Author Topic: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments  (Read 479879 times)





Crafty_Dog

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Govt tracking people's movement in Wuhon Virus
« Reply #1154 on: March 29, 2020, 01:17:32 AM »
second post
WSJ
Government Tracking How People Move Around in Coronavirus Pandemic
Goal is to get location data in up to 500 U.S. cities to help plan response; privacy concerns call for “strong legal safeguards,” activist says
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started to get data through one project, dubbed the Covid-19 Mobility Data Network.

PHOTO: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/BLOOMBERG NEWS
By Byron Tau
Updated March 28, 2020 6:50 pm ET

WASHINGTON—Government officials across the U.S. are using location data from millions of cellphones in a bid to better understand the movements of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and how they may be affecting the spread of the disease.

The federal government, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local governments have started to receive analyses about the presence and movement of people in certain areas of geographic interest drawn from cellphone data, people familiar with the matter said. The data comes from the mobile advertising industry rather than cellphone carriers.
The aim is to create a portal for federal, state and local officials that contains geolocation data in what could be as many as 500 cities across the U.S., one of the people said, to help plan the epidemic response.

The data—which is stripped of identifying information like the name of a phone’s owner—could help officials learn how coronavirus is spreading around the country and help blunt its advance. It shows which retail establishments, parks and other public spaces are still drawing crowds that could risk accelerating the transmission of the virus, according to people familiar with the matter. In one such case, researchers found that New Yorkers were congregating in large numbers in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and handed that information over to local authorities, one person said. Warning notices have been posted at parks in New York City, but they haven’t been closed.

The data can also reveal general levels of compliance with stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, according to experts inside and outside government, and help measure the pandemic’s economic impact by revealing the drop-off in retail customers at stores, decreases in automobile miles driven and other economic metrics.

The CDC has started to get analyses based on location data through through an ad hoc coalition of tech companies and data providers—all working in conjunction with the White House and others in government, people said.

The CDC and the White House didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The growing reliance on mobile phone location data continues to raise concerns about privacy protections, especially when programs are run by or commissioned by governments.

Wolfie Christl, a privacy activist and researcher, said the location-data industry was “covidwashing” what are generally privacy-invading products.

“In the light of the emerging disaster, it may be appropriate to make use of aggregate analytics based on consumer data in some cases, even if data is being gathered secretly or illegally by companies,” said Mr. Christl. “As true anonymization of location data is nearly impossible, strong legal safeguards are mandatory.” The safeguards should limit how the data can be used and ensure it isn’t used later for other purposes, he said.

Privacy advocates are concerned that even anonymized data could be used in combination with other publicly accessible information to identify and track individuals.

Some companies in the U.S. location-data industry have made their data or analysis available for the public to see or made their raw data available for researchers or governments. San Francisco-based LotaData launched a public portal analyzing movement patterns within Italy that could help authorities plan for outbreaks and plans additional portals for Spain, California and New York. The company Unacast launched a public “social distancing scoreboard” that uses location data to evaluate localities on how well their population is doing at following stay-at-home orders.

Other state and local governments too have begun to commission their own studies and analyses from private companies. Foursquare Labs Inc., one of the largest location-data players, said it is in discussions with numerous state and local governments about use of its data.

Researchers and governments around the world have used a patchwork of authorities and tactics to collect mobile phone data—sometimes looking for voluntary compliance from either companies or individuals, and in other cases using laws meant for terrorism or other emergencies to collect vast amounts of data on citizens to combat the coronavirus threat.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have launched a project to track volunteer Covid-19 patients through a mobile phone app. Telecom carriers in Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries have given data over to authorities to help combat the pandemic. Israel’s intelligence agencies were tapped to use antiterrorism phone-tracking technology to map infections.

In the U.S., so far, the data being used has largely been drawn from the advertising industry. The mobile marketing industry has billions of geographic data points on hundreds of millions of U.S. cell mobile devices—mostly drawn from applications that users have installed on their phones and allowed to track their location. Huge troves of this advertising data are available for sale.

