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ACLU Wants Amazon To Stop Offering Facial Recognition Tech To Governments & Law Enforcement

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The American Civil Liberties Union wants Amazon to stop offering their new facial recognition system” to governments and law enforcement.

The service, called “Rekognition,” uses artificial intelligence to identify, track and analyze faces in real time. According to Amazon, the service can “analyze billions of images and videos daily, and requires no machine learning expertise to use.”

The ACLU said in a blog post about the program: “People should be free to walk down the street without being watched by the government. By automating mass surveillance, facial recognition systems like Rekognition threaten this freedom, posing a particular threat to communities already unjustly targeted in the current political climate. Once powerful surveillance systems like these are built and deployed, the harm will be extremely difficult to undo.”

Rekognition was released in late 2016, with the sheriff’s office in Washington County, Oregon, as its first customers, according to the Associated Press. The department uses the service about 20 times per day.
 Deputy Jeff Talbot, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office told the AP. “We want our local community to be aware of what we’re doing, how we’re using it to solve crimes – what it is and, just as importantly, what it is not.”

The Orlando Police Department began a pilot program last year with the Rekognition technology in what police chief John Mina called a “first-of-its-kind public-private partnership.”

In a presentation from a developer conference in Seoul, South Korea, Amazon’s Ranju Das said, “It’s about recognizing people, it’s about tracking people, and then it’s about doing this in real time, so that the law enforcement officers … can be then alerted in real time to events that are happening.”

In an email to the AP, the Orlando Police Department said they are “not using the technology in an investigative capacity or in any public spaces at this time.”

“The purpose of a pilot program such as this, is to address any concerns that arise as the new technology is tested,” the statement said. “Any use of the system will be in accordance with current and applicable law. We are always looking for new solutions to further our ability to keep the residents and visitors of Orlando safe.

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China’s Police Facial Recognition Glasses

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Some Police Officers in China will receive China, glasses equipped with facial-scanning technology. 

The glasses, issued to officers at a highly populated train station in the Henan province, are part of a security push leading up to Chinese New Year. So far, according to the state-media report, seven wanted criminals have been caught with the glasses, as well as 26 people using fake IDs. 

LLVision Technology, the company behind the tech, told the Wall Street Journal that the glasses can recognize 100,000 different faces, and can identify a person in 100 milliseconds.

 / A young passenger uses JetBlue’s facial-recognition system at Logan Airport in Boston on June 15, 2017.

Georgetown University researchers have released yet another report warning of the potential dangers and ineffectiveness of the beginnings of routine facial recognition scanning by certain airlines at several airports nationwide.The new report, which was released Thursday, comes on the heels of a related 2016 report showing that half of Americans’ faces are already in a facial recognition database. The report concludes.

Stanford University Study Claims To Detect Whether A Person Is Straight Or Gay By Using Facial Recognition Software

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The Standford Study suggests that computers have a better ‘gaydar’ than humans brings up all sorts of questions about the morality of such technology and the potential consequences of it falling into the wrong hands.

An algorithm associated with the software correctly identified gay men 81% of the time, while it was accurate for 74% of the women it tested.

Research of more than 35,000 faces – taken from a dating website – was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and first reported in the Economist, and claimed that gay men and women had ‘gender-atypical’ features, expressions and grooming styles.

Data also claimed to show that gay men had narrower jaws, longer noses and larger foreheads than straight men.

The paper claims to show for once and for all that exposure to certain hormones before birth determines sexual orientation; that being gay is not a choice, in other words.

However, those critical of the research claim that the technology could easily fall into the wrong hands.

The fear is that spouses could use it to identify a ‘closeted’ husband or wife, or that teenagers could deploy it as a means of outing their peers. Worse again, that anti-gay governments – such as Russia – could use it to target members of a country’s population.

Critics suggest that profiling people based on their appearance, then identifying them is wrong.

 

Facial Recognition At More Airports

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Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport is currently testing facial recognition technology made by Portuguese firm Vision-Box. KLM is conducting a three-month trial of facial scanning technology at the Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. Passengers must register at a kiosk near the gate to participate by scanning their passports, boarding passes, and, of course, their faces. Three-dimensional facial recognition scans measure dozens of features such as jawline and distance between the eyes.

European citizens with biometric passports can use special “ePassport” gates at major airports to get through border control, such as these in the UK, which are also open to citizens of other countries like the US and Canada who register in advance

In the United States, Global Entry patrons enter via booths that check people’s identities against biometric data. Private biometric screening company Clear also scans a passenger’s fingerprint or iris with speedy lanes available at 20 airports across the US, and Clear says it plans to expand to two others in the coming weeks. Passengers still have to go through security screening but enter through a dedicated aisle. The company said it has 700,000 members.

Moreover, it’s totally legal for a US Customs and Border Patrol officer to ask you to unlock your phone and hand it over to them. And they can detain you indefinitely if you don’t. Even if you’re an American citizen.

Australia Wants To Eliminate Passports & Replace With Facial Recognition

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Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection is aiming to do away with the need for passports at its international airports by introducing systems for biometric recognition of the face, iris and/or fingerprints.

International arrivals could speed through airside without ever interacting with a human official as the new technology is expected to eradicate the need for passport checks and passenger cards. Besides making the arrival experience more efficient, officials also believe the system will be better at identifying passengers on watch lists.

While a number of airports have for several years been using so-called smart gates that prompt travelers to scan their passports upon arrival, the new system, which the government wants in place within the next three years, goes much further.

The authorities plan to trial the new technology at Canberra airport from July before taking it to a busier airport, such as Sydney and Melbourne, for further testing in November.

Facial Recognition & Police

A new study published Tuesday by researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology.

The study reveals:

  • Around 117 million American adults are already in a facial recognition network.
  • The FBI runs searches of face recognition databases more often than wiretaps.
  • About 25 percent of police departments across the country have access to facial recognition networks. Those networks are often cross-referenced with databases of ID photos such as driver’s licenses.

According to the report. law enforcement can do almost whatever they want with this technology, including scanning the photos of people who have never committed a crime. No state legislature “has passed a law comprehensively regulating police face recognition,”

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