Big Brother


Nvidia Making Facial Recognition AI for Smart City Surveillance

21st Feb 2018

Tech company Nvidia announced Thursday that it has partnered with AI developer Any Vision to bring a new type of surveillance technology to smart cities.

Both companies are working on bringing automatic facial recognition into closed-circuit television surveillance cameras, Mashable reports.

Tech company Nvidia announced Thursday that it has partnered with AI developer Any Vision to bring a new type of surveillance technology to smart cities.

Both companies are working on bringing automatic facial recognition into closed-circuit television surveillance cameras, Mashable reports.

According to Anyvision, the technology can continuously scan for faces 24/7, and automatically identify and track individuals with 99% accuracy. Then the systems algorithms, with the help of human monitors, will compare identified faces with criminal databases.The technology is also meant to be scalable across platforms, from smartphones to computers

This initiative is part of Nvidia’s Metropolis program. The company has already partnered with Cisco, Genetec, Omni AI, and MotionLoft with the goal of bri

 

source/read more: http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2018/02/nvidia-makes-facial-recognition-ai-surveilance/146064/

Georgia school to drug-test students by using hair samples

\19th Feb 2018

A private school in east Georgia intends to start drug-testing its oldest students.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that Brookstone School in Columbus recently announced that the drug-testing of students in grades 8-12 will be voluntary next school year – and then mandatory in succeeding years.

Brookstone plans to use students’ hair samples which are sent to Psychemedics Corp. to conduct the testing, the newspaper reported. The Massachusetts-based company would then provide test results within a few days.

Psychemedics automatically will test Brookstone students for 18 types of drugs. Alcohol isn’t among them, but parents and guardians may request their child’s test to include alcohol screening, the newspaper reported.

The focus of the program is the health and well-being of students, Brookstone said in a statement.

“There is a national drug crisis impacting all communities and all schools,” it said. “Brookstone is committed to responding to this national health issue and being fully engaged in proactively making a positive difference in the lives of its students.”

 

 

source/read more:http://www.ajc.com/news/local/georgia-school-drug-test-students-using-hair-samples/FODr4nVXUeaX2Oc1WyJH1L/

 

Family violence ‘perpetrators’ to be fitted with tracking devices, regardless of conviction

4th Feb 2018

The worst of Tasmania’s family violence perpetrators will soon be fitted with tracking devices, regardless of whether they have been convicted of a crime.

New laws mean Tasmania Police can apply to courts to force offenders to wear ankle bracelets that monitor their movements around the clock, as a condition of a Family Violence Order.

Victims can also volunteer to be monitored, in a bid to increase their safety in public spaces.

“This can act as a deterrent but also if an offence is committed they can provide evidence,” Inspector Robert Blackwood said.

Spain and Portugal are trialling a similar idea and New South Wales recently started putting the trackers on some perpetrators who have exiting Family Violence Orders against them, as they leave jail.

But Tasmania is taking it further.

In an Australian-first, police can now apply to a magistrate to have a tracker put on people who have never been convicted of an offence – an allegation or a history of violence (even without a successful prosecution) could be enough to see some people tracked.

“It’s certainly the more serious family violence perpetrators that we’d be making application to,” Inspector Blackwood said=

“They’re going to need to have a history of family violence, they may be charged with a family violence offence as well,” Inspector Blackwood said.

It means that police can proactively monitor known offenders and act to intervene when they get too close to their victims rather than scramble to respond once a protection or restraint order has been breached.

Previously they could only act after they were notified of a breach, which in some cases meant the victim had again been assaulted by their abuser.

Unlike the NSW initiative, victims can also opt to carry a GPS device so police can monitor where their abuser is in relation to them and warn them if they get too close.

“They’re not actually fitted with a device permanently, they just carry a device and what that allows us to do is monitor where the victim is in proximity to where the family violence perpetrator is,” Inspector Blackwood said.

“An example is the victim is within a shopping centre and the offender, aware or unaware that the victim is at that location, is approaching that shopping centre.

“We could then notify the victim that the perpetrator is within a certain proximity of them and activate that safety plan that’s already been established and also arrange a police response.”

Surprise support

Victims will not be able to monitor their abuser themselves.

“The victim does not have access to any information about the location of the perpetrator, they just carry a device, so the monitoring centre becomes aware when they are in proximity of each other and we can take action,” Inspector Blackwood said.

 

 

 

source/read more:http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-04/tas-family-violence-perpetrators-to-be-get-tracking-devices/9394340

Biometrics could replace boarding passes on international flights within 4 years

3rd Feb 2018

Goodbye passport, so long boarding pass. And get ready for this — your means of entry at airports could soon just be your face.