The industry is largely unregulated under existing privacy laws because consumers have opted-in to tracking and because the data doesn’t contain names or addresses—each consumer is represented by an alphanumeric string.

Cellphone carriers also have access to massive amounts of geolocation data, which is granted much stricter privacy protection under U.S. law than in most other countries. The largest U.S. carriers, including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., say they have not been approached by the government to provide location data, according to spokespeople. There have been discussions about trying to obtain U.S. telecom data for this purpose, however the legality of such a move isn’t clear.

—Patience Haggin, Drew FitzGerald and Sarah Krouse contributed to this article.
Write to Byron Tau at byron.tau@wsj.com
Corrections & Amplifications

The Covid-19 Mobility Data Network is working primarily with state and local governments. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said it was providing location data insights to the federal government. (March 28, 2020)

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Washington's Facial Recognition Law
« Reply #1155 on: April 03, 2020, 02:47:45 PM »
Washington State OKs Facial Recognition Law Seen as National Model
Microsoft-backed bill sets limits but doesn’t ban the technology

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said the new law balanced ‘the interests of law-enforcement, the business community and individuals’ right to privacy.’
PHOTO: AMANDA SNYDER/PRESS POOL
By Ryan Tracy
March 31, 2020 4:34 pm ET
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Washington state adopted a Microsoft Corp. -backed law enshrining the most detailed regulations of facial recognition in the U.S., potentially serving as a model for other states as use of the technology grows.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed the law Tuesday allowing government agencies to use facial recognition, with restrictions designed to ensure it isn’t deployed for broad surveillance or tracking innocent people.

The law makes Washington’s policy stricter than many states that don’t have any laws governing the technology, but more permissive than at least seven U.S. municipalities that have blocked government from using it out of concerns about privacy violations and bias.

Passage of the law is a win for Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash., near Seattle, and which had lobbied in favor of it. Cloud providers such as Microsoft and other technology firms see a multibillion-dollar opportunity as businesses and governments apply facial recognition to identify customers, solve crimes, control access to buildings and more. Proposed bans on the technology threaten that opportunity.

Other tech companies say they support regulation of facial recognition, but generally haven’t been as active as Microsoft in promoting legislation. Seattle-based cloud computing giant Amazon.com Inc. has called for national standards but hasn’t said much publicly on the facial recognition law in its home state.

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Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Facial Recognition Technology
Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Facial Recognition Technology
Facial recognition is going mainstream. The technology is increasingly used by law-enforcement agencies and in schools, casinos and retail stores, spurring privacy concerns. In this episode of Moving Upstream, WSJ’s Jason Bellini tests out the technology at an elementary school in Seattle and visits a company that claims its algorithm can identify potential terrorists by their facial features alone.
There are signs the Washington model is catching on in other states. Lawmakers in California, Maryland, South Dakota and Idaho introduced bills this year with text mirroring the Washington state bill, word-for-word in some sections, according to Quorum Analytics Inc., a software company that tracks legislation. Those bills haven’t advanced.

Microsoft has helped promote the legislation in other states. In Idaho, Republican State Rep. Britt Raybould modeled a facial-recognition proposal on a draft of the Washington bill she received from Microsoft after reaching out to the company, she said in an interview. “It’s a starting point,” she said of the Idaho bill.

In Hawaii, a lobbyist for Microsoft was circulating a draft of the Washington bill late last year, according to the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which says it received a copy from the lobbyist by email.

A Microsoft spokesman noted the company has been openly advocating for facial recognition regulations since 2018.

“Washington state’s new law breaks through what at times has been a polarizing debate,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post Tuesday. “This balanced approach ensures that facial recognition can be used as a tool to protect the public, but only in ways that respect fundamental rights and serve the public interest.”

