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Government's Use of Facial Recognition to Monitor People


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#1 LFC

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 12:46 PM

EDIT: I updated the thread name. I think this is going to be an ongoing topic.

This should scare the shit out of people. JetBlue, with no opt in or notification, is using facial recognition as your "boarding pass." So where did they get pictures to compare to in the first place? Department of Homeland Security. How's that for scary Orwellian type stuff?

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So how concerned should we be that companies like JetBlue have access to this data?

"You should be concerned," the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote on Twitter. "It’s unprecedented for the government to collect and share this kind of data, with this level of detail, with this many agencies and private partners. We need proper oversight and regulation to ensure our privacy is protected."

This has been happening for a while behind the scenes, and is likely to become more common. Delta opened the first facial-recognition-powered terminal last year in Atlanta. The Department of Homeland Security in a report last week said that it wants to roll out facial recognition technology to be used on 97 percent of departing airport passengers by 2023.

It's convenient and fairly sci-fi, but it appears a lot of passengers find it quite creepy, particularly because of privacy concerns.

The system called (in somewhat sinister language) "Biometric Exit" cross-references a photo of your face taken when you look into the camera with images from a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) database containing photos of you from passport and visa applications, The Hill reports.

“Once you take that high-quality photograph, why not run it against the FBI database? Why not run it against state databases of people with outstanding warrants?" Professor Alvaro Bedoya, founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, told The Verge.

"Suddenly you’re moving from this world in which you’re just verifying identity to another world where the act of flying is cause for a law enforcement search.”

As it stands CBP retains any images in its database that are flagged for inspection (e.g. because someone has outstayed their visa or failed to obtain a visa in the first place). That's a lot of data that departments like the FBI might like to get their hands on, and there's only going to be more of it as the system is rolled out over the next four years.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#2 LFC

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 12:54 PM

The U.K. has gone completely over the edge.

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Police fined a pedestrian £90 for disorderly behaviour after he tried to cover his face when he saw a controversial facial recognition camera on a street in London.

Officers set up the camera on a van in Romford, East London, which then cross-checked photos of faces of passers-by against a database of wanted criminals.

But one man was unimpressed about being filmed and covered his face with his hat and jacket, before being stopped by officers who took his picture anyway.

After being pulled aside, the man told police: 'If I want to cover me face, I'll cover me face. Don't push me over when I'm walking down the street.'

It comes just weeks after it was claimed the new technology incorrectly identified members of the public in 96 per cent of matches made between 2016 and 2018.

The cameras have been rolled out in a trial in parts of Britain, with the Met making its first arrest last December when shoppers in London's West End were scanned.

But their use has sparked a privacy debate, with civil liberties group Big Brother Watch branding the move a 'breach of fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of assembly'. Police argue they are necessary to crack down on spiralling crime.

Officers previously insisted people could decline to be scanned, before later clarifying that anyone trying to avoid scanners may be stopped and searched.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#3 Traveler

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 01:18 PM

Good timing. BB just had an article on the topic. It has a different take:

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The fact is, properly used, facial-recognition tools are a boon for governments and citizens alike. In some places, they’ve been deployed to protect borders and other vulnerable sites. In others, they’re helping to fight sex trafficking and find missing children. Police use them to identify suspects, track down fugitives, and speed up investigations. Last year, authorities used the technology to quickly identify the perpetrator in a horrific mass shooting in Maryland.

Down the road, the public benefits could be even more pronounced. Schools may use such software to spot sex offenders and other threats. Airports might use it to speed boarding and security procedures. It has great potential for improving public health. As the software improves, its benefits should only expand.

It’s natural to worry about abuses even so. But a China-style panopticon isn’t on the cards in the U.S. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable government intrusions, and the Supreme Court has forcefully applied it to digital technologies in recent years. Last year, the court ruled that the government may not access historical mobile-phone location data without a warrant, for instance. Overly broad uses of facial-recognition would undoubtedly face similar challenges.
Seems pretty optimistic to me. But FR is coming whether you like it or not, so better get used to it. My take is anytime you use the commons (trains, buses, planes) that are provided by the government, it has a right to use its assets for the public welfare. Of course, that presumes a government of laws. Seems to be a thing of the past these days.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#4 Beelzebuddy

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 02:06 PM

Posted Image
Fear Sells!

Cui bono?

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#5 LFC

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 02:23 PM

View PostTraveler, on 17 May 2019 - 01:18 PM, said:


The author ain't too bright. From your quote:

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It’s natural to worry about abuses even so. But a China-style panopticon isn’t on the cards in the U.S. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable government intrusions, and the Supreme Court has forcefully applied it to digital technologies in recent years.

