Leak: EU Considers 5-Year Ban On Facial Recognition
While the EU is largely a Technocracy, this proposal for a 5-year ban on AI in Facial Recognition is to give regulators more time to “shape the way it develops”. This potentially could leap-frog technologies in China and the U.S. ⁃ TN Editor
The European Commission is considering measures to impose a temporary ban on facial recognition technologies used by both public and private actors, according to a draft white paper on Artificial Intelligence obtained by EURACTIV.
If implemented, the plans could throw current AI projects off course in some EU countries, including Germany’s wish to roll out automatic facial recognition at 134 railway stations and 14 airports. France also has plans to establish a legal framework permitting video surveillance systems to be embedded with facial recognition technologies.
The Commission paper, which gives an insight into proposals for a European approach to Artificial Intelligence, stipulates that a future regulatory framework could “include a time-limited ban on the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces.”
The document adds that the “use of facial recognition technology by private or public actors in public spaces would be prohibited for a definite period (e.g. 3–5 years) during which a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures could be identified and developed.”
Five Regulatory Options for AI
More generally, the draft White Paper, the completed version of which the Commission should publish towards the end of February, features five regulatory options for Artificial Intelligence across the bloc.
The different regulatory branches considered by the Commission in the paper are:
Sectorial requirements for public administration and facial recognition
Mandatory risk-based requirements for high-risk applications
Safety and liability
A Voluntary Labelling framework could consist of a legal instrument whereby developers could “chose to comply, on a voluntary basis, with requirements for ethical and trustworthy artificial intelligence.” Should compliance in this area be guaranteed, a ‘label’ of ethical or trustworthy artificial intelligence would be granted, with binding conditions.
Option two focuses on a specific area of public concern – the use of artificial intelligence by public authorities – as well as the employment of facial recognition technologies generally. In the former area, the paper states that the EU could adopt an approach akin to the stance taken by Canada in its Directive on Automated Decision Making, which sets out minimum standards for government departments that wish to use an Automated Decision System.
As for facial recognition, the Commission document highlights provisions from the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which give citizens “the right not to be subject of a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling.”
Shock: U.S. 4th Worst Abuser Of Biometric Privacy Rights
The Chinafication of America is well underway. The only three countries with a worse record than the U.S. are China, Malaysia and Pakistan. This should be a massive wake-up call for all Americans to demand that this madness be stopped. ⁃ TN Editor
Does anyone really believe America is still the land of the free?
Since 9/11, DHS, the FBI, the CIA, and countless other alphabet soup agencies have turned the United States into a public surveillance monstrosity.
In 19 years, one terrorist attack has done what no one else could have dreamed of: turn America’s freedoms into a distant memory.
Abusing citizen’s rights and privacy used to be the hallmark of dictatorships and police states like the CCCP or North Korea.
A recent study conducted by Comparitech, rated 50 countries from best to worst at protecting citizen’s biometric data.
The study found that America is one of the world’s worst abusers of citizen’s biometric privacy.
“While China topping the list perhaps doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, residents of (and travelers to) other countries may be surprised and concerned at the extent of biometric information that is being collected on them and what is happening to it afterward.”
This really should not come as a surprise, because last year Comparitech revealed that American and Chinese cities lead the world in spying on their citizens. Last week, I wrote an article explaining how 2019 would go down as the year that facial recognition and corporate surveillance became commonplace in America.
Comparitech’s recent study on biometric privacy compared how 50 countries collect and use data to identify innocent people:
Many countries collect travelers’ biometric data, often through visas or biometric checks at airports
Every country we studied is using biometrics for bank accounts, e.g. fingerprints to access online app data and/or to confirm identities within the banks themselves
Despite many countries recognizing biometric data as sensitive, increased biometric use is widely accepted
Facial recognition CCTV is being implemented in a large number of countries, or at least being tested
EU countries scored better overall than non-EU countries due to GDPR regulations protecting the use of biometrics in the workplace (to some extent)
The USA is the 4th worst abuser of citizen’s biometric privacy
Comparitech warns, “these 5 countries show a concerning lack of regard for the privacy of people’s biometric data.” That’s right, the former “land of the free” has become the land of the surveilled and tracked.
How can that be you ask?
