Ring: "We don't use facial recognition"; also Ring: "We have a head of facial recognition research"

One of the most obvious facts I've learned in covering the unfolding scandal of the secret deals between Amazon's Ring surveillance doorbell group and hundreds of US police departments is that Amazon loooooves to play word-games. Read the rest

Uganda installs Huawei's AI-powered facial recognition surveillance system 'nationwide'

“The cameras are already transforming modern day policing in Uganda, with facial recognition and artificial intelligence as part of policing and security.” — Ugandan Police.

Facial recognition: Amazon adds 'fear' to range of emotions Rekognition can detect

Amazon is a major federal contractor. AWS powers ICE raids and detention camps.

How facial recognition has turned summer camp into a dystopia for campers, parents, counsellors and photographers (but not facial recognition vendors)

The Washington Post's Drew Harwell takes a deep look at the the use of facial recognition products like Bunk1 at summer camps, in a deliciously terrible piece that alternates between Bunk1's president Rob Burns and Waldo Photos's founder Rodney Rice explaining that everyone loves this and it makes everyone happy, and counsellors, parents, campers and photographers (as well as child development experts and civil libertarians) explaining how it is just fucking terrible, which Rice dismisses as "privacy hysteria." Read the rest

Billions on the line as Facebook loses appeal over violating Illinois facial recognition law

Facebook has lost a procedural appeal related to a 2015 Illinois class-action lawsuit over the company's use of facial recognition data, and now it could be on the hook for billions in damages. Read the rest

Hong Kong protesters use lasers to blind security cameras

Freelance journalist Alessandra Bocchi posted this video of protesters in Hong Kong using some kind of laser to target security forces' cameras: it's part of the #612strike movement's stunning repertoire of improvised anti-police countermeasures, in a near-civil-war where faces have become a battleground. Read the rest

Interactive map of public facial recognition systems in America

Evan Greer from Fight for the Future writes, "Facial recognition might be the most invasive and dangerous form of surveillance tech ever invented. While it's been in the headlines lately, most of us still don't know whether it's happening in our area. My organization Fight for the Future has compiled an interactive map that shows everywhere in the US (that we know of) facial recognition being used -- but also where there are local efforts to ban it, like has already happened in San Francisco, Oakland, and Somerville, MA. We've also got a tool kit for local residents who want to get an ordinance or state legislation passed in their area." Read the rest

This map shows where local police departments partner with Amazon's Ring

“For the first time ever, there's a comprehensive map on where local police departments have partnered with Amazon's Ring,” CNet's Alfred Ng writes. Read the rest

Detroit's police commissioner arrested at commissioners' meeting for demanding answers about secret meetings where facial recognition was planned

Alan Wendt writes, "Detroit commissioners arrested the police commissioner Willie Burton during a public meeting because he wouldn't stop talking about the secret meetings where the commission decided to install facial recognition systems." Read the rest

"Just don't have a face": what it's like to opt-out of US airports' "optional" face recognition

Privacy advocate Allie Funk was surprised to learn that her Delta flight out of Detroit airport would use facial recognition scans for boarding; Funk knew that these systems were supposed to be "opt in" but no one announced that you could choose not to use them while boarding, so Funk set out to learn how she could choose not to have her face ingested into a leaky, creepy, public-private biometric database. Read the rest

Son-of-Reflectacles: Kickstarting a new generation of anti-surveillance eyewear

Eccentric eyewear maker Scott Urban first kickstarted his "Reflectacles" frames in 2016; the frames used emedded retroreflectors to make them throw back tons of light, making them highly visible (and great for things like night cycling); subsequent iterations beefed up the IR reflectivity, which blinded many CCTV surveillance cameras (they use IR to paint low-light scenes, and their sensors can be overwhelmed if enough of that IR bounces back at them). Read the rest

Hackers stole a US Customs and Border Patrol facial recognition database

Data from facial recognition scans performed by US Customs and Border Patrol on travelers crossing at an unnamed lander border point (an anonymous source says it's a US-Canada crossing) have been stolen by hacker or hackers unknown. Read the rest

Amazon's facial recognition fear crusade ramps up: now they're paying Facebook to show you pictures of suspected criminals to scare you into getting a surveillance doorbell

Amazon's Ring doorbells are surveillance devices that conduct round-the-clock video surveillance of your neighborhood, automatically flagging "suspicious" faces and bombarding you and your neighbors with alerts using an app called "Neighbors"; it's a marriage of Amazon's Internet of Things platform with its "Rekognition" facial recognition tool, which it has marketed aggressively to cities, law enforcement, ICE, businesses and everyday customers as a security measure that can help ID bad guys, despite the absence of a database identifying which faces belong to good people and which faces belong to bad people. Read the rest

Microsoft takes down MS Celeb facial recognition database, 10 million+ pics of ~100,000 faces, maybe yours, scraped under Creative Commons

Military research and Chinese firms had access to the data Microsoft scraped under Creative Commons licenses.

Patronscan wants cities to require bars to scan your ID with its service so it can maintain a secret, unaccountable blacklist

Patronscan is the leading provider of ID-scanning/verification services to bars and restaurants, and one of its selling points is that it allows its customers to create shared blacklists of undesirable customers who can then be denied services at every other establishment that uses its services. Read the rest

Ever, an "unlimited photo storage app," secretly fed its users' photos to a face-recognition system pitched to military customers UPDATE

Update: I've been emailed twice by Ever PR person Doug Aley, who incorrectly claimed that Ever's signup notice informed users that their data was going to be used to train an AI that would be marketed for military applications. It's true that during the signup process, users are asked whether they want to "use" facial recognition (that is, to label their images), but not whether they consent to having their images used to train that system, and especially not for commercial military applications.

Ever is an app that promises that you can "capture your memories" with unlimited photo storage, with sample albums featuring sentimental photos of grandparents and their grandkids; but Ever's parent company has another product, Ever AI, a facial recognition system pitched at military agencies to conduct population-scale surveillance. Though Ever's users' photos were used to train Ever AI, Ever AI's sales material omits this fact -- and the only way for Ever users to discover that their photos have become AI training data is to plough through a 2,500 "privacy policy." Read the rest

Amazon's staffing up a news vertical full of crime stories designed to scare you into buying a spying, snitching "smart" doorbell

Ring is a "smart" doorbell that Amazon bought for $1B in 2018, and proceeded to turn into an insecure, networked surveillance device, (possibly wired into Amazon's facial recognition system) and connected to law enforcement so that the company could advertise that owning a Ring made you a good citizen of your neighborhood, part of a mesh of relentless eyes-on-the-street that identified suspicious strangers and sicced the law on them, frontended by an app named with pitch-perfect creepiness: "Neighbors." Read the rest

More posts