public shaming

Jaywalk Shaming: China Puts Your Face And Name On E-Billboard

China’s ubiquitous surveillance and identification system watches everything, everywhere for rule-breakers and shames them in real-time by displaying pictures with names on electronic billboards. 

Since the entire population has already been catalogued into a national database, identifying a single person takes only seconds. This is symptomatic of a Technocracy at work.  ⁃ TN Editor

 

It’s something that many people do without giving it a second thought, but if you jaywalk in China , you could be publicly shamed.

Facial recognition technology is being used in several Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Shenzhen, which can spot people jaywalking, and post their photo and ID to a huge billboard.

Writer Matthew Brennan tweeted a shocking video of the strange system, although it remains unclear where it was filmed.

He wrote: “Chinese facial recognition system to discourage minor traffic violations. Cross the road when you shouldn’t and a picture of you with your name, ID card number pop up on the big screen for everyone to see.”

His tweeted has garnered over 3,000 retweets and almost 5,000 likes (at time of writing), with many people replying to express their shock at the system.

However, while it may be shocking to us, it’s pretty common place for locals, who have had to endure the system since 2018.

Speaking to Channel News Asia , Janine Wong, a news researcher in Shanghai explained: “It doesn’t matter if you’re walking or riding a bicycle.

“(Your picture) will be captured, and your face will show up on a screen nearby so everyone can see your face.

“Once they identify your face, all your information (like mobile phone number) is linked.”

Facial recognition is widely used across China, including in several airports.

Read full story here…




DNA

Judge: DNA Data Can Be Mined By Police, Government

Massive private DNA databases are being rapidly pried open by law enforcement and government. Technocrat handlers are incapable of keeping their hands off such a treasure trove of family trees. ⁃ TN Editor
 

For police officers around the country, the genetic profiles that 20 million people have uploaded to consumer DNA sites represent a tantalizing resource that could be used to solve cases both new and cold. But for years, the vast majority of the data have been off limits to investigators. The two largest sites, Ancestry.com and 23andMe, have long pledged to keep their users’ genetic information private, and a smaller one, GEDmatch, severely restricted  police access to its records this year

Last week, however, a Florida detective announced at a police convention that he had obtained a warrant to penetrate GEDmatch and search its full database of nearly one million users. Legal experts said that this appeared to be the first time a judge had approved such a warrant, and that the development could have profound implications for genetic privacy.

“That’s a huge game-changer,” said Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University. “The company made a decision to keep law enforcement out, and that’s been overridden by a court. It’s a signal that no genetic information can be safe.”

DNA policy experts said the development was likely to encourage other agencies to request similar search warrants from 23andMe, which has 10 million users, and Ancestry.com, which has 15 million. If that comes to pass, the Florida judge’s decision will affect not only the users of these sites but huge swaths of the population, including those who have never taken a DNA test. That’s because this emerging forensic technique makes it possible to identify a DNA profile even through distant family relationships.

Using public genealogy sites to crack cold cases had its breakthrough moment in April 2018 when the California police used GEDmatch to identify a man they believe is the Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo.

After his arrest, dozens of law enforcement agencies around the country rushed to apply the method to their own cases. Investigators have since used genetic genealogy to identify suspects and victims in more than 70 cases of murder, sexual assault and burglary, ranging from five decades to just a few months old.

Most users of genealogy services have uploaded their genetic information in order to find relatives, learn about ancestors and get insights into their health — not anticipating that the police might one day search for killers and rapists in their family trees. After a revolt by a group of prominent genealogists, GEDmatch changed its policies in May. It required law enforcement agents to identify themselves when searching its database, and it gave them access only to the profiles of users who had explicitly opted in to such queries. (As of last week, according to the GEDmatch co-founder Curtis Rogers, just 185,000 of the site’s 1.3 million users had opted in.)

Like many others in law enforcement, Detective Michael Fields of the Orlando Police Department was disappointed by GEDmatch’s policy shift. He had used the site last year to identify a suspect in the 2001 murder of a 25-year-old woman that he had spent six years trying to solve. Today, working with a forensic consulting firm, Parabon, Detective Fields is trying to solve the case of a serial rapist who assaulted a number of women decades ago.

In July, he asked a judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida to approve a warrant that would let him override the privacy settings of GEDmatch’s users and search the site’s full database of 1.2 million users. After Judge Patricia Strowbridge agreed, Detective Fields said in an interview, the site complied within 24 hours. He said that some leads had emerged, but that he had yet to make an arrest. He declined to share the warrant or say how it was worded.

Detective Fields described his methods at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago last week. Logan Koepke, a policy analyst at Upturn, a nonprofit in Washington that studies how technology affects social issues, was in the audience. After the talk, “multiple other detectives and officers approached him asking for a copy of the warrant,” Mr. Koepke said.

