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Privacy in the digital age


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Privacy in the digital age

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  #21 (permalink)
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I saw this article and thought it ought to go in this thread.

It seems that China is testing and/or implementing the use of facial recognition combined with wide use of monitoring cameras to identify people who, for instance:

1. (As an innocent usage) live in an apartment building so the door will open without their using an entry key card
2. Do not belong in a particular area, such as an apartment building or neighborhood, and who are suspicious characters
3. Are wanted criminals (and/or troublemakers)
4. ??? Fill in the blank for your own Orwellian nightmare

Now, this is China, which has, let's say, its own form of government. Also, it's still limited, although apparently growing. Also, the success rate, so far, of facial recognition, as the article states, is not all that good for some of these uses.

But we know that facial recognition is a hot thing now, in the West as well. Apple has it in their new iPhones. I'm sure businesses would like to use it, and some probably are now, instead of key cards. The article mentions Western law-enforcement usage as well It's obviously a useful technology. Also, incredibly dangerous.

Take a read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/classic-apps/in-china-facial-recognition-is-sharp...wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

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bobwest View Post

But we know that facial recognition is a hot thing now, in the West as well. Apple has it in their new iPhones. I'm sure businesses would like to use it, and some probably are now, instead of key cards. The article mentions Western law-enforcement usage as well It's obviously a useful technology. Also, incredibly dangerous.



Thanks Bob. I think since 2013 and the Snowden whistleblowing we all know how state security agencies have been exploiting technology to improve their efficiency in combating crime. At least this is the official narrative.

The problem, as Snowden pointed out, occurs when the state powers are abused.

He highlighted how in the US the privacy of people who had done nothing wrong were routinely breached by NSA employees, in some occasions just for fun. At least the NSA is meant to be an intelligence agency.
In the UK it's much worse, whereby you have local government councils using similar snooping powers (e.g. through CCTV surveillance) to catch people who may be fly-tipping or using normal garbage bins when they should have been recycling.


In democratic countries the remedy for the people is, in theory, getting their representatives to change legislation. In practice this is proving far harder than it sounds, when it comes to tech surveillance, especially when politicians play the terrorism card (9/11 over there, all the other ones over here in Europe) to justify the butchering of encryption and other nonsense (again, this is people who have no understanding of technology whatsoever): my take is, when certain governments were caught red-handed in breaking the law, all they did was passing legislation to ensure that whatever they were doing illegally would now be legal.

In countries where democracy is seen as a more abstract concept, I don't think people have even the ability to question their government.


But I am digressing! Yes we started seeing face recognition here with the iPhone X and I think that's what you wanted to point out, i.e. the implications of the individual thinking it's cool to unlock the phone with your face, not realizing that Apple shares face id data with their 3rd party developers.

Quoting the article:


Quoting 
Setting aside issues of convenience and security, there’s another problem with Face ID that’s potentially even more serious. Apple is sharing user’s Face ID data with third-party app developers.

The rich set of data that Face ID collects to unlock the iPhone X stays in what Apple calls a “Secure Enclave” on the phone. That’s a good thing. What’s not so good is that Apple is giving app developers enough of this data to create a detailed wiremap of your face while also tracking 52 micro-movements of parts of your face in real time.

In previous posts here we've seen already the potential for this to turn out ugly. All it takes is a less than scrupolous app developer and your biometric data is out in the open.

It sort of reminds me of the movie Minority Report and similar sci-fi stuff which, more and more, resembles where we seem to be headed...

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@xplorer, I had not known about Apple's use of face data before reading your post and the linked article. I was just thinking of the iPhone X as an example of the use of face recognition technology, not of its misuse!

But that makes the point more strongly: this stuff is highly useful, and highly dangerous.

Once again, there will, eventually, be rules and effective limitations on what can be done in this area, but it will take time to figure them out, and first we will probably have to get a lot of abuses before we can understand where digital technology, of any sort, can go wrong.

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bobwest View Post
@xplorer, I had not known about Apple's use of face data before reading your post and the linked article. I was just thinking of the iPhone X as an example of the use of face recognition technology, not of its misuse!

I saw it in action for the first time this weekend. It was kind of freaky. Everytime my friend picked up their iPhone X it opened automatically without him doing anything as it read his face!

