Big Brother


‘Big Brother’ in India Requires Fingerprint Scans for Food, Phones and Finances

10th April 2018

Seeking to build an identification system of unprecedented scope, India is scanning the fingerprints, eyes and faces of its 1.3 billion residents and connecting the data to everything from welfare benefits to mobile phones.

Civil libertarians are horrified, viewing the program, called Aadhaar, as Orwell’s Big Brother brought to life. To the government, it’s more like “big brother,” a term of endearment used by many Indians to address a stranger when asking for help.

For other countries, the technology could provide a model for how to track their residents. And for India’s top court, the ID system presents unique legal issues that will define what the constitutional right to privacy means in the digital age.

To Adita Jha, Aadhaar was simply a hassle. The 30-year-old environmental consultant in Delhi waited in line three times to sit in front of a computer that photographed her face, captured her fingerprints and snapped images of her irises. Three times, the data failed to upload. The fourth attempt finally worked, and she has now been added to the 1.1 billion Indians already included in the program.

Ms. Jha had little choice but to keep at it. The government has made registration mandatory for hundreds of public services and many private ones, from taking school exams to opening bank accounts.

“You almost feel like life is going to stop without an Aadhaar,” Ms. Jha said.

Technology has given governments around the world new tools to monitor their citizens. In China, the government is rolling out ways to use facial recognition and big data to track people, aiming to inject itself further into everyday life. Many countries, including Britain, deploy closed-circuit cameras to monitor their populations.

But India’s program is in a league of its own, both in the mass collection of biometric data and in the attempt to link it to everything — traffic tickets, bank accounts, pensions, even meals for undernourished schoolchildren.

“No one has approached that scale and that ambition,” said Jacqueline Bhabha, a professor and research director of Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, who has studied biometric ID systems around the world. “It has been hailed, and justifiably so, as an extraordinary triumph to get everyone registered.”

Critics fear that the government will gain unprecedented insight into the lives of all Indians.

In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other champions of the program say that Aadhaar is India’s ticket to the future, a universal, easy-to-use ID that will reduce this country’s endemic corruption and help bring even the most illiterate into the digital age.

“It’s the equivalent of building interstate highways,” said Nandan Nilekani, the technology billionaire who was tapped by the government in 2009 to build the Aadhaar system. “If the government invested in building a digital public utility and that is made available as a platform, then you actually can create major innovations around that.”

The potential uses — from surveillance to managing government benefit programs — have drawn interest elsewhere. Sri Lanka is planning a similar system, and Britain, Russia and the Philippines are studying it, according to the Indian government.

 

 

 

source/read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/07/technology/india-id-aadhaar.html

Tooth-mounted sensors track what you eat

28th March 2018

You may soon be able to monitor everything you eat in real-time, digitally through a tooth-mounted sensor.  New miniaturized sensors were developed by researchers at the Tufts University School of Engineering.

The small device, made of three layers, would track everything you consume, including glucose, salt and alcohol.  It would then transmit the data wirelessly to a mobile device.

A study set to be published in the journal Advanced Materials explores how the sensors could work in the future.  Researchers they the devices may eventually be able to detect a wider range of nutrients, chemicals and physiological states.

“In theory we can modify the bioresponsive layer in these sensors to target other chemicals – we are really limited only by our creativity,” said Tufts professor Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., one of the authors of the study.

 

 

 

source/read more: http://www.fox5ny.com/news/tooth-mounted-sensors-track-what-you-eat

Florida school shooting: Students now required to wear clear backpacks

24th March 2018

Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie informed students from MS Douglas High School they would be required to wear clear backpacks as part of a number of safety measures set to be implemented across the district.

Superintendent Runcie sent a letter to families on Wednesday outlining the security measures, following the shooting where 17 people were killed at the Parkland school on February 14.

The security measures for MS Douglas High School included student identification badges, extra security and the potential for the introduction metal detectors at the entrance of the school.

“While we cannot change the heartbreaking and senseless act of violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, by working together, we can change the future,” Superintendent Runcie wrote in the letter to families in the district.

All students deserve safe schools. We are proud of our students’ determination to effect positive change in this country – and for the incredible support from the Broward community and across the country.”

MS Douglas High School had another incident on Wednesday after two students were charged with bringing weapons onto campus, according to CNN.

Despite the incident, many students are preparing for their trip to Washington for March for Our Lives on Saturday.

 

source/read more; https://www.sbs.com.au/news/florida-school-shooting-students-now-required-to-wear-clear-backpacks

Forgot your password? No problem, you might soon be able to use your penis?