DNA policy experts said they would closely watch public response to news of the warrant, to see if law enforcement agencies will be emboldened to go after the much larger genetic databases.

“I have no question in my mind that if the public isn’t outraged by this, they will go to the mother lode: the 15-million-person Ancestry database,” Professor Murphy said. “Why play in the peanuts when you can go to the big show?”

Yaniv Erlich, the chief science officer at MyHeritage, a genealogy database of around 2.5 million people, agreed. “They won’t stop here,” he said.

Because of the nature of DNA, every criminal is likely to have multiple relatives in every major genealogy database. Without an outcry, Professor Murphy and others said, warrants like the one obtained by Detective Fields could become the new norm, turning all genetic databases into law enforcement databases.

Not all consumer genetics sites are alike. GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA make it possible for anyone to upload his or her DNA information and start looking for relatives. Law enforcement agents began conducting genetic genealogy investigations there not because these sites were the biggest but because they were the most open.

Read full story here…

Also see: 

“Hundreds” of crimes will soon be solved using DNA databases, genealogist predicts




Ring doorbell camera

Amazon Co-opting Homeowner’s Ring Cameras To Police

Several weeks ago it was reported that over 400 law enforcement agencies had partnered with Amazon’s Ring Camera. Ring distributes a free app called the Neighbors App that Ring owners use to store video images in the cloud. Amazon has now bonded its Neighbor’s app with police agencies to effectively turn private homeowners into snitches for the police. 

While Ring cameras have been used to catch some criminals that come to your door, there are huge privacy concerns because the administrators/ controllers have direct access to all cameras in the system. Currently, police are not given full access to homeowner’s installed cameras, and homeowners must volunteer to upload videos to their local police department. 

Why would anyone think that Amazon would somehow be benevolent with the data its collects? With a demonstrated history of listening in on its Alexa speakers, who would not expect them to do the same with Ring? Furthermore, who would expect Amazon to offer a ‘free’ app to both homeowners and police without having an ulterior motive to monetize and/or weaponize the data? And, keep in mind that Amazon is creating and selling the most sophisticated facial recognition software in the world… to the same law enforcement agencies.

Amazon is creating the ultimate surveillance grid for law enforcement that will include millions of homeowners in thousands of cities across America. 

A Technocracy News reader in San Bernardino, California forwarded to me an email received from the local Sheriff’s office:

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is excited to announce our partnership with Ring and the Neighbors App. Detectives and station personnel from across the county completed their training today and our stations are now live. Station staff are able to receive information and interact with residents through the app. Customers with a Ring camera will be able to share videos with their local Sheriff’s station. The Neighbors App connects communities with the goal of creating safer and stronger neighborhoods and one of the benefits is you do not need to own a Ring device to use the app.

I could find no public notice of the training that is mentioned above, but it clearly was nationwide and it clearly took place. The result is that the system has gone live.

The following article provides more details about how it all works.

Police partnerships with doorbell-camera company raise privacy questions

Dyana Bagby via Reporter Newspapers

In February, the Dunwoody Police Department sent out an upbeat press release announcing it was the first in Georgia to team up with doorbell-camera company Ring to access the company’s Neighbors app. The partnership, the department boasted, could help the department crack down on package thieves, stop burglaries and keep neighborhoods safe.

“Leveraging today’s technology to help keep our citizens safe is a key focus of our department,” Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan said in the release. “Our partnership with Ring and use of the Neighbors app will definitely help in our crime fighting efforts.”

The Brookhaven Police Department followed up a month later with its own press release announcing its alliance with Ring.

“Partnering with Ring using the Neighbors app will give officers a technological advantage when investigating crimes,” Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura said in the release.

Dunwoody and Brookhaven are just two of 10 law enforcement agencies in Georgia to team up with Ring, owned by corporate giant Amazon. Across the nation, more than 400 law enforcement agencies have signed on with Ring to gain free access to surveillance video shared by customers to Ring’s public social network, named “Neighbors.” Through the partnership, law enforcement agencies gain access to the Neighborhood Portal which includes a map of where Ring cameras are located.

Other Georgia law enforcement agencies partnering with Ring including police departments and sheriff’s offices in Chamblee, Cobb County, Duluth, Forsyth County, Garden City, Gwinnett County, Sandy Springs and the Savannah Police Department.

“This partnership is another way for us to engage the community and share information in a timely manner,” Sandy Springs Deputy Chief of Police Keith Zgonc said in an email. The department teamed up with Ring in April.

For some, the rising number of police partnering with Ring is chilling. They say Ring is creating a nationwide surveillance network that raises serious concerns about privacy and the blurring of police departments with corporations.

