Timex Datalink or Timex Data Link is a line of early smartwatches manufactured by Timex and is considered a wristwatch computer. It is the first watch capable of downloading information from a computer; as the name implies, datalink watches are capable of data transfer through linking with a computer. The Datalink line was introduced in 1994 and it was co-developed with Microsoft as a wearable alternative to mainstream PDAs with additional attributes such as water resistance, that PDAs lacked, easy programmability; the watch was demonstrated by Bill Gates on 21 June 1994 in a presentation where he downloaded information from a computer monitor using bars of light and showed to the audience the downloaded appointments and other data. The early models included models 70, 150 and model 150s; the model numbers indicated the approximate number of phone numbers that could be stored in the watch memory. These early models were, at the time of their introduction, the only watches to bear the Microsoft logo.
The watches have been certified by NASA for space travel and have been used by astronauts and cosmonauts in space missions. There had been an evolution over the years as to the number and type of entries that can be stored in the various watch models as well as the mode of data transfer between computer and watch. At the time of its introduction the watch was considered high-tech. There is the Timex Beepwear Datalink series, featuring wearable pagers using the Timex datalink platform which function as electronic organisers. Although there are other watches capable of storing all kinds of data, most had either a small keyboard or buttons, which could be used to input data; the keyboard was tiny, the buttons had to be pressed to select letters from the alphabet, making data input difficult and tedious and decreasing the toughness and water resistance of the watch. In most cases data was lost; the Timex Datalink watches downloaded data wirelessly by illuminating a computer screen with a changing display encoding information to transfer, detected by the watch's sensor.
Data on the watch was always copied from the computer. The data files were accessible via the Timex-Microsoft co-developed special Datalink interface that resided in the computer; the absence of a data input interface made the watch compact, reduced points of possible water entry. The watch had a small lens at the top of its face used for data transmission by visible light. Data was transmitted from the CRT of the computer through a series of pulsating horizontal bars, that were focused by the lens and written to the watch EEPROM memory through an optoelectronic transducer operating in the visible light spectrum and employing optical scanning technology; the CRT synchronization was possible only for systems operating on Windows 95 and Windows 98. The watch was compatible with Microsoft's Schedule+ time management software. For the Datalink 70 model, the time needed to download seventy phone numbers was about twenty seconds. On the resin strap of the Timex Datalink 50 model 70301, there is a print with binary numbers which are ASCII.
The numbers on one half of the strap encode, including capitalization, the text'Listen To The Light'. The numbers on other half of the strap encode the text'If You See', given that ASCII-24 is the'Cancel' character or just'CAN', makes the complete message'Listen To The Light If You Can See'; the earlier models were the Datalink 50, Datalink 70, Datalink 150 and Datalink 150s, where the "s" was for small, a lady's watch. The 150 and 150s models are the same, except that the 150s, having a smaller display, has different display addresses from the 150, thus it needs its own programming code; the programming code is provided in the Timex Datalink software v 2.1 for all models. These watches were programmed using the same software and computer GUI. To download the settings to these early models, the user was prompted to choose the relevant watch model number; the menu choices were the same for all models. The only differences were the amount of available memory in the watches, the quantity of phone numbers, lists etc. which could be downloaded to each model.
At the time of their introduction, these watches were known as "PIM" watches, i.e. personal information managers. Bill Gates was known as an owner of one, had shown the capabilities of the watch on television; the Datalink 150 was offered as a mail-in gift upon purchase of Office 95. The model number indicated the maximum number of phone numbers that could be downloaded to the watch. For example, the model 150 could store a maximum of 150 phone numbers. Available storage was shared by phone numbers, anniversaries, lists and watch sounds; these models lacked timers or chronographs, but a simple chronograph could be added as an external application known as a wristapp. The wristapps included a notepad capable of storing forty words; the time and date parts of the digital display of the Datalink watches consisted of two main rows of seven segment displays, while the lower portion was a dot matrix with scrolling capabilities. In time display mode, the dot matrix portion of the display showed the day of the week to the left, the time zone to the right.
