Category Archives: Privacy

Forget Facial Recognition: DHS’s New Database, HART, Also Uses Scars, Tattoos, and Your VOICE to ID You. And Amazon Is Storing All the Data. by Daisy Luther

Good news! The government now has even better recognition technology to pick you out of a crowd. From Daisy Luther at theorganicprepper.com:

These days, you can’t really go anywhere without encountering cameras.  Going into a store? Chances are there are security cameras. Getting money at an ATM? More cameras. Driving through the streets of a city? More cameras still. Your neighbors may have those doorbells from Amazon that are surveilling the entire neighborhood.

And many of these cameras are tied into facial recognition databases, or the footage can be quite easily compared there if “authorities” are looking for somebody.

But as it turns out, it isn’t just facial recognition we have to worry about.

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Facial Recognition for your Car, by Eric Peters

In a project that is well underway, the powers that be will soon every place your car, and you, have gone. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

If you’ve ever wondered why so many new cars have Angry Samurai Face, maybe it’s because they’re annoyed about being watched all the time.

There is something called the Digital Recognition Network – which operates kind of like the fingerprint database the FBI maintains to keep track of criminals. The difference here is it’s our cars that are being kept track of.

Also that we’re not criminals.

This is a distinction of no particular relevance in the “Homeland” (doesn’t the eructation of that word make your right arm want to voluntarily snap outward and upward like a baton?) where the possibility that you might be guilty of something is sufficient to presume you are guilty.

The burden of innocence resting squarely – and perpetually – on our shoulders.

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“This Is A Major Risk”: France Rolls Out New Facial Recognition Technology, by Tyler Durden

France announces its latest abridgment of its citizens’ civil liberties and right to privacy. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Is this how French President Emmanuel Macron is choosing to celebrate 70 years of Communist rule?

In a plan that sounds eerily similar to China’s ‘social credit score’ system, Macron and the French Interior Ministry are pushing ahead plans to launch a national facial-recognition program, arguing that it “will make the state more efficient.”

According to Bloomberg, the ID program, known as “Alicem”, is set to be rolled out in November, after the launch was moved forward from an end-of-year timeline.

Despite objections from the rest of the European community, Macron appears dead-set on adopting the new system, ensuring that all French citizens will be incorporated into the project, whether they support it or not.

Even within the French government, there’s opposition to the new plan. France’s data regulator argued that the program breaches the European rule of consent, and a French privacy group is challenging the plan in France’s highest administrative court.

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The Tech Giants Are a Conduit for Fascism, by Michael Krieger

The tech giants are aiding and abetting the government’s ever-increasing repression and curtailment of liberty. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

A second former Amazon employee would spark more controversy. Deap Ubhi, a former AWS employee who worked for Lynch, was tasked with gathering marketing information to make the case for a single cloud inside the DOD. Around the same time that he started working on JEDI, Ubhi began talking with AWS about rejoining the company. As his work on JEDI deepened, so did his job negotiations. Six days after he received a formal offer from Amazon, Ubhi recused himself from JEDI, fabricating a story that Amazon had expressed an interest in buying a startup company he owned. A contracting officer who investigated found enough evidence that Ubhi’s conduct violated conflict of interest rules to refer the matter to the inspector general, but concluded that his conduct did not corrupt the process. (Ubhi, who now works in AWS’ commercial division, declined comment through a company spokesperson.)

Ubhi worsened the impression by making ill-advised public statements while still employed by the DOD. In a tweet, he described himself as “once an Amazonian, always an Amazonian.”

– From the must read ProPublica expose: How Amazon and Silicon Valley Seduced the Pentagon

That U.S. tech giants are willing participants in facilitating mass government surveillance has been widely known for a while, particularly since whistleblower Edward Snowden risked his life and liberty to tell us about it six years ago. We also know what happens to executives who don’t play ball.

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The Game of Life: Visualizing China’s Social Credit System, from The Visual Capitalist

A graphic and text explanation of China’s chilling Social Credit System, from visualcapitalist.com:

China's Social Credit System

The Game of Life: Visualizing China’s Social Credit System

In an attempt to imbue trust, China has announced a plan to implement a national ranking system for its citizens and companies. Currently in pilot mode, the new system will be rolled out in 2020, and go through numerous iterations before becoming official.

While the system may be a useful tool for China to manage its growing 1.4 billion population, it has triggered global concerns around the ethics of big data, and whether the system is a breach of fundamental human rights.

Today’s infographic looks at how China’s proposed social credit system could work, and what the implications might be.

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Face masks to decoy t-shirts: The rise of anti-surveillance fashion, by Umberto Bacchi and Adela Suliman

This is the kind of passive resistance that should be encouraged at every turn. From Umberto Bacchi and Adela Suliman at news.trust.org:

Artists and fashion designers are coming up with novel ways to stay private in public

LONDON, Sept 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As top designers wrapped up London Fashion Week and made their way to Paris to grab the world’s attention with their lavish creations, a group of artists in London were making their own fashion statement, in a bid to become invisible.

Emily Roderick, 23, and her cohorts in “The Dazzle Club” walked around the British capital last week with blue, red and black stripes painted across their faces in an effort to escape the watchful eye of facial-recognition cameras.

The artists took their silent stroll through the city’s King’s Cross area hoping their bold make-up would act as camouflage and confuse the cameras.

“We’re hiding in plain sight,” Roderick told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, explaining that bright colours and dark shades of make-up are known to hamper a camera’s ability to accurately recognise faces.

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Normal Intrusions: Globalising AI Surveillance, by Binoy Kampmark

The Repression Trade is thriving and growing. From Binoy Kampmark at orientalreview.org:

They all do it: corporations, regimes, authorities.  They all have the same reasons: efficiency, serviceability, profitability, all under the umbrella term of “security”.  Call it surveillance, or call it monitoring the global citizenry; it all comes down to the same thing.  You are being watched for your own good, and such instances should be regarded as a norm.

Given the weaknesses of international law and the general hiccupping that accompanies efforts to formulate a global right to privacy, few such restrictions, or problems, preoccupy those in surveillance.  The entire business is burgeoning, a viral complex that does not risk any abatement.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has released an unnerving reportconfirming that fact, though irritatingly using an index in doing so.  Its focus is Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.  A definition of sorts is offered for AI, being “an integrated system that incorporates information acquisition objectives, logical reasoning principles, and self-correction capacities.”

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