Searching for "surveillance"

Facial recognition technology breaches GDPR says Vestager

Margrethe Vestager, EU’s tech chief Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday that facial recognition technologies breach the need to give consent, which is stipulated in Europe’s data protection rules (GDPR).

“China might have data and the US might have money, but Europe has purpose,” the Commission’s VP for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age said.

The use of facial recognition technology remains highly controversial due to fears of China-type surveillance regimes and human rights violations, with Ursula von der Leyen, EC President pledging to distance Europe from these practices and to announcing new AI ethical and human-centred rules in the first 100 days of her mandate.

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more on facial recognition in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=facial+recognition

AI and privacy

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It: It’s taken 3 billion images from the internet to build a an AI driven database that allows US law enforcement agencies identify any stranger. from r/Futurology

Until now, technology that readily identifies everyone based on his or her face has been taboo because of its radical erosion of privacy. Tech companies capable of releasing such a tool have refrained from doing so; in 2011, Google’s chairman at the time said it was the one technology the company had held back because it could be used “in a very bad way.” Some large cities, including San Francisco, have barred police from using facial

But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year, according to the company, which declined to provide a list. recognition technology.

Facial recognition technology has always been controversial. It makes people nervous about Big Brother. It has a tendency to deliver false matches for certain groups, like people of color. And some facial recognition products used by the police — including Clearview’s — haven’t been vetted by independent experts.

Clearview deployed current and former Republican officials to approach police forces, offering free trials and annual licenses for as little as $2,000. Mr. Schwartz tapped his political connections to help make government officials aware of the tool, according to Mr. Ton-That.

“We have no data to suggest this tool is accurate,” said Clare Garvie, a researcher at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology, who has studied the government’s use of facial recognition. “The larger the database, the larger the risk of misidentification because of the doppelgänger effect. They’re talking about a massive database of random people they’ve found on the internet.”

Law enforcement is using a facial recognition app with huge privacy issues Clearview AI’s software can find matches in billions of internet images. from r/technology

Part of the problem stems from a lack of oversight. There has been no real public input into adoption of Clearview’s software, and the company’s ability to safeguard data hasn’t been tested in practice. Clearview itself remained highly secretive until late 2019.

The software also appears to explicitly violate policies at Facebook and elsewhere against collecting users’ images en masse.

while there’s underlying code that could theoretically be used for augmented reality glasses that could identify people on the street, Ton-That said there were no plans for such a design.

Banning Facial Recognition Isn’t Enough from r/technology

In May of last year, San Francisco banned facial recognition; the neighboring city of Oakland soon followed, as did Somerville and Brookline in Massachusetts (a statewide ban may follow). In December, San Diego suspended a facial recognition program in advance of a new statewide law, which declared it illegal, coming into effect. Forty major music festivals pledged not to use the technology, and activists are calling for a nationwide ban. Many Democratic presidential candidates support at least a partial ban on the technology.

facial recognition bans are the wrong way to fight against modern surveillance. Focusing on one particular identification method misconstrues the nature of the surveillance society we’re in the process of building. Ubiquitous mass surveillance is increasingly the norm. In countries like China, a surveillance infrastructure is being built by the government for social control. In countries like the United States, it’s being built by corporations in order to influence our buying behavior, and is incidentally used by the government.

People can be identified at a distance by their heart beat or by their gait, using a laser-based system. Cameras are so good that they can read fingerprints and iris patterns from meters away. And even without any of these technologies, we can always be identified because our smartphones broadcast unique numbers called MAC addresses.

China, for example, uses multiple identification technologies to support its surveillance state.

There is a huge — and almost entirely unregulated — data broker industry in the United States that trades on our information.

This is why many companies buy license plate data from states. It’s also why companies like Google are buying health records, and part of the reason Google bought the company Fitbit, along with all of its data.

The data broker industry is almost entirely unregulated; there’s only one law — passed in Vermont in 2018 — that requires data brokers to register and explain in broad terms what kind of data they collect.

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It from r/technews

Until now, technology that readily identifies everyone based on his or her face has been taboo because of its radical erosion of privacy. Tech companies capable of releasing such a tool have refrained from doing so; in 2011, Google’s chairman at the time said it was the one technology the company had held back because it could be used “in a very bad way.” Some large cities, including San Francisco, have barred police from using facial recognition technology.

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on social credit system in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=social+credit

smart anonymization

This startup claims its deepfakes will protect your privacy

But some experts say that D-ID’s “smart video anonymization” technique breaks the law.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614983/this-startup-claims-its-deepfakes-will-protect-your-privacy/

The upside for businesses is that this new, “anonymized” video no longer gives away the exact identity of a customer—which, Perry says, means companies using D-ID can “eliminate the need for consent” and analyze the footage for business and marketing purposes. A store might, for example, feed video of a happy-looking white woman to an algorithm that can surface the most effective ad for her in real time.

Three leading European privacy experts who spoke to MIT Technology Review voiced their concerns about D-ID’s technology and its intentions. All say that, in their opinion, D-ID actually violates GDPR.