13th March 2018

THERE are some inventions you know will change the world and I wholeheartedly believe this company’s “proprietary penis recognition tech” is one such example.

Operating with the belief fingerprint scanners and facial recognition technology is passé, webcam platform CamSoda has made it possible to use your penis as your password — about time!

As of today, the dick-ometrtics platform will give men the chance to use their penis for something more practical while positioned in front of the computer.

To use the service, users will need to supply the website with a picture of their old fella, which will be stored in the system to assist the proprietary penis recognition tech.

While the concept is probably not the best to use while commuting on a train during peak hour, CamSoda’s vice president Darren Press said it has its advantages.

“In order to ensure personal data is safeguarded against unwarranted individuals, biometrics have become progressively popular for its ability to provide a layer of security that is impenetrable,” he said, making me laugh at his choice of the word impenetrable.

Mr Press added that dick-ometrics takes biosecurity to the next level.

“Like a fingerprint and an eyeball, which are two of most commonly used body parts in biometric technologies, the penis has many, many differentiating factors like size, colour and vein protrusion,” he said.

 

 

source/read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/computers/forgot-your-password-no-problem-you-might-soon-be-able-to-use-your-penis

Questions for TSA after reports of laptop and phone searches on domestic flights

13th March 2018

 

There are a growing number of reports of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) searching the electronic devices of passengers on domestic flights in the US, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has sued the federal agency for records.

The ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed a lawsuit against the TSA on Monday demanding that the government disclose its policies for searching the computers and cellphones of domestic travelers, arguing that anecdotal accounts have raised concerns about potential privacy invasions.

“We’ve received reports of passengers on purely domestic flights having their phones and laptops searched, and the takeaway is that TSA has been taking these items from people without providing any reason why,” the staff attorney Vasudha Talla told the Guardian. “The search of an electronic device has the potential to be highly invasive and cover the most personal details about a person.”

A TSA spokesman, Matt Leas, declined to comment on the lawsuit but said: “TSA does not search the contents of electronic devices.”

Over the past year, civil liberties groups have repeatedly raised concerns about US border agents expanding the invasive searches of international travelers’ phones. Some travelers reported authorities demanding they unlock their devices and allow officials to review text messages, social media accounts, photos and other private information – without warrants or reasonable suspicion. Now, there are questions about whether similar practices could be happening for passengers traveling within the US, raising fears that the government may be increasing surveillance and privacy violations at airports.

“It speaks to a growing attempt by the government to investigate individuals not based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion, but perhaps based on impermissible factors,” said Talla.

The ACLU of Northern California had not previously received reports of these kinds of domestic searches, but recently learned of a handful of cases, said Talla, who said the ACLU did not have specific data to share.

There are no clear patterns in the searches that people have described to the ACLU, though in each case, the TSA has not explained its justification to passengers, who have typically experienced the searches while going through security before boarding flights, Talla said. The ACLU in California has not heard of specific cases of the TSA requiring domestic fliers to unlock their devices, but last year, numerous reports emerged that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would not let travelers enter the US without granting the agents access to devices.

When devices are unlocked, “they are really able to access a person’s entire life that is on the phone as well as using the device to access what is on the cloud”, Talla said.

One woman who shared her story with the ACLU told the Guardian that in the last year, she had twice had her electronics searched while flying within California. The 64-year-old, who works in the not-for-profit sector and requested anonymity for fear that she could face further scrutiny from TSA, said that on one occasion last year, TSA agents pulled her aside to pat her down multiple times and eventually asked to see both her iPhones – a work and personal one.

The agents did not ask her to unlock the phones, but took them for at least 10 minutes out of her view, she said, adding that she quickly became distraught.

“I no longer had my phones, so there was no one I could contact,” she said, adding, “It just feels like an invasion of privacy, especially when they are not telling you what the problem is.”

The woman said on a recent trip, the TSA also briefly took her laptop, which was password protected.

“If somebody is suspecting you of doing something wrong or some kind of crime, you should be told what it is. You should be able to defend yourself,” she added.

 

 

source/read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/12/tsa-surveillance-laptops-cellphones-domestic-flights

Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor: TSA put me through “demeaning” body search

6th march 2018

Holocaust survivor says she was a victim of a “very demeaning body search” by U.S. Transportation Security Administration agents after a visit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Eva Mozes Kor tweeted on Sunday in Albuquerque that she had to undergo the intrusive body search before boarding a plane and that it ruined her experience following a lecture.

The Indiana resident spoke with teachers from around New Mexico at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History on Saturday about suffering through inhumane scientific experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp as a 10-year-old.

