal where in the mall the room is located. Developer Robert Congel, the man behind Carousel's stalled expansion into Destiny USA, envisions the addition as a giant consumer research and development center where consumer shopping habits are tracked by a network of computers. The name Arendi is a play on the term "R&D," short for research and development. Retailers and brand makers who become part of the center would share all of the consumer insight data collected at Arendi -- in exchange for all of their profits. It's a concept that has never been tried before on a mall scale, and it has not been easy to sell the idea to a retail industry that saw sales fall 10.8 percent in the second quarter, compared with the same quarter last year. The secret "store" hidden inside Carousel Center was created to show off Arendi's technology to potential tenants. Destiny officials had planned to open a 50,000-square-foot version of Arendi to the public late this summer with a limited, undisclosed number of tenants who have agreed to be part of the demonstration. The hope was that the public demonstration would help the developer lure enough tenants to eventually fill the three-story, 1.3 million-square-foot mall expansion. Construction, which began in 2007, came to a halt in early June after Citigroup stopped advancing money on a $155 million loan to the project. The bank said it was concerned that the project was a year over schedule, at least $15 million over budget and had not a single signed lease. Congel is suing Citigroup, alleging it breached its loan agreement. The sudden halt to construction has not dimmed the development team's enthusiasm for Arendi, however. Kenan said it's amazing no one thought of combining e-commerce with stores in this way before. The goal of Arendi will be to give shoppers at the mall all of the things they like about online shopping -- primarily instant access to product information -- while they walk through a store, touching and feeling the merchandise, he said. And it will benefit retailers and product makers because they can personalize their in-store sales promotions to customers as they shop. The system also can help retailers keep instant track of when to reorder popular merchandise, he said. "One of the worst things for retailers is to run out of a product that is in demand," he said. Customers would have to register at an Arendi Web site, providing their name and e-mail address. If they'd like, they could also provide personal information such as age, clothing sizes and preferred fabrics. In return, they would be given customer ID tags, plastic cards about the size of credit cards. They would carry the cards with them when they go shopping at Arendi, just as they carry shoppers club cards to grocery stores. "Once you're registered, you can just walk around and shop as you normally would," said Ryan Garver, lead developer for Terakeet. In a demonstration of the technology, Garver walked with the card to a shelf full of T-shirts and a large computer screen in the middle. As he approached the shirts, the screen displayed a picture of one of the shirts, in his size. An antenna under the display read an electronic signal from his customer ID tag and called up information he provided about himself when he registered. If a group of customers approached a merchandise display, the system would know who they are and display information that it believed would be of interest to a majority of them, he said. To find out more about the merchandise in front of him, Garver glanced at his iPhone. Terakeet has written an application for the iPhone that will talk to Arendi's computer network through the Internet to provide customers with more detailed information about the products they are looking at. Garver said the company plans to write similar applications for other hand-held communications devices, too. If a store in Arendi did not have the size and color of the product a customer wants, it could be ordered from the interactive computer displays in the store or through the customer's iPhone or other Web-based communication devices, he said. Kenan said retailers will be able to use information collected at Arendi -- not just data collected in their own stores or display areas -- to improve the customer experience at all of their locations. "We'll have a knowledge base that no other retailer can get by themselves," he said. Staff writer Rick Moriarty can be reached at 470-3148 or rmoriarty@syracuse.com http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/how_destiny_would_track_shoppe.html FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dollar loses reserve status to yen & euro

NEW YORK POST [News Corporation/Murdoch] - By Paul Tharp - October 13, 2009 Ben Bernanke's dollar crisis went into a wider mode yesterday as the greenback was shockingly upstaged by the euro and yen, both of which can lay claim to the world title as the currency favored by central banks as their reserve currency. Over the last three months, banks put 63 percent of their new cash into euros and yen -- not the greenbacks -- a nearly complete reversal of the dollar's onetime dominance for reserves, according to Barclays Capital. The dollar's share of new cash in the central banks was down to 37 percent -- compared with two-thirds a decade ago. Currently, dollars account for about 62 percent of the currency reserve at central banks -- the lowest on record, said the International Monetary Fund. Bernanke could go down in economic history as the man who killed the greenback on the operating table. After printing up trillions of new dollars and new bonds to stimulate the US economy, the Federal Reserve chief is now boxed into a corner battling two separate monsters that could devour the economy -- ravenous inflation on one hand, and a perilous recession on the other. "He's in a crisis worse than the meltdown ever was," said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. "I fear that he could be the Fed chairman who brought down the whole thing." Investors and central banks are snubbing dollars because the greenback is kept too weak by zero interest rates and a flood of greenbacks in the global economy. They grumble that they've loaned the US record amounts to cover its mounting debt, but are getting paid back by a currency that's worth 10 percent less in the past three months alone. In a decade, it's down nearly one-third. Yesterday, the dollar had a mixed performance, falling slightly against the British pound to $1.5801 from $1.5846 Friday, but rising against the euro to $1.4779 from $1.4709 and against the yen to 89.85 yen from 89.78. Economists believe the market rebellion against the dollar will spread until Bernanke starts raising interest rates from around zero to the high single digits, and pulls back the flood of currency spewed from US printing presses. "That's a cure, but it's also going to stifle any US economic growth," said Schiff. "The economy is addicted to the cheap interest and liquidity." Economists warn that a jump in rates will clobber stocks and cripple the already stalled housing market. "Bernanke's other choice is to keep rates at zero, print even more money and sell more debt, but we'll see triple-digit inflation that could collapse the economy as we know it. "The stimulus is what's toxic -- we're poisoning ourselves and the global economy with it." http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/dollar_loses_reserve_status_to_yen_hFyfwvpBW1YYLykSJwTTEL FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pay with a wave of your hand?