“Constant surveillance may sound safe for people who have nothing to fear from a biased criminal justice system, but making the decision to extend Amazon and police surveillance to your home is a potential hazard for people who live and work in your community,” said Matthew Gauriglia, policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF is an international nonprofit organization “defending civil liberties in the digital world,” according to its website.

Ring says its partnerships with law enforcement are just another way to keep communities safer by allowing police and residents to share crime and safety information through the Neighbors app.

“We are proud to work with law enforcement agencies across the country and have taken care to design these programs in a way that keeps users in control,” a spokesperson said in a written statement.

The partnerships claim to ensure anonymity to Ring users by requiring police to make a request to the company for footage they saw on the Neighbors app they want for an investigation. Ring then contacts the homeowner to make the actual request.

“With each request, customers decide whether to share all relevant videos, review and select certain videos to share, take no action (decline), or opt out of all future requests,” Ring says in a FAQ on its website.

Grogan also discounted privacy concerns, saying police are only looking for surveillance footage someone has voluntarily posted to the Neighbors app.

“I understand to some degree some concerns about ‘Big Brother,’ but you also have to understand that none of us have the resources or time to really look at video just randomly just see what people are doing,” Grogan said.

“We have specific purposes, to investigate crimes … other than that we are not looking at video,” he said. “We have no direct access to anything. It’s all voluntary. Nobody has to share anything with us.”

EFF says it’s not as black-and-white as Ring says when it comes to giving their customers the choice to not share video footage with police. Ring acknowledged in a story in Government Technology that if a resident does not want to share their footage, the company will still turn it over if a law enforcement agency has a “valid and binding legal demand.”

Yandura did not say his department has made demands for Ring footage, but said when customers post to the Neighbors app, it essentially becomes part of the public domain.

“Once someone publishes to the app, it’s out there,” Yandura said.

How Ring and the Neighbors app work

Residents can download the free Neighbors app and use it to monitor neighborhood activity, share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts; and receive real-time safety alerts from their neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team, according to a Ring press release.

Ring users are alerted when their doorbell-cameras detect motion from as far away as 30 feet; when someone presses the video-doorbell button; or when the user turns on a “Live View” option through the Ring app.

Those events begin recording a video file that is streamed from the Ring device to the cloud on Amazon Web Services servers, according to the company’s privacy notice.

Those who subscribe for $3 a month to Ring Protect Plans can have their videos stored on the cloud for 60 days to watch them later. Those without a plan will have their videos automatically deleted, according to Ring’s privacy notice.

Ring’s terms of service says the company and its licensees have permanent and wide-ranging rights to keep and use the footage from the cameras, including: “an unlimited, irrevocable, fully paid and royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide right to re-use, distribute, store, delete, translate, copy, modify, display, sell, create derivative works from and otherwise exploit such shared content for any purpose and in any media formats in any media channels without compensation.”

This kind of corporate control of homeowner’s video surveillance contributes to what EFF calls a “perfect storm of privacy threats.”

“Having a Ring camera may seem like a harmless way to protect your packages, but it is helping to create a large surveillance network within your own community that does more than just thwart the work of criminals,” Gauriglia said.

When Ring customers continually post footage to the Neighbors app resulting in constant alerts sent to users, fear is generated in communities, EFF says. That leads to more sales of Ring doorbell-cameras and other security devices, adding to an already massive surveillance network, according to EFF.

“With every update, Ring turns the delivery person or census-taker innocently standing on at the door into a potential criminal,” Gauriglia reported in an Aug. 8 EFF story. “Neighborhood watch apps only increase the paranoia.”

Yandura said there is nothing threatening about the Ring cameras, saying they are like having a “cop on every corner in the city” 24 hours a day.
Grogan said Ring and the Neighbors app are simply keeping communities informed on what is happening in their neighborhoods.

“People know their neighborhoods better than anybody,” he said. “They live there and know what is unusual. … The people that participate are choosing to do that and making the decision to work with police to try to help keep their communities safe.”

How many Ring doorbell-camera users live in Dunwoody and Brookhaven is not known by the police departments, according to the chiefs, and Ring declined to comment on this question.

Yandura did say a Ring representative told him earlier this year that Brookhaven’s 30319 ZIP code had the highest concentration of Ring devices in the state.

Both cities have also invested heavily in surveillance cameras and license plate readers, or LPRs.

Earlier this year, Dunwoody spent about $189,000 to buy 16 LPRs from Georgia Power to post throughout Perimeter Center where most of the city’s crime occurs.

In 2017, Brookhaven entered into a $700,000, three-year lease agreement with Georgia Power to place 44 LPRs throughout the city. The LPRs average 4 million “reads” a month of people driving in and out of the city, Yandura said, and are used to get hits on stolen cars and wanted fugitives.

