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What is WiMax?

Currently the majority of internet access takes place in three ways:

Broadband – This is in widespread use in homes and offices. Usually home users have DSL or cable modem and offices go in for T1 or T3 lines depending on the amount of bandwidth they need for operations.

WiFi – This technology brought the internet to users almost everywhere. These days you can access the internet while you are at a coffee shop, hotel or even restaurants without having to fix a physical cable into your laptop. The freedom of wireless connectivity has almost created a mobile society.

Dial-up – The technology that brought a multitude of people into the world of the internet is almost dead. The lack of bandwidth in dealing with today’s web requirements is the chief cause.

If you look at all these technologies, they have their advantages and disadvantages. Broadband is fast but expensive and sometimes requires a physical line to be laid from the exchange. Dial-up is inexpensive but slow. WiFi is extremely convenient but WiFi hotspots are not to be found everywhere.

But what if you could have WiFi everywhere you go; for example, while you are travelling in the train, in another part of the country, etc. This is what WiMax aims to achieve.

Using widespread coverage similar to cell phones, the technology will bring the internet to everyone, everywhere. This will bring about a truly mobile society where people can stay plugged in 24/7 no matter where they go. The best part is that it will be cheaper than a DSL connection and as convenient as using WiFi in that you only have to switch on your computer to find a connection. WiMAX is abbreviated from the term ‘Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access’.

Internet Censorship Gathers Momentum

Once upon a time, the world was outraged by Iran and China filtering and blocking access to content on the internet. Then Australia got into the game which started people scratching their heads, and now with France being the latest entrant into the censorship arena it appears that this is going to be the norm from now on.
The initial argument for censorship is blocking child pornography. This is something no one can argue against and is an absolute necessity.

However, once that is in place it is only a few policies away from an Orwellian “1984” scenario. If you think that this is an excessive statement, consider the policies France expects to implement if the security bill named “LOPPSI2” is passed.

– State sanctioned computer Trojans
– A new database of citizen data, named Pericles
– Requiring ISPs to censor websites that are blacklisted by the government

Now these are only a few of the policies within the bill but the right to free speech, information and privacy are all being infringed upon here, in one way or another. President Sarkozy sees it as solving the problem at its roots. He maintains the view that if you do not allow access to the offending content then people cannot commit the crime; of course he was referring to child pornography and file sharing.

German and British newspapers have already started citing Orwellian examples. The main worry for now is about the rights of the people of France, but in the long term the worry is that the French bill might set a precedent that would be followed by other European countries.

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