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Camera traps designed for animals are now invading human privacy

Over the past two decades automated wildlife cameras—known as camera traps—have proven invaluable in ecological research and conservation management. Their sensitive motion detectors have enabled scientific surveys of rare or shy animals in dense forest and as a consequence have seen broader use around the world.

But camera traps frequently take pictures of people as well as wildlife. This has important implications for privacy and human rights and may ultimately undermine conservation goals.

Source: Camera traps designed for animals are now invading human privacy | Ars Technica

Thefts, Hacks And Surveillance: Whose Side Is Blockchain On?

Crypto is in the news for the recent hacks and breaches, becoming the favorite currency of cybercriminals. This article examines what is actually going on, the fundamentals of security and what the crypto-community is actually doing to prevent hacks and surveillance.

Full article: Thefts, Hacks And Surveillance: Whose Side Is Blockchain On?

This AI can search for people by height, gender, and clothing in surveillance videos

A team of AI researchers from India developed a tool to search for people in surveillance footage by height, clothing color, and gender. It’s like a search engine that can find people in a video.

The scientists used deep learning to train a convolutional neural network how to recognize certain human features, called soft biometrics, using computer vision. Basically, you can tell this AI some details about the person you’re looking for and it’ll scour whatever video you give it.

Full article: This AI can search for people by height, gender, and clothing in surveillance videos

First GDPR fine issued by Austrian data protection regulator

Austrian Data Protection Authority (“DSB”) has issued a fine against an entrepreneur for violations of the GDPR. The entrepreneur had installed a CCTV camera in front of his establishment that also recorded a large part of the sidewalk. The DSB found this act to be in violation of the GDPR, as large-scale monitoring of public spaces is not permitted under the GDPR. Apparently the camera was also not sufficiently marked as conducting video surveillance, meaning that the applicable transparency obligations had not been fulfilled.

The amount of the fine, however, was quite moderate: EUR 4,800. According to the deputy director of the DSB, fines should be proportionate – e.g. a controller with an annual income of, for example, EUR 40,000 is unlikely to receive a EUR 20 million fine from the DSB.

Source: First GDPR fine issued by Austrian data protection regulator, Gernot Fritz

Lifting the Cloak of Secrecy From NYPD Surveillance Technology

For too long, the New York Police Department has secretly deployed cutting-edge spy tech, without notice to the public. Many of these snooping devices invade our privacy, deter our free speech, and disparately burden minority and immigrant communities. Fortunately, a proposed ordinance (“the POST Act”) would lift the cloak of secrecy, and help the people of New York City better control police surveillance technology.

Source: Lifting the Cloak of Secrecy From NYPD Surveillance Technology | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Police super-database prompts Liberty warning on privacy

A new super-database being built for the UK police represents a “grave” risk to privacy, a leading human rights group has said. Liberty claims the government is glossing over concerns that the database, the largest built for British law enforcement, threatens civil liberties.

Source: Police super-database prompts Liberty warning on privacy

UK intelligence agencies illegally spied on Privacy International

UK intelligence agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ violated the law by collecting and examining data of human rights group Privacy International. The data was collected as part of two mass surveillance programmes called Bulk Communications Data and Bulk Personal Datasets.

Source: UK intelligence agencies illegally spied on privacy organisation | UK News | Al Jazeera

Skripal Case Shows the Limits of Surveillance

The U.K.’s ubiquitous surveillance cameras have clearly played an important role in the attribution of the attempted poisoning of an ex-spy in Salisbury in March to the Russian military intelligence. Thanks to the cameras, the two Russian suspects’ movements were tracked exhaustively. But this seeming success also lays bare the biggest problem with universal surveillance: If everyone is tracked, no one is, so the cameras can only perform their function so late after the fact that even those criminals who are identified are less likely to be apprehended.

Full article: Skripal Case Shows the Limits of Surveillance – Bloomberg

Consumers bear the cost of their privacy protection

The latest round of regulations placed on corporations to protect privacy will not protect us from the harm caused by government surveillance. This should concern us all, since government intelligence agencies are the major players infringing upon our privacy.

Governments acquire the majority of their surveillance data from corporations because that is where most of the personal data resides. We must change this paradigm, of governments accessing corporations’ data, to one in which individuals securely store their own data. This is where artificial intelligence comes in.

Full article: Consumers bear the cost of their privacy protection – The Globe and Mail

China is building a digital dictatorship to exert control over its citizens

What may sound like a dystopian vision of the future is already happening in China. And it’s making and breaking lives. The Communist Party calls it “social credit” and says it will be fully operational by 2020. Within years, an official Party outline claims, it will “allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step”.

Full article: Leave no dark corner – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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