According to Comparitech, the United States scores highly in most areas due to:
Having biometrics in passports, ID cards, and bank accounts.
Having a biometric voting system (optical scan equipment used in a large number of states).
Not having a specific law to protect citizens’ biometrics. While there is a handful of state laws that protect state residents’ biometrics (as can be seen in our state privacy study), this does leave many US citizens’ biometrics exposed as there is no federal law in place.
Implementing the widespread use of facial recognition cameras with law enforcement pushing for further use in the identification of criminals. For example, the FBI and ICE have recently been criticized due to their use of facial recognition technology to scan drivers’ license photos without gaining the citizens’ consent beforehand. Equally, some city-level bans have been put in place with San Francisco (CA), Oakland (CA), Berkeley (CA), and Somerville (MA) banning government use of facial recognition technology.
The growing use of biometrics in the workplace. Many companies use employees’ biometrics for certain actions, e.g. using a fingerprint to gain access to a work computer. Again, some state laws offer a little more protection but this still leaves many employees’ biometrics exposed.
Fingerprints being required for most American visas and everyone’s fingerprints being collected upon entry to the country.
Curiously, Comparitech failed to elaborate on DHS’s national Real-ID program which forces everyone to provide biometric information to drive or fly in America. If they had included Real-ID in their study it is my opinion that America would be 2nd only to China in abusing citizen’s biometric privacy.
Resistance Against Ubiquitous Surveillance Is Growing In China
A hint of citizen displeasure and resistance to Big Brother everywhere has peeked through in China. It’s not just that the lawsuit against surveillance was filed, but that over 100 million social media users are following the story.
The massive Hong Kong protests against China’s takeover have had an impact on Mainland citizens. This, in turn, is beginning to put social pressure on China’s government and it will certainly be met with government resistance. ⁃ TN Editor
Facial-recognition technology has become embedded in China, from airports to hotels, e-commerce sites and even public toilets, but a law professor had enough when asked to scan his face at a safari park.
Guo Bing took the wildlife park to court, raising the temperature in a growing debate about privacy and abuse of personal data in an increasingly digitised society.
China’s government has thrown its support behind companies that develop facial recognition and artificial intelligence for commerce and security, part of a drive to become a world leader in advanced technologies.
Surveys have indicated a broad public willingness to surrender some privacy in exchange for the safety and convenience that technology can bring.
But that’s changing as the collection of biometric data such as fingerprints and facial scans mounts.
Domestic media have called Guo’s suit against the Hangzhou Safari Park in eastern China, filed in October, the first of its kind in the country, and the public reaction has exposed fears that technology is outpacing legal safeguards.
Online posts regarding the case on the popular Weibo platform have garnered more than 100 million views, with many users calling for a ban on collecting such data.
The sentiment stems in part from the rampant abuse of personal data in China, ranging from outright financial fraud to the common leaking of mobile phone numbers to phishing operations.
Deal with the devil
In a recent article posted online that generated wide discussion in China, Lao Dongyan, a law professor at prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, called abuse of facial recognition data “a deal with the devil”.
“The wanton promotion of facial-recognition technology will open Pandora’s box. The price we pay will be not only our privacy, but also the security we strive for,” Lao wrote.
Guo, a professor at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in Hangzhou, said in his civil complaint that collection of data like facial scans, “if leaked, illegally provided or abused, will easily endanger consumers’ personal and property safety”.
A hearing date is yet to be announced. Guo could not be reached for comment.
A key element to total surveillance is geospatial tracking (GeoInt) and monitoring of everything that moves. GeoInt was originally developed by the military for the military, but now it will power Smart Cities around the globe.
The embedded videos are critical for you to watch and contemplate. Take them to all of your locally elected officials and show them WHY they should reject Smart City makeover. ⁃ TN Editor
As the world gets smarter and more connected, 5G and geospatial will together be powering cities of the future.
Half of the world’s population lives in cities, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. As our urban ecosystems grow ever larger, technology has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of those living in them. With the onset of digitalization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution radically changing how we live work and interact, the biggest impact will be felt on our cities.
As challenges like population pressure, deforestation, traffic congestion, deteriorating infrastructure, crime and resource crunch impact cities the world over, smart city innovations couldn’t have come at a better time. Smart cities may save the world as much as $22 trillion by 2050, according to the Global Commission on Economy & Climate.