What’s included in the partnership

Grogan said the department reached out to Ring last year after reading about the company partnering with law enforcement through the Neighbors app.

Yandura said he learned about Ring and the Neighbors app at a conference for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

After the chiefs agreed their departments would team up with Ring, they were required by the company to sign memorandums of understanding, non-binding agreements that outlined roles and responsibilities. Both cities MOUs stated Ring would provide mutually agreed-upon press releases announcing the partnerships.

The agreements included Ring providing the departments a few free Ring doorbell cameras to give out to residents at community events or homeowners’ association meetings.

ast month, the Dunwoody Police Department hosted a “pizza with police” event at City Hall that included free Ring doorbell camera giveaways.
Yandura said Brookhaven Police have also handed out four free Ring cameras at community events and HOA meetings.

Emails obtained through the open records request show that Dunwoody Police Department employees were given a special promotion code, “nbdunwoody,” after the MOU was signed in February. The code gave them $50 off any purchase of the Ring Classic, Ring Pro, Ring Video Doorbell 2, Floodlight Cam, Spotlight Cam and Ring Protect.

Ring also provided a free webinar to Dunwoody officers to train them on how to use the Neighbors app portal, according to emails.

Those requested by Ring to attend online training included the public information officer, the social media coordinator, an investigative coordinator and a community relations coordinator who “oversees the team that interfaces with the community at events, HOAs, Neighborhood Watch meetings, etc.”

These kinds of agreements can weaken a police department’s standing in a community where they are supposed to be neutral, Gauriglia said

“Ring-police partnerships also undermine our trust in local police departments,” he said. “We know from reporting that almost everything police put out about Ring, from press releases to the answers to potential questions citizens may have, are scripted and approved by Amazon.”

Grogan denied Amazon or Ring had control over what his department says, including the initial press release announcing the partnership.

“We modified it and removed language we felt sounded too much like an endorsement of the Ring camera,” he said. “Other than that, they have provided no input into any other communication related to the Neighbors by Ring app.”

Yandura also denied the arrangement meant Brookhaven officers were now representing Amazon and Ring.

“No, we are not salesmen and no money is exchanged by the parties,” Yandura said. “We are not promoting one [security company] over another.”

Ring did include in its Dunwoody MOU that it would donate Ring cameras to the Dunwoody Police Department based on the number of Neighbors app downloads that result from their partnership with the city.

“Each qualifying download will count as $10 toward these free Ring cameras,” according to the Dunwoody MOU.
Grogan said his department is not obligated to Ring or Amazon.

“We don’t actively promote one system over another,” he said. “If any other camera company wants to provide free security cameras for us to give out, we will give them out as well.”

Read full story here…




concentration camps

UN Claim: China’s Concentration Camps Bring ‘Stronger Sense Of Happiness’

In a classic case of Orwell’s Doublethink, China’s concentration camps are re-labeled as counter-terrorism and de-radicalization centers that make people happy and secure. This is Technocrat madness that defies any rational explanation. ⁃ TN Editor
 

A group of 54 United Nations members issued a statement Tuesday defending China for building over 1,000 concentration camps to imprison, torture, indoctrinate, rape, and kill Muslims, crediting the camps with building “a stronger sense of happiness” in the country.

Belarus, often considered the last dictatorship standing in Europe, delivered the statement on behalf of the China-allied nations at the General Assembly in response to a group statement condemning China’s human rights atrocities.

China has built hundreds of concentration camps in western Xinjiang province – home to the nation’s Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority – since late 2017, which it has used to imprison up to 3 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz Muslims. Survivors of the camps, mostly Kazakhs or Uyghurs married to foreign nations who appealed abroad for their freedom, say they were subject to forced sterilization and beatings, forced to memorize Communist Party propaganda songs, affirm their loyalty for dictator Xi Jinping, and serve as sex slaves for guards at the camps. Some also accused China of using the prisoners for slave labor to manufacture products sold in, among other places, the United States.

The Chinese government published the favorable statement in full.

Belarus, claiming to speak on behalf of other draconian states like Russia, Bolivia, Pakistan, and Democratic Republic of Congo, condemned “politicizing human rights issues by naming and shaming” human rights violators.

“Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers,” Belarus said, using China’s preferred term for the concentration camps. “The past three consecutive years has [sic] seen not a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang and people there enjoy a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security.”

Despite the Chinese regime severely limiting the entry of foreigners or other Chinese people from elsewhere in the country into Xinjiang, the note said the countries “appreciate China’s commitment to openness and transparency,” referencing a staged “media access” tour China organized for the state media of various friendly countries.

The statement concluded by condemning those standing up for human rights and demanding they “refrain from employing unfounded charges against China based on unconfirmed information before they visit Xinjiang,” which they cannot do freely.