Surveillance is becoming more and more widespread. A recent Pew study found that most Americans think they’re constantly being tracked but can’t do much about it, and the facial recognition market is expected to grow from around $4.5 billion in 2018 to $9 billion by 2024. Still, the reality of surveillance isn’t keeping activists from fighting back.

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more on deep fake in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=deep+fake

Zuckerberg politics and money

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/22/surprised-about-mark-zuckerbergs-secret-meeting-with-trump-dont-be

Thiel is notorious among Silicon Valley billionaires for explicitly endorsing Trump in 2016 and speaking at the Republican National Convention that year. Thiel, a libertarian who runs a company that enhances government surveillance efforts, has also questioned the value of women voting.

a series of dinners at Zuckerberg’s home in California with conservative pundits and activists like white supremacist Tucker Carlson of Fox News.

It’s safe to say that Zuckerberg’s politics are issue-specific and generally party-agnostic.

Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard after two years. Zuckerberg has enrolled for the past decade at the University of Davos, where rich people pretend they are smart and smart people pander to the rich. If someone chooses to study world politics from Henry Kissinger, you can assume that he will have some twisted views of how the world works.

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More on in this IMS blog:
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/04/15/no-millennials-gen-z-gen-x/

Hong Kong and technology

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more on facial recognition in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=facial+recognition

more on surveillance in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=surveillance

break up Facebook

https://nyti.ms/2LzRzwq

Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.

We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American.

It is time to break up Facebook.

America was built on the idea that power should not be concentrated in any one person, because we are all fallible. That’s why the founders created a system of checks and balances.

More legislation followed in the 20th century, creating legal and regulatory structures to promote competition and hold the biggest companies accountable.

Starting in the 1970s, a small but dedicated group of economists, lawyers and policymakers sowed the seeds of our cynicism. Over the next 40 years, they financed a network of think tanks, journals, social clubs, academic centers and media outlets to teach an emerging generation that private interests should take precedence over public ones. Their gospel was simple: “Free” markets are dynamic and productive, while government is bureaucratic and ineffective.

American industries, from airlines to pharmaceuticals, have experienced increased concentration, and the average size of public companies has tripled. The results are a decline in entrepreneurshipstalled productivity growth, and higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

From our earliest days, Mark used the word “domination” to describe our ambitions, with no hint of irony or humility.

Facebook’s monopoly is also visible in its usage statistics. About 70 percent of American adults use social media, and a vast majority are on Facebook products. Over two-thirds use the core site, a third use Instagram, and a fifth use WhatsApp. By contrast, fewer than a third report using Pinterest, LinkedIn or Snapchat. What started out as lighthearted entertainment has become the primary way that people of all ages communicate online.

The F.T.C.’s biggest mistake was to allow Facebook to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp. In 2012, the newer platforms were nipping at Facebook’s heels because they had been built for the smartphone, where Facebook was still struggling to gain traction. Mark responded by buying them, and the F.T.C. approved.

The News Feed algorithm reportedly prioritized videos created through Facebook over videos from competitors, like YouTube and Vimeo. In 2012, Twitter introduced a video network called Vine that featured six-second videos. That same day, Facebook blocked Vine from hosting a tool that let its users search for their Facebook friends while on the new network. The decision hobbled Vine, which shut down four years later.

unlike Vine, Snapchat wasn’t interfacing with the Facebook ecosystem; there was no obvious way to handicap the company or shut it out. So Facebook simply copied it. (opyright law does not extend to the abstract concept itself.)

As markets become more concentrated, the number of new start-up businesses declines. This holds true in other high-tech areas dominated by single companies, like search (controlled by Google) and e-commerce (taken over by Amazon). Meanwhile, there has been plenty of innovation in areas where there is no monopolistic domination, such as in workplace productivity (Slack, Trello, Asana), urban transportation (Lyft, Uber, Lime, Bird) and cryptocurrency exchanges (Ripple, Coinbase, Circle).

The choice is mine, but it doesn’t feel like a choice. Facebook seeps into every corner of our lives to capture as much of our attention and data as possible and, without any alternative, we make the trade.

Just last month, Facebook seemingly tried to bury news that it had stored tens of millions of user passwords in plain text format, which thousands of Facebook employees could see. Competition alone wouldn’t necessarily spur privacy protection — regulation is required to ensure accountability — but Facebook’s lock on the market guarantees that users can’t protest by moving to alternative platforms.

Mark used to insist that Facebook was just a “social utility,” a neutral platform for people to communicate what they wished. Now he recognizes that Facebook is both a platform and a publisher and that it is inevitably making decisions about values. The company’s own lawyers have argued in court that Facebook is a publisher and thus entitled to First Amendment protection.

As if Facebook’s opaque algorithms weren’t enough, last year we learned that Facebook executives had permanently deleted their own messages from the platform, erasing them from the inboxes of recipients; the justification was corporate security concerns.

Mark may never have a boss, but he needs to have some check on his power. The American government needs to do two things: break up Facebook’s monopoly and regulate the company to make it more accountable to the American people.