Accurate geospatial information helps governments design better cities, improve public services and engage with citizens. Urbanization of the future will be driven by geospatial data and location would be a crucial component in digitalization of cities. And as cities get smarter, much of this location data has to be in real time. This is where geospatial and 5G converge. 5G and geospatial will together be powering cities of the future.
“5G will act as the connective tissue of tomorrow’s digital economy, linking everything from smartphones to wireless sensors to industrial robots and self-driving cars,” says Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Together they are the critical link for a smart, interconnected world, bringing the next level of connectivity to industries and society that helps in shaping digital cities.
Besides powering data at unbelievably fast rates, the coverage density of 5G is a hundred times greater than current standards. 5G can connect up to 1 million devices per sq km; its low latency and incredible speed and bandwidth will bring in the ubiquitous connectivity required by the smart city ecosystem.
What is 5G?
5G is the short form for ‘fifth generation mobile network’ and is quite unlike any of the previous generations in a way that it is unlikely to be defined by any single technology. Often referred to as “the network of networks” because of the way it will bind together multiple existing and future standards, including the current LTE 4G networks, 5G will be way more fast and reliable with greater carrying capacity.
5G will accelerate the move towards digital as a transformative ecosystem that combines Big Data and Cloud, virtualization and augmentation, automation and intelligent machines, distributed computing and artificial intelligence, to derive insights from data that is generated by billions of connected devices.
Of course, 5G doesn’t exist alone and will be majorly driven by the ongoing sensor revolution and the move towards a connected world. According to Jeff Glueck, CEO, Foursquare, “For 5G we need a multi-sensor approach. It is important to add the human element on the physical element for innovation.”
As sensors get smaller, they are getting more and more ubiquitous. From smartphones to cameras, wearable devices to platforms like social media, crowd sensing technologies are increasing at an incredible pace. The number of connected devices worldwide is forecast to grow to almost 31 billion by 2020, according to Statista. The total installed base of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices is projected to amount to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in 10 years.
“Multiple sensors are adding to more dynamic data coming from all quarters, drowning the whole world in a pool of data. You need more dynamic technologies to handle this data,” underlines Christopher De Preter, Chief Sales Officer, Hexagon Geospatial.
“5G will make networks several times faster, increase network capacity, open possibilities to cover not only dense built-up territories in cities but suburbs and villages, and will really unlock the potential of IoT and smart cities development, connecting all people and all things,” says Dr. Volodymyr Kolinko, CEO, Visicom, a Ukraine-based geodata provider company.
Geospatial and 5G
“Geospatial insight is key to planning for 5G network for unprecedented speed. It will expedite the process of site selection, design and asset management, providing immersive, overlay and point cloud view for decision making,” explains Frank Paulie, CEO, Cyclomedia.
5G’s higher frequencies — which is needed to carry huge amounts of data — have a very short range which can be impacted by smallest of the obstructions. The signal is so sensitive that it can be blocked by the palm of your hand, or even a raindrop. 5G will also require denser telecom network — more towers placed selectively and strategically. Therefore, accurate, authoritative geospatial data is fundamental here to plan network towers.
Further, because of the sensitivity of radio waves, it is necessary to have detailed maps — buildings with roof features, pipes, air conditioners, spires, sloping roofs, and even vegetation which also can affect signal propagation.
5G wireless promises higher capacity, more reliability, lower latency and improved coverage, thus bringing greater accuracy in positioning services, since telecom-based positioning technologies require telecom towers to be synchronized to nanoseconds relative to each other.
5G will also usher in new technology trends that will significantly impact the overall mobile network architecture, thus influencing the traditional positioning concepts as well. With location becoming fundamental to governance and all business process, the value of location-based services for industries such as advertising and marketing, transportation, retail, will only increase, since the 5G rollout and its subsequent expansion will enable more mobile interaction opportunities.
Colleges Track Hundreds Of Thousands Of Students Using Their Phones
Students are being conditioned by the hundreds of thousands to live in a dystopian, all-seeing Technocracy where social engineering and behavior modification are the norm. ⁃ TN Editor
“Graduates will be well prepared … to embrace 24/7 government tracking and social credit systems.”