The statement followed an attack against human rights defenders in July by a coalition of countries with deep business ties to China for demanding accountability on the Xinjiang camps.

Belarus has a longstanding human rights record that the United Nations defined as “fundamentally poor” in July. It has only ever had one president since achieving independence from the Soviet Union. pro-Russia autocrat Alexander Lukashenko. Among the human rights crimes Lukashenko stands guilty of are the arbitrary arrest and silencing of journalists and dissidents and widespread regulations on speech and assembly.

Belarus is an “important” partner to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to Beijing. The BRI is a sprawling infrastructure project nominally meant to expand modern transportation to connect Beijing to Western Europe. In reality, China has used the BRI to hand out predatory loans to developing countries, many of which then embezzle the money and leave the government deeply in debt. China then takes ownership of key properties in those countries, expanding its political reach.

Read full story here…

The full statement

Mr. President,

I have the honor to make the following joint statement on behalf of 54 countries including Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Egypt, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Serbia.

We reiterate that the work of Human Rights in the United Nations should be conducted in an objective, transparent, non-selective, constructive, non-confrontational and non-politicized manner. We express our firm opposition to relevant countries’ practice of politicizing human rights issues, by naming and shaming, and publicly exerting pressures on other countries.

We commend China’s remarkable achievements in the field of human rights by adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and protecting and promoting human rights through development. We also appreciate China’s contributions to the international human rights cause.

We take note that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism has caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, which has seriously infringed upon human rights, including right to life, health and development. Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers. Now safety and security has returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there are safeguarded. The past three consecutive years has seen not a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang and people there enjoy a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security. We note with appreciation that human rights are respected and protected in China in the process of counter-terrorism and deradicalization.

We appreciate China’s commitment to openness and transparency. China has invited a number of diplomats, international organizations officials and journalist to Xinjiang to witness the progress of the human rights cause and the outcomes of counter-terrorism and deradicalization there. What they saw and heard in Xinjiang completely contradicted what was reported in the media. We call on relevant countries to refrain from employing unfounded charges against China based on unconfirmed information before they visit Xinjiang. We urge the OHCHR, Treaty Bodies and relevant Special Procedures mandate holders to conduct their work in an objective and impartial manner according to their mandate and with true and genuinely credible information, and value the communication with member states.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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Concerns Rise Over China’s Global Exports Of Surveillance Tech

Most writers and analysts have no awareness of Technocracy in China, even though it is acting in perfect accord with the “science of social engineering”, and exporting its population control systems to anyone who will take them. ⁃ TN Editor

China has created a vast surveillance apparatus at home consisting of millions of cameras equipped with facial recognition technology.

Now, some of the country’s largest firms have signed deals around the world to sell their tech abroad.

Experts raised concerns about data being siphoned back to China, authoritarian regimes using the tech to increase their power and ultimately the Chinese Communist Party having more influence abroad.

China’s push to export its surveillance technology via some of its biggest companies, including to liberal democracies, has raised concerns because of the risk of data being siphoned back to Beijing and the growing influence of the Communist Party, experts told CNBC.

The world’s second-largest economy has built a vast surveillance state comprised of millions of cameras powered by facial recognition software. The devices, perched on lamp posts and outside buildings and streets, are able to recognize individuals.

Some of China’s most valuable technology firms have been involved in such projects across the country. But this technology is now being exported as the nation’s technology firms expand their global footprint.

Chinese tech companies — particularly Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua, and ZTE — supply artificial intelligence surveillance technology in 63 countries, according to a September report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank. Of those nations, 36 have signed onto China’s massive infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative, the report said, adding that Huawei supplies technology to the highest number of countries.

Some of these so-called “smart city” projects, which include surveillance technologies, are underway in Western countries, particularly in Europe, including Germany, Spain and France, according to analysis by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

Experts warned of a number of risks including potential access to data by the Chinese government.

“I think that sometimes there is an assumption that ‘oh well when we roll out this technology we aren’t going to use it in a negative way, we are using it to provide services or we are using it in a way that is seen as acceptable, socially acceptable in our society,’” Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at ASPI’s Cyber Centre, told CNBC’s “Beyond the Valley” podcast.

“But actually (we) can’t be sure of that because the difference isn’t necessarily how the technology is being deployed, but who has access to the data it’s collecting,” she said. “If it’s a Chinese company like Huawei, and that … data goes back to China and can be used by the party in whatever way that it chooses.”

Chinese laws and regulations

Hoffman cited laws in China that appear to compel Chinese firms to hand over data to the government, if asked. She did not accuse Huawei of wrongdoing, but just used the company as an example.

Earlier this year, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said he would “definitely say no” to any request for customer data from Beijing.