The default time zone was indicated as TZ1, was user customizable to designate any city in the world using IATA naming conventions. The earlier Datalink models featured dual time zone settings; the secondary time zone had the option to become the local time by pressing and holding a button until the changeover was effected. All Datalink models had the Indiglo
United States dollar
The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent units, but is divided into 1000 mills for accounting; the circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars. Since the suspension in 1971 of convertibility of paper U. S. currency into any precious metal, the U. S. dollar is, de facto, fiat money. As it is the most used in international transactions, the U. S. dollar is the world's primary reserve currency. Several countries use it as their official currency, in many others it is the de facto currency. Besides the United States, it is used as the sole currency in two British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean: the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. A few countries use the Federal Reserve Notes for paper money, while still minting their own coins, or accept U. S. dollar coins. As of June 27, 2018, there are $1.67 trillion in circulation, of which $1.62 trillion is in Federal Reserve notes.
Article I, Section 8 of the U. S. Constitution provides that the Congress has the power "To coin money". Laws implementing this power are codified at 31 U. S. C. § 5112. Section 5112 prescribes the forms; these coins are both designated in Section 5112 as "legal tender" in payment of debts. The Sacagawea dollar is one example of the copper alloy dollar; the pure silver dollar is known as the American Silver Eagle. Section 5112 provides for the minting and issuance of other coins, which have values ranging from one cent to 100 dollars; these other coins are more described in Coins of the United States dollar. The Constitution provides that "a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time"; that provision of the Constitution is made specific by Section 331 of Title 31 of the United States Code. The sums of money reported in the "Statements" are being expressed in U. S. dollars. The U. S. dollar may therefore be described as the unit of account of the United States.
The word "dollar" is one of the words in the first paragraph of Section 9 of Article I of the Constitution. There, "dollars" is a reference to the Spanish milled dollar, a coin that had a monetary value of 8 Spanish units of currency, or reales. In 1792 the U. S. Congress passed a Coinage Act. Section 9 of that act authorized the production of various coins, including "DOLLARS OR UNITS—each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver". Section 20 of the act provided, "That the money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars, or units... and that all accounts in the public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States shall be kept and had in conformity to this regulation". In other words, this act designated the United States dollar as the unit of currency of the United States. Unlike the Spanish milled dollar, the U.
S. dollar is based upon a decimal system of values. In addition to the dollar the coinage act established monetary units of mill or one-thousandth of a dollar, cent or one-hundredth of a dollar, dime or one-tenth of a dollar, eagle or ten dollars, with prescribed weights and composition of gold, silver, or copper for each, it was proposed in the mid-1800s that one hundred dollars be known as a union, but no union coins were struck and only patterns for the $50 half union exist. However, only cents are in everyday use as divisions of the dollar. XX9 per gallon, e.g. $3.599, more written as $3.599⁄10. When issued in circulating form, denominations equal to or less than a dollar are emitted as U. S. coins while denominations equal to or greater than a dollar are emitted as Federal Reserve notes. Both one-dollar coins and notes are produced today, although the note form is more common. In the past, "paper money" was issued in denominations less than a dollar and gold coins were issued for circulation up to the value of $20.
The term eagle was used in the Coinage Act of 1792 for the denomination of ten dollars, subsequently was used in naming gold coins. Paper currency less than one dollar in denomination, known as "fractional currency", was sometimes pejoratively referred to as "shinplasters". In 1854, James Guthrie Secretary of the Treasury, proposed creating $100, $50 and $25 gold coins, which were referred to as a "Union", "Half Union", "Quarter Union", thus implying a denomination of 1 Union = $100. Today, USD notes are made from cotton fiber paper, unlike most common paper, made of wood fiber. U. S. coins are produced by the United States Mint. U. S. dollar banknotes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and, since 1914, have been issued by t
Electronic mail is a method of exchanging messages between people using electronic devices. Invented by Ray Tomlinson, email first entered limited use in the 1960s and by the mid-1970s had taken the form now recognized as email. Email operates across computer networks, which today is the Internet; some early email systems required the author and the recipient to both be online at the same time, in common with instant messaging. Today's email systems are based on a store-and-forward model. Email servers accept, forward and store messages. Neither the users nor their computers are required to be online simultaneously. An ASCII text-only communications medium, Internet email was extended by Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions to carry text in other character sets and multimedia content attachments. International email, with internationalized email addresses using UTF-8, has been standardized, but as of 2017 it has not been adopted; the history of modern Internet email services reaches back to the early ARPANET, with standards for encoding email messages published as early as 1973.
