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Wi-Fi Cloud Hovers Over Salt Lake City

Researchers map the invisible geography of wireless networks

3 min read

28 February 2008--U.S. cities such as Tempe, Ariz., and Philadelphia have struggled to set up municipal Wi-Fi systems, but some researchers believe a city could make do by piggybacking on the many residential and business hotspots already dotting most cities. Among the many difficulties in making such a scheme work, one of the main ones is determining just how large and dense the existing Wi-Fi clouds are.

Paul Torrens, an Arizona State University geographer recently completed the first maps of Wi-Fi coverage on a citywide scale. ”I was using Wi-Fi myself and noticing the phenomenon unfolding before my eyes,” he says. ”I thought there must be a geography to it.”

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How Police Exploited the Capitol Riot’s Digital Records

Forensic technology is powerful, but is it worth the privacy trade-offs?

11 min read
 Illustration of the silhouette of a person with upraised arm holding a cellphone in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Superimposed on the head is a green matrix, which represents data points used for facial recognition
Gabriel Zimmer

The group of well-dressed young men who gathered on the outskirts of Baltimore on the night of 5 January 2021 hardly looked like extremists. But the next day, prosecutors allege, they would all breach the United States Capitol during the deadly insurrection. Several would loot and destroy media equipment, and one would assault a policeman.

No strangers to protest, the men, members of the America First movement, diligently donned masks to obscure their faces. None boasted of their exploits on social media, and none of their friends or family would come forward to denounce them. But on 5 January, they made one piping hot, family-size mistake: They shared a pizza.

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