Clearview AI promises to cancel accounts that aren't law enforcement or government entities

Clearview AI is reportedly set to cancel client accounts that are not associated with law enforcement or other government entities, as scrutiny grows over abuses of the facial recognition AI app. Read the rest

Amazon used a China firm on U.S. blacklist for thermal cameras to monitor workers for COVID-19 fever

Amazon's new Chinese thermal spycam vendor was blacklisted by U.S. over allegations it helped China detain and monitor Uighurs and other Muslim minorities Read the rest

Damien Patton, CEO of tech surveillance company Banjo, once helped KKK shoot up a synagogue: Report

“We believe that the Blacks and the Jews are taking over America, and it’s our job to take America back for the White race,” Patton testified at trial, describing his beliefs while carrying out the crime — beliefs he said he no longer held.

Banjo CEO Damien Patton has admitted to being a Neo-Nazi skinhead in his youth. But until today, the extent of his activity had not yet been reported, in part because of multiple spellings of his name used over the years. Read the rest

Watch: #FightCovid19 robot enforces Singapore social distance rules with 360º spy-cam

VIDEO: RTÉ News.

Singapore's Public Utilities Board is deploying a robot to encourage people wandering the outdoor parks of the densely populated Asian metropolis to social distance, and "stay safe, stay home". Read the rest

Businesses and stores are adding AI to security cameras for social distancing and mask-wearing compliance

📷 Pepper Construction is using Startup SmartVid.io to analyze worksite images for Oracle Industries Innovation Lab in Deerfield, Illinois.

Existing security cameras at retail stores and workplaces are being equipped with articifial intelligence to enforce measures intendded to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Reuters reports, based on interviews with 16 different machine vision software firms and a number of businesses that are now their clients. Read the rest

Facebook accuses Israel's NSO Group of exploiting U.S. servers to infect 100s of devices via WhatsApp

Israeli spy-tech firm used WhatsApp accounts to hack, Facebook claims

Under coronavirus lockdown, Russia expands surveillance state

In Russia, two human rights groups say Vladimir Putin's government has vastly expanded surveillance to enforce the nation's coronavirus lockdown, using facial recognition technology and collection of personal data. The groups say regulation is required to ensure that surveillance measures are both temporary and proportionate. Read the rest

Anti-camera shirts

Want to avoid being seen by person-recognizing camera systems? Wear a shirt printed with a complex, confusing image that looks like a mangled JPG of a crowd scene.

The bright adversarial pattern, which a human viewer can darn-near see from space, renders the wearer invisible to the software looking at him. ... Code does not "think" in terms of facial features, the way a human does, but it does look for and classify features in its own way. To foil it, the "cloaks" need to interfere with most or all of those priors. Simply obscuring some of them is not enough. Facial recognition systems used in China, for example, have been trained to identify people who are wearing medical masks while trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other illnesses.

And of course, to make the task even more challenging, different object detection frameworks all use different mechanisms to detect people, Goldstein explained. "We have different cloaks that are designed for different kinds of detectors, and they transfer across detectors, and so a cloak designed for one detector might also work on another detector," he said.

See also Adversarial Fashion. Read the rest

More reporting links Clearview AI to Trump-aligned racists, neo-Nazis, and alt-right trolls

“Big Brother, it turned out, was wearing a MAGA cap”

Snowden's Box: the incredible, illuminating story of the journey of Snowden's hard drive

Dale Maharidge is a journalist and J-school professor who is dear old friends with the muckracking, outstanding political documentarian Laura Poitras. Jessica Bruder (previously) is a a writer and J-school prof who's best friends with Maharidge. When Laura Poitras was contacted by an NSA whistleblower who wanted to send her the leak of the century, she asked Maharidge for help finding a safe address for a postal delivery, and Maharidge gave her Bruder's Brooklyn apartment address. A few weeks later, Bruder came home from a work-trip to discover a box on her doormat with the return address of "B. Manning, 94-1054 Eleu St, Waipau, HI 96797." In it was a hard-drive. The story of what happened next is documented in a beautifully written, gripping new book: Snowden's Box: Trust in the Age of Surveillance.

