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Category Archives for "Technology"

Microsoft to end investments in facial recognition firms after AnyVision controversy

Microsoft says it will no longer invest in third-party facial recognition companies following a controversy around its funding of Israeli startup AnyVision, which critics and human rights activists say powered a surveillance program in the West Bank following an NBC News report about the company’s relationship with the Israeli government.

Microsoft now says an independent investigation led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder and his team at international law firm Covington & Burling found that “AnyVision’s technology has not previously and does not currently power a mass surveillance program in the West Bank that has been alleged in media reports.” Had it done so, Microsoft says it would have constituted a breach of the finance portfolio’s pledge on ethical facial recognition use. Regardless, Microsoft says it is divesting from AnyVision and will no longer make minority investments in any facial recognition firms.

Source: Microsoft to end investments in facial recognition firms after AnyVision controversy – The Verge

Quantum entanglement breakthrough could boost encryption, secure communications 

Using quantum entanglement, a team of researchers has developed a new way to communicate via particles of light.

A team of researchers has published details of a new way to reliably create particles that are well-suited to use in quantum communications, which could lead to the unhackable communication protocols that have long been pitched as one of the most useful applications of the technology.

Source: Quantum entanglement breakthrough could boost encryption, secure communications | ZDNet

Facial Recognition to Check Pedestrians at Texas Border Crossing

U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Texas announced that it will begin monitoring pedestrian traffic through the Brownsville Port of Entry with biometric technology. Critics say the technology has flaws and violates privacy rights.

The technology seeks to compare the image to passport and ID photos already stored in government records, according to the agency. It stated in a press release that it “has used biometric facial comparison to interdict more than 250 imposters who attempted to cross the Southwest Border using another person’s travel document” since Sept. 2018.

Source: Facial Recognition to Check Pedestrians at Border Crossing

Italian police can now use drones to monitor people’s movements

Italy has said police may use drones to monitor movement in order to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) authorized the use of drones to monitor the movements of citizens in municipal areas to ensure the containment of the epidemiological emergency, ENAC said Monday in a letter published on its official website.

Source: March 24 coronavirus news – CNN

Apps Checking Covid-19 Symptoms Pose Data Collection Risks

Insurers and health tech companies developing mobile apps to let patients track Covid-19 symptoms and connect with doctors need to be mindful that their data storage practices don’t run afoul of federal and state privacy laws, attorneys said.

Developers of mobile apps and websites aimed at fighting the virus still have to navigate state privacy laws and a host of other regulations, like those from the Federal Trade Commission.

Source: Apps Checking Covid-19 Symptoms Pose Data Collection Risks

Speech recognition algorithms may also have racial bias

As it turns out, algorithms that are trained on data that’s already subject to human biases can readily recapitulate them, as we’ve seen in places like the banking and judicial systems. Other algorithms have just turned out to be not especially good.

Now, researchers at Stanford have identified another area with potential issues: the speech-recognition algorithms that do everything from basic transcription to letting our phones fulfill our requests. These algorithms seem to have more issues with the speech patterns used by African Americans, although there’s a chance that geography plays a part, too.

Source: Speech recognition algorithms may also have racial bias | Ars Technica

Putin’s Secret Intelligence Agency Hacked: Dangerous New ‘Cyber Weapons’ Now Exposed

The successor agency to Russia’s KGB has been hacked again—and the exposed tools represent a threat to us all.

This one has exposed “a new weapon ordered by the security service,” one that can be used to execute cyber attacks on IoT devices. The goal of the so-called “Fronton Program” is to exploit IoT security vulnerabilities en masse—remember, these technologies are fundamentally less secure than other connected devices in homes and offices.

Source: Putin’s Secret Intelligence Agency Hacked: Dangerous New ‘Cyber Weapons’ Now Exposed

This Filter Makes Your Photos Invisible to Facial Recognition

Digital cloaking, and how you can reclaim a modicum of digital privacy.

A.I. researchers are starting to think about how technology can solve the problem it created. Algorithms with names like “PrivacyNet” and “AnonymousNet” and “Fawkes” now offer a glimmer of refuge from the facial recognition algorithms trawling the public web.

Full article: This Filter Makes Your Photos Invisible to Facial Recognition

Fighting AI Bias

Artificial intelligence (AI) has amazing potential to change the world, and we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface. In financial services, AI will help banks make loans more quickly and fairly, reduce the incidences of credit card fraud and help keep banking networks safe from hackers.

But innovations such as AI constantly test the bounds of what is acceptable, responsible and ethical. There’s always tension between what is next and what is right. And as we manage that tension in AI and machine learning, everyone from data scientists to boardroom executives must focus deeply on outcomes and the people who will be most affected by the decisions emerging from AI algorithms.

Full article: Forbes Insights: Fighting AI Bias—Digital Rights Are Human Rights

To Track Virus, Governments Weigh Surveillance Tools That Push Privacy Limits

As the country scrambles to control the virus, government agencies are putting in place or considering a range of tracking and surveillance technologies that test the limits of personal privacy.

The technologies include everything from geolocation tracking that can monitor the locations of people through their phones to facial-recognition systems that can analyze photos to determine who might have come into contact with individuals who later tested positive for the virus.

Source: To Track Virus, Governments Weigh Surveillance Tools That Push Privacy Limits – WSJ

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