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Category Archives for "Surveillance"

Coming to store shelves: cameras that guess your age and sex

Eyeing that can of soda in the supermarket cooler? Or maybe you’re craving a pint of ice cream? A camera could be watching you.

But it’s not there to see if you’re stealing. These cameras want to get to know you and what you’re buying.

It’s a new technology being trotted out to retailers, where cameras try to guess your age, gender or mood as you walk by. The intent is to use the information to show you targeted real-time ads on in-store video screens.

Full article: Coming to store shelves: cameras that guess your age and sex

Human Rights Watch Reverse-Engineers Mass Surveillance App used by Police in Xinjiang

For years, Xinjiang has been a testbed for the Chinese government’s novel digital and physical surveillance tactics, as well as human rights abuses. But there is still a lot that the international human rights community doesn’t know, especially when it comes to post-2016 Xinjiang.

Last Wednesday, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the inner workings of a mass surveillance app used by police and other officials. The application is used by offiicals to communicate with the larger Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), the umbrella system for collecting mass surveillance data in Xinjiang.

Full article: Human Rights Watch Reverse-Engineers Mass Surveillance App used by Police in Xinjiang

Reported Google browser change could be final death blow to cookies

Google is planning to announce new tools for Chrome that offer users more control over third party tracking cookies. The controls and default settings would be somewhat less “severe” than the anti-cookie tracking moves made by Safari and Firefox, which adopted default tracking protection.

Chrome has a 63% market share globally and a 50% share in the U.S. Depending on what Google announces it could be the nail in the cookie coffin — not unlike how Apple killed Flash. Marketers have been anticipating the end of cookies for some time.

Full article: Reported Google browser change could be final death blow to cookies – Marketing Land

How to slow Google Sensorvault from tracking your location on iOS, Android

Not only is Google Maps tracking you, but a program called Google Sensorvault is potentially turning over your location data to law enforcement.

If you want to fully disable location tracking (which, keep in mind, will limit certain apps’ location-driven capabilities), you need to disable another setting called Web & App Activity.

Full article: How to slow Google Sensorvault from tracking your location on iOS, Android – CNET

Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police

The tech giant records people’s locations worldwide. Now, investigators are using it to find suspects and witnesses near crimes, running the risk of snaring the innocent.

The warrants, which draw on an enormous Google database employees call Sensorvault, turn the business of tracking cellphone users’ locations into a digital dragnet for law enforcement. In an era of ubiquitous data gathering by tech companies, it is just the latest example of how personal information — where you go, who your friends are, what you read, eat and watch, and when you do it — is being used for purposes many people never expected.

Source: Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police – The New York Times

EU pushes to link tracking databases

Lawmakers are set to approve plans for an enormous new database that will collect biometric data on almost all non-EU citizens in Europe’s visa-free Schengen area.

The database — merging previously separate systems tracking migration, travel and crime — will grant officials access to a person’s verified identity with a single fingerprint scan.

Source: EU pushes to link tracking databases – POLITICO

Your social media activity and your credit score

Banks and credit agencies have started coming up with creative ways of assessing risk of “unbanked” or “credit invisible” people.

They’re calling it “alternative data,” which really just means data that isn’t normally used in a credit report. That could be things like proof of rental payments, or mobile phone bill payments, or cable TV payments. Anything people can use to prove that they’ve paid bills on time certainly helps.

But it doesn’t stop there. In a report on alternative data, Experian proposed also using things like a person’s educational history, occupation, and even social media activity. “Yelp reviews, Foursquare check-ins and online rankings and ratings can all shed light on a business’s health, growth and stability,” the report explains.

Source: Forms From the Future: your social media activity and your credit score.

UK businesses using artificial intelligence to monitor staff activity

Unions warn systems such as Isaak may increase pressure on workers and cause distrust Dozens of UK business owners are using artificial intelligence to scrutinise staff behaviour minute-to-minute by harvesting data on who emails whom and when, who accesses and edits files and who meets whom and when.

The actions of 130,000 people in the UK and abroad are being monitored in real-time by the Isaak system, which ranks staff members’ attributes.

Source: UK businesses using artificial intelligence to monitor staff activity

Surrendering privacy for survival

Americans at the lower end of the economic ladder suffer from an ever-growing privacy divide, impacting more than just their personal dignity and autonomy.

Low-income communities have historically been been monitored by government and their privacy has been routinely invaded. In Colonial America, most towns had an “overseer of the poor” who tracked poor people and either chased them out of town or auctioned off their labor. Current public benefits programs ask applicants extremely detailed and personal questions and sometimes mandate home visits, drug tests, fingerprinting, and collection of biometric information.

Full article: Another tax on the poor: Surrendering privacy for survival

Autonomous cars rise privacy questions

When fully autonomous vehicles begin circulating on public roads they will have to be able to detect when people enter or exit a vehicle, who the person is, whether they have left anything behind in the car, and especially if a person has become disabled (because of intoxication or a medical emergency).

And that information will inevitably be shared online, although there may be ways that some people can still preserve their sense of independence in the car.

“In the future, it may be different for people who own their own cars, where there’s more privacy,” said Mr. Wisselmann at BMW, “and for people who use robo taxis, where there will be less.”

Full article: Eyes on the Road! (Your Car Is Watching) – The New York Times

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