It was unclear if the TSA search in question occurred at Albuquerque International Sunport.

TSA Regional Public Affairs Manager Carrie Harmon did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press.

Kor has been telling her own story as a Holocaust survivor for most of her life.

But in a few weeks, a documentary film about her life will add another level of the public’s understanding of the energetic Terre Haute woman who learned to forgive her Nazi tormentors as part of her own self-healing.

“Eva” will premiere on April 5 in Indianapolis and on April 14 in Terre Haute.

It’s a documentary project produced by Ted Green Films, Mika Brown and Indianapolis PBS affiliate WFYI, and it captures the legacy of Kor as she has persisted in telling her story in her own effort to make the world a better place.

Kor lost her parents and siblings to the Holocaust after her Jewish family was removed from their home in Romania and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

She and her twin sister, Miriam, both of whom survived Auschwitz, were experimented upon by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, and they were orphans upon their liberation from the camp.

As an adult who married and moved to Terre Haute, Kor has shared her Holocaust story and became well-known for her activism and the establishment of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum (CANDLES stands for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors)

Now 84, Kor remains active as she travels the world, sharing her personal epiphany that forgiveness is the ultimate healing agent for one’s psychological and emotional wounds.

“I discovered the cure from victimhood,” Kor said as she talked about the upcoming release of the film and how her message of forgiveness has received both praise and criticism. “Should I keep that to myself?”

Kor stands only 4 feet, 9 inches tall, and she uses a walker. But her personality still seems giant as she enters a room.

“I’m level-headed but not afraid to take on a challenge,” Kor said as she explained her quick mind and steadfast determination to help others.

“I am never a worrier. I am a doer,” she said.

 

 

source/read more; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/holocaust-survivor-eva-mozes-kor-tsa-put-me-through-demeaning-body-search/

The disturbing acceptance of Google’s new ‘smart’ camera

2nd March 2018

n the reviews that rolled out recently for Google’s new Clips smart camera, there were the rote things that you’d expect in all tech reviews: what was good, what was bad, and, inevitably, whether or not you should buy it. There was, however, a key idea conspicuously absent: whether or not the product should exist at all.

The pitch for the Google Clips is it’s a camera that sits off to the side in a room and automatically captures the kinds of candid shots that one never really plans for — the most common examples cited being some random happening involving one’s kids or pets. Instead of mere serendipity, however, the camera uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to try and guess when to best take a shot.

Reviews, perhaps unsurprisingly, haven’t been great. The technology to take pictures in a smart way with satisfying results simply doesn’t exist yet, largely because determining what makes a good shot is still a profoundly human, subjective thing. But perhaps a product with such obvious flaws is cause for concern for reasons more significant than the release of yet another disappointing gadget. Instead, it appears that in rarely questioning whether a piece of tech should have been released at all, we are unwittingly become guinea pigs for tech, and inadvertent cheerleaders for things that, in the aggregate, end up making things worse.

After all, despite the middling reviews, the Clips is something more like a proof of concept, a preliminary first step towards more and more sophisticated versions of these kinds of products. The failure of the device to be able to do what it says on the box — while also costing $250 — suggests that Google knows this is a limited product with limited appeal.

What’s the point then? In part, to position Google as an innovative, even family-friend company. But it’s also to test out the concept, gather data, and help perfect the idea of a “smart camera” for broader applications. It’s thus worth questioning what gets carried along in the cutesy design and marketing of a product like Clips. Cameras powered by artificial intelligence will inevitably be used to superpower surveillance. In an age in which facial recognition technology is already being used to apprehend criminals, a smarter camera from one of the world’s largest companies is something impossible to see as merely fun.

 

 

source/read more; http://theweek.com/articles/757939/disturbing-acceptance-googles-new-smart-camera

 

All Teens Should Be Screened for Depression Yearly

27th Feb 2018

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines to recommend that children 12 years and older get screened annually for depression.

The screening would take the form of teens filling out a self-reported questionnaire via paper or an online device, allowing them to answer questions privately—important given that many young adolescents go to the doctor with their parents in tow and in the examination room.

It’s a huge step in not only de-stigmatizing mental health but also helping address mental illness in its earliest stages, potentially easing later symptoms. “Sometimes teens are acting out or misbehaving,” a co-author of the report told NPR.

“[I]nstead, they’re really suffering from depression.” Research cited by the guidelines indicates that only 50 percent of adolescents with depression are currently diagnosed in their teenage years.

 

 

source/read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/doctors-all-teens-should-be-screened-for-depression-yearly

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/