As I noted last week, Google and others derided Australia government's decision to censor the Internet.

Last night, the Government fired back.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy attacked Google's privacy credentials during an ABC radio interview. As quoted by the Herald, Minister Conroy said:

"Recently the founders of Google have got themselves into a little bit of trouble because notwithstanding their alleged 'do no evil' policy, they recently created something called Buzz, and there was a reaction, and people said well look aren't you publishing private information?"

"[Google CEO Eric] Schmidt said the following: 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place'. This is the founder of Google. He also said recently to Wall Street analysts, 'we love cash', so when people say, shouldn't we just leave it up to the Googles of this world to determine what the filtering policy should be...."

Google expressed surprise that the Minister was attempting to obscure the issue of censoring the Internet by focusing on Google, the Herald said. It also pointed out that CEO Schmidt  wasn't a founder of the company and that his quotes were taken out of context.

The Herald also reported that Minister Conroy hadn't heard that the US government had finally raised concerns about the government's Internet filtering plans. I sincerely believe that, since the US Department of State hasn't exactly trumpeted the news which was barely reported in US news outlets yesterday (it was in Europe and elsewhere, however).

In an AP story yesterday, U.S. State Department spokesman Michael Tran says that the US government indeed had issues with Australia's Internet censoring plans.

Spokesperson Tram is quoted in the AP story as saying, "Our main message of course is that we remain committed to advancing the free flow of information which we view as vital to economic prosperity and preserving open societies globally."

However, the AP also reported that Spokesperson Tran would not say "when or at what level the U.S. State Department raised its concerns with Australia and declined to detail those concerns."

Obviously, the concerns didn't reach the person in the Australian government given the remit to censor the Internet there.

A much different approach than the US took with China and others.

The Conversation (0)

Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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