TSA Launching Facial Recognition For Domestic Flights

TSA will scan your printed travel documents and then scan your face to see how well they can match you. In the process, they will ultimately create a nationwide facial recognition system on all travelers.

Do the math. In America, some 750,000,000 passengers board domestic flights each year, or twice the population of the country. Thus, TSA’s plan will capture the vast majority of American citizens. ⁃ TN Editor

The agency will assess how the tech verifies travelers’ live facial images against pictures taken from travelers’ identity documents.

The Transportation Security Administration will conduct a short term proof of concept in Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport to examine how effective facial recognition technology could be at automating travelers’ identity verification, according to a recent publication from the Homeland Security Department.

For passengers who opt in, the agency will assess the technology’s capability to verify travelers’ live facial images taken at security checkpoints against the images on their identity documents.

“TSA expects that facial recognition may permit TSA personnel to focus on other critical tasks and expediting security processes—resulting in shorter lines and reduced wait times,” officials said in a privacy impact assessment regarding the proof. “Biometric matching is also expected to increase TSA’s security effectiveness by improving the ability to detect impostors.”

The agency plans to use biometrics to identify 97% of travelers flying out of the country by 2022. Last year, TSA performed an initial proof of concept, capturing real-time facial images from biometric-enabled automated electronic security gates to passengers’ e-Passports at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Instead of using automated security gates in this pilot, TSA will use a Credential Authentication Technology device with a camera, or a CAT-C device, to authenticate passengers’ identity documents. The device also will collect the image and biographic information from those documents and capture live images of passengers’ faces. The ultimate goal is to ensure that biometrics work for verifying passengers.

“To participate, passengers will voluntarily choose to enter a lane dedicated to the proof of concept,” TSA said.

Ultimately the agency plans to collect: live photos of passengers’ faces, photos from traveler documents, identification document issuance and expiration dates, travel dates, various types of identification documents, the organizations that issued their identification documents, the years of passenger’s births, as well as the gender or sex listed in the identification documents.

The agency assures that the data will be “obfuscated to the greatest extent possible.”

TSA plans to store the data on encrypted hard drives that it will remove daily and transfer to DHS Science and Technology Directorate personnel weekly. Biometric information cannot be recovered from the templates produced and the information will only be used for the purpose of the pilot, it said. The agency also plans to consult with the National Institutes for Standards and Technology during the assessment of the algorithm and to ensure that all methodologies meet industry standards.

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Elon Musk Jack Ma

Elon Musk v Jack Ma: Who Is More Human?

Two billionaire arch-Technocrats from vastly different cultures square off to debate the future of the world. Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma is clearly more in touch with the human condition than Elon Musk.

Musk’s illogic is seen with a statement like:  “The first thing we should assume is we are very dumb. We can definitely make things smarter than ourselves.” How can dumb people make things smarter than themselves? ⁃ TN Editor

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday said that computers are getting smarter than humans in more and more spheres and that the trend will continue.

“We will be far, far surpassed in every single way. I guarantee it,” Musk said to Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba, at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai.

The comments highlight an evolving landscape in technology, including in artificial intelligence — an area technology companies are tapping to enhance their products and sell to businesses.

Musk pointed to advances in chess and the Chinese board game of Go as evidence of progress in AI.

“Your cell phone could crush the world champion of chess, literally,” Musk told Ma.

He talked about how in the future technology from Neuralink, a start-up he co-founded, could give people a way to boost their skills in certain subjects. The company is seeking to draw on AI for augmenting people’s cognitive capabilities with brain-machine interfaces. The company is not there yet, though.

“The first thing we should assume is we are very dumb,” Musk said. “We can definitely make things smarter than ourselves.”

Ma had a different view, suggesting that a computer has never spawned a human being, or even a mosquito.

“I’ve never in my life, especially [in the] last two years, when people talk about AI, human beings will be controlled by machines,” he said. “I never think about that. It’s impossible.”

And Ma said that he does not want to play chess or Go against a machine. These games were designed for people to play against each other, he said.

“I’ll be happy to see two computers fight each other,” Ma added.

The Tesla chief has spoken previously about AI. In 2017 he suggested that competition among nations in AI could lead to World War III.

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The Last Frontier: Big Tech Wants To Read Your Thoughts

Controlling what you do is one thing, but digging into what you think is an order of magnitude more disturbing, with ethical, moral and privacy considerations at the top of the list. ⁃ TN Editor

Not content with monitoring almost everything you do online, Facebooknow wants to read your mind as well. The social media giant recently announced a breakthrough in its plan to create a device that reads people’s brainwaves to allow them to type just by thinking. And Elon Musk wants to go even further. One of the Tesla boss’s other companies, Neuralink, is developing a brain implant to connect people’s minds directly to a computer.

Musk admits that he takes inspiration from science fiction and that he wants to make sure humans can “keep up” with artificial intelligence. He seems to have missed the part of sci-fi that acts as a warning for the implications of technology.

These mind-reading systems could affect our privacy, security, identity, equality and personal safety. Do we really want all that left to companies with philosophies such as that of Facebook’s former mantra, “move fast and break things”?

Though they sound futuristic, the technologies needed to make brainwave-reading devices are not that dissimilar to the standard MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and EEG (electroencephalography) neuroscience tools used in hospitals all over the world. You can already buy a kit to control a drone with your mind, so using one to type out words is, in some ways, not that much of a leap. The advance will likely be due to the use of machine learning to sift through huge quantities of data collected from our brains and find the patterns in neuron activity that link thoughts to specific words.

A brain implant is likely to take a lot longer to develop, and it’s important to separate out the actual achievements of Neuralink from media hype and promotion. But Neuralink has made simultaneous improvements in materials for electrodes and robot-assisted surgery to implant them, packaging the technology neatly so it can be read via USB.

acebook and Neuralink’s plans may build on established medical practice. But when companies are collecting thoughts directly from our brains, the ethical issues are very different.

Any system that could collect data directly from our brains has clear privacy risks. Privacy is about consent. But it is very difficult to give proper consent if someone is tapping directly into our thoughts. Silicon Valley companies (and governments) already surreptitiously gather as much data on us as they can and use it in ways we’d rather they didn’t. How sure can we be that our random and personal thoughts won’t be captured and studied alongside the instructions we want to give the technology?

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