An app created to track the attendance of ‘less academically inclined’ college athletes is under fire, after over 40 schools have begun using the technology to monitor students campus-wide, according to the Washington Post.
Developed by former college basketball coach Rick Carter (who is currently under a restraining order by DePaul University for allegedly threatening the athletic director and head basketball coach), the Chicago-based SpotterEDU app uses Bluetooth beacons to ping a student’s smartphone once they enter a lecture hall. About the size of a deck of cards, they are installed in covert locations on walls and ceilings.
School officials give SpotterEDU the students’ full schedules, and the system can email a professor or adviser automatically if a student skips class or walks in more than two minutes late. The app records a full timeline of the students’ presence so advisers can see whether they left early or stepped out for a break. –Washington Post
Syracuse University IT instructor Jeff Rubin uses the app to encourage his students to attend lectures – awarding “attendance points” to those who show up. Rubin is also notified when students skip classes.
“They want those points,” said Rubin. “They know I’m watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change.”
According to Rubin, his 340-student lecture has never been so full at around 90% attendance.
Double Secret Dystopia
Understandably, not everyone is thrilled with the intrusive new technology, which many argue breaches students’ privacy rights on a massive scale.
“We’re adults. Do we really need to be tracked?” said sophomore Robby Pfeifer, a student at Commonwealth University in Richmond, which recently began using the campus’ WiFi network to track students. “Why is this necessary? How does this benefit us? … And is it just going to keep progressing until we’re micromanaged every second of the day?”
School and company officials, on the other hand, argue that monitoring students is a powerful motivator and will encourage students to adopt habits geared towards success.
“If they know more about where students are going, they argue, they can intervene before problems arise,” according to the Post.
That said, some schools have taken things further – assigning “risk scores” to students based on factors such as whether they are going to the library enough.
Spycraft Takes Ugly Turn With Facial Recognition Tech
Thanks to facial recognition at major travel points around the world, spies, aka ‘spooks’, can now use only a single identity in any given country. Once scanned under one identity, they are instantly identified if they show up with a different one. ⁃ TN Editor
U.S. spies are no longer being tailed by foreign governments in about 30 different countries because advances in facial recognition, biometrics and artificial intelligence have made it almost impossible for the agents to hide.
Whereas governments would once physically follow CIA officers, facial recognition at airports and general CCTV surveillance in those countries makes it far easier to track people.
It comes as U.S. intelligence agencies face a growing crisis in intelligence gathering, as developments in technology are making it increasingly more difficult to protect operatives and mask their digital footprints.
In one attempt to tackle the crisis, the CIA created a multi-million dollar program called the Station of the Future, intelligence officials revealed to Yahoo News.
The program, created over the past decade, was run out of a diplomatic facility in Latin America and involved a team of spies trying to build tools and test techniques that could help the industry battle the digital age.
Intelligence officials told the outlet that the program eventually died off – only within the past few years – because of bureaucratic resistance and financial neglect.
Station of the Future was just one of several FBI and CIA-led programs created to try and tackle the digital threat to spies.
Duyane Norman, who is a former CIA official and the mastermind of the now-shuttered Station of the Future program, said: ‘The foundations of the business of espionage have been shattered.
‘We haven’t acknowledged it organizationally within CIA, and some are still in denial. The debate is like the one surrounding climate change. Anyone who says otherwise just isn’t looking at the facts.’
Officials say the efforts to address challenges brought by digital footprints, advances in biometrics and artificial intelligence continue to be a priority.
How home DNA tests could expose intelligence operatives
Just last week, the Pentagon ordered all military personnel to cease from using any consumer DNA testing kits because of security concerns.
The rise in popularity of the DNA kits, like the ones marketed by 23andMe and Ancestry, is considered to be one of the difficulties currently facing intelligence officials.
According to a memo co-signed by the Pentagon’s top intelligence official, genetic information collected by the home-testing companies could leave employees open to ‘personal and operational risks’.
‘These genetic tests are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,’ the memo read.
While military personnel have been ordered not to use the kits, officials say it is likely someone within their family already has.
Experts have previously warned that the creation of these DNA testing kits has made it easier to piece together a person’s identity.
They now warn that exposing a spy could be as easy as getting a saliva sample from a cup or cigarette to reveal if they are operating under a fake name.