An email message sent in the early 1970s looks similar to a basic email sent today. Email had an important role in creating the Internet, the conversion from ARPANET to the Internet in the early 1980s produced the core of the current services; the term electronic mail was used generically for any electronic document transmission. For example, several writers in the early 1970s used the term to describe fax document transmission; as a result, it is difficult to find the first citation for the use of the term with the more specific meaning it has today. Electronic mail has been most called email or e-mail since around 1993, but variations of the spelling have been used: email is the most common form used online, is required by IETF Requests for Comments and working groups and by style guides; this spelling appears in most dictionaries. E-mail is the format that sometimes appears in edited, published American English and British English writing as reflected in the Corpus of Contemporary American English data, but is falling out of favor in some style guides.
Mail was the form used in the original protocol standard, RFC 524. The service is referred to as mail, a single piece of electronic mail is called a message. EMail is a traditional form, used in RFCs for the "Author's Address" and is expressly required "for historical reasons". E-mail is sometimes used, capitalizing the initial E as in similar abbreviations like E-piano, E-guitar, A-bomb, H-bomb. An Internet e-mail consists of an content. Computer-based mail and messaging became possible with the advent of time-sharing computers in the early 1960s, informal methods of using shared files to pass messages were soon expanded into the first mail systems. Most developers of early mainframes and minicomputers developed similar, but incompatible, mail applications. Over time, a complex web of gateways and routing systems linked many of them. Many US universities were part of the ARPANET, which aimed at software portability between its systems; that portability helped make the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol influential.
For a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it seemed that either a proprietary commercial system or the X.400 email system, part of the Government Open Systems Interconnection Profile, would predominate. However, once the final restrictions on carrying commercial traffic over the Internet ended in 1995, a combination of factors made the current Internet suite of SMTP, POP3 and IMAP email protocols the standard; the diagram to the right shows a typical sequence of events that takes place when sender Alice transmits a message using a mail user agent addressed to the email address of the recipient. The MUA formats the message in email format and uses the submission protocol, a profile of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, to send the message content to the local mail submission agent, in this case smtp.a.org. The MSA determines the destination address provided in the SMTP protocol, in this case firstname.lastname@example.org, a qualified domain address. The part before the @ sign is the local part of the address the username of the recipient, the part after the @ sign is a domain name.
The MSA resolves a domain name to determine the qualified domain name of the mail server in the Domain Name System. The DNS server for the domain b.org responds with any MX records listing the mail exchange servers for that domain, in this case mx.b.org, a message transfer agent server run by the recipient's ISP. smtp.a.org sends the message to mx.b.org using SMTP. This server may need to forward the message to other MTAs before the message reaches the final message delivery agent; the MDA delivers it to the mailbox of user bob. Bob's MUA picks up the message using either the Post Office Protocol or the Internet Message Access Protocol. In addition to this example and complications exist in the email system: Alice or Bob may use a client connected to a corporate email system, such as IBM Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange; these systems have their own internal email format and their clients communicate with the email server using a vendor-specific, proprietary protocol. The server sends or receives email via the Internet through the product's Internet mail gateway which does any necessary reformatt
New York City
The City of New York called either New York City or New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles, New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural and media capital of the world, exerts a significant impact upon commerce, research, education, tourism, art and sports; the city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
Situated on one of the world's largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of, a separate county of the State of New York. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898; the city and its metropolitan area constitute the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. New York City is home to more than 3.2 million residents born outside the United States, the largest foreign-born population of any city in the world. In 2017, the New York metropolitan area produced a gross metropolitan product of US$1.73 trillion. If greater New York City were a sovereign state, it would have the 12th highest GDP in the world. New York is home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world. New York City traces its origins to a trading post founded by colonists from the Dutch Republic in 1624 on Lower Manhattan.
The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790, it has been the country's largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the U. S. by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is an international symbol of the U. S. and its ideals of liberty and peace. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance, environmental sustainability, as a symbol of freedom and cultural diversity. Many districts and landmarks in New York City are well known, with the city having three of the world's ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013 and receiving a record 62.8 million tourists in 2017. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconic as the world's "heart" and its "Crossroads", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, a major center of the world's entertainment industry.
The names of many of the city's landmarks and parks are known around the world. Manhattan's real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. New York is home to the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is the largest single-operator rapid transit system worldwide, with 472 rail stations. Over 120 colleges and universities are located in New York City, including Columbia University, New York University, Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top universities in the world. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, the city is home to the world's two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. In 1664, the city was named in honor of the Duke of York.