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SMCJB View Post
I saw it in action for the first time this weekend. It was kind of freaky. Everytime my friend picked up their iPhone X it opened automatically without him doing anything as it read his face!

I think I read somewhere that you can disable face recognition and go back to fingerprint ID. (I'm too lazy to research it right now .)

I think that the face recognition thing, if there were no way to turn it off, would be enough to dissuade me from the new iPhone X. I wonder if Apple will stick to its guns and tell the customer to just get used to it?

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xplorer View Post
Thanks Bob. I think since 2013 and the Snowden whistleblowing we all know how state security agencies have been exploiting technology to improve their efficiency in combating crime. At least this is the official narrative.

The problem, as Snowden pointed out, occurs when the state powers are abused.

He highlighted how in the US the privacy of people who had done nothing wrong were routinely breached by NSA employees, in some occasions just for fun. At least the NSA is meant to be an intelligence agency.
In the UK it's much worse, whereby you have local government councils using similar snooping powers (e.g. through CCTV surveillance) to catch people who may be fly-tipping or using normal garbage bins when they should have been recycling.


In democratic countries the remedy for the people is, in theory, getting their representatives to change legislation. In practice this is proving far harder than it sounds, when it comes to tech surveillance, especially when politicians play the terrorism card (9/11 over there, all the other ones over here in Europe) to justify the butchering of encryption and other nonsense (again, this is people who have no understanding of technology whatsoever): my take is, when certain governments were caught red-handed in breaking the law, all they did was passing legislation to ensure that whatever they were doing illegally would now be legal.

In countries where democracy is seen as a more abstract concept, I don't think people have even the ability to question their government.


But I am digressing! Yes we started seeing face recognition here with the iPhone X and I think that's what you wanted to point out, i.e. the implications of the individual thinking it's cool to unlock the phone with your face, not realizing that Apple shares face id data with their 3rd party developers.

Quoting the article:



In previous posts here we've seen already the potential for this to turn out ugly. All it takes is a less than scrupolous app developer and your biometric data is out in the open.

It sort of reminds me of the movie Minority Report and similar sci-fi stuff which, more and more, resembles where we seem to be headed...



Just a side note: wife and I bought iPhone Xs on a contract with Sprint. Seems like a good deal. $25/mo for each plus the plans price of $100/mo for two lines. Mine was $150 more up front because I choose 256GB.

Real nice device easy to use great looking too and fast. Face ID works well.

Ron


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xplorer View Post
In previous posts here we've seen already the potential for this to turn out ugly. All it takes is a less than scrupolous app developer and your biometric data is out in the open.

It sort of reminds me of the movie Minority Report and similar sci-fi stuff which, more and more, resembles where we seem to be headed...

Great post. I don't take selfies and I put a little piece of electrical tape over the front facing camera on all of my devices LOL... seriously. No fingerprint ID either, if they want that they'll have to check in with the local constabulary

People used to make fun of my tinfoil hat...

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Blash View Post
Just a side note: wife and I bought iPhone Xs on a contract with Sprint. Seems like a good deal. $25/mo for each plus the plans price of $100/mo for two lines. Mine was $150 more up front because I choose 256GB.

Real nice device easy to use great looking too and fast. Face ID works well.

Ron

I had no doubt Ron, you're, like, a gadget freak! lol

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A situation I was not aware of, but which is apparently common enough to be flagged as a problem.




Original tweet


Apparently the matter was being minimized, until this was posted on Twitter: further confirmation that companies tend to act quickly when visibility becomes an issue.

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I wonder when she complained, what did she expect to happen, especially if you she considers any offer of compensation as insulting, and didn't want to complain to the restaurant because of potential repercussions? Is it illegal to text someone? I doubt it. Did he break a law getting her number? Probably not - he was probably given it in case it was needed in the course of the delivery. Is sending here a text a violation of her privacy if he has her number legally? Is it creepy and scary? Hell yes.

On a related subject, a large industry participant who I deal with, recently did a "deal" with another large industry participant who i have, and never have had, any relationship with. I immediately started getting marketing emails from the second company. Obviously being concerned for your safety and getting unwanted email are two very different things, but don't they violate our privacy in exactly the same way? I'm not being critical of her, or her actions. Just highlight how difficult it would be to regulate something like this effectively.

Finally I use uBer a lot, and regularly get calls from the driver, so they definitely have your phone number as well, and if they pick you up from home, know your home address as well.

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