Biometric data and advances in surveillance make it nearly impossible for agents to hide
The explosion of biometrics, including facial recognition and fingerprints, also poses a huge risk to the spy industry.
Given the advancements in biometric data at some airports, as well as border crossings, officials say it has become almost impossible for spies to have more than one identity within one country.
Stealing biometric databases has become a top priority for intelligence officials given how easily it can expose foreign undercover agents.
‘It’s extremely difficult now to run cover operations when so much is known and can be known about almost everybody,’ one former intelligence official said.
Party Hardy: How Amazon ‘Sells’ Ring Cameras To Police Departments
Jeff Bezos is the richest Technocrat in the world, and he is absolutely intent on creating the ultimate surveillance state by partnering civilians with police departments. Sales tactics include free booze, food and Ring cameras.
What drives Bezos to create a snitch culture? It is in perfect harmony with Technocracy, which requires total surveillance, constant monitoring and ubiquitous command-and-control. If left unchecked, Bezos would turn the whole world into an experience like an Amazon warehouse. ⁃ TN Editor
Amazon’s surveillance company has seeped into hundreds of American communities by throwing parties for police and giving them free devices.
Ring likes to throw bangers for police.
Here’s what you’ll find at a Ring party: Open bar. Free food. Live music. A “special recognition ceremony.” Free Ring doorbells. A live viewing of Shark Tank, the show that launched what would become Ring and to which company founder Jamie Siminoff eventually returned as a shark. And, most importantly, an appearance from retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal.
You could find all this at a private party that Ring hosted for police at the 2018 International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Orlando. Ring threw a similar party on IACP weekend this year, this time in Chicago, including appearances by both Shaq and Siminoff, according to an event invitation obtained by Motherboard using a freedom of information request. The invitation notes that firearms are strictly prohibited.
Ring—a company that has hosted at least one company party where employees wore “FUCK CRIME” shirts and racist costumes of Native and indigenous Americans, according to new images reviewed by Motherboard—wants to brand itself a friend of police, the antidote to fear of crime, and a proponent of law and order.
Events like these seem to have a positive effect. Emails after the 2018 Ring party show, for example, that senior police leadership were enticed by the idea of free stuff.
“The Deputy and the Chief signed up to go to the party with Shaq,” a Haverhill, MA police officer told a Ring representative in an email. “But I guess the lines were really long and so the Deputy got an email for a free Ring Doorbell, only the Chief did not get his, was wondering if you know of why only one did and not the other?”
“Regarding the free doorbell, to get the email you had to have RSVPd for the event,” the Ring representative said. “What does the chief want. I’ll send it.”
Ring’s efforts to woo police aren’t limited to lavish parties. The company offers police officers $50 off Ring products if their department partners with Ring; those from departments that don’t partner with Ring can get discounts, too.
If Ring can sell an inviting brand image, police are more likely to trust the company. That trust is a crucial foundation for its partnerships with police, which have quietly proliferated since 2016, usually without public input.
Ring has over 600 partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the country, and this number is increasing daily. The company has spent the past three years systematically making sure police everywhere know and recognize Ring, quietly building a nationwide surveillance network through police partnerships, and embedding itself into the functions of law enforcement. This network of police partnerships isn’t only unusual because of its size and scope. Behind the scenes, Ring is experimenting with emerging technologies, as well as pursuing a partnership with at least one other private surveillance company.
The number of Ring partnerships with police grows almost daily, and, to date, there has been limited public debate about whether these partnerships should exist in the first place. Unless lawmakers curb or regulate the expansion of these partnerships, what we are seeing now is just a minuscule version of this company’s full potential.
The Surveillance State Gets an Update
Motherboard has examined tens of thousands of pages of documents obtained via public-records requests from more than 90 cities that have partnered with Ring. They describe the typical relationship as a simple transaction: police get a portal where they can request footage from Ring’s network of private surveillance cameras, and the company gets the promotional muscle of the police.
In order to entice police departments into partnering with the company, Ring often tells the police the number of Ring camera owners and Neighbors app users in their jurisdiction. Sometimes, the company provides “active camera” maps showing where camera owners live.