“I think we don’t even quite understand the full scale of the problem that we are dealing with when it comes to Chinese surveillance technology when it is exported. It’s not just that other regimes can use it in similar ways, it’s that when it’s exported the (Chinese Communist) Party can attach its interests as well,” Hoffman added.

Nowhere is China’s surveillance state more visible than in Xinjiang, home to China’s Uighur minority. The territory has made headlines for its detention and “re-education” camps that hold an estimated 1.5 million Muslims, many of them for violating what Amnesty International describes as a “highly restrictive and discriminatory” law that China says is designed to combat extremism.

Maya Wang, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch, focuses on Xinjiang and the surveillance activities there. She warned of the dangers of China’s surveillance technology going to authoritarian states.

“I think the worse future could be these governments adopting these technologies and adding that arsenal to the existing ones for the control of people,” Wang told CNBC.

Earlier this year, an ASPI report highlighted other concerns from China exporting its surveillance tech, including being able to undermine democracies, get an edge on new technologies and in military areas.

Read full story here…

 




globalization

The Viral Globalization Of AI Surveillance

The hottest export in the world, right behind arms and weaponry, is AI surveillance technology. Corporations and governments want to sell it, and everyone else wants it. The industry has gone viral, infecting the whole planet. ⁃ TN Editor
 

They all do it: corporations, regimes, authorities.  They all have the same reasons: efficiency, serviceability, profitability, all under the umbrella term of “security”.  Call it surveillance, or call it monitoring the global citizenry; it all comes down to the same thing.  You are being watched for your own good, and such instances should be regarded as a norm.

Given the weaknesses of international law and the general hiccupping that accompanies efforts to formulate a global right to privacy, few such restrictions, or problems, preoccupy those in surveillance.  The entire business is burgeoning, a viral complex that does not risk any abatement.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has released an unnerving report confirming that fact, though irritatingly using an index in doing so.  Its focus is Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.  A definition of sorts is offered for AI, being “an integrated system that incorporates information acquisition objectives, logical reasoning principles, and self-correction capacities.”

When stated like that, the whole matter seems benign.  Machine learning, for instance, “analyses a large amount of information in order to discern a pattern to explain the current data and predict future uses.”

There are several perturbing highlights supplied by the report’s author, Steven Feldstein.  The relationship between military expenditure and states’ use of AI surveillance systems is noted, with “forty of the world’s top fifty military spending countries (based on cumulative military expenditures) also [using] AI surveillance technology.”  Across 176 countries, data gathered since 2017 shows that AI surveillance technologies are not merely good domestic fare but a thriving export business.

The ideological bent of the regime in question is no bar to the use of such surveillance.  Liberal democracies are noted as major users, with 51 percent of “advanced democracies” doing so.  That number, interestingly enough, is less than “closed autocratic states” (37 percent); “electoral autocratic/competitive autocratic states” (41 percent) and “electoral democracies/illiberal democracies” (41 percent).  The political taxonomist risks drowning in minutiae on this point, but the chilling reality stands out: all states are addicted to diets of AI surveillance technologies.

Feldstein makes the fairly truistic point that “autocratic and semi-autocratic” states so happen to abuse AI surveillance more “than governments in liberal democracies” but the comparisons tend to breakdown in the global race for technological superiority.  Russia, China and Saudi Arabia are singled out as “exploiting AI technology for mass surveillance purposes” but all states seek the Holy Grail of mass, preferably warrantless surveillance.  Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 did more than anything else to scupper the quaint notion that those who profess safeguards and freedoms are necessarily aware about the runaway trends of their security establishment.

The corporation-state nexus is indispensable to global surveillance, a symbiotic relationship that resists regulation and principle.  This has the added effect of destroying any credible distinction between a state supposedly more compliant with human rights standards, and those that are not.  The common thread, as ever, is the technology company.  As Feldstein notes, in addition to China, “companies based in liberal democracies – for example, Germany, France, Israel, Japan, South Korea, the UK, the United States – are actively selling sophisticated equipment to unsavoury regimes.”

These trends are far from new.  In 1995, Privacy International published a report with the unmistakable title Big Brother Incorporated, an overview of surveillance technology that has come to be aptly known as the Repression Trade.  “Much of this technology is used to track the activities of dissidents, human rights activists, journalists, student leaders, minorities, trade union leaders, and political opponents.”

Corporations with no particular allegiance except to profit and shareholders, such as British computer firm ICL (International Computers Limited) were identified as key designers behind the South African automated Passbook system, Apartheid’s stand out signature.  In the 1980s, the Israeli company Tadiran, well in keeping with a rich tradition of the Repression Trade, supplied the murderous Guatemalan policy with computerised death lists in their “pacification” efforts.