The idea of regulation didn’t catch on in Hawaii. Instead, lawmakers there were considering a moratorium on government use of facial recognition before postponing this year’s legislative session amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new Washington law, if a government agency wants to use facial recognition, it has to first give public notice, hold at least three community meetings, and publish a report outlining the technology’s potential impact on civil liberties.

Police could use facial recognition for ongoing surveillance or real-time identification of people but they will need a warrant or court order first.

The law also includes checks on the technology. It can’t be used to make significant government decisions without “meaningful human review,” and government employees must be trained on the technology’s limitations.

A company providing it to the government has to allow for independent third-party testing of the system, checking for accuracy or bias. Washington state Sen. Joe Nguyen, a Democrat and the bill’s main sponsor, said that provision has national implications because problems identified in his state will have to be fixed elsewhere, too. In addition to being a part-time legislator, Mr. Nguyen works as a senior program manager at Microsoft.

Some in Washington state have criticized the law. Jennifer Lee, technology and liberty project manager for the ACLU’s local chapter, says the bill gives the government too much leeway. She noted one provision that allows police to use the technology without a warrant if “exigent circumstances exist.”

“We need a temporary ban on face surveillance, not ongoing use that allows beta testing of face surveillance on the most impacted and vulnerable communities,” Ms. Lee said.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs also lobbied against the bill, saying it placed too many bureaucratic requirements on law enforcement agencies.

“There is a version of facial recognition regulations that we are okay with,” but this law “hinders our ability to keep people safe,” said James McMahan, the group’s policy director. He pointed to a requirement that police obtain a court order before a common use of facial recognition: Identifying a missing or deceased person.

As he signed the law, Mr. Inslee, a Democrat, said it “provides state and local governments a set of guidelines around facial recognition technology while balancing the interests of law-enforcement, the business community and individuals’ right to privacy.”

Write to Ryan Tracy at ryan.tracy@wsj.com

ccp

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msft gets bill passed in their state by lobbying
« Reply #1156 on: April 03, 2020, 03:07:48 PM »
msft facial recognition

who the heck are they to do this to us?

Screw Gates, Mr pandemic expert

)I know he just resigned From BOD, so what he is pushing this stuff )

do we the people EVER have.a say in this.
yeah right it will solve crimes

how about we use it to identify illegals?


G M

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ccp

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I thought this was the left and FB GOOGLE AMZN MSFT
« Reply #1159 on: April 22, 2020, 03:44:50 AM »
["https://massprivatei.blogspot.com/2020/04/documents-reveal-feds-are-excited-to.html

Lovely"

meet the Ivanka and JayRod backed companies who just want to help out and build a surveillance state for corona and they offer their services
*for free*:

https://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/top-news/meet-companies-poised-build-kushner-backed-coronavirus-surveillance-system/.  ]

My nephew says they go to JayRod to get things done and he does so they like him.
Surely all the lobbyists and insiders do the same.

Trump wants to free states from restrictions.
But then his kids are gung ho in increasing the surveillance state behind the scenes - which takes away freedoms.





« Last Edit: April 22, 2020, 03:53:06 AM by ccp »

DougMacG

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Re: I thought this was the left and FB GOOGLE AMZN MSFT
« Reply #1160 on: April 22, 2020, 07:29:30 AM »
R.I.P.  Our Right of Privacy.  It is so violated, so gone.

I can still hear Senator/Murderer Ted Kennedy taking US Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork to task over the unenumerated right of privacy in the US constitution.  Bork's refusal to connect this with the right to slaughter your young became the disqualifier that sent him packing.  He and his ilk could never be confirmed by a US Senate, as being Borked became a verb in 1977.

Ironic to the politics of Borking is that Bork died a private man in 2012 when Democrats controlled the White House and Senate, and his eventual replacement Justice Kennedy retired in 2018 when Republicans controlled the White House and Senate.  Tough luck.

Anyway, now you have to be a right wing kook to believe in a right of privacy?

