US commissions man-hunting robot packs


In today`s technology roundup: US commissions man-hunting robot packs, MOD misleads Parliament on IT costs, EU to stock Internet criminal database, iTunes glitch censors song titles, and US army warns of twittering terrorists.

US commissions man-hunting robot packs

Forces within the US military are looking to develop a remorseless robotic pack capable of hunting down "a non-cooperative human subject" in "an indoor environment", says The Register.

Last month, Pentagon brainiacs asked contractors to develop a "Multi-Robot Pursuit System", consisting of among other things, a software and sensor package to enable a team of robots to search for and detect human presence in an indoor environment.

Typical robots for this type of activity are expected to weigh less than 100kg and each team would have three to five robots.

MOD misleads Parliament on IT costs

A senior UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) official has admitted that information given in Parliament on the cost of a new £7.1 billion communications infrastructure could have been misleading, reports

A National Audit Office report on the Defence Information Infrastructure project in July this year put a £7.1 billion price tag on the project, some £4.5 billion more than the £2.3 billion cost quoted when Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock and Conservative MP Mark Prisk asked about the costs of the project in 2006 in Parliament.

It has since emerged that the MOD knew at this point that total costs of the project were likely to be £5.8 billion.

EU to stock Internet criminal database

European Union (EU) members agreed today to create a common alert platform for reporting illegal activities on the Internet, says The Register.

The system will be used to share information about those suspected of cybercrime with authorities in each of the 27 EU nations. Its goal is to prevent illegal Web site operators from fleeing to another EU country undetected.

"The Internet can be used for crime all over the globe so the response has to be global," French interior minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in a press conference.

iTunes glitch censors song titles

A temporary error with the UK`s iTunes Music Store has caused some inoffensive song titles to be censored, reports The BBC.

Tracks affected include Hot by Avril Lavigne, which is displayed as H*t, while The Cheeky Girls` biggest hit has become Cheeky Song (Touch My B*m).

An Apple spokesman said a "database glitch" occurred when the service was checked for explicit references, and would be fixed as soon as possible.

US army warns of twittering terrorists

The US intelligence community is concerned that terrorists might use micro-blogging tool Twitter to coordinate attacks, according to a purported draft army intelligence report posted on the Web, says CNet.

The report – presented by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion and posted to the Federation of American Scientists Web site – examines the possible ways terrorists could use mobile and Web technologies such as the global positioning system, digital maps, and Twitter mash-ups to plan and execute terrorist attacks.

A chapter titled "Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter" presents general, introductory information on Twitter and how it works, and describes how the service was used to report details of a recent earthquake in Los Angeles and by activists at the Republican National Convention.