In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant. The problem: Nest users didn't know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with. The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard, which is the alarm, keypad, and motion-sensor component in the Nest Secure offering, was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device. On Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider the company had made an "error." "The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs," the spokesperson said. "That was an error on our part."
Overtourism is taking a toll across the globe, with closures of popular destinations in Thailand and the Philippines, and backlash from residents in cities like Venice and Barcelona. Closer to home, places like Bali, Byron Bay and parts of Tasmania have also been feeling pressure from skyrocketing visitors.
“The problem we’ve got is that we’re all congregating on the same places at the same time of the year,” says Justin Francis, CEO of the UK-based Responsible Travel.
Mr Francis says part of the problem is that the “ethos of travel” is changing: in the social media era, it’s now more about “where you want to be seen”. “Getting the photo and getting it on Instagram or Facebook is becoming the purpose of the trip — it’s the reason for going,” he says.
Travellers have also been drawn to places from their favourite films or TV shows, in a trend known as “set jetting”.
The visitors started coming in 2013. The first one who came and refused to leave until he was let inside was a private investigator named Roderick. He was looking for an abducted girl, and he was convinced she was in the house. John S. and his mother Ann live in the house, which is in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa and next to Johannesburg. They had not abducted anyone, so they called the police and asked for an officer to come over. Roderick and the officer went through the home room by room, looking into cupboards and under beds for the missing girl. Roderick claimed to have used a "professional" tracking device "that could not be wrong," but the girl wasn't there. This was not an unusual occurrence. John, 39, and Ann, 73, were accustomed to strangers turning up at their door accusing them of crimes; the visitors would usually pull up maps on their smartphones that pointed at John and Ann's backyard as a hotbed of criminal activity.
The outline of this story might sound familiar to you if you've heard about [other places and similar settings] and it is, in fact, similar: John and Ann, too, are victims of bad digital mapping. There is a crucial difference though: This time it happened on a global scale, and the U.S. government played a key role. Technologist Dhruv Mehrotra crawled MaxMind's free database for me and plotted the locations that showed up most frequently. Unfortunately, John and Ann's house must have just missed MaxMind's cut-off for remediation. Theirs was the 104th most popular location in the database, with over a million IP addresses mapped to it.
“…Along with serving as a rite of passage, it upgrades the human brain to be more competitive against A.I.’s with human-level or higher intelligence.”
Read more - http://nautil.us/blog/-will-this-neural-lace-brain-implant-help-us-compete-with-ai
“…hearing “this god-like voice out of nowhere” is generally effective, said Kopczynski; since the system is two-way, staff can also monitor the teen covertly.” - Read more at https://qz.com/1482833/parents-are-putting-gps-ankle-monitors-on-their-teenage-kids/
“…Chinese schools have begun enforcing "smart uniforms" embedded with computer chips to monitor student movements and prevent them from skipping classes.” - Read more - https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-28/microchipped-school-uniforms-monitor-students-in-china/10671604
“….They would also need to have pouches for the attachment of capsicum spray, as well as body-worn cameras, which the Health Department said may be considered by hospitals in the future.”
“…"I could be down at the shops if I miss them or wake up at 3am and just jump on quickly and check that they're OK for peace of mind and know everything was OK," she said.”
The City of Perth, Western Australia website ( https://www.perth.wa.gov.au) details how my visit using the Internet is logged in relation to my navigation or inquiry;
“...When you visit our website, the web content management system and our Internet Service Provider automatically records your visit and logs the following information for content personalisation and statistical purposes:
Your IP address
Your top level domain name (e.g. .com, .net, .gov etc)
The date and time of your visit to the site
The pages accessed and documents downloaded
Time spent on individual pages
Time spent overall on the site
Browser type and version
Referring site and media asset (eg search engine or display advertisement)...
Using the search function provided in the City of Perth, Western Australia website I was unable to locate any public records, policy articles nor public statements defining or confirming the use of ‘body worn camera’ technologies or ‘BWC’ using the following parameters:
‘body worn camera’
‘parking inspectors body cams’
‘body cameras promote safer community’
‘perth parking inspectors fitted with body cameras’
Using the same search parameters I located eleven (11) Internet accessible articles and podcasts dating back to early 2017 on this topic by Internet search engine, Google.
