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A recent report in the Boston Globe has shown that despite criminals wearing electronic monitoring devices, they are still managing to commit crimes. One criminal who had been convicted of rape and was out on parole, had cut off his tag with a pair of scissors before allegedly going on to rape another woman. This case and other similar ones have raised doubts about the effectiveness of these tagging systems. Paul Lucci from the Office of the Commissioner of Probation commented that making criminals wear GPS tracking devices offers no guarantee that they will not commit a crime. Other experts have said that the wearing of tracking devices does not reduce recidivism and that judges need to be more careful about how they decide who is a good candidate for these devices.

The Pew Internet Report has this week revealed that more people in the US rely on their cell phone for news and information than at any other time in the past. The report, titled Understanding the Participatory News Consumer, found that 53% of US adults use their phone or laptop to access the Internet wirelessly. It also discovered that 80% of US adults own a cell phone and 37% have Internet and email access. Of these, 26% say they use their phone to access the news, most of which are under the age of 50. The most accessed sites are those which show the weather at 72%, news and current events at 68%, sports scores (44%) and traffic data (35%). These are closely followed by financial news and text or email news alerts.

Digital roadside billboards are causing concern for safety advocates, despite the fact that the advertising industry has said that there is no evidence that they cause crashes as they do not use animation or video. The billboards have images which change every 6 to 8 seconds, with latest headlines and messages pertaining the area the driver is in. Scenic Michigan, a lobby group which is trying to ban the use of these billboards in the state have described the billboards as "weapons of mass destruction" and say they are more dangerous than phones. Law-makers in the state have recently decided to place a two year moratorium on the building of any new billboards while the technology is tested. The Federal Highway Administration has been conducting a study which will be completed in the summer while another study conducted in 2007, said that it did not cause a distraction. This was found to be biased as it was funded by the billboard industry.

Developers at Microsoft Research and Carnegie Mellon University are in the process of designing an armband which will project a touchscreen directly onto the skin. The sensors and mini projector will be able to work out which part of the arm is being tapped, meaning their will be no need for a screen. Known as Skinput, it will be able to control audio devices and play simple games, or even navigate a basic browser. The developers say that the technology could be in use within 5 years. The touchscreen works by picking up the differences in sounds made by tapping different parts of the arm and hand and transmits the signals via Bluetooth to the device. The current accuracy rate is more than 95%.

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Google has applied for a patent to be able to use location information when advertising. This will allow the company to target advertising not only at the consumer but at their location. The news that Google has acquired this patent will not be music to the ears of Apple, who have recently bought Quattro Wireless, a mobile ad network. The basis of the patent is far reaching and may prevent others from entering the market. It is expected that this might break competition laws.

From just $15 device owners can now buy skins to protect their phones and iPods with retro comic book designs. Comics such as Spider Man, X-Men and Iron Man have been turned into skins by Gelaskins and are available for laptops, iPhones and iPods.

Rumor has it that Sony is developing a new range of handheld devices in a bid to keep up with Apple. The Chief Executive has told the Wall Street Journal that the new devices are part of a plan to launch multimedia devices which perform a number of different tasks. They are said to be developing a phone with game options and a computing platform. Another device is rumored to combine an e-Reader, netbook and playstation. †

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