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Category Archives for "Surveillance"

PwC facial recognition tool criticised for home working privacy invasion

Accounting giant PwC has come under fire for the development of a facial recognition tool that logs when employees are absent from their computer screens while they work from home.

The technology, which is being developed specifically for financial institutions, recognises the faces of workers via their computer’s webcam and requires them to provide a written reason for any absences, including toilet breaks.

Source: PwC facial recognition tool criticised for home working privacy invasion – Personnel Today

Geofence warrants: How police can use protesters’ phones against them

Rather than seeking warrants for a person backed up with probable cause, police have begun relying on geofence warrants that sweep up information on any device that happened to be in the vicinity of a crime.

Using these wide-ranging data requests, police often get information from companies like Google, collecting data on people who were in the area and almost all of whom are innocent. Police have used the tactic for serious cases like murder investigations, as well as nonviolent property crimes like burglaries.

Source: Geofence warrants: How police can use protesters’ phones against them – CNET

Long before the Coronavirus emergency law, Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics had been tracking civilian mobile phones

An emergency law of the cabinet must regulate that the government can monitor the mobile phones of citizens in the Netherlands for the fight against COVID-19, but it now appears that the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) previously did this on a large scale.

Together with Vodafone, Statistics Netherlands recorded how many people visited King’s Day 2018 in Amsterdam and where they came from. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) is therefore examining whether the statistical office has thereby violated the law.

Source: Lang voor de coronaspoedwet volgde het CBS al telefoons van burgers – NRC

Police body cameras at protests raise privacy concerns

They were supposed to add accountability to the police. But critics say they’re backfiring and could cause a chilling effect on free speech at protests.

Protesters have long been worried about surveillance at demonstrations, the latest twist being police use of technology like facial recognition and social media monitoring to identify people in crowds. Using body cameras as surveillance tools at protests threaten people’s privacy and could have a chilling effect on free speech.

Full article: Police body cameras at protests raise privacy concerns – CNET

Israel Steps Back From Law Involving Secret Service in COVID-19 Tracing

Following widespread protest by the Israeli privacy community and the population at large, a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court and a statement from the head of the Israeli Secret Service that its involvement is not necessary given the current state of the pandemic—the Israeli cabinet has decided to withdraw a controversial law allowing monitoring of COVID-19 spread through invasive cellphone tracking by the Israeli Secret Service.

Source: Israel Steps Back From Law Involving Secret Service in COVID-19 Tracing

New Facial Recognition Tech Only Needs Your Eyes and Eyebrows

Facial recognition company Rank One has released a new form of facial recognition called periocular recognition, which can supposedly identify individuals by just their eyes and eyebrows.

Rank One says the new system uses an entirely different algorithm from its standard facial recognition system and is specifically meant for masked individuals.

Source: New Facial Recognition Tech Only Needs Your Eyes and Eyebrows

Glasses Equipped With Facial Recognition Are Coming

New York-based Vuzix is selling augmented reality headsets to identify suspects.

In February, Gizmodo reported that Vuzix was working with Clearview AI to bring its billion-person facial recognition to Vuzix’s AR glasses. (Clearview said at the time that the app was just a prototype.)

Vuzix also recently announced that it was working with a company called TensorMark to bring facial recognition to the company’s headsets. Vuzix is pitching its product as a solution not just for security, but also border patrol, first responders, retail, hospitality, and banking.

Facial recognition in an AR headset raises all the same issues as the technology when deployed in CCTV cameras, including privacy and accuracy. But the small form factor also begs new questions, like what shortcuts might have been taken to run facial recognition algorithms on smaller, weaker computing chips? Do matches get double-checked by anyone?

Source: Glasses Equipped With Facial Recognition Are Coming

Apple Warns Looters With Stolen iPhones: You Are Being Tracked

Apple stores were attacked or damaged in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia, with looters stealing whatever products were accessible at the time.

The message that greets a looter powering up their new device: “This device has been disabled and is being tracked,” it says. “Local authorities will be alerted.”

Source: Apple Warns Looters With Stolen iPhones: You Are Being Tracked

Debate on surveillance and privacy heats up as US protests rage

Chaotic demonstrations over race and policing that swept through the United States over the past week have fuelled a debate over the growing use of surveillance technology by security forces in protests worldwide and its impact on privacy.

The unrest has drawn a large response from security forces in the United States, raising concerns from privacy groups about the use of new surveillance tools that activists say risk stifling people’s right to protest. While monitoring protests is nothing new, authorities’ ability to potentially identify those in attendance from distance and without detection has increased in recent years.

Full article: Debate on surveillance and privacy heats up as U.S. protests rage – Reuters

A key part of surveillance reform is now in jeopardy.

Seven years after the Snowden revelations, there’s a real chance for changes that will bolster oversight and provide some much-needed accountability.

The Senate version of the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act expands the role of amici curiae who can help protect the rights of those under surveillance.

Source: A key part of surveillance reform is now in jeopardy.

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