I rang the City of Perth main contact line at 11:45 AM on Thursday 6th December which automatically via a voice recording informed me that my call would be recorded for training and quality assurance purposes. After selecting option ‘5’ to speak with an ‘other inquiries’ Officer, I clearly stated that I wished to speak with the most relevant person who could inform my questions relating to ‘body worn camera technologies that the City of Perth Traffic Infringement or other Officers now wear in their line of public duty’.
I was placed on hold and the phone was answered by an individual who identified themself by their first name only and again I was asked what the nature of my inquiry was, within which I identified that my inquiry was relating to research related to ‘the use of body worn camera technologies that City of Perth has issued it’s parking inspectors and other officers with’.
I was again placed on hold and shortly after by a third person I was informed that ‘Kylie XXXXXX, Business Operations Officer’ could answer my inquiry however that person was ‘on leave’ until 10 December, 2018.
I asked for Kylie’s email address but was not provided that contact. I then left my own personal email address and mobile phone number and was assured that ‘Kylie’ would respond to my inquiry. The purpose of this correspondence and recount is to inform myself and others as to the socio-ethical implications on society that emanate by examination of the purpose and deployment by the City of Perth of ‘body worn camera’ technologies, systems and associated services.
The City of Perth ‘Terms & Conditions’ page clearly states it will record my interaction with the City Of Perth website and will be used to inform my inquiry and ‘to improve its service and quality assurance in relation to my inquiry’.
My inquiry remains as follows.
As surveillance cameras in the area will detail, on Thursday 6th December 2018 at around 10:00 AM I parked my vehicle close to the junction of Gooderich and Hill Street in Perth, Western Australia. I purchased a parking ticket, placed it visibly in the vehicle and walked to the Royal Perth Hospital a short distance away. Shortly after, at 10:40 AM I returned to the vehicle where I observed a City of Perth Parking Infringement Officer in close proximity.
I approached the Officer slowly, walking and indicating audibly that I wished to speak with them politely. I introduced myself as a ‘researcher with an interest in body worn cameras’ that the officer wore on the left hand chest / shoulder.
The camera I noted was Cadmium red in colour and body mounted on a high visibility vest. I was careful to stand a distance away from the Officer and to ask the questions in a quiet and inquiring manner.
My first question of the Officer was why the Officer was required to wear a body camera whilst performing in the line of their public duty. I was informed by the Officer that the camera was ‘for your personal safety and for my personal safety’.
I questioned what danger I was being protected from and the Officer stated that in their line of duty they sometimes encounter ‘heated discussions’ and that these had in the past led to violent encounters ‘so the cameras are a deterrent from those situations occurring’. I asked whether I was being recorded by the camera or by any other device the Officer was wearing which included a Bluetooth hands-free headset in one ear.
The Officer indicated that they were required to inform those in their contact at the point of recording that they would be recording by means of the body worn camera. The Officer also pointed to a small ‘patch’ on their high visibility jacket that stated that the Officer was wearing a body worn camera.
The Officer unprompted then indicated that at the point of recording they would also ‘radio’ or ‘signal’ to a ‘back-to-base’ contact who would ‘trigger’ CCTV cameras in the near vicinity to the ‘location of the target’. The Officer indicated with a hand gesture that this occurred via their wearable radio contact device and pointed with the other hand at surveillance cameras on private buildings opposite our location and also at ‘gimbal’ cameras close by on the street corner power poles.
I then inquired whether the Officer considered themself therefore to be ‘with due respect a mobile CCTV unit’ acknowledging their capacity to ‘trigger’ additional surveillance from their given geolocation as an extension of their own capacity to record. The Officer indicated that ‘yes, we are here to keep everyone safe in the city’.
My last question of the Officer was to inquire whether it was permissible to photograph the Officer wearing the body worn camera. The Officer indicated that I was not permitted to take a photograph nor record the Officer in their line of duty because ‘I do not want my personal details nor features distributed by social media over the Internet’.
I then thanked the officer for their time and responses and returned to my car. I note that at no time was I asked to identify myself by name or by any other identification during our point of discussion.
I consider the response by the Officer as courteous and polite without any element of threat nor untoward issue.
My inquiry, as a member of the public and as an interested researcher in this field, is composed as questions seeking answers as follows;
Why is there currently little or no access to accessible information from the City of Perth website detailing use, type, intent, governance of this technology now visibly deployed on City of Perth Officers?