Dan Tanciar, a top official with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, told USA TODAY that biometrics for international travelers, which allow passengers to board a flight or clear passport control via a photo, is right around the corner.The plan is to begin with international flights then expand to domestic, he added.

“On inbound international travel, you’ll be able to leave the passport in your pocket,” he added.

Tanciar says biometrics at the airport works by matching the picture the government already has, your passport photo, with a new image generated at the airport.

Using biometric technology for domestic flights will take longer to implement, he says, because the TSA doesn’t have the same kind of national database of photos as the U.S. government does with passports. Each state would have to come together to merge their driver’s license IDs.

Three airlines are currently testing limited biometric entry: JetBlue, British Airways and Delta at airports in Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles, but passports are still involved.

Delta, in its test, has ditched the boarding pass only for flights from Atlanta to Paris, while JetBlue offers the service from Boston to Aruba.

At Los Angeles International Airport, British Airways is offering biometric entry for some international flights, instead of a boarding pass. Lufthansa, Qantas and Korean Air plan to install similar offerings at LAX this month.

The San Jose airport hopes to go 100% biometric for international travels this year. “Our intention is to be the first airport in the United States” to feature the service for all international flights, says Rebecca Baer, the deputy director of Innovation and business development at SJC.

Baer, along with Tanciar, spoke this week at the APEX Tech conference in Los Angeles, put on by the Airline Passenger Experience Association.

For domestic flights, she sees a way around waiting for the TSA to join Customs in adding the services by using an opt-in system, similar to how fliers sign up (and pay) with the TSA for preauthorized clearances at airports.

“I could voluntarily give the airline or government my pictures and verify my ID the same way we do with a passport, like we do with a precheck,” she says.

 

 

source/read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/02/01/biometrics-could-replace-boarding-passes-international-flights-within-4-years/1085602001/

The NSA’s voice-recognition system raises hard questions for Echo and Google Home

23rd Jan 2018

Suppose you’re looking for a single person, somewhere in the world. (We’ll call him Waldo.) You know who he is, nearly everything about him, but you don’t know where he’s hiding. How do you find him?

The scale is just too great for anything but a computerized scan. The first chance is facial recognition — scan his face against cameras at airports or photos on social media — although you’ll be counting on Waldo walking past a friendly camera and giving it a good view. But his voice could be even better: How long could Waldo go without making a phone call on public lines? And even if he’s careful about phone calls, the world is full of microphones — how long before he gets picked up in the background while his friend talks to her Echo?

As it turns out, the NSA had roughly the same idea. In an Intercept piece on Friday, reporter Ava Kofman detailed the secret history of the NSA’s speaker recognition systems, dating back as far as 2004. One of the programs was a system known as Voice RT, which was able to match speakers to a given voiceprint (essentially solving the Waldo problem), along with generating basic transcriptions. According to classified documents, the system was deployed in 2009 to track the Pakistani army’s chief of staff, although officials expressed concern that there were too few voice clips to build a viable model. The same systems scanned voice traffic to more than 100 Iranian delegates’ phones when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited New York City in 2007.

We’ve seen voice recognition systems like this before — most recently with the Coast Guard — but there’s never been one as far-reaching as the Voice RT, and it raises difficult new questions about voice recordings. The NSA has always had broad access to US phone infrastructure, something driven home by the early Snowden documents, but the last few years have seen an explosion of voice assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, each of which floods more voice audio into the cloud where it could be vulnerable to NSA interception. Is home assistant data a target for the NSA’s voice scanning program? And if so, are Google and Amazon doing enough to protect users?

In previous cases, law enforcement has chiefly been interested in obtaining specific incriminating data picked up by a home assistant. In the Bentonville murder case last year, police sought recordings or transcripts from a specific Echo, hoping the device might have triggered accidentally during a pivotal moment. If that tactic worked consistently, it might be a privacy concern for Echo and Google Home owners — but it almost never does. Devices like the Echo and Google Home only retain data after hearing their wake word (“Okay Google” or “Alexa”), which means all police would get is a list of intentional commands. Security researchers have been trying to break past that wake-word safeguard for years, but so far, they can’t do it without an in-person firmware hack, at which point you might as well just install your own microphone.

But the NSA’s tool would be after a person’s voice instead of any particular words, which would make the wake-word safeguard much less of an issue. If you can get all the voice commands sent back to Google or Amazon servers, you’re guaranteed a full profile of the device owner’s voice, and you might even get an errant houseguest in the background. And because speech-to-text algorithms are still relatively new, both Google and Amazon keep audio files in the cloud as a way to catalog transcription errors. It’s a lot of data, and The Intercept is right to think that it would make a tempting target for the NSA.

