Vulnerable Groups

There is a law fo surveillance economics that the the less money you have the greater amount of your personal data is taken.

Refugees at the boarder start with their biometrics being taken, The Capitol One data breach made public this week was for people applying for credit. There was no one rich in that database only financially vulnerable individuals.

The more you are at risk the greater chance you will end up in a database in a state nation. We have seen examples (Facebook India) of how a group of people on a list can end up in the ends of their oppressor or enemy.

Seeing the US government back up on positions from Hai wei wai to Tinder today is just disappointing.

In The Papers 8

DeepPrivacy: A Generative Adversarial Network for Face Anonymization We propose a novel architecture which is able to automatically anonymize faces in images while retaining the original data distribution. We ensure total anonymization of all faces in an image by generating images exclusively on privacy-safe information.  [arXiv:1909.04538]

Song Hit Prediction: Predicting Billboard Hits Using Spotify Data In this work, we attempt to solve the Hit Song Science problem, which aims to predict which songs will become chart-topping hits. We constructed a dataset with approximately 1.8 million hit and non-hit songs and extracted their audio features using the Spotify Web API. [arXiv:1908.08609]

On Extractive and Abstractive Neural Document Summarization with Transformer Language Models We present a method to produce abstractive summaries of long documents that exceed several thousand words via neural abstractive summarization. [arXiv:1909.03186]

Geometry-Aware Video Object Detection for Static Cameras In this paper we propose a geometry-aware model for video object detection. Specifically, we consider the setting that cameras can be well approximated as static, e.g. in video surveillance scenarios, and scene pseudo depth maps can therefore be inferred easily from the object scale on the image plane. [arXiv:1909.03140 ]

“Going on a vacation” takes longer than “Going for a walk”: A Study of Temporal Commonsense Understanding Understanding time is crucial for understanding events expressed in natural language. Because people rarely say the obvious, it is often necessary to have commonsense knowledge about various temporal aspects of events, such as duration, frequency, and temporal order. [arXiv:1909.03065]

Clickbait? Sensational Headline Generation with Auto-tuned Reinforcement Learning Sensational headlines are headlines that capture people’s attention and generate reader interest. Conventional abstractive headline generation methods, unlike human writers, do not optimize for maximal reader attention. In this paper, we propose a model that generates sensational headlines without labeled data. [arXiv:1909.03582v1]

An Acceleration Framework for High Resolution Image Synthesis Synthesis of high resolution images using Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) is challenging, which usually requires numbers of high-end graphic cards with large memory and long time of training. In this paper, we propose a two-stage framework to accelerate the training process of synthesizing high resolution images. High resolution images are first transformed to small codes via the trained encoder and decoder networks. [arXiv:1909.03611v1]

From ‘F’ to ‘A’ on the N.Y. Regents Science Exams: An Overview of the Aristo Project This paper reports unprecedented success on the Grade 8 New York Regents Science Exam, where for the first time a system scores more than 90% on the exam’s non-diagram, multiple choice (NDMC) questions. In addition, our Aristo system, building upon the success of recent language models, exceeded 83% on the corresponding Grade 12 Science Exam NDMC questions. [arXiv:1909.01958v]

Neural Style-Preserving Visual Dubbing Dubbing is a technique for translating video content from one language to another. However, state-of-the-art visual dubbing techniques directly copy facial expressions from source to target actors without considering identity-specific idiosyncrasies such as a unique type of smile. We present a style-preserving visual dubbing approach from single video inputs, which maintains the signature style of target actors when modifying facial expressions, including mouth motions, to match foreign languages [arXiv:1909.01958v1]

Privacy Digest

EU plans sweeping regulation of facial recognition [FT] The aim would be to limit “the indiscriminate use of facial recognition technology’’ by companies and public authorities, said an official. Under the plan, European citizens would be given the powers to “know when [facial recognition] data is used”, with any exceptions “tightly circumscribed” to ensure appropriate use, said the source. 