Read full story here…




China Invents Handheld Sonic Weapon For Crowd Control

Certain frequencies that do not normally appear in nature in harmful intensities, can be used as a potent weapon leading to incapacitation, hearing loss, vomiting, organ damage and heart attacks. Yet another Technocrat solution to social engineering. ⁃ TN Editor
 

China has developed the world’s first portable sonic gun for riot control, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

The rifle-shaped instrument, which was jointly developed with military and law enforcement, is designed to disperse crowds using focused waves of low frequency sound, the academy’s Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry website said on Wednesday.

The device’s “biological effect” would cause extreme discomfort, with vibrations in the eardrums, eyeballs, stomach, liver, and brain, scientists said.

Studies dating to the 1940s found that low frequency sound energy could, depending upon intensity and exposure, cause dizziness, headaches, vomiting, bowel spasms, involuntary defecation, organ damage and heart attacks.

Sonic weapons are typically large and have to be mounted on vehicles. Until the Chinese development, which has no moving parts, they were powered by electricity to drive a magnetic coil to generate energy. This meant they needed a large and stable source of power.

The Chinese government launched the sonic weapon programme in 2017 and its conclusion is unlikely to be related to the months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

Professor Xie Xiujuan, lead scientist on the project, said the device was powered by a tube-shape vessel containing an inert gas. When heated, the gas particles vibrate and a deep, monotonous sound is emitted.

The prototype had passed field and third-party tests and the project team has completed its assessment of the device’s effects on the body, the academy said.

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Baltimore Surveillance

Baltimore To Fight Crime By Airplane Surveillance Of Entire City

Baltimore was busted in 2016 for conducting a secret aerial surveillance dragnet of the entire city with a single airplane. Not its back at the table looking for three airplanes to blanket the city in real-time. ⁃ TN Editor
 

The head of an aerial surveillance company is pitching Baltimore officials on flying not one but three camera-laden planes above the city simultaneously, covering most of the city and its violent crime, he said in emails obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

A pair of Texas donors have stepped forward to help fund three planes and extra police, 40 local analysts and oversight personnel if there is city buy-in, the records and interviews show. The effort aims to “demonstrate the effectiveness” of such an all-seeing surveillance system in fighting crime in the city.

The enlarged scope of the three-year, $6.6 million surveillance pitch was welcomed by supporters and denounced by detractors contacted by The Sun.

Ross McNutt of Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems said in emails to officials in Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s office that most City Council members had expressed their support for the surveillance planes, though several council members denied it. No decision has been made.

Each plane would be capable of recording up to 32 square miles at a time, and each would fly 45 to 50 hours a week, McNutt said.

“With these three coverage areas, we would be able to cover areas that include 80 to 90 percent of the murders and shootings in Baltimore,” McNutt wrote in an email last month to Sheryl Goldstein, Young’s deputy chief of staff.

The work would cost $2.2 million a year, said McNutt, whose company previously flew a single surveillance plane over Baltimore as part of a secret pilot program in 2016.

That funding would cover the cost of putting the planes up, additional police officers to work cases aided by the surveillance, independent oversight of the program’s privacy measures and a University of Baltimore-led evaluation of the program’s “effectiveness in supporting investigations and deterring crime in the community,” McNutt wrote.

McNutt said the program costs would be covered by Texas philanthropists Laura and John Arnold, who also funded the 2016 pilot program. John Arnold, in a statement, confirmed his strong interest in funding the program but said nothing is certain yet.

“While we have not formally committed to additional funding, we have expressed significant interest in a proposal to restart the program if it has support from Baltimore city leaders and the broader community,” he said. “We will wait to see a formal proposal before making a firm commitment.”

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Big Brother Cometh: Massive License Plate Database Exceeds 150 Million

Throwing legality and the Constitution aside, Technocrats lust after data on society. Collecting data in real-time is the holy grail of AI that is used for instant analysis and reporting of actionable offenses. ⁃ TN Editor

Our worst fears about automatic license plate readers (ALPR) are much worse than we could have imagined.

Two months ago, I warned everyone that police in Arizona were using ALPR’s to “grid” entire neighborhoods. But this story brings public surveillance to a whole new level.

Last month, Rekor Systems announced that they had launched the Rekor Public Safety Network (RPSN) which gives law enforcement real-time access to license plates.

“Any state or local law enforcement agency participating in the RPSN will be able to access real-time data from any part of the network at no cost. The Company is initially launching the network by aggregating vehicle data from customers in over 30 states. With thousands of automatic license plate reading cameras currently in service that capture approximately 150 million plate reads per month, the network is expected to be live by the first quarter of 2020.”

RPSN is a 30 state real-time law enforcement license plate database of more than 150 million people.

And the scary thing about it is; it is free.