When police try to collect recordings from a voice assistant, they have to play by roughly the same warrant rules as your email or Dropbox files — but the NSA might have a way to get around the warrant too. Collecting the data would still require a court order (in the NSA’s case, one approved by the FISA court), but the data wouldn’t necessarily need to be collected. In theory, the NSA could appeal to platforms to scan their own archives, arguing they would be helping to locate a dangerous terrorist. It would be similar to the scans companies already run for child abuse, terrorism or copyright-protected material on their networks, all of which are largely voluntary. If companies complied, the issue could be kept out of conventional courts entirely.

 

 

source/read more: https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-redefines-time-with-open-source-flicks/

 

Experts sound alarm as biometric data from driver’s licences added to government database

 

15th Jan 2017

Your face is becoming the latest weapon in the world of digital surveillance, and the humble driver’s licence looms as a game-changer in tracking individuals through both the real and virtual world.

Experts warn your biometric data may already be vulnerable to misuse by criminals and terrorists, as the proliferation of mobile cameras combined with social media and ubiquitous CCTV feeds mean we’re caught on screen more than ever before.

Driver’s licences will be added to the Commonwealth Government’s already vast biometric databases after it struck an agreement with the states and territories, handing authorities access to an unprecedented level of information about citizens.

A system known as “the interoperability Hub” is already in place in Australia, allowing agencies to take an image from CCTV and other media and run it against a national database of passport pictures of Australian citizens — a process known as “The Capability”.

But soon driver’s licences will be added to the system, allowing both government and private entities to access your photo, age and address.

It is a $21 million system being sold as a way to tackle terrorism and make commercial services more secure.

But experts warn people now risk losing control of their biometric identity entirely as commercial interests, governments and organised crime gangs all move to capture more personal metadata for their own gain.

Driver’s licences change the biometric gamw

Technology and legal expert Professor Katina Michael said about 50 per cent of the population already had some kind of visual biometric stored in a nationally-accessible database, but the inclusion of drivers licenses would see the proportion of Australians scooped up in the net swell to about 80 per cent.

She said one of the biggest risks of the collection of biometric data was not deliberate misuse by the AFP, ASIO or another government agency, but rather vulnerabilities in the way biometrics work.

“It’s not like a one-on-one match, where you put (in) an individual’s face and say: ‘they’re a suspect’,” Professor Michael said.

“But rather what you get returned is a number of possibilities … you might get back 15, or 20, or 30, or 50 matches.

So you might have 50 innocent people being suspects, rather than the person that you’re trying to catch.

Professor Michael said this meant that while over time a person’s name might be cleared, their data could remain in a database linked to a criminal investigation.

“And then I’m thinking, what happens to their level of innocence as time goes on, because they accidentally look like a minority group?” she said.

She said real criminals and terrorists would opt out of the system, choosing not to have passports and driver’s licenses in a bid to escape the net.

“Of course, if you’ve done nothing wrong, the old adage says you’re fine. But increasingly, we don’t know if we’re fine,” she said.

The rise of ‘uberveillance’

Professor Michael said modern surveillance methods employed by law enforcement were not just limited to CCTV — they now incorporated vast amounts of metadata and social media, leading to a concept known as “uberveillance” in which people were constantly monitored.

“What we have now are digital footprints that we all leave behind,” she said.

“Phone call records, internet searches, credit cards and even the data on your electronic train or bus ticket can be used to track your movements and activity.

“It brings together all these various touchpoints, telecommunications records, travel data via tokens, facial recognition on federal databases, your tax file number … that’s accessible depending on the level of crime and social media.

“You’ve got this very rich almost cradle-to-grave kind of data set that’s following you.”

Photo Even transport cards like the NSW Opal card can reveal your personal data.

Organised criminals want your identity

Stephen Wilson runs Lockstep Consulting, a Sydney-based firm which researches and tracks trends in biometrics in the corporate and government spheres, and advises clients on best-practice.

He said at the moment very secure biometric systems took quite a long time to process images accurately.

Problems arose when consumer convenience, such as being able to unlock a phone or access a bank account with a quick face or fingerprint scan, trumped security.

“No police force, no public service, no business is ever perfect, there is always going to be corrupt people,” Mr Wilson said.

“The more exposure we have to electronic databases, the more exposure we have to biometric matching, it’s only a matter of time before these bad actors succumb to temptation or they succumb to corruption and they wind up using these systems inappropriately.”

Your biometric twin is out there

Photo New technology can more easily track people’s faces in crowds.

