How the crowd is helping to track down extremists, and can twin lasers improve the 3D movie experience? Includes tech news and webscape.
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Where are the extremists hiding?
Without realising it, they've already told the world.
This week on Click, we meet the man who is tracking
down the terrorists by looking at information hidden in plain sight.
And we'll check out the technology the extremists might be able
to use to remain hidden.
Could twin lasers rescue 3-D cinema?
We're at a world first in Amsterdam to find out.
We're also making music with our minds
and we have some money-saving tips for you in Webscape.
Welcome to Click. I'm Spencer Kelly.
Technology touches every aspect of our lives these days of course
and most of the time, it is used for good.
But sometimes it is used for ill, too,
and that certainly seems to be the case with the news coming
out of Syria and Iraq recently,
which has been unremittingly grim.
Today, another barbaric act...
Islamic State has been waging a campaign of terror with
One particularly new aspect to this had been its extensive
and expert use of social media to broadcast its message,
both to create fear and to bring in new recruits.
Some Twitter users this week started urging others to stop sharing
the group's material under the hashtag #isismediablackout,
but it only really had limited success.
But we've come to Leicester to meet one person who's
using his skills to turn Islamic State's own propaganda against it.
This is Eliot Higgins, father of one, resident of Leicester
and a self-employed investigative journalist.
Working from a small office, he is the founder of Belling Cat,
a website which uses open source databases
and the power of the crowd to analyse photos
and videos posted online by insurgents in Syria and Iraq
and then tries to work out where they were taken.
For example, by spotting detail like bridges, unusual buildings
and other notable features in the background of these
propaganda shots of a training camp somewhere in Iraq, Eliot
was able to match the photos to similar shots taken by locals
and to satellite images to pinpoint the camp's location.
Earlier this year, after flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine,
he monitored pictures posted on Facebook, Instagram
and Twitter by people in the area,
to track the journey of an unusual military vehicle that he thinks
was carrying a surface to air missile on that day.
He even believes he's been able to pinpoint
the field from which it was launched.
This is from a video filmed in Ukraine where there's the white
splodge on the rail, and this one - this is from Russia, which is
the same one, the same white splodge.
It might look small, but this operation does cost money.
Eliot gave up his job to do this full-time and he's recently raised
over £50,000 through Kickstarter to sustain and expand his operation.
It really started when I was looking at the conflict in Libya.
I've just been interested in current events.
I saw there was a lot of information being posted on sites
like YouTube and Twitter and Facebook that was being completely ignored.
It seemed to me some of this information was quite interesting.
The problem was the whole question of "how do we know if it's true?"
So I started teaching myself ways to verify this information.
One of the first videos I looked at, it had a big main road in it,
a mosque in it...
They said it was in a certain town, so I went to the town,
found the road, found the same mosque
and was able to verify it was the same town using that information.
And while you might have assumed that Government agencies
are already doing this kind of stuff and with better resources
than just one laptop, Eliot doesn't think they are.
I've been contacted by all kinds of different agencies,
different departments of the same agency saying, "This is interesting, how do you do it?"
It's something I'm very willing to show them
because I think it's open source information.
If I can figure out where someone is stood
when they're filming a video, and they're doing that
week on week on week, that means the person with the artillery
and rocket launchers can also figure that out and target that position.
In fact, just last week,
Eliot claimed to have pinpointed a location south of Raqqa in Syria,
where American journalist James Foley was killed by militants.
You can probably make out...
These are most likely to be trees, rather than individual structures.
But this is a best estimate based on what we know.
I'm sure it's in this region.
So, if technology can be used to expose extra information
about extremist groups,
the next logical step is for those groups to try and hide even deeper.
Jen Copestake has been looking at how new privacy technology
may help them to keep their activities in the dark.
Amir Taaki is one of the key programmers behind a tool
which could potentially
hide the identity of people using the crypto currency, Bitcoin.
Along with Cody Wilson, the creator of the 3-D printed gun,
he's made the Dark Wallet - software to anonymise Bitcoin transactions.
Already the US government and European banking authorities
are looking at regulating the use of Bitcoins and are particularly
concerned about how the Dark Wallet
could be used as a money-laundering tool.
These fears grew recently
when a blog linked to Islamic State was published.