Ring also offers police access to the Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal, an interactive map that allows police to request camera footage directly from camera owners. (Until July, their approximate location was shown.) These owners can choose to share some, all, or none of their footage with police; police do not need a warrant in order to request camera footage from residents. The portal also includes a case management tool, in which videos associated with an investigation are sorted into groups based on case number.
If someone refuses to provide footage to police, all police need to do is reach out to Ring. According to a memo obtained from the police department of Pomona, CA, when camera owners are “uncooperative or unavailable,” officers are instructed to contact Ring and request that the captured video be preserved.
In exchange for all of this, police have to promote Ring. Some partnerships, like those in Lakeland, FL and Anne Arundel County, MD, explicitly require police to “encourage adoption” of Ring cameras and Ring’s free app, Neighbors. (Ring has told police that the more people download Neighbors, the more the Law Enforcement Neighborhoods Portal “grows in value.”)
These cities receive up to 40 “seed cameras,” free Ring devices they can raffle off or give away to city residents. When police share a download link to Neighbors, they can receive even more free cameras. (Ring representatives have encouraged police to post on social media often in order to “drive downloads to your unique link,” and receive free Ring cameras as a “reward.”)
Western Tech Giants Propping Up China’s Surveillance State
Western firms have long served as prostitutes for tyrannical governments such as the Bolshevik Revolution in WWI and the rise of Hitler in WWII. That Big Tech is now supporting China’s Technocracy shows that they are “birds of a feather.’
The late Antony Sutton documented Wall Street’s nefarious affairs with despotic entities in several books: Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, National Suicide and The Best Enemy Money Can Buy. ⁃ TN Editor
A bombshell follow-up report to a major document leak which confirmed and detailed China’s vast Uyghur Muslim Xinjiang prison network and system for monitoring communications and whereabouts has named names. Names that is, of US tech giants that are actually aiding and abetting China’s multibillion-dollar surveillance industry being used to impose a total electronic police state on the communist country. And it’s not just Google and IBM, but a growing list of recognizable names.
“U.S. companies, including Seagate Technology PLC, Western Digital Corp. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., have nurtured, courted and profited from China’s surveillance industry,” the scathing report begins. “Several have been involved since the industry’s infancy.”
These American companies gained greater scrutiny after the US Treasury recently targeted up to eight Chinese surveillance companies, blocking their ability to export US technology through which they could help the Chinese state in committing human rights and individual privacy violations. This included a federal ban on US agencies purchasing video surveillance equipment manufactured by Dahua, Hikvision, and Hytera Communications.
American companies over recent years have competed to enter China’s booming $10BN+ surveillance market, and also take advantage of Chinese companies’ rapidly progressing technology.
Stunningly, the WSJ investigation finds that “Of 37 Chinese firms singled out last November by the Beijing-backed China Security and Protection Industry Association for outstanding contributions to the country’s surveillance industry, 17 have publicly disclosed financing, commercial or supply-chain relationships with U.S. technology companies.” And further, “Several had multiple connections.”
Demonstrating the ‘indirect’ relationship between US companies and Chinese state surveillance, via the WSJ: “Hikvision, China’s largest surveillance systems maker, has bought technology from U.S. firms directly and through third parties. Hikvision was placed on the U.S. entity list in October, limiting some of the technology it can buy from the U.S. American companies said they comply with the law and export rules, and declined to comment on whether sales continue.”
For example, the report details Hewlett Packard Enterprise owns 49% of New H3C Technologies Co. Ltd. This Chinese company is well-known as providing internet control systems to Chinese security services. “According to company marketing materials, one end customer for its switches is Aksu, a Xinjiang city that conducts broad surveillance of residents in public spaces. Satellite images suggest the city is home to multiple internment camps,” the report concludes.
Security Robots Are Actually Mobile Surveillance Devices
Originally posed as replacement security guards, Knightscope robots are actually the ultimate surveillance platform. Operating at ground level, they scan faces and cell phones, license plates and collect other data. ⁃ TN Editor
Security robots are slowly becoming a more common sight in malls, offices, and public spaces. But while these bots are often presented as replacements for human security guards — friendly robots on patrol — they’re collecting far more data than humans could, suggesting they’re more like mobile surveillance machines than conventional guards.