James's older brother, King Charles II, had appointed the Duke proprietor of the former territory of New Netherland, including the city of New Amsterdam, which England had seized from the Dutch. During the Wisconsinan glaciation, 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, the New York City region was situated at the edge of a large ice sheet over 1,000 feet in depth; the erosive forward movement of the ice contributed to the separation of what is now Long Island and Staten Island. That action left bedrock at a shallow depth, providing a solid foundation for most of Manhattan's skyscrapers. In the precolonial era, the area of present-day New York City was inhabited by Algonquian Native Americans, including the Lenape, whose homeland, known as Lenapehoking, included Staten Island; the first documented visit into New York Harbor by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown. He named it Nouvelle Angoulême. A Spanish expedition led by captain Estêvão Gomes, a Portuguese sailing for Emperor Charles V, arrived in New York Harbor in January 1525 and charted the mouth of the Hudson River, which he named Río de San Antonio.
The Padrón Rea
Matthew John David Hancock is a British politician of the Conservative Party serving as Member of Parliament for West Suffolk since 2010 and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care since 2018. Hancock was born in Cheshire. Hancock studied PPE at Exeter College and Economics at Christ's College, Cambridge, he worked as an economist for the Bank of England before becoming an economic advisor to George Osborne. Following his election in 2010, he served in a number of middle-ranking ministerial positions from September 2013 onwards under both David Cameron and Theresa May, he was promoted to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture and Sport in January 2018. On 9 July 2018, after the promotion of Jeremy Hunt to Foreign Secretary, Hancock was named Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Hancock was educated in Farndon, Cheshire, he graduated from Oxford University with a 1st in Philosophy and Economics, having studied at Exeter College, Oxford. He went on to earn an MPhil in Economics at the University of Cambridge, where he studied at Christ's College, Cambridge.
Hancock became a member of the Conservative Party in 1999. After university, Hancock worked for his family’s computer software company, before moving to London to work as an economist at the Bank of England, specialising in the housing market. In 2005, he became an economic adviser to the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne becoming Osborne's chief of staff. Hancock stepped down from his role with the party in February 2010 after being selected as one of the final six potential candidates for the West Suffolk constituency in the 2010 general election, he narrowly won the selection contest, which took place in Mildenhall, after four rounds of voting, beating Natalie Elphicke by 88 votes to 81 votes in the final round of voting. Hancock was elected as the Member of Parliament for West Suffolk at the 2010 general election with 24,312 votes, 13,050 votes ahead of Liberal Democrat candidate Belinda Brooks-Gordon. In June, Hancock was elected to the Public Accounts Committee, the select committee responsible for overseeing government expenditures to ensure they are effective and honest.
The frequency of his appearances in the House of Commons and contributions to debates are well above average, he has voted for tuition fees, encouraging occupational pensions and raising VAT. In January 2013, he was accused of dishonesty by Daybreak presenter Matt Barbet after claiming he had been excluded from a discussion about apprentices after turning up "just 30 seconds late". Barbet said Hancock knew he was "much more than a minute late" and he should have arrived half an hour beforehand to prepare for the interview, his opponent expressed surprise that "a minister whose Government berates'shirkers' couldn't be bothered to get out of bed to defend his own policy". In March 2013, Hancock initiated and assisted the development of the Conservative government's minimum wage policy. Against internal and external party opposition, Hancock highlighted that most economic analyses demonstrate that raising the minimum wage had "no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers".
In October 2013, he was promoted to Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise in a government reshuffle. In the July 2014 cabinet reshuffle, he was promoted again, this time to Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, Minister of State for Energy, Minister of State for Portsmouth. On 27 July he announced protection from fracking for National Parks—seen as a method of reducing anger in Conservative constituencies ahead of the election. Interviewed on the Radio 4 Today programme, he rejected the suggestion that fracking was unpopular but when challenged was unable to name a single village which supported it. In his role as Minister of State for Energy, he was criticised for hiring a private jet to fly back from a climate conference and accepting money from a key backer of climate change denial organisation Global Warming Policy Foundation. In October 2014, he apologized after retweeting a poem suggesting that the Labour Party was "full of queers", describing his actions as a "total accident".