Great! SCOTUS is on board! Let me take a look at that link. Oh, it was the liberal justices plus Roberts. All of the other conservative justices (pre-Kavanaugh) voted against. Nope, nuthin' to worry about here.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#6 LFC

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 03:25 PM

The fight against the use of facial recognition software has begun. How long before Republicans ban these bans?

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A loose coalition of privacy-minded digital rights groups and policymakers is crafting a strategy to rein in facial recognition technology in cities across the country.

Three cities thus far have banned government use of the technology: San Francisco, Somerville, a suburb of Boston, and now Oakland. Using facial recognition bans in those cities as a blueprint, opponents of the biometric technology hope to build momentum at all levels of government.

The technology, which identifies individuals by matching facial features to existing photo and video databases, has progressed at a full sprint along with the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence in recent years. From smart doorbells to school facial scanners, facial recognition technology is suddenly everywhere at once.

That’s particularly true for policing applications. The biggest airports in the country are scanning us as we board international flights. The policy director of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) believes that facial recognition has already become essential to his agency. The NYPD adopted the technology eight years ago and dozens of other police departments have followed suit.

Until now, misgivings around the technology didn’t seem to be slowing it down. Privacy groups and officials that spoke to The Daily Beast often referenced the “mission creep” of facial recognition tech. Its opponents say facial recognition poses an existential threat to digital privacy.

“This is something that’s happening right now,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights group Fight For The Future. “It’s not some dystopian, theoretical future harm. It’s a real, immediate threat that’s spreading very quickly.”

The technology's proponents say it will supercharge law enforcement’s ability to identify and locate suspects and any privacy sacrifice is a small price to pay.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#7 Traveler

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 07:24 AM

Just be glad you aren't in China. There they use it to ID jaywalkers and other miscreants, and send them a message in real time. And dock their social credit standing points.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#8 LFC

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:17 PM

As seems to be the case so often it turns out the facial recognition software isn't remotely close to being ready for prime time, not that this will slow down adoption by some cities. I'd love to the error rates on these things based around ethnicity. I'll go out on a limb and say it has more trouble with uuuuhhhhh ... let's say "more shaded individuals."

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One in five California lawmakers were mistaken for convicted criminals in an experiment testing the reliability of facial-recognition software in identifying potentially dangerous suspects. The Los Angeles Times reports that local assemblyman Phil Ting called for the experiment as part of a bill to ban the use of such technology by police and law-enforcement agencies. The experiment incorrectly matched his face to a convicted felon, which he argues could put innocent people in jeopardy if police mistakenly identify them as dangerous criminals. “The software clearly is not ready for use in a law-enforcement capacity,” Ting said. “These mistakes, we can kind of chuckle at it, but if you get arrested and it’s on your record, it can be hard to get housing, get a job. It has real impacts.” Proponents of the technology argue that it is useful in searching for lost children or elderly people in large group situations.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#9 Traveler

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 03:38 PM

Hey, it works well for helicopter parents here.

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...the technology has quietly become an accepted, widespread and even celebrated part of Americans’ everyday lives. Used to automatically tag photos on Facebook and unlock people’s iPhones, the systems have fueled a cottage industry of companies offering to secure school entryways, unlock office doors and identify people at public events.

Now hundreds of summer camps across the United States have tethered their rustic lakefronts to facial-recognition software, allowing parents an increasingly omniscient view into their kids’ home away from home.

The technology has shoved one of childhood’s most traditional rites of passage into the Internet age, offering parents a subtle means of digitally surveilling their kids’ blissful weeks of disconnect.

The face-scanning technology also has sparked an existential tension at many camps: How do you give kids a safe place to develop their identity and independence, while also offering the constant monitoring that modern parents increasingly demand?
Please excuse me while I puke.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#10 LFC

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 01:48 PM

Shit's gettin' scarier and scarier.

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There’s a famous trope in crime TV shows: The characters are peering anxiously at a grainy surveillance camera, when suddenly they see their suspect — in a blurry image that’s only visible for a second.

“Wait a second,” someone says. “Zoom in ... enhance.”

And suddenly they’re looking at a crystal-clear, perfect image of their suspect.

The whole concept is, of course, silly (and the trope has come in for mockery). If the camera only captured so many pixels in the first place, a button to retrieve a clearer image would have to be magic. Even in the distant, Star Trek future, after all, you can’t create information out of thin air.

Except ... the enhance button might finally be here.

In the latest cool advance for artificial learning and machine intelligence, researchers have created a code that can reconstruct blurry, low-resolution images of faces to clear, higher-resolution versions that come very close to what the actual faces look like. This development comes in an area of machine-learning research called “face super-resolution,” which focuses on reconstructing faces from distorted or low-resolution images.

In a new paper recently accepted to a machine-learning conference, “Progressive Face Super-Resolution via Attention to Facial Landmark,” by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, detailed faces are reconstructed from 16-by-16, highly pixelated images. Here are some examples from the paper:

Posted Image


" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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