It included an instruction manual for how to stay undercover online.
It emphasised the Dark Wallet would have many benefits,
including the ability to easily...
We first met Amir in Barcelona.
Now, he's living in a squat in the heart of central London.
In June 2013, this was the centre of the G8 protests.
They were sent 1,200 counterterrorism police
to evict the place
and if you see the red paint was where people were fighting
with paint bombs against the police and many people were arrested.
The G8 released a document naming Dark Wallet as a key
money-laundering threat and now Dark Wallet is in the G8 building.
Staying in the squat is a group of expert programmers
working on other software to help anonymise your life online.
They all share the belief that anything an individual
does should be completely free from government interference.
They built the Dark Wallet because they don't believe
anyone should be able to see what you spend your money on online.
But there's a flip side - we came to speak to them about how they'd feel
if their technology is going to be used by extremists
like the Islamic State.
If there was a link with Dark Wallet to an Isis fighter who was
involved in beheading somebody
and you knew that, would you feel comfortable?
In fact, I shut down my Twitter account
because they were shutting down Isis accounts.
I don't think...
trying to censor information is the way to go.
Have you had any contact with anyone directly from Isis,
-asking you to help them?
-No. No way, I don't like Isis.
So is it a question of you wouldn't stop them from using the Dark Wallet?
No, you can't stop people using technology
because of your personal bias.
I think obviously terrorists will use it
and you know, the benefits certainly outweigh the risks.
Equally, obviously terrorists go use the internet.
Obviously terrorists use freedom of speech.
And we've accepted that that is a trade-off we must make.
It's a sort of libertarian worldview
and at the extreme edges of that, there are those who say
it doesn't really matter what people do with this technology, even if
the whole world is sort of torn up -
what's more important is that we are creating the technology
that is going to guarantee individual liberty from governments.
If it comes to pass that Isis have started using Bitcoin or
Dark Wallet, or any other type of technology of this type,
then public concern and public opinion about these
technologies will change dramatically.
But these programmers don't care about public opinion.
For them, freedom from scrutiny is above all.
In the past, opinions and discussions like this may have
stayed in the squats, but today, combined with their coding
skills, their beliefs are starting to ripple around the world.
Jen Copestake with some pretty thought-provoking stuff.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject - e-mail...
Or tweet us at...
Now, in last week's tech news,
we correctly predicted that Microsoft was about to buy
the makers of Minecraft for 2.5 billion.
Let's see what we get right this week.
In a sign that smart watches may just be starting to gain some
momentum, motorists in the UK are being
warned about the dangers of using the devices while driving.
A spokesman from the Department of Transport says accidents
caused by such activity would result in severe penalties.
The US space agency NASA has announced which companies
it's backing to take the country's astronauts back into space.
Since retiring their own shuttles in 2011,
the Americans have had to rely on Russian ships to get off the ground.
The decision sees 6.2 billion
being paid out to companies Boeing and SpaceX
in order to develop their human spaceflight capabilities.
If all goes to plan, NASA will have rockets by the end of 2017.
Panasonic has unveiled a hybrid smartphone camera with
a huge 1-inch, 20 megapixel sensor,
more normally found in its dedicated cameras.
Unveiled at the Photokina tradeshow in Cologne, the extra optical
heft in the Lumix DMC-CM1 should improve sensitivity
in low light and allow the phone to shoot ultra high-def video.
With Samsung Galaxy's K zoom also on the market,
large-lens phone cameras seem to be something of a trend at the moment.
And it's the programmers' in-joke
that has become the surprise gaming hit.
Goat Simulator is trotting off PC and onto Android and IOS devices.
The game, which is a tongue-in-cheek third person -
or should that be third goat - adventure,
allows the player to take their goat to the fair or ride a bike.
The game also has intentionally buggy sections
and slightly rubbish controls.
Now, if you own a home cinema system,
the chances are you haven't been to the actual cinema in quite a while.
One way that movie theatres are trying to lure audiences back
is with 3-D, which seems to work better in a controlled space
than in the home environment.
But the problem is, 3-D isn't as realistic or as comfortable
to watch as perhaps it could be.
Well, now the movie industry is looking to introduce a new
breed of 3-D and we sent Dan Simmons to Amsterdam,
to witness the very first screening of a film made with the new tech.
