Latest Issue

Who needs digital privacy?

A new generation of digital tracking technologies can now follow your every move, unleashing a world of personalised adverts. Privacy campaigners are furious. But embracing these tools may be the only way to save the media from bankruptcy
Peter Bazalgette  

We all need digital privacy

Peter Bazalgette's apologia for dangerous new internet tracking technologies fails to realise that, without privacy protection, our economy will suffer
Becky Hogge  

Are we losing the virus wars?

The openness of "generative" technologies like the PC and the internet has led to great innovations—but also to an upward spiral of viruses, worms and spam. Such bad code threatens to derail the internet and promote "sterile" appliances like the…
Jonathan Zittrain  

The Silicon Valley of China

On my 3,000-mile journey east to west along China's Route 312, I stumble across the giant city of Hefei. It is almost unknown outside China, but it aspires to be the country's Silicon Valley by 2020, and its aspirations are…
Rob Gifford  

Making national identity work

The government should not scrap its ID scheme but radically rethink it. It should postpone the idea of the ID card and focus instead on allocating a unique national identity number, backed by biometrics, to each citizen—that is all that…
David Birch  

Virtual worlds and second lives

Over the last year, the virtual world Second Life has grown from a niche activity into a major phenomenon. Thousands are making money from it, and corporations are taking an interest. The distinction between real and virtual worlds is becoming…
Victor Keegan  

The future of proof

The use of computers means that modern mathematical proofs can run to millions of pages. Such proofs can never be fully verified by humans alone. Does this mean, as some argue, the death of proof?
Ian Stewart  

The DNA computer

Scientists are attempting to create an entirely new kind of computer, one based on the building blocks of life. But don't get rid of your laptop just yet
Philip Ball  

King Google

Google is worth billions because it delivers readers to advertisers better than any other media outlet—despite not always being the best search engine
Andrew Brown  

A better class of ID card

Like it or not, Britain will have an ID card scheme within a few years. But the government may be missing a trick: modern technologies mean that a national identity scheme can do much more than simply prevent people doing…
David Birch