He became Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General on 11 May 2015. He headed David Cameron’s "earn or learn" taskforce which aimed to have every young person earning or learning from April 2017, he announced that jobless 18- to 21-year-olds would be required to do work experience as well as looking for jobs, or face losing their benefits. Hancock moved to the Department for Culture and Sport as the Minister of State for Digital and Culture on 15 July 2016 after Theresa May became prime minister; as minister for digital policy, Hancock in June 2017 recommitted to a "full fibre" digital policy. This promises that the UK will enjoy "superfast broadband" at speeds of 24Mbit/s+ for 97% of the UK by 2020. Hancock was promoted from his position as a junior minister within the Culture department to the Secretary of State during the cabinet reshuffle of January 2018, he was promoted further to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on Monday 9 July 2018. In November 2018 Hancock was criticised after appearing to endorse a mobile phone health app marketed by the subscription health service company Babylon in the Evening Standard.
Babylon sponsored the newspaper article. Justin Madders wrote to Theresa May accusing Hancock of endorsing the products of a company that receives NHS funds for patients it treats, which contravenes ministerial guidelines; the ministerial code includes that ministers should no
Alfred J. Gross
Alfred J. Gross, a.k.a. Irving J. Gross was a pioneer in mobile wireless communication, he created and patented many communications devices in relation to an early version of the walkie-talkie, Citizens' Band radio, the telephone pager and the cordless telephone. Gross was born in Toronto, Canada in 1918, the son of Romanian immigrants, he grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States, his lifelong enthusiasm for radio was sparked at age nine, when traveling on Lake Erie by a steamboat. While sneaking around the boat he ended up in the radio transmissions room; the ship's operator let him listen in on transmissions. Gross turned the basement of his house into a radio station, built from scavenged junkyard parts. At sixteen he earned his amateur radio license, he used his call sign his whole life, his interest and knowledge in radio technology had grown by the time he in 1936 entered the BSEE program at Cleveland's Case of Applied Sciences. He was determined to investigate the unexplored frequency region above 100 MHz.
Between 1938 and 1941, soon after the invention of the walkie talkie in 1937 by Donald Hings, he created and patented his own version of the "walkie-talkie". During World War II, Gross had some limited involvement in building a two-way air-to-ground communications system for the U. S. OSS for use in military operations, known as the Joan-Eleanor system, it comprised a much larger aircraft-based SSTR-6 transceiver. Gross' actual contribution to the project is unclear, but the main developers on the project were Dewitt R. Goddard and Lt. Cmdr. Stephen H. Simpson; the system operated at frequencies above 250 MHz, at a much higher frequency than the enemy had thought conceivable. This allowed operatives using "Joan" to communicate with high altitude bombers carrying "Eleanor" for times of 10 to 15 minutes without the use of code words, eliminating the need for decryption, it was developed beginning in late 1942, was successful and difficult to detect behind enemy lines at the time. It was marked Top Secret by the U.
S. military until it was declassified and made public in 1976. After the war the FCC allocated the first frequencies for personal radio services. Gross formed Gross Electronics Co to produce two-way communications system to utilize these frequencies, his company was the first to receive FCC approval in 1948, he sold more than 100 thousand units of his system to farmers and the U. S. Coast Guard. Cartoonist Chester Gould asked if he could use Gross' concept of a miniaturized two-way radio in his Dick Tracy comic strip; the result was the Dick Tracy two-way wrist radio. Another breakthrough came in 1949 when he adapted his two-way radios to one-way for cordless remote telephonic signaling, he had invented the first telephone pager system. His intention for this system was to be used by medical doctors, but was met with skepticism by doctors who were afraid the system would upset patients; this same technology is used in one-way radio signaling devices such as garage door openers. In 1950 he tried in vain to interest telephone companies in mobile telephony.
Bell Telephone was uninterested, other companies were afraid of Bell's monopoly on transmission lines. Gross continued inventing, began working as a specialist in microwave and other communications systems for companies such as Sperry Corporation and General Electric, he continued working until his death at age 82. Gross has received much recognition for his work, but not limited to: 1992: Fred M. Link Award from the Radio Club of America 1984: IEEE Centennial Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, for his work in VHF and UHF mobile radio. 1997: Marconi Memorial Gold Medal of Achievement from the Veteran Wireless Operators Association 1998: Eta Kappa Nu's Vladimir Karapetoff Eminent Members' Award 1999: Edwin Howard Armstrong Achievement Award from the IEEE Communications Society 2000: IEEE Millennium Medal 2000: Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award for Invention and Innovation Wireless communication Radio In Memoriam, from IEEE Virginia Tech images of Al Gross and exhibitions Inventor of the Week — Article on Al Gross from MIT Al Gross - father of Walkie Talkies — Short article on Al Gross from a PMR446 website.
