Clearview AI Helps Law Enforcement With Facial Recognition

In a long read from NYT, Kashmir Hill writes about a startup called Clearview AI that works with law enforcement on facial recognition.

You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.

Your Online Activity is a Social Credit Score

Violet Blue has an interesting take, that of your online activity as a social credit score. The SCC is something we usually associate with China, but we’re seeing trends suggesting America is moving toward a similar system.

Combine this with companies like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and yes, Airbnb deciding what legal behaviors are acceptable for service, and now we’re looking at groups of historically marginalized people being denied involvement in mainstream economic, political, cultural and social activities — at scale.

Students Want to Ban College Facial Recogntion

Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Fight for the Future are teaming up to ban college facial recognition from campuses.

Facial recognition surveillance spreading to college campuses would put students, faculty, and community members at risk…Schools that are already using this technology are conducting unethical experiments on their students. Students and staff have a right to know if their administrations are planning to implement biometric surveillance on campus. Grassroots organizing stopped facial recognition from ruining music festivals. Now we’re going to stop it from invading university campuses.

Scotland Police to Use ‘Cyber Kiosks’ to Extract Smartphone Data

Starting January 20, 2020 Scotland police will use devices called cyber kiosks to analyze the contents of smartphones during investigations.

Police Scotland will only examine a digital device where there is a legal basis and where it is necessary, justified and proportionate to the incident or crime under investigation.

Cyber kiosks used by Police Scotland will not be enabled to store data from digital devices.  Once an examination is complete, all device data is securely deleted from the cyber kiosk.

Fresh Cambridge Analytica Leaks Reveal Scope of Manipulation

A fresh wave of Cambridge Analytica leaks is being disseminated by the press, and it reveals that its misinformation and manipulation reached at least 65 countries.

Platforms whose profiteering purpose is to track and target people at global scale — which function by leveraging an asymmetrical ‘attention economy’ — have zero incentive to change or have change imposed upon them. Not when the propaganda-as-a-service business remains in such high demand…

This campaign is still going, because Cambridge Analytica shut down and renamed itself as Emerdata.

Techno Artist Curtis Wallen Created a ‘Clandestine Communication Network’

Curtis Wallen’s latest project, called Proposition For An On Demand Clandestine Communication Network, tells people how to avoid surveillance and make a secret phone call.

This is not easy, of course. In fact, it’s really, comically hard. “If the CIA can’t even keep from getting betrayed by their cell phones, what chance do we have?” he says. Still, Wallen believes PropCom could theoretically keep users’ activities hidden. It’s hard, he emphasizes, but not impossible.

He basically uses a prepaid burner phone, a Faraday bag, and an encrypted phone number. I hope he bought the phone from a place that doesn’t use cameras or facial recognition, because that could help trace him.