“We don’t think our participants should be charged for accessing information from a network they contribute to, especially when it provides information that has proven its value in solving crimes and closing cases quickly,” said Robert A. Berman, President and CEO, Rekor.

Want to encourage law enforcement to spy on everyone? Give them free access to a massive license plate database.

RPSN’s AI software uses machine learning to predict when and where a hotlisted person or a person of interest will be.

“Rekor’s software, powered by artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning, can also be added to existing law enforcement security camera networks to search for law enforcement related hotlists as well as Amber Alerts and registered sex offender motor vehicles.”

Rekor admits that police in thirty states are probably spying on more than 150 million license plates each month.

The Westchester County New York Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center alone, collects “more than 25 million license plates each month.”

An article in Traffic Technology Today revealed that Rekor will go to great lengths to convince police departments to track millions of motorists. “In 2020, the RPSN will be fully compliant with the federal 2019 NDAA law, which bans the use of certain foreign manufactured cameras used in critical infrastructure.”

Rekor’s 2019 NDAA sales pitch, is both disturbing and despicable. It reveals just where they and law enforcement stand when it comes to using ALPR’s to spy on millions of motorists.

Police use license plate readers to track motorists in real-time

An article in The Newspaper revealed how police in Louisiana use license plate readers to track motorists in real-time.

Eric J. Richard had been driving his white Buick LaCrosse on Interstate 10, when he was stopped by Louisiana State Police Trooper Luke Leger for allegedly following a truck too closely. During the roadside interrogation, the trooper asked where Richard was coming from.

“I was coming from my job right there in Vinton,” Richard replied. The trooper had already looked up the travel records for Richard’s car and already knew it had crossed into Louisiana from Texas earlier in the day. Based on this “apparent lie,” the trooper extended the traffic stop by asking more questions and calling in a drug dog.

The article goes on to say that police had no reason to track Mr. Richard, but they did so because they could. And that should frighten everyone.

Rekor lets law enforcement know where your friends and family are, where your doctor’s office is, where you worship and where you buy groceries.

How is that for Orwellian?

It is time to face the facts: ALPR’s are not about public safety, they are a massive surveillance system designed to let Big Brother track our every movement.

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Feds Demand Gun Owner Data From Apple, Google

Technocrats in the Administration believe they have some sort of divine right to any data that exists anywhere in the universe, and are working backdoors to increase their already massive hoard or citizen data. ⁃ TN Editor

Own a rifle? Got a scope to go with it? The U.S. government might soon know who you are, where you live and how to reach you.

That’s because the government wants Apple and Google to hand over names, phone numbers and other identifying data of at least 10,000 users of a single gun scope app, Forbes has discovered. It’s an unprecedented move: Never before has a case been disclosed in which American investigators demanded personal data of users of a single app from Apple and Google. And never has an order been made public where the feds have asked the Silicon Valley giants for info on so many thousands of people in one go.

According to an application for a court order filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 5, investigators want information on users of Obsidian 4, a tool used to control rifle scopes made by night-vision specialist American Technologies Network Corp. The app allows gun owners to get a live stream, take video and calibrate their gun scope from an Android or iPhone device. According to the Google Play page for Obsidian 4, it has more than 10,000 downloads. Apple doesn’t provide download numbers, so it’s unclear how many iPhone owners could be swept up in this latest government data grab.

If the court approves the demand, and Apple and Google decide to hand over the information, it could include data on thousands of people who have nothing to do with the crimes being investigated, privacy activists warned. Edin Omanovic, lead on Privacy International’s State Surveillance program, said it would set a dangerous precedent and scoop up “huge amounts of innocent people’s personal data.”

“Such orders need to be based on suspicion and be particularized—this is neither,” Omanovic added.

Neither Apple nor Google had responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. ATN, the scope maker, also hadn’t responded.

Why the data grab?

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department is seeking information as part of a broad investigation into possible breaches of weapons export regulations. It’s looking into illegal exports of ATN’s scope, though the company itself isn’t under investigation, according to the order. As part of that, investigators are looking for a quick way to find out where the app is in use, as that will likely indicate where the hardware has been shipped. ICE has repeatedly intercepted illegal shipments of the scope, which is controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), according to the government court filing. They included shipments to Canada, the Netherlands and Hong Kong where the necessary licenses hadn’t been obtained.

“This pattern of unlawful, attempted exports of this rifle scope in combination with the manner in which the ATN Obsidian 4 application is paired with this scope manufactured by Company A supports the conclusion that the information requested herein will assist the government in identifying networks engaged in the unlawful export of this rifle scope through identifying end users located in countries to which export of this item is restricted,” the government order reads. (The order was supposed to have been sealed, but Forbes obtained it before the document was hidden from public view.) There’s no clear stipulation on the government’s side to limit this to countries outside of America, though that limitation could be put in place.

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