When the SWAT team busted up my property over my tenant's boyfriend (alleged) complicity in a murder, none of his contacts knew where she lived, where he slept.  But Apple, Google, Verizon or whoever knew where he was, and then so did the police.

China stole the credit reports of 145 million Americans, two thirds of the adults in America.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2020/02/10/chinese-government-hackers-charged-with-massive-equifax-hack/#48e6d5b461d6
Do you remember giving Expedia permission to hold your data, or Google, Facebook et al permission to track your everything until it is eventually hacked or just given to the government?

Surveillance is definitely a possible tool in the fight of the pandemic.  Google maps already seems to know where every car and every driver is, and who is in your car, who sleeps on the other side of your bed.  In the interest of health, how 'bout we make the new CV surveillance be an opt-in system, instead of just proceeding clandestinely.

G M

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Re: I thought this was the left and FB GOOGLE AMZN MSFT
« Reply #1161 on: April 22, 2020, 12:01:14 PM »
There are ways to opt out.


R.I.P.  Our Right of Privacy.  It is so violated, so gone.

I can still hear Senator/Murderer Ted Kennedy taking US Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork to task over the unenumerated right of privacy in the US constitution.  Bork's refusal to connect this with the right to slaughter your young became the disqualifier that sent him packing.  He and his ilk could never be confirmed by a US Senate, as being Borked became a verb in 1977.

Ironic to the politics of Borking is that Bork died a private man in 2012 when Democrats controlled the White House and Senate, and his eventual replacement Justice Kennedy retired in 2018 when Republicans controlled the White House and Senate.  Tough luck.

Anyway, now you have to be a right wing kook to believe in a right of privacy?

When the SWAT team busted up my property over my tenant's boyfriend (alleged) complicity in a murder, none of his contacts knew where she lived, where he slept.  But Apple, Google, Verizon or whoever knew where he was, and then so did the police.

China stole the credit reports of 145 million Americans, two thirds of the adults in America.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2020/02/10/chinese-government-hackers-charged-with-massive-equifax-hack/#48e6d5b461d6
Do you remember giving Expedia permission to hold your data, or Google, Facebook et al permission to track your everything until it is eventually hacked or just given to the government?

Surveillance is definitely a possible tool in the fight of the pandemic.  Google maps already seems to know where every car and every driver is, and who is in your car, who sleeps on the other side of your bed.  In the interest of health, how 'bout we make the new CV surveillance be an opt-in system, instead of just proceeding clandestinely.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments
« Reply #1162 on: April 22, 2020, 12:28:40 PM »
FB just blocked my posting of GM's Reply #1158.

G M

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Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments
« Reply #1163 on: April 22, 2020, 01:08:18 PM »
FB just blocked my posting of GM's Reply #1158.

Gee, I wonder why...

G M

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Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments
« Reply #1164 on: April 22, 2020, 01:16:22 PM »
FB just blocked my posting of GM's Reply #1158.

Gee, I wonder why...


ccp

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Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments
« Reply #1165 on: April 23, 2020, 07:22:42 AM »
https://www.cnet.com/news/pandemic-drone-test-flights-will-monitor-social-distancing/

it is not too far off to expect a device that can monitor out thoughts

and if not PC enough also gave a gatling gun to dispose of us
or another type device to zap us any time we think out of line.

That would be the lefts goal

G M

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Containment
« Reply #1166 on: April 28, 2020, 04:39:42 PM »

G M

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ccp

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more on gorgon stare wikipedia
« Reply #1168 on: May 03, 2020, 05:10:35 AM »

Crafty_Dog

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FTC Commisioner: Wuhan Virus demands a privacy law
« Reply #1169 on: May 17, 2020, 07:52:03 AM »


Coronavirus Demands a Privacy Law
Silicon Valley’s role in contact tracing and social-distancing enforcement has Americans worried.
By Christine Wilson
May 13, 2020 6:58 pm ET

Reopening the economy and returning to “normal life” in the absence of a Covid-19 vaccine may be possible, we are told, with a combination of widespread testing and contact tracing. But these solutions will depend heavily on technology, and Silicon Valley doesn’t have the best record when it comes to protecting consumer privacy. Congress must step into the breach with federal privacy legislation establishing guardrails for tech companies’ handling of our most personal information.