The number of cinemagoers choosing the 3-D version of a film has
dropped by a third in the last four years.
People are falling out of love with 3-D.
-The novelty has kind of worn off.
-They're not bright enough.
-They're too dim.
-All you do is HEAR the movie.
You know how your mother always said, "Don't read in the dark"? It's not a comfortable experience.
Now that we can show it at the proper light level of what
2D would be - a shot in the arm, if you will, for this format.
This is the world's first screening of a full-length movie
using the 6P system.
We project two images simultaneously,
both the left eye and the right eye.
The whole idea is we don't have to flash between the two,
it gives a much better persistence of vision,
therefore the 3-D looks more natural.
We don't go through life alternating our eyes, we go through life
with both eyes open and we see both offset images at the same time.
These are not servers - they're laser power units, pumping out
up to 100,000 lumens of light down fibre optics to two projectors.
Basically put, each projector uses a different mix of colours -
of wavelengths - to send the same picture to each eye.
Using these glasses, they only allow certain wavelengths of light
through, so the left eye can only see what's coming out of that
projector, the right, what's coming out of this.
The important thing though,
is that not in the past has it been possible to get a whole
projector's worth of light into each eye at the same time.
Now we can and that replicates how we see.
We're using a system called colour separation based 3-D,
Which is very different than 99% of movie cinemas right now.
They use polarisation schemes.
The polarisation-based system, you need something in front
of the projector or inside the projector to polarise the light.
And that polariser actually absorbs a lot of light.
With spectral separation, or a colour separation based technique,
using lasers, we can generate the light right from the source
at the wavelength, so we eliminate the filter stage.
The only thing between you and the image,
or you and the projector, are your glasses.
Finally, we have a technology solution
to make 3D as bright as 2D.
The new system is bright enough to do away with the traditional
silver screen which can create hot spots of brightness,
depending on where we sit.
So, the nice part about actually having a flat, matt screen
is that it basically looks the same across the board
for people sitting in the front row, the side row, or the back row.
And that at least allows everybody to see the movie
the way the film-maker wanted...made it.
Well, this is certainly one of the best 3D experiences that I've had.
I have to say, the glasses are not just reflective on this side,
but also this side as well, so you do get a little bit of reflection
when you look through the lenses.
But it's crisp, it's clear, and the colours are brilliant.
Could it be the saviour of 3D film?
I think it is a fundamental piece to continue to support that format.
Dan Simmons on the next iteration of 3D cinema.
Now, not all of us are lucky enough to be musically gifted.
But even if you're not LJ Rich, who can play anything
on anything, there is still hope. You too could be a musical virtuoso.
Although it might mess up your hair.
This is my brain on music.
On stage at Music Tech Fest in London, my grey matter is
locked in a musical mind mingle with three other performers.
This brain quartet is actually an octet.
We choose a musical phrase by staring at a pattern on a screen.
If we concentrate correctly,
this sends our chosen phrase to our operator, the actual musician.
When I tried this for the first time a few months back,
one thought wouldn't leave my brain.
Using systems like this, no-one needs musical training to play.
The joy of performing could be accessible to anyone. How exciting!
This conference is all about finding new ways to play music.
Behind me, the guys on stage are exploring new interfaces.
The question is what is the best way to use technology to play music?
Here is the Seaboard, a kind of squishy piano.
It's been well received at the Fest.
Now, even if the only tune you can knock out is Chopsticks,
there's still fun to be had with this interface.
You can slide up and down under the notes.
You can wobble the keys to make the note wobble.
But the real possibilities are only unlocked
if you can play the keyboard.
That's the spirit!
Now, this duo, Intelligentsia,
uses a smartphone to add an extra layer to their performance.
By pressing a button on the as yet unreleased AUUG Motion app,
Bron can add specific harmonies to her vocals.
I could have just left it on a harmony setting, which would have
done a computer-generated harmony.
What I was able to do by triggering the different buttons on the iPhone
was to change that harmony.
Meanwhile, the Oscilla is much more forgiving of the humble novice.
Each counter on the surface simply changes the pitch
and volume of one or more notes.
Crucially, this can be scaled up to people size.
We're now in a stage where we're building the new instruments.
And most of them, the vast majority of them, are still very rudimentary.
