Australia Temporarily Backs Away From Censoring Internet

Some ISPs Now Agree to Voluntarily Block Some URLs, However

1 min read
Australia Temporarily Backs Away From Censoring Internet

Late last week, the Australian government announced that it would be delaying the introduction of mandatory Internet filtering until at least 2012 while a so-called "transparency and accountability measures" review is conducted, the Sydney Morning Heraldreported.

The proposed review - which would make sure that the proposed filtering list meets community standards - will take about a year. The current plan is that after the review is completed, the government then would introduce mandatory Internet filtering legislation, with Internet filtering starting a year after that.

This, of course, all depends upon the current government winning the next election, which will likely be held before the end of this year.

However, three of the largest Australian ISPs, Telstra, Optus and Primus have also agreed to block a list of URLs compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, beginning in the next couple of months.

For Telstra, this is bit of a climb-down. In December of 2008, the CEO of Telstra said filtering the Internet was like attempting to "boil the ocean."

Google, which has been critical of the government's Internet censorship plan, welcomed the delay, but still stated that it believed the government's revised approach was still going to prove unworkable, The Australianreported.

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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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