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from government overreach, but the “reasonable expectation of privacy” test complicates the relationship between government action and commercial data collection. Georgetown Law professor Paul Ohm has observed that “the dramatic expansion of technologically-fueled corporate surveillance of our private lives automatically expands police surveillance too,” given how “the Supreme Court has construed the reasonable expectation of privacy test and the third-party doctrine.”

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Across the country, people are being fined and jailed for not following social-distancing guidelines. It’s one thing for the cops to break up a backyard barbecue because of a neighbor’s complaint, but if police rely on data collection rather than direct observation to enforce social-distancing rules, their actions may run afoul of the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court has reined in warrantless tracking through Global Positioning System devices placed on vehicles and through cellphone data.

Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Poland have required people infected with or exposed to the novel coronavirus to download smartphone apps so the government can make sure they are following quarantine restrictions. India recently mandated use of a contact tracing app for office workers.

While the U.S. has yet to impose similar mandates, tech companies have begun collecting pandemic-related data. Facebook is joining with universities to distribute a symptom survey to users that will provide “precise data” that “will help governments and public health officials . . . make decisions,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said. Apple and Google are working together to support opt-in contact-tracing apps from public health authorities.

But a Washington Post poll found that only 40% of respondents were willing and able to use such an app; half of the polled smartphone users don’t trust tech companies to protect the anonymity of users who test positive for Covid-19. Moreover, a new Brookings Institution report questions the benefits of contact tracing via apps, which may be less accurate than human tracers and potentially vulnerable to hacking.


ILLUSTRATION: BARBARA KELLEY
The Federal Trade Commission has long used its broad consumer protection authority to safeguard Americans’ privacy and data security, but its specific privacy authority is limited. I have called on Congress to pass privacy legislation that would provide more transparency to consumers and greater certainty to businesses about the types of data that can be collected and how those data can be used and shared.

Comprehensive legislation is needed to help companies navigate issues such as accountability, risk management, data minimization, deidentification and vendor management. With established legal boundaries, companies would be better equipped to determine when the government is asking them to cross the line for the public good, and whether they should require a subpoena or inform customers before turning over data.

In the absence of baseline privacy legislation, some coronavirus researchers have justified their use of mobile-device data by citing customers’ prior consent to data collection. Last week, five Republican senators led by Roger Wicker of Mississippi introduced a bill that would require tech companies to get “affirmative express consent” before collecting Covid-19 data. Congress will decide whether this is the right approach, but the assumption that consumers have already given informed consent for quarantine-compliance monitoring is unsupportable. Cellphone users often don’t read the fine print. They have little understanding of the actual scope of how their data are collected, analyzed and shared.

Covid-19 presents new and complex choices about information collection, dissemination and use. Care is required, because privacy and data-security missteps can cause people irrevocable harm. Companies must be transparent with consumers, assess and manage risk in collecting and using data, and share only those data necessary to achieve stated goals. Similar principles of necessity and proportionality should guide governments when seeking private industry information.

But why take chances? Samuel Johnson wrote, “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” With the health, privacy and Fourth Amendment rights of Americans at stake, congressional minds should concentrate on turning draft privacy bills into comprehensive legislation, providing guidance and clarity now and in the years to come. Otherwise, with mobile devices acting as “invisible policemen,” Justice William O. Douglas’s warning of “a bald invasion of privacy, far worse than the general warrants prohibited by the Fourth Amendment,” may come to pass.

Ms. Wilson is a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.