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We Don’t Need Social Media

The push to regulate or break up Facebook ignores the fact that its services do more harm than good

Colin Horgan, May 13, 2019

https://onezero.medium.com/we-dont-need-social-media-53d5455f4f6b

Hughes joins a growing chorus of former Silicon Valley unicorn riders who’ve recently had second thoughts about the utility or benefit of the surveillance-attention economy their products and platforms have helped create. He is also not the first to suggest that government might need to step in to clean up the mess they made

Nick Srnicek, author of the book Platform Capitalism and a lecturer in digital economy at King’s College London, wrotelast month, “[I]t’s competition — not size — that demands more data, more attention, more engagement and more profits at all costs

 

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more on Facebook in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=facebook

Jennifer Newstead privacy Facebok

Facebook’s new general counsel is a Trump adviser who helped author Patriot Act

infamous former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo wrote in his 2006 book that Newstead was the “day-to-day manager of the Patriot Act in Congress”.

The Patriot Act was passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and brought in a series of new federal crimes related to terrorism. The legislation was broad and much of the government’s expanded surveillance powers stemmed from parts of the act. It enabled, among other things, the controversial Section 215, which was used to justify the National Security Agency’s phone records collection programme.

It also had a “roving wiretap” provision, which allowed government to place a tap on all of an individual’s personal devices based purely on the approval of the notoriously permissive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

As The Verge points out, the Patriot Act also initiated the practice of “national security letters”, a procedure by which intelligence agencies can informally request data without any kind of court or ex parte authorisation, citing threats to national security. Facebook fields thousands of these requests every year, the content of which is generally subject to gag orders and therefore remains publicly unknown. In her capacity as general counsel, Newstead will be able to approve or deny these requests.

https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-makes-official-who-helped-write-patriot-act-its-top-lawyer/

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more on privacy in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2019/04/22/data-interference/

http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=privacy

Russia disconnect Internet

Russia ‘successfully tests’ its unplugged internet

24 December 2019

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50902496

“Increasingly, authoritarian countries which want to control what citizens see are looking at what Iran and China have already done.

“It means people will not have access to dialogue about what is going on in their own country, they will be kept within their own bubble.”

a “sovereign Runet”?

In Iran, the National Information Network allows access to web services while policing all content on the network and limiting external information. It is run by the state-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran.

One of the benefits of effectively turning all internet access into a government-controlled walled garden, is that virtual private networks (VPNs), often used to circumvent blocks, would not work.

Another example of this is the so-called Great Firewall of China. It blocks access to many foreign internet services, which in turn has helped several domestic tech giants establish themselves.

Russia already tech champions of its own, such as Yandex and Mail.Ru, but other local firms might also benefit.

The country plans to create its own Wikipedia and politicians have passed a bill that bans the sale of smartphones that do not have Russian software pre-installed.

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Russia Is Considering An Experiment To Disconnect From The Internet

February 11, 20194:50 PM ET  SASHA INGBER

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/11/693538900/russia-is-considering-an-experiment-to-disconnect-from-the-internet

Russia is considering a plan to temporarily disconnect from the Internet as a way to gauge how the country’s cyberdefenses would fare in the face of foreign aggression, according to Russian media.

It was introduced after the White House published its 2018 National Security Strategy, which attributed cyberattacks on the United States to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Russia’s Communications Ministry also simulated a switching-off exercise of global Internet services in 2014, according to Russian outlet RT.

Russia’s State Duma will meet Tuesday to consider the bill, according to RIA Novosti.

Roskomnadzor has also exerted pressure on Google to remove certain sites on Russian searches.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress last month that Russia, as well as other foreign actors, will increasingly use cyber operations to “threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways—to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure.”

My note: In the past, the US actions prompted other countries to consider the same:
Germanty – http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2014/07/01/privacy-and-surveillance-obama-advisor-john-podesta-every-country-has-a-history-of-going-over-the-line/

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more on cybersecurity in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=cybersecurity

more on surveillance in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=surveillance

Facial Recognition issues

Chinese Facial Recognition Will Take over the World in 2019

Michael K. Spencer Jan 14, 2018
https://medium.com/futuresin/chinese-facial-recognition-will-take-over-the-world-in-2019-520754a7f966
The best facial recognition startups are in China, by a long-shot. As their software is less biased, global adoption is occurring via their software. This is evidenced in 2019 by the New York Police department in NYC for example, according to the South China Morning Post.
The mass surveillance state of data harvesting in real-time is coming. Facebook already rates and profiles us.

The Tech Wars come down to an AI-War

Whether the NYC police angle is true or not (it’s being hotly disputed), Facebook and Google are thinking along lines that follow the whims of the Chinese Government.

SenseTime and Megvii won’t just be worth $5 Billion, they will be worth many times that in the future. This is because a facial recognition data-harvesting of everything is the future of consumerism and capitalism, and in some places, the central tenet of social order (think Asia).

China has already ‘won’ the trade-war, because its winning the race to innovation. America doesn’t regulate Amazon, Microsoft, Google or Facebook properly, that stunts innovation and ethics in technology where the West is now forced to copy China just to keep up.

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more about facial recognition in schools
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2019/02/02/facial-recognition-technology-in-schools/

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