We're now seeing the emergence of new ideas which could
potentially lead to a new interface, which is extremely expressive.
Some of these interfaces have broken out of the concept stage.
In Leafcutter John's case, the sound may come out of a laptop,
but what goes in is light.
SPOOKY ELECTRONIC SOUNDS
The laptop became something that everyone used
but no-one seemed to have a good interface for it.
So I've been looking for a long time at a way that
I wanted to play that.
And I landed on this thing which I've made,
which allows you to play by using light.
I'm quite a believer in finding the best tool for the job and,
then, if necessary, you make your own tools.
This thinking, of course, opens the floodgates for all
kinds of instruments, like the water synth,
handily hatched together from microphones
and a plastic tray of water.
And that's what this new frontier embraces -
technology made by musicians so everyone can feel musical.
That would appeal to most brains.
LJ Rich, breaking the sound barrier.
We do love to break down sound barriers on this programme
which is precisely what Kate Russell is about to do,
only hers will save you money. Here's Webscape.
# I wanna be a billionaire...#
The internet might be breaking down international borders,
but the world's banks are taking their time catching up,
with many still adding charges on to processing foreign transactions.
TransferWise is a peer-to-peer currency exchange platform,
disrupting this space by connecting users across international borders
to make secure cash transfers outside the traditional banking system.
# The world better prepare
# For when I'm a billionaire... #
TransferWise charges 0.5% for payments of more than £200
and a flat fee of £1,
or whatever is the currency in your home country, for smaller amounts.
The service works in lots of countries
and covers many mainstream currencies.
You can also get smarter about travel.
GoEuro is a journey planner that lets you search travel options
across Europe, delivering a list of all possible routes,
including flights, trains, and local buses.
Where GoEuro differs from other sites in this genre is it lets you
search travel options to where you actually want to go, even
that, say, tiny town or village in the countryside.
This site will recommend the best end-to-end options,
displaying results and prices all in your own language and currency.
Tickets can be booked through the site. But it's not compulsory.
And with over 32,000 destinations listed, just browsing could give you
some brilliant ideas about where to spend your break.
People love to share what's happening in their life.
But all too often, that classic opportunity
is missed in the fumble to get your phone out and start recording.
Ovrhrd is an iOS7 and above app that runs in the background,
constantly recording the world around you.
It only keeps up to the last three minutes
so you're not going to fill up your memory.
And battery use is minimal.
When you hear something you want to keep, just open the app
and save the clip.
'I just love making Webscape!'
You can even add effects by swiping right on the save screen.
You know when you miss an important line of dialogue in a film,
or the punch line of a joke,
and use the handy TV remote to jump back 15 seconds?
Well, this is like having a rewind button for real life.
It feels kind of like the Truman Show, in some respects,
and I can imagine how some people might find it a little bit creepy.
The app also lets users share recordings
and follow each other to comment on posts.
RECORDING OF PARROT MAKING INDISTINCT SOUND
Right now, you can't keep your account private,
or ban anyone from following you, which opens up privacy issues.
But the developers say they are working on a few extra
features like this as the app matures.
Kate Russell, gone in 60 seconds.
And Kate's links are all available at our website, of course.
Now, it turns out that this week we are celebrating
a bit of an anniversary because this is Click episode number 750.
Yes, we are three quarters of the way to our millennium.
And after nearly 15 years of covering technology
and innovation, would you believe
the BBC has finally decided to give us...
our own YouTube channel. Yeah.
I know, we've been asking for it for quite a few years and,
if I'm honest, I think they came to the decision relatively quickly.
Anyway, we've dusted off our original YouTube trailer and,
well, I think it still works.
This radio controlled helicopter can not only fly itself, but it can
also beam v-v-v-ideo imagery
straight on to the information superhighway.
It's the smartphone skirt,
tailored from 80 different s-s-smartphones.
Electrically powered unicycle.
Personal, portable replacement for perambulation.
The screen overlays useful information
based on my location, allowing me to record whatever I want.
Augment reality...r-r-reality with extra information.
# These are the things
# These are the things The things that dreams... #
Click. Tomorrow's world...
Just to repeat, you can subscribe to that channel at:
It will contain all our best bits are loads of stuff that you
won't see on the show, too. So, enjoy that.
Thank you very much for watching, and we'll see you next time.