Regulation would be a life raft for live facial recognition — we need a ban [medium] We’ve discovered that shopping centres, museums, conference centres, casinos, bars — even convenience stores — are now using live facial recognition cameras in the UK. The two major shopping centres that have used live facial recognition — Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Sheffield’s Meadhowhall — have such an enormous footfall, they could have scanned around 17 million faces alone

Customers Handed Over Their DNA. The Company Let the FBI Take a Look. [WSJ] Millions of consumers have bought home-test kits, including 1.5 million from FamilyTreeDNA. How that data is used is largely left up to the companies. (ED NOTE: Do note give up your DNA – passwords can get changed you can’t change your face or DNA ever)

Building a more private web [Google] So we are doing something different. We want to find a solution that both really protects user privacy and also helps content remain freely accessible on the web. At I/O, we announced a plan to improve the classification of cookies, give clarity and visibility to cookie settings, as well as plans to more aggressively block fingerprinting. We are making progress on this, and today we are providing more details on our plans to restrict fingerprinting. Collectively we believe all these changes will improve transparency, choice, and control.. (ED NOTE: WTF classification of hostile cookies is not the answer – but here we have a Google product manger making more of an effort than the entire ‘self regulating’ advertising industry over the last decade)

Face Recognition Lets Palestinians Cross Israeli Checkposts Fast, But Raises Concerns [NPR] The number of Palestinians in the biometric database is rapidly increasing. Out of the approximately 2.7 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, Israeli defense officials said about 450,000 possess electronic ID cards and have their photos stored in the biometric database, up from a reported 383,000 in May.

Israel is also building a biometric database of its own citizens and uses facial recognition technology at its international airport to identify Israeli travelers at passport control.


Hiding from machines in fashion

SPF is not the only daily protection you need walking around anymore. You need to move with the fashions or be outcast put in a database.

Adversarial prêt-à-porter has arrived. The looks span from heinous utility to some workable pieces.

I maintain that the optimal protective gear will not have any unique visual component that makes you stand out. Hide in plain sight.

Its your obligation to protect your Fourth Amendment rights- since the high court ruled that if you do not – you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

At the same time in what will be yet another dystopian catch-22 Some of these products may trigger anti-masklaws arguments.

When is a mask not a mask? When it hides more than your face. And that is the argument around facial recognition technology

There big gap between utility (unlocking your phone) like a key and a Swiss army knife that takes everything and makes assumptions with out any presumption of innocence.

Collected against your will and often without your knowledge. Placing you in databases you are not aware of – that feed profiles you can not see.

It’s more than the security, falsely implied – it’s supervision you never needed.

Today this post will establish a list of commercially available anti surveillance wearables

If you know of a company or related products please get in touch to add to this now living document.

As the list grows will start breaking them out into categories.

AH ProjectsHyperFace

Adversarial Fashion

CV Dazzle


Privacy Updates

London’s King’s Cross using facial recognition in security cameras [ft] Canary Wharf Group, the company that owns both private offices and public spaces in the area, is actively speaking to facial recognition suppliers to pilot the technology in an area traversed by 140,000 people daily, as part of its security systems.

British ethicists are challenging justice by algorithm [economist] Several use programs to predict where and when crimes are likely to occur. Cambridge University helped Durham Constabulary design an algorithm to estimate the likelihood of a suspect reoffending. It helps the authorities decide whether someone should be granted bail or qualify for rehabilitation as an alternative to prosecution. At least one force is keen to install microphones on “smart lamp-posts” to gather intelligence in crowds

Court rules Arizona residents have right to internet privacy [ArizonaTimes] Arizonans have a constitutional right to online privacy to keep police from snooping around to find out who they are without first getting a warrant, the state Court of Appeals has ruled. In what appears to be the first ruling of its kind in the state, the majority said Internet users have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” that the information they furnish about themselves to Internet providers will be kept secret. That specifically includes who they are and their home address.

This Tesla Mod Turns a Model S Into a Mobile ‘Surveillance Station’ [wired] At the Defcon hacker conference today, security researcher Truman Kain debuted what he calls the Surveillance Detection Scout. The DIY computer fits into the middle console of a Tesla Model S or Model 3, plugs into its dashboard USB port, and turns the car’s built-in cameras—the same dash and rearview cameras providing a 360-degree view used for Tesla’s Autopilot and Sentry features—into a system that spots, tracks, and stores license plates and faces over time. The tool uses open source image recognition software to automatically put an alert on the Tesla’s display and the user’s phone if it repeatedly sees the same license plate. 