Mr Wilson said biometrics were creeping into consumer services like bank accounts and online betting facilities, with customers asked to send a picture of their licence and a “selfie” that will be run through an identity matching service.

“The real risk is that bad actors will take people’s photos, ask for a match, and get back a series of matches of people that are kind of like your biometric twin,” he said.

“We’ve all got doppelgangers, we’ve all got people in public that look just like us.

“If you’re trying to perpetrate a crime, if you’re organised crime, and you’re trying for example to produce a fake driver’s licence, it’s absolute gold for you to be able to come up with a list of photos that look like ‘Steve Wilson’.”

Technology companies like Apple and Samsung have championed the use of biometrics such as fingerprints, and this has taken a step further with facial recognition becoming more common thanks to the release of the iPhone X.

Photo Apple’s iPhone X has championed facial recognition technology.

However Mr Wilson said a key difference was that information stayed on the phone, while banking and other commercial interests trying to use your biometrics to confirm your identity could be storing it on a server anywhere.

“Do you really want your photo, which is a pretty precious resource, sent off to a company perhaps on the other side of the world just so you can get a quick bank account or quick betting service set up?” he asked

What will happen next?

An annual industry survey conducted by the Biometrics Institute, known as the Industry Trend Tracker, has nominated facial recognition as the biometric trend most likely to increase over the next few years.

Respondents believed privacy and data protection concerns were the biggest constraint on the market, followed by poor knowledge of decision makers, misinformation about biometrics and opposition from privacy advocates.

The Australian law reform commission says biometric systems increasingly are being used or contemplated by organisations, including in methadone programs, taxi booking services, ATMs and online banking, and access to buildings

Dr Michael said governments needed to be very cautious about how they applied this rich new source of data in the future.

She said governments were building these agreements between themselves and corporations in a bid to stamp out fraud, but that goal was not always achieved and the potential for mistakes was vast.

“What we have is this matching against datasets, trying to find the needle in the haystack,” she said.

“Often what happens is we don’t find the needle.”

A statement from the Department of Home Affairs said the Australian Government was exploring making the Face Verification Service available to the private sector, but nothing had started at this point.

It said arrangements for private sector access would be informed by an independent privacy impact assessment and those using it would need to demonstrate their lawful basis to do so under the privacy act and where they had gained consent to use a person’s image.

Spy agency ASIO wants powers to hack into personal computers

15th Jan 2017 (ORIGINAL 2013)

SPY agency ASIO wants to hack into Australians’ personal computers and commandeer their smartphones to transmit viruses to terrorists.

The Attorney-General’s Department is pushing for new powers for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to hijack the computers of suspected terrorists.

But privacy groups are attacking the ”police state” plan as ”extraordinarily broad and intrusive”.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Department said it was proposing that ASIO be authorised to ”use a third party computer for the specific purpose of gaining access to a target computer”.

”The purpose of this power is to allow ASIO to access the computer of suspected terrorists and other security interests,” he told News Limited.

”(It would be used) in extremely limited circumstances and only when explicitly approved by the Attorney-General through a warrant.

”Importantly, the warrant would not authorise ASIO to obtain intelligence material from the third party computer.”

The Attorney-General’s Department refused to explain yesterday how third-party computers would be used, ”as this may divulge operationally sensitive information and methods used by ASIO in sensitive national security investigations.”

But cyber specialist Andrew Pam, a board member of the Electronic Frontiers lobby group, predicted ASIO could copy the tactics of criminal hackers to seize control of target computers.

Australians’ personal computers might be used to send a malicious email with a virus attached, or to load ”malware” onto a website frequently visited by the target.

”This stuff goes on already in the commercial and criminal world, and security agencies could be using the same techniques to commandeer people’s computers and use them to monitor a target,” Mr Pam said.

”Once you get control of a computer and connect to their network you can do whatever you want.”

The ASIO Act now bans spies from doing anything that ”adds, deletes or alters data or interferes with, interrupts or obstructs the lawful use of the target computer by other persons”.

But ASIO wants the ban lifted, so Attorney-General Nicola Roxon can issue a warrant for spies to secretly intercept third-party computers to disrupt their target.

The departmental spokesman said the federal government had made ”no decisions” about whether to grant ASIO the new power.

The government would first consider advice from the federal Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, which is reviewing national security legislation.

Victoria’s acting Privacy Commissioner, Dr Anthony Bendall, has told the committee that ASIO’s proposed new powers are ”characteristic of a police state.”

”To access a third party’s computer, which has no connection with the target, is extraordinarily broad and intrusive,” his submission states.

But the Attorney-General’s Department insists that ASIO will not examine the content of third-party computers.