A new report from OneZerosheds some light on the scope of the data collection, featuring marketing material and contracts between Knightscope and various city councils. Both show that the main purpose of these robots is gathering data, including license plates, facial recognition scans, and the presence of nearby mobile devices. It’s the sort of constant low-level surveillance that only a machine can perform.
Exactly what each robot collects differs, as Knightscope leases its bots rather than selling them outright, tailoring each contract to customers’ needs. But it’s a fair bet that if you’ve seen one of these machines in person, it’s recorded your presence in one way or another.
As an internal report by California’s Huntington Park Police Department (HPPD) published by MuckRockbackin August noted, “Knightscope’s secret to the K5 robot is simply sensors — lots of them.”
HPPD started leasing a Knightscope K5 robot to patrol parks and buildings this June, and the robot soon made headlines when a passerby pressed its emergency button to report a nearby fight, to no effect. According to NBC News, the bot ignored the woman and continued moving down its preprogrammed path “humming an intergalactic tune” and pausing to tell visitors to “please keep the park clean.”
Stories like this suggest that, as a replacement for human security guards (people who can respond intelligently and spontaneously to emergency situations), Knightscope’s machines are lacking. But as surveillance devices, they have a lot of potential.
The report from the HPPD notes that the robots can identify nearby smartphones over an unknown range, recording their MAC and IP addresses. In Knightscope marketing material published by OneZero, this is a central part of the company’s sales pitch, with one slide telling customers: “90%+ of Adults Have Smartphones And Use WiFi When Available.”
Scanning phones is a subtle form of surveillance with a far-reaching impact. It’s not as invasive as identifying someone by name, but it can be a rich source of information, telling you a lot about someone’s daily routine, like how often they visit a certain area and how long they stay there. As Knightscope says, it can also be used as a proxy to keep out unwanted individuals: just create a whitelist of approved devices, and scan for unfamiliar ones.
DHS Database To Hold Biometric Data On 229 Million… By 2022
Total surveillance is the dystopian harbinger of Technocracy, and make no doubt that our own government is leading us straight into it. Agencies like DHS should be dismantled and terminated.
No citizen can or will see the danger of total surveillance until they understand Technocracy, its goals and its progress. Humans are viewed as so many cattle in a feedlot to be managed by scientific algorithm. In the 1930s, Technocracy, Inc. called it the “Science of Social Engineering”, and it required the collection of all data on everything in order to manage. ⁃ TN Editor
The agency is transitioning from a legacy system called IDENT to a cloud-based system (hosted by Amazon Web Services) known as Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology, or HART. The biometrics collection maintained by DHS is the world’s second-largest, behind only India’s countrywide biometric ID network in size. The traveler data kept by DHS is shared with other US agencies, state and local law enforcement, as well as foreign governments. –Quartz
Your data hasn’t been private for a long time and it won’t be ever again as long as governments believe they are allowed to hoard it – all in the name of keeping you safe, of course. The first two stages of the HART system are being developed by United States defense contractor Northrop Grumman, which won the $95 million contract in February 2018. DHS wasn’t immediately available to comment on its plans for its database.
Biometrics “make it possible to confirm the identity of travelers at any point in their travel,” Kevin McAleenan, US President Donald Trump’s recently-departed acting DHS secretary, told Congress last year. The criteria used by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, a division of DHS, to screen out specific travelers as suspicious is top secret, but was determined in conjunction with Palantir, the Silicon Valley data-mining firm co-founded by controversial billionaire and ardent Trump supporter Peter Thiel. The EFF said it believes CBP could be tracking travelers “from the moment they begin their internet travel research.”As the group has noted, DHS says “the only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling.” –Quartz
Last month’s DHS presentation describes IDENT as an “operational biometric system for rapid identification and verification of subjects using fingerprints, iris, and face modalities.” According to further reporting by Quartz, the new HART database “builds upon the foundational functionality within IDENT,” to include voice data, DNA profiles, “scars, marks, and tattoos,” and the as-yet-undefined “other biometric modalities as required.” EFF researchers caution some of the data will be “highly subjective,” such as information gleaned during “officer encounters” and analysis of people’s “relationship patterns.”
So basically, if you ever leave your house, expect the government to track and monitor your every move and make sure “highly subjective” information is used to ensure you remain enslaved. The “land of free?” I hardly think so.