In addition to video and audio recording, do these technologies also capture, process and inform Officers by facial recognition, ANPR or other artificial intelligence enabled means, data to inform the Officer’s response to those members of the public they come in contact with?
What privacy provisions does the City of Perth observe in relation to the use of these technologies as Officers move between public, municipal and private place?
Where are the publicly accessible use cases, public relations statements and records of stakeholder consultations that inform the public's awareness and capacity for comment regarding claims that BWC ensure ‘safety’?
Which cultural and social welfare organisations has the City of Perth involved in the decision making to deploy this technology as a means of surveillance to act in a form of deterrence for behaviours deemed as inappropriate within the City of Perth precinct?
This inquiry has been sent to the City of Perth main contact and has been published through my personal Uberveillance.com website as a means through which to inform those who respond to my inquiry.
New Tools for Science Policy
Rethinking Law and Order: Navigating Citizen Rights in an Age of Uberveillance
About the Seminar
November 15, 2018 8:30am—10:30am
Increasingly, the personal and work-related smart devices we use are packed with sensors that record the who (identity), where (location), when (time), and how (mode of transport/condition) of all our interactions. Knowing with some level of predictability where a person is and with whom he or she is interacting—a situation called “uberveillance”—has obvious commercial and security value. User convenience and law enforcement application have been major drivers for collecting huge quantities of data on consumers and citizens. But uberveillance has important and sometimes troubling implications for citizen rights and the rule of law.
In this New Tools talk, Katina Michael will address issues related to law, regulation, and policy as they pertain to real-time monitoring and tracking of things and people. She will consider colliding stakeholder perspectives in demonstrated case law, examine the race to go beyond intelligence toward evidence, and ask fundamental questions about the rights of citizens. Is the search warrant process broken? Are service providers keeping too much information about their customers? How do citizens maintain their privacy? Social, technological, legal, and ethical principles and processes will be highlighted throughout this case-based talk toward a holistic approach to information management in practice.
This New Tools talk will be followed by a workshop on multidisciplinary perspectives on “data.” Find more details here, and register here.
ASU Barrett & O’Connor Center
1800 I St NW
Washington, DC 20006
In Australia there are strict and clear citizen rights which govern and substantiate the right under Freedom of The Press and as a individual to take photos of clearly breaches of these to inform the public of these incidents or instances.
Today, my partner Magali McDuffie and I were horrified to witness and document a clearly sinister creep of of abject trajectory in central Fremantle, port city of Perth, Western Australia. This set of buildings and the ‘business’ within are of a highly dubious nature, a clearly explosive leap from standard peripheral surveillance for purposes of ‘safety’ now to a set of obvious citizen and public profiling.
We counted no less than 28 cameras which obviously scope the entire street and everything that may come within 300 metres of this building. Under the FOP accord, as Australian citizens we object to this proliferation for citizen profiling intent and we categorically align our skepticism to the breaches in social justice and human rights that those countries that are implementing these profiling surveillance mechanisms propagate.
We draw you attention to, your inquiry and your social comment in relation to statement such as ‘….PRIVATE PROPERTY - Right to pass by permission and subject to control of the Owner’
No, you have NO right to control my ‘passing’ your building and this type of implementation IS a civil breach of the highest accord across the continent.
“…What if there were smart glasses that didnt make you look like a techno cyborg jerk?” - Intel's Vaunt smart glasses won't make you look like a Glasshole. Dieter Bohn got an exclusive look at Intel's latest gadget. By shining a low-powered laser into your retina, the glasses can get all sorts of information without pulling out your phone. UPDATE: In April 2018, Intel ceased development on the Vaunt smart glasses project. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnfwClgheF0
“…Many organisations worldwide are benefiting from the positive advantages of body worn camera technology, however without adequate knowledge, training and technical capability of the equipment there can be challenges relating to privacy, data security and video integrity.”
“…WCCTV provided Network Rail with the WCCTV Body Worn Camera (Connect), which delivers live transmission of video, alarms and GPS location information via wireless networks, including 4G, 3G and Wi-Fi.”
Read more at https://www.wcctv.com/case-study-network-rail/
"The advantages for the court is … it's the best evidence, it's contemporaneous, it's a recording of what's happening at the time, it's a recording of the scene, it's a recording of engagements with victims and perpetrators," Inspector Plumpton said.