DougMacG

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Re: FTC Commisioner: Wuhan Virus demands a privacy law
« Reply #1170 on: May 17, 2020, 11:45:08 AM »
Coronavirus Demands a Privacy Law
Silicon Valley’s role in contact tracing and social-distancing enforcement has Americans worried.
By Christine Wilson
May 13, 2020 6:58 pm ET
...
Ms. Wilson is a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.

Refreshing to see a person in a position of government power warn of the dangers of runaway government powers.

Just to pick out one point: “the dramatic expansion of technologically-fueled corporate surveillance of our private lives automatically expands police surveillance too,”

[Ostensibly] because of coronavirus, government wants universal tracking powers of al people.  That means this is exactly the time to identify what privacy rights we must have, and frame how we will protect them.  Why not take this moment in history and pass and ratify the amendment that draws the line.

ccp

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Re: Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate) and the 4th & 9th Amendments
« Reply #1171 on: May 18, 2020, 06:27:44 AM »
"Ostensibly] because of coronavirus, government wants universal tracking powers of al people.  That means this is exactly the time to identify what privacy rights we must have, and frame how we will protect them.  Why not take this moment in history and pass and ratify the amendment that draws the line."

YES!

Seems like Josh Hawley is one of the few I know of who is going in this direction

The tech control over our lives has been a runaway train
and they are getting in bed and intimate lovers with government (pentagon other agencies , and now Gates with the corona thing)

This is the WORST possible combination I can dream of .

I guess Bezos could run for president ...........


DougMacG

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Re: Gorgon Stare over MPLS
« Reply #1173 on: May 29, 2020, 04:21:34 PM »
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/us-govt-now-flying-mq-9-reaper-drone-over-minneapolis-riots-worsen

We had a helicopter hovering over where I was today.  It could have been news crew or Hwy Petrol or Natl guard.  I wonder if the have enough long range detailed video to investigate what's happening below.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 04:25:37 PM by DougMacG »

G M

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Re: Gorgon Stare over MPLS
« Reply #1174 on: May 29, 2020, 06:40:30 PM »
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/us-govt-now-flying-mq-9-reaper-drone-over-minneapolis-riots-worsen

We had a helicopter hovering over where I was today.  It could have been news crew or Hwy Petrol or Natl guard.  I wonder if the have enough long range detailed video to investigate what's happening below.

Generally surveillance aircraft (Manned/unmanned) will be at such a high altitude you won't see or hear them.

Crafty_Dog

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NYT: Facial Recognition
« Reply #1175 on: June 25, 2020, 12:36:47 PM »
A case for banning facial recognition

 

Ziv Schneider




 
By Shira Ovide





Facial recognition software might be the world’s most divisive technology.

Law enforcement agencies and some companies use it to identify suspects and victims by matching photos and video with databases like driver’s license records. But civil liberties groups say facial recognition contributes to privacy erosion, reinforces bias against black people and is prone to misuse.


San Francisco and a major provider of police body cameras have barred its use by law enforcement, and IBM on Monday backed away from its work in this area. Some proposals to restructure police departments call for tighter restrictions on their use of facial recognition.

Timnit Gebru, a leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence team, explained why she believes that facial recognition is too dangerous to be used right now for law enforcement purposes. These are edited excerpts from our virtual discussion at the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society on Monday.


Ovide: What are your concerns about facial recognition?

Gebru: I collaborated with Joy Buolamwini at the M.I.T. Media Lab on an analysis that found very high disparities in error rates [in facial identification systems], especially between lighter-skinned men and darker-skinned women. In melanoma screenings, imagine that there’s a detection technology that doesn’t work for people with darker skin.

Continue reading the main story


I also realized that even perfect facial recognition can be misused. I’m a black woman living in the U.S. who has dealt with serious consequences of racism. Facial recognition is being used against the black community. Baltimore police during the Freddie Gray protests used facial recognition to identify protesters by linking images to social media profiles.
But a police officer or eyewitness could also look at surveillance footage and mug shots and misidentify someone as Jim Smith. Is software more accurate or less biased than humans?