An implantable chip could allow you to charge purchases or even start your car. It'd be convenient, to be sure. But would it be too creepy? CREDITCARDS.com - By Jay MacDonald - September 11, 2009 It's a simple concept, really: You inject a miniature radio frequency identifier the size of a grain of rice between your thumb and forefinger and, with a wave of your hand, unlock doors, turn on lights, start your car or pay for your drinks at an ultrachic nightspot. The problem is, the whole concept is a little geeky for most of us, nauseating for some, Orwellian for a few and even apocalyptic for a smattering of religious fundamentalists. Forget the science of it -- and yes, it does work remarkably well. Forget the convenience of it. Forget that similar identifying technologies, from bar codes to mag stripes, overcame similar obstacles and are now ubiquitous. Radio frequency ID implants face a hurdle the others did not: ickiness. "There is sort of an icky quality to implanting something," says Rome Jette, the vice president for smart cards at Versatile Card Technology, a Downers Grove, Ill., card manufacturer that ships 1.5 billion cards worldwide a year. How RFID devices work The RFID technology is un-yucky, however. The implanted tag -- a passive RFID device consisting of a miniature antenna and chip containing a 16-digit identification number -- is scanned by an RFID reader. Once verified, the number is used to unlock a database file, be it a medical record or payment information. Depending upon the application, a reader may verify tags at a distance of 4 inches up to about 30 feet. The RFID implant has been around for more than 20 years. In its earliest iteration, it provided a convenient way to keep track of dogs, cats and prized racehorses. Few took note or voiced much concern. ... Then, in 2002, Applied Digital Solutions (now Digital Angel) of Delray Beach, Fla., deployed to its foreign distributors a beta version of its patented VeriChip technology for human use. Two years later, the VeriChip became the first subcutaneous RFID chip to receive FDA approval as a Class 2 medical device. One VeriChip distributor in Spain sold the concept to the ultratrendy Baja Beach Club, which offered its patrons in Barcelona and Amsterdam the option of having an implant inserted in their upper arms to pay for their drinks without having to carry wallets in their swimsuits. Judging by the ensuing outrage, you would think VeriChip had given the pope a wedgie. 'Mark of the beast'? Web sites sprouted like mushrooms, accusing VeriChip of being the biblical "mark of the beast" predicted in the Book of Revelations as a foreshadowing of the end of the world. CEO Scott Silverman was equally vilified as being tied to Satan or, worse, Wall Street. Big Brother was surely coming, though he'd have to get pretty close to read your implant. Claims that the tags cause cancer based on lab rat tests upped the amps of outrage. Were people suddenly curious about RFID implants? "Curiosity is probably an understatement," Silverman concedes. "People have always taken interest in VeriChip. Part of the lore and part of the trouble of this company over the past five years has been just that." Though VeriChip played no part in using its implant as a payment device, the company quickly moved to calmer waters. Today, it markets its VeriMed Health Link patient identification system to help hospitals treat noncommunicative patients in an emergency. Its future may include more advanced medical applications, including a biosensor system to detect glucose levels. "A lot of the negative press that we received was a direct result of people having a misconception of what this technology is all about," says Silverman. "We believe that the medical application was and still is the best application for this technology. "That said, if and when it does become mainstream and more patients are utilizing it for their medical records or for diagnostic purposes, if they want to elect to use it for other applications, certainly they'll be able to do that. But it's going to take a company much larger than us to distribute the retail reader end of it into the Wal-Marts of the world." Versatile's Jette has watched contactless RFID battle for acceptance in the credit card arena. Just as Silverman suggests, the dynamics and scale of the payment industry tends to work against widespread deployment. "Mobil Speedpass tried to do it; they got some traction and decided to see if there was any mileage to take this to a Walgreens or McDonald's. You used to be able to use your Speedpass at McDonalds, but that ended because, at the end of the day, you still only have two gigantic payment processors out there, Visa and MasterCard," he says. "To me, the idea of any kind of payment device having ubiquity requires an awful lot of back-end cooperation, of people willing to say, 'I don't need my brand in the customer's wallet.'" Although the coolness factor is effective from a marketing standpoint -- American Express Blue with its smart (if largely unused) chip is a good example -- Jette says most cardholders would balk at the very thought of a needle. "With the implanting in the nightclubs, there is a cache of exclusivity there, especially among a certain demographic where people are piercing themselves and getting tattoos. But those are things that really only 20-somethings do a lot. I really doubt that there will be any market for injectable RFID tags or even any single point-of-sale payment device." "A lot of times, the technology is a solution looking for a problem. Sometimes people fall in love with the technology for its own sake and then try to evangelize a home for it. My business group is just smart cards, and I never forget that although we make money with smart cards, the bills are paid with mag stripe cards. As backwards and old-fashioned as they are, that is still the bulk of what the transactions are going to be in America for a very long time." This article was reported by Jay MacDonald for CreditCards.com. http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/FinancialPrivacy/pay-with-a-wave-of-your-hand.aspx FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.