Read more - ABC News
Social media platforms are using the same techniques as gambling firms to create psychological dependencies and ingrain their products in the lives of their users, experts warn.
These methods are so effective they can activate similar mechanisms as cocaine in the brain, create psychological cravings and even invoke “phantom calls and notifications” where users sense the buzz of a smartphone, even when it isn’t really there.
“Facebook, Twitter and other companies use methods similar to the gambling industry to keep users on their sites,” said Natasha Schüll, the author of Addiction by Design, which reported how slot machines and other systems are designed to lock users into a cycle of addiction. “In the online economy, revenue is a function of continuous consumer attention – which is measured in clicks and time spent.”
Whether it’s Snapchat streaks, Facebook photo-scrolling, or playing CandyCrush, Schüll explained, you get drawn into “ludic loops” or repeated cycles of uncertainty, anticipation and feedback — and the rewards are just enough to keep you going.
“If you disengage, you get peppered with little messages or bonus offers to get your attention and pull you back in,” said Schüll. “We have to start recognising the costs of time spent on social media. It’s not just a game – it affects us financially, physically and emotionally.”
Recreating the slot machine
The pull-to-refresh and infinite scrolling mechanism on our news feeds are unnervingly similar to a slot machine, said Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist for Google who has been described as the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience.
“You pull a lever and immediately receive either an enticing reward (a match, a prize!) or nothing,” Harris wrote.
We cannot know when we will be rewarded, and more often than not we don’t find anything interesting or gratifying, much like gambling. But that’s precisely what keeps us coming back.
“The rewards are what psychologists refer to as variable reinforcement schedules and is the key to social media users repeatedly checking their screens,” said Dr Mark Griffiths, a professor of behavioural addiction and director of Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit.
“Social media sites are chock-a-block with unpredictable rewards. They are trying to grab users’ attentions … to make social media users create a routine and habitually check their screens.”
Like gambling, which physically alters the brain’s structure and makes people more susceptible to depression and anxiety, social media use has been linked to depression and its potential to have an adverse psychological impact on users cannot be overlooked or underestimated.
For instance, phone dependency, driven by high social-media usage, can lead us to think our phone is vibrating, or that we have received a message, even when we haven’t.
“Phantom calls and notifications are linked to our psychological craving for such signals,” said Professor Daniel Kruger, an expert in human behaviour, from the University of Michigan. “These social media messages can activate the same brain mechanisms as cocaine [does] and this is just one of the ways to identify those mechanisms because our minds are a physiological product of our brain.”
“There are whole departments trying to design their systems to be as addictive as possible. They want you to be permanently online and by bombarding you with messages and stimuli try to redirect your attention back to their app or webpage.”
However, the number of monthly active users of Facebook hit 2.13 billion earlier this year, up 14% from a year ago. Despite the furore around its data privacy issues, the social media monolith posted record revenues for the first quarter of 2018, making $11.97bn, up 49% on last year.
A key reason for this is because Facebook has become so entrenched in our lives: we can’t put it down.
Behavioural psychologist, Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, has conceptualised how people become attached to social media.
“It starts with a trigger, an action, a reward and then an investment and its through successive cycles, through these hooks, that habits are formed. We see them in all sorts of products, certainly in social media and gambling. This is a big part of how habits are changed.”
Once a habit is formed something previously prompted by an external trigger, like a notification, email, or any sort of ring or ding, is no longer needed, Eyal remarked.
It is replaced or supplemented with an internal trigger meaning that we form a mental association between wanting to use this product and seeking to serve an emotional need.
“The products are built to be engaging and what’s engaging for some is addictive for others, that’s clear.”
"...China has turned the northwestern region of Xinjiang into a vast experiment in domestic surveillance. WSJ investigated what life is like in a place where one's every move can be monitored with cutting-edge technology."
"We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection because we get rewarded in these short-term signals — hearts, likes, thumbs up — and we conflate that with value, and we conflate it with truth," he said. "And instead what it really is is fake, brittle popularity that's short-term and that leaves you even more — admit it — vacant and empty before you did it, because then it forces you into this vicious cycle where you're like, 'What's the next thing I need to do now because I need it back?'
If you have a moment take a look at Facebookistan