That depends. Our analysis showed that for many, facial recognition was way less accurate than humans.
The other problem is something called automation bias. If your intuition tells you that an image doesn’t look like Smith, but the computer model tells you that it is him with 99 percent accuracy, you’re more likely to believe that model.


There’s also an imbalance of power. Facial recognition can be completely accurate, but it can still be used in a way that is detrimental to certain groups of people.
The combination of overreliance on technology, misuse and lack of transparency — we don’t know how widespread the use of this software is — is dangerous.

A maker of police body cameras recently discussed using artificial intelligence to analyze video footage and possibly flag law-enforcement incidents for review. What’s your take on using technology in that way?
My gut reaction is that a lot of people in technology have the urge to jump on a tech solution without listening to people who have been working with community leaders, the police and others proposing solutions to reform the police.

Do you see a way to use facial recognition for law enforcement and security responsibly?
It should be banned at the moment. I don’t know about the future.



Tip of the Week
Stopping trackers in their tracks

Brian X. Chen, a consumer technology writer at the The New York Times, writes in to explain ways that emails can identify when and where you click, and how to dial back the tracking.
Google’s Gmail is so popular in large part because its artificial intelligence is effective at filtering out spam. But it does little to combat another nuisance: email tracking.

The trackers come in many forms, like an invisible piece of software inserted into an email or a hyperlink embedded inside text. They are frequently used to detect when someone opens an email and even a person’s location when the message is opened.
When used legitimately, email trackers help businesses determine what types of marketing messages to send to you, and how frequently to communicate with you. This emailed newsletter has some trackers as well to help us gain insight into the topics you like to read about, among other metrics.

But from a privacy perspective, email tracking may feel unfair. You didn’t opt in to being tracked, and there’s no simple way to opt out.
Fortunately, many email trackers can be thwarted by disabling images from automatically loading in Gmail messages. Here’s how to do that:

•   Inside Gmail.com, look in the upper right corner for the icon of a gear, click on it, and choose the “Settings” option.
•   In the settings window, scroll down to “Images.” Select “Ask before displaying external images.”



With this setting enabled, you can prevent tracking software from loading automatically. If you choose, you can agree to load the images. This won’t stop all email tracking, but it’s better than nothing.

Crafty_Dog

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NYT: Facial Recognition 2.0
« Reply #1176 on: June 25, 2020, 12:52:55 PM »
second post


June 25, 2020

When the police think software is magic

 

Brian Matthew Hart




 
By Shira Ovide





A lot of technology is pretty dumb, but we think it’s smart. My colleague Kashmir Hill showed the human toll of this mistake.

Her article detailed how Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, a black man in Michigan, was accused of shoplifting on the basis of flawed police work that relied on faulty facial recognition technology. The software showed Williams’s driver’s license photo among possible matches with the man in the surveillance images, leading to Williams’s arrest in a crime he didn’t commit.

(In response to Kash’s article, prosecutors apologized for what happened to Williams and said he could have his case expunged.)

Kash talked to me about how this happened, and what the arrest showed about the limits and accuracy of facial recognition technology.

Shira: What a mess up. How did this happen?

Kash: The police are supposed to use facial recognition identification only as an investigative lead. But instead, people treat facial recognition as a kind of magic. And that’s why you get a case where someone was arrested based on flawed software combined with inadequate police work.

But humans, not just computers, misidentify people in criminal cases.
Absolutely. Witness testimony is also very troubling. That has been a selling point for many facial recognition technologies.

Is the problem that the facial recognition technology is inaccurate?
That’s one problem. A federal study of facial recognition algorithms found them to be biased and to wrongly identify people of color at higher rates than white people. The study included the two algorithms used in the image search that led to Williams’s arrest.