”The use of the third party computer is essentially like using a third party premises to gain access to the premises to be searched, where direct access is not possible,” it states in response to questions from the committee.

”It involves no power to search or conduct surveillance on the third party.”

The department said technological advances had made it ”increasingly difficult” for ASIO to execute search warrants directly on target computers, ”particularly where a person of interest is security conscious.”

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman yesterday said ASIO should have to seek a warrant from an independent judge, rather than a politician.

He warned that ASIO might be able to spy on individuals – including journalists protecting a whistleblower – by tapping into their computers.

”I’m concerned they will access all sorts of information on a computer that has nothing to do with terrorism,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

source/read more: https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/australia/spy-agency-asio-wants-powers-to-hack-into-personal-computers-ng-12a17b2577859c1d00fba2dc78721854

U.K. Threatens Facebook, Google with Higher Taxes Unless They Hand Over User Data

2nd Jan 2018

Purportedly in a bid to fight online radicalization, the UK government has issued tech companies like Facebook and Google an ultimatum to hand over user data or face higher taxes.

VentureBeat reports that the UK government is considering imposing new taxes on companies like Facebook and Google if they refuse to share collected user data with the government and make further efforts to combat extremist content on their platforms. Ben Wallace, the UK Minister of State for Security, derided the tech firms for selling user information but refusing to share it with state governments.

“If they continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivizing them or compen­sating for their inaction,” said Wallace in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper. “We should stop pretending that because they sit on beanbags in T-shirts they are not ruthless profiteers,” he said. “They will ruthlessly sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies but not give it to our democratically elected government.”

Wallace did not go into detail on the taxes that may be imposed on the companies, but the Sunday Times reports that the taxes would act similarly to the windfall tax imposed on privatized utilities by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Simon Milner, Facebook’s current Policy Director, challenged Wallace’s claims in a statement: “Mr. Wallace is wrong to say that we put profit before safety, especially in the fight against terrorism. We’ve invested millions of pounds in people and technology to identify and remove terrorist content.”

YouTube also stated that they were constantly working to fight extremist content on their platform, with a spokesperson saying, “Over the course of 2017 we have made significant progress through investing in machine learning technology, recruiting more reviewers, building partnerships with experts and collaboration with other companies.”

 

 

 

source/read more:

Disney resorts add new security policy, removes ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs from rooms

29th Dec 2017

Disney has started updating the security policies at several of its resorts in Walt Disney World.

Guests staying at one of the three monorail hotels – the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary resorts – near the Magic Kingdom have already experienced the tighter security policies, which include the removal of the “Do Not Disturb” door sign. The markers have been swapped out for “Room Occupied” signs that will alert maintenance and staff that guests are currently in their rooms, but will not stop Disney staff from coming in.

The sign accompanies another new policy that requires Disney employees to enter each hotel room at least once a day to ensure “the safety and security of guests and property,” Walt Disney World News Today reports.

Under the old rules, employees would pass by rooms marked with the “Do Not Disturb” sign. However, now Disney says “the hotel and its staff reserve the right to enter your room for any purpose including, but not limited to, performing maintenance and repairs or checking on the safety and security of guests and property.”

Though guests will no longer have the option to keep staff out, the company assures that its guests will be given notice prior to entering the room by knocking and announcing that they are coming in, WDWNT reports.

Some have reportedly hypothesized that the tightened security measures are a response to the Las Vegas shooting at Mandalay Bay that claimed the lives of 58 people earlier this year. According to WDWNT, the monorail resorts have similar vantage points into crowded areas. However, Disney officials have not made any statement as to why they are introducing the new policies.

 

 

source/read more: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/12/26/disney-resorts-add-new-security-policy-removes-do-not-disturb-signs-from-rooms.html

Edward Snowden unveils phone app, Haven, to spy on spies

26th Dec 2017

The former National Security Agency contractor who exposed U.S. government surveillance programs by disclosing classified material in 2013 has a new job: app developer.

Edward Snowden in a video message Friday unveiled a new phone app he helped create, called Haven, that aims to protect laptops from physical tampering.

Snowden says it’s an open-source tool designed for human rights activists and other people at risk and it uses an Android phone’s sensors to detect changes in a room.

The software was developed with the Freedom of Press Foundation and the Guardian Project. It has been greeted with mixed social media reactions, with some people celebrating its security capabilities and others saying they don’t trust Snowden.

Snowden has lived in Russia since 2013, when the country gave him asylum, resisting U.S. pressure to extradite him.

 

 

 

source/read more:https://apnews.com/7b8aacd0d929493bb4fea9ca57ea90d3/Edward-Snowden-unveils-phone-app,-Haven,-to-spy-on-spies