Patel v. Facebook Opinion Federal Court Rules Facebook Users Can Sue Company Over Unlawful Use of Face Recognition Technology The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled today that Facebook users can sue the company over its use of face recognition technology. The ruling is the first decision of an American appellate court directly addressing the unique privacy harms posed by the face recognition technology being increasingly pushed on members of the public without their knowledge and consent. [aclu]

I Tried Hiding From Silicon Valley in a Pile of Privacy Gadgets – Within three weeks, I got tired of being careful. My faraday bag is somewhere in the back of my car, because I like to use my phone for GPS and playing podcasts. I stopped wearing my Reflectacles in public. I haven’t scrubbed my old tweets away with Jumbo in a while. I use my Visa to buy stuff from Amazon, which it delivers to my house. I plugged Alexa back in. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

Moratorium requested for Lockport facial recognition system [lockportjournal] The New York Civil Liberties Union has asked the New York State Education Department to place a moratorium the use of a facial recognition system in Lockport schools. The request comes less than 24 hours after the Lockport School Board approved revisions to the district’s policy for the application of the system. The revised policy included several changes from the original version. The major change eliminates the possibility of suspended student being added to the database tied to the system unless their actions are deemed by law enforcement to constitute a legitimate threat.

Facial Recognition Software Prompts Privacy, Racism Concerns in Cities and States [PEW] The study found live cameras were tracking the movements of tenants in apartment buildings and even patients coming and going from a medical center, which Detroit Police Chief James Craig denied in an interview with Stateline. Craig said his department does not use facial recognition software to track people.number of constitutional protections that limit what the government can do.”

Automation Bias in the Abstraction Age

As I dug into the meaning behind the term automation bias, I became more horrified. The benign definition is as follows: “Automation bias is the propensity for humans to favor suggestions from automated decision-making systems and to ignore contradictory information made without automation, even if it is correct.” (1)

Horror #1 because this implies we are now in an age where we trust the machine more than we trust instinct and fact. We ignore gut feelings and certainties because we think the machine knows better.  And as James Bridle most recently put it, “Automation bias means that technology doesn’t even have to malfunction for it to be a threat to our lives” (2)

Horror #2 because this concept is easily abstracted out of our day-to-day lives and its social impact.   I have written about the age of abstraction and the dangers of putting complex things in a black box. Black boxes are scary because the info they house are viewable to a select audience. (control)

Horror #3 because when you couple automation bias with black box abstraction, the path to the final source of truth is obfuscated. No single person has a full view. it’s unclear if we would understand everything even if we could see all the parts anyway (oh joy) — but being abstracted out of both logic and code erases all possibility. 

We need to be in the era of certainty and clarity not doubt and abstraction. 

The Abstracted Absent Arbiter or The New Other


The Abstracted Absent Arbiter or The New Other

The absent arbiter and providence obscurer are new mechanisms for control.

We are at the intersection of several concepts that have not fallen in place with such scale before. They form the steps towards a dystopian future, a place where provenance, disintermediation, anonymity, arbitration and AI all intersect.

When connected they raise the need …

  • For provenance across all digital assets. One of the greatest problems of our time.
  • To bring clarity to the abstraction and disintermediation of authority in critical decision making processes that impact our lives.
  • To implement AI’s with goals clearly stated and provenance established

This is important because the absent arbiter and providence obscurer make possible fake news, they make possible for accountability to be obscured.

We need to address provenance not for business need cases like tracking IP for profit, or DRM for protection, but more important – knowing source – is part of understanding truth, and that should supersede capitalistic or technological advancement needs.   Root always matters.

Visible examples of this abstraction when you are unnable to speak with a human on a help line,  or that decision making AI in a black-box abstracting us from the logic and the decision tree that changes your life.  These mechanisms of disintermediation are the ‘anonymity authority’ or ‘absent arbiters’.

Not coincidentally these are all intersections of AI optimization. Abstraction of authority in critical decision making is the mechanism that allows for the casualties of AI’s implementation.

Perhaps even more critical there is also the abstraction and appropriation or our cultural heritage . The corporate copyright against putting  ‘Hakuna Matata’  on a t-shirt  (like trademarking ‘good morning’ use on a tee-shirt). “It’s a common phrase we use every other day. No company can own it.”  Your history and language  “not yours” as the auctioneer says.  The provenance stolen, then claimed. Suddenly saying good morning in your native language on a t-shirt is a crime.

Numerous examples surface everyday in our lives. Located at the intersection of provenience and truth in the area of anonymity. Its at that intersection that we need to be most transparent – as these things ‘move men to action’ and change lives.  Our northern border legal immigration process is being abstracted by the current administration is another current example.

Without the ability to know the goal, motive and ownership of the new master abstractor we all  end up enslaved to prescribed fiction vs news and further disintermediated from things that move us forward. Be it basics like food, shelter, clothing  (2of3  of three are now services) to knowledge and wealth creation for prosperity.