Spying on everyone to combat COVID-19 will further erode civil liberties just like 9/11, privacy advocates warn

Tracking entire populations now with electronic surveillance, facial recognition, and biosecurity sensors to combat the coronavirus pandemic will inevitably mean even more invasive forms of government spying later, privacy advocates warn. Read the rest

Hackers say they breached Russian contractor, got details on IoT hacking project for Russia spy agency

• 'Fronton' is the FSB's IoT botnet project

Investors used Clearview AI app as a personal toy for spying on public

“Before Clearview Became a Police Tool, It Was a Secret Plaything of the Rich.” That's the title of the New York Times piece, and that's the horrifying reality of how artificial intelligence and facial recognition are already being used in ways that violate your expectations of privacy in the world. Read the rest

Clearview AI clients: Best Buy, Walmart, ICE, DOJ, FBI, 2,200+ companies and law enforcement agencies

BuzzFeed News reporters have seen leaked Clearview AI documents that show the company is “working with more than 2,200 law enforcement agencies, companies, and individuals around the world,” including Best Buy, Walmart, Macy's, ICE, DOJ, and the FBI, plus “a sovereign wealth fund in the United Arab Emirates.” Read the rest

Clearview client list "stolen"

Clearview, the shady facial-recognition firm with links to law-enforcement and alt-right internet trolls, reports that its entire client list has been stolen.

In the notification, which The Daily Beast reviewed, the startup Clearview AI disclosed to its customers that an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its list of customers, to the number of user accounts those customers had set up, and to the number of searches its customers have conducted. The notification said the company’s servers were not breached and that there was “no compromise of Clearview’s systems or network.” The company also said it fixed the vulnerability and that the intruder did not obtain any law-enforcement agencies’ search histories.

Not a good look for any security company--especially one that prides itself on scraping private information from Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the web, irrespective of whether they're permitted to, and repackaging it for government and the police to identify and track individuals through surveillance. Read the rest

What it's like inside the CIA during Donald Trump's "Deep State" purge

One of the strangest contradictory sensations of the Trump era is the man's relationship towards and with the various U.S. intelligence agencies. In many cases, Trump's broad criticisms about the unaccountable and seemingly limitless scope of intelligence gathering are valid. Or would be, anyway, if the man actually cared about those issues for any reason beyond his larger tantrum over the way those agencies have undermined his ego. Or if he wasn't simultaneously trying to use that same wide jurisdiction to target his own political enemies.

In other words, Trump's not necessarily wrong about the potential abuses of secret and/or warrantless surveillance (or "wiretapping" as he puts it). But he's only mad about those things because they can be used to threaten him and his friends, instead of reinforcing his hunches. Otherwise, illegal spying and invasions of privacy are totally fine with him—as long as they target the right people.

There are moments, then, where it becomes a case of "My enemy's enemy is my friend" — except that "friend" is also an enemy of sorts, which further complicates the whole mess. Case in point: this recent Just Security post by Douglas London, a former CIA operative. In it, London talks about the way that the CIA's priorities have been forced to shift from general intelligence gathering to just kind of soothing Trump's ego, and retroactively justifying all of the man's random baseless instincts:

The revealing and most disconcerting aspect of this episode was not that Pompeo presumed the worst from his workforce before getting the full story, nor his vicious dressing down of a dedicated senior official and decorated officer.

Read the rest

Ireland suspects Russia is trying to crack transatlantic fiber-optic ocean bed cables

“Russia has sent intelligence agents to Ireland to map the precise location of the fibre-optic, ocean-bed cables that connect Europe to America,” Ireland's security agency suspects, according to this report in The Times of London.

“This has raised concerns that Russian agents are checking the cables for weak points, with a view to tapping or even damaging them in the future.”

Irish security officials believe Russia may be targeting Ireland as a regional base for military intelligence operations because the country's counterintelligence abilities are limited, and Moscow presumably views Ireland as a vulnerable spot.

Additionally, various tech giants that have placed their offices in Dublin to evade U.S. taxes might be juicy targets for Vladimir Putin's corporate espionage programs.

Excerpt:

Ireland is the landing point for undersea cables which carry internet traffic between America, Britain and Europe. The cables enable millions of people to communicate and allow financial transactions to take place seamlessly.

Garda and military sources believe the agents were sent by the GRU, the military intelligence branch of the Russian armed forces which was blamed for the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer.

Read more: Russian agents plunge to new ocean depths in Ireland to crack transatlantic cables

[thetimes.co.uk] Read the rest

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