Sometimes the algorithm is good and sometimes it’s bad, and there’s not always a great way to tell the difference. And there’s usually no requirement for vetting the technology from policymakers, the government or law enforcement.
What’s the broader problem?

Companies that sell facial recognition software say it doesn’t give a perfect “match.” It gives a score of how likely the facial images in databases match the one you search. The technology companies say none of this is probable cause for arrest. (At least, that’s how they talk about it with a reporter for The New York Times.)
But on the ground, officers see an image of a suspect next to a photo of the likeliest match, and it seems like the correct answer. I have seen facial recognition work well with some high-quality close-up images. But usually, police officers have grainy videos or a sketch, and computers don’t work well in those cases.


It feels as if we know computers are flawed, but we still believe the answers they spit out?

I wrote about the owner of a Kansas farm who was harassed by law enforcement and random visitors because of a glitch in software that maps people’s locations from their internet addresses. People incorrectly thought the mapping software was flawless. Facial recognition has the same problem. People don’t drill down into the technology, and they don’t read the fine print about the inaccuracies.


Hey, big tech: What about big structural change?

Tech companies shouldn’t say they want to help fight entrenched global problems like climate change and racial injustice without taking a hard look at how their products make things worse.

That was the point that Kevin Roose, a technology columnist for The New York Times, made about Facebook, Google and other internet companies that have proclaimed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and announced donations, changes to their work force and other supportive measures in recent weeks.

These are good steps. But as Kevin wrote and discussed on “The Daily” podcast, the companies haven’t tackled the ways that their internet hangouts have been created to reward exaggerated viewpoints that undermine movements like Black Lives Matter. They also haven’t addressed how their rewarding of boundary-pushing online behavior has contributed to racial division.
Kevin said the tech companies’ actions were like fast-food chains getting together to fight obesity “by donating to a vegan food co-op, rather than by lowering their calorie counts.”



I have similar feelings about Amazon’s creation of a $2 billion fund to back technologies that seek to combat climate change. Previously, Amazon had announced pledges to reduce its own carbon emissions by, for example, shifting its package-delivery fleet to electric vehicles. Again, great. But.

It’s not clear that Amazon’s efforts can fully offset the carbon emissions of delivering packages fast, or shipping bottles of laundry detergent across the country, or letting people try to return stuff without thinking twice.

In short, Amazon’s carbon pledges might be nibbling around the edges of a problem to avoid considering how the company has shaped our shopping behaviors in an environmentally harmful way.

Big structural changes are incredibly hard — for the companies and us. I’m not saying big tech companies necessarily have an obligation to fight racism or environmental destruction. But the companies say that’s what they want to do. They might not be able to make a big difference without fundamentally changing how they operate.



Before we go …

•   Great! Now do more: Google said it would start automatically deleting logs of people’s web and app activity and data on our location after 18 months, my colleague Dai Wakabayashi reported. This change applies only to new accounts, but it’s a healthy step to put some limits on the stockpiles of information Google has about us. Here’s one more idea: Collect less data on us in the first place.
•   The trustbusters are working hard on Google: Attorney General William Barr is unusually involved in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Google abuses its power, my colleagues David McCabe and Cecilia Kang write. (Here is my explanation of what’s happening with Google.) Barr’s interest shows the government is taking seriously its look into the power of big tech companies, but it also risks criticism that the investigation has more political than legal motivations.
•   Tilting at windmills, but … President Trump’s campaign is considering drawing more supporters to its own smartphone app or other alternatives to big internet hangouts like Facebook and Twitter, The Wall Street Journal reported. There’s no chance Mr. Trump or his campaign can ditch big internet sites, but they are worried about social media policies that have limited some of their inflammatory posts. They share the fears of many people and organizations, including news outlets, that wish they relied less on the large internet hangouts to get noticed.



Hugs to this
It’s eerie, sweet and funny to see this Barcelona musical performance in a concert hall with houseplants filling the seats. (The plants will be donated to health care workers.)



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The real pandemic
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