Interview with Al Gross from 1999 About.com article on walkie-talkie Al Gross recorded interviews and extensive biography Al Gross Obituary — Audio interview Hamgallery.com tribute Al Gross — Prominent Member of EMC Society ARLX014 Personal Communications Pioneer Al Gross, W8PAL, SK Patents filed to Irving A. Gross from Google patents articles about Al Gross
Classified information is material that a government body deems to be sensitive information that must be protected. Access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of people with the necessary security clearance and need to know, intentional mishandling of the material can incur criminal penalties. A formal security clearance is required to view or handle classified documents or to access classified data; the clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation. Documents and other information must be properly marked "by the author" with one of several levels of sensitivity—e.g. Restricted, confidential and top secret; the choice of level is based on an impact assessment. This includes security clearances for personnel handling the information. Although "classified information" refers to the formal categorization and marking of material by level of sensitivity, it has developed a sense synonymous with "censored" in US English. A distinction is made between formal security classification and privacy markings such as "commercial in confidence".
Classifications can be used with additional keywords that give more detailed instructions on how data should be used or protected. Some corporations and non-government organizations assign levels of protection to their private information, either from a desire to protect trade secrets, or because of laws and regulations governing various matters such as personal privacy, sealed legal proceedings and the timing of financial information releases. With the passage of time much classified information can become a bit less sensitive, or becomes much less sensitive, may be declassified and made public. Since the late twentieth century there has been freedom of information legislation in some countries, whereby the public is deemed to have the right to all information, not considered to be damaging if released. Sometimes documents are released with information still considered confidential obscured, as in the example at right; the purpose of classification is to protect information. Higher classifications protect information.
Classification formalises what constitutes a "state secret" and accords different levels of protection based on the expected damage the information might cause in the wrong hands. However, classified information is "leaked" to reporters by officials for political purposes. Several U. S. presidents have leaked sensitive information to get their point across to the public. Although the classification systems vary from country to country, most have levels corresponding to the following British definitions. Top Secret is the highest level of classified information. Information is further compartmented so that specific access using a code word after top secret is a legal way to hide collective and important information; such material would cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security if made publicly available. Prior to 1942, the United Kingdom and other members of the British Empire used Most Secret, but this was changed to match the United States' category name of Top Secret in order to simplify Allied interoperability.
The Washington Post reports in an investigation entitled Top Secret America, that per 2010 "An estimated 854,000 people... hold top-secret security clearances" in the United States. Secret material would cause "serious damage" to national security. In the United States, operational "Secret" information can be marked with an additional "LIMDIS", to limit distribution. Confidential material would cause "damage" or be prejudicial to national security if publicly available. Restricted material would cause "undesirable effects"; some countries do not have such a classification. Such a level is known as "Private Information". Official material forms the generality of government business, public service delivery and commercial activity; this includes a diverse range of information, of varying sensitivities, with differing consequences resulting from compromise or loss. OFFICIAL information must be secured against a threat model, broadly similar to that faced by a large private company; the OFFICIAL classification replaced the Confidential and Restricted classifications in April 2014 in the UK.
Unclassified is technically not a classification level, but this is a feature of some classification schemes, used for government documents that do not merit a particular classification or which have been declassified. This is because the information is low-impact, therefore does not require any special protection, such as vetting of personnel. A plethora of pseudo-classifications exist under this category. Clearance is a general classification, that comprises a variety of rules controlling the level of permission required to view some classified information, how it must be stored and destroyed. Additionally, access is restricted on a "need to know" basis. Possessing a clearance does not automatically authorize the individual to view all material classified at that level or below that level; the individual must present a legitimate "need to know" in addition to the proper level of clearance. In addition to the general risk-based classification levels, additional compartmented constraints on access exist, such as Special Intelligence, which protects intelligence sources and methods, No Foreign dissemination, which restricts dissemi