From Slashdot: "I deleted Facebook after it recommended as People You May Know a man who was defense counsel on one of my cases. We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email," an attorney told Gizmodo. Kashmir Hill, a reporter at the news outlet, who recently documented how Facebook figured out a connection between her and a family member she did not know existed, shares several more instances others have reported and explains how Facebook gathers information. She reports:

"Behind the Facebook profile you've built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you've never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections. Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook's algorithmic black box, people can't see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up. Facebook isn't scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer's address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defense counsel in one of her cases. Facebook will not confirm how it makes specific People You May Know connections, and a Facebook spokesperson suggested that there could be other plausible explanations for most of those examples -- "mutual friendships," or people being "in the same city/network." The spokesperson did say that of the stories on the list, the lawyer was the likeliest case for a shadow-profile connection. Handing over address books is one of the first steps Facebook asks people to take when they initially sign up, so that they can "Find Friends."

The problem with all this, Hill writes, is that Facebook doesn't explicitly say the scale at which it would be using the contact information it gleans from a user's address book. Furthermore, most people are not aware that Facebook is using contact information taken from their phones for these purposes."

Source: https://gizmodo.com/how-facebook-figures-o...

The Swedish State Railways has decided to accept under-the-skin RFID tag implants for ticket purchases, arguing it enhances ticketless travel better than having your ticket in your mobile. Actually, they didn’t argue that at all. They just said “we’re digital” and “it works” as if that would justify the rest.

Sweden is a European state which, until recently, celebrated the fact that people were able to travel between European and Nordic countries without a passport or other identification papers. Since a few years back, the governmental train company, which operates with all the efficiency of one, changed all that on its own — by requiring photo ID to take the train just to the next city. The official reason for going all papieren, bitte on people just going to the next town was to “prevent the second-hand sale of attractive tickets”.

This company — the Swedish State Railways — has an insanely bad reputation in the country, known for never arriving on time and for mediocre service. To paint a picture of the service level, the company offers some compensation if passengers get more than an hour delayed with a local train (within the European state of Sweden).

This is the company now priding itself on “being digital” and announcing an extremely privacy-invasive method for travel. It may well be that it’s more convenient. That’s obviously not where the cause for concern is.

“We will never force somebody to have a chip implanted”, says Stephan Ray, press spokesperson for the State Railways.

I wish I could believe this — for this has been the standard line every single time a new privacy invasion has been presented. And there’s a catch which sounds all too familiar:

“We don’t rule out giving special advantages to travelers with under-the-skin RFID chips,” Ray adds.

At what point does this translate to putting ridiculous burden on people without under-skin RFID tags, even if it will technically not require them to implant? That’s usually a few years before the option is taken away altogether, judging from history.

As a final note, the article from the Stockholm local paper also notes that the local buses, trams, and subways are also seeking to start using passenger under-skin-RFID-tags for travel. Yes, you read that right: people in Sweden are seriously considering under-skin RFID tags to be a nice, cozy form of bus and subway ticket.

Fortunately, this is not something that would go over well in other European states. If I were to describe the Swedish attitude to this in a few words, I would choose “trusting and naïve”. This is in stark contrast to other states — say, Germany — which take privacy extremely seriously: Berlin’s ticket vending machines to the local public transport sell paper tickets for cash, and it would be inconceivable to remove that option, as was done a long time ago in Sweden (where you can instead buy identified tickets to your identified phone using an identified credit card).

As a final note, the image to this article shows animal tags. That’s because it’s the technology used. “Tagged like an animal” is quite literal. There’s also the concern of malware infecting such chips, which has been proven possible – and with RFID technology, the malware could spread quickly.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.

Source: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2017/05/train-tickets-rfid-tags-europe/

First came the assault on privacy. Name, address, telephone, DOB, SSN, physical description, friends, family, likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, finances, every granular detail of a person’s life, all logged, indexed, analyzed and cross-referenced. Then came the gathering of location and communication data. Cell phones, apps, metro cards, license plate readers and toll tags, credit card use, IP addresses and authenticated logins, tower info, router proximity, networked “things” everywhere reporting on activity and location, astoundingly accurate facial recognition mated with analytics and “gigapixel” cameras and, worst of all, mindlessly self-contributed posts, tweets, and “check-ins,” all constantly reporting a subject’s location 24-7-365, to such a degree of accuracy that “predictive profiling” knows where you will likely be next Thursday afternoon. Today we are experiencing constant efforts to shred anonymity. Forensic linguistics, browser fingerprinting, lifestyle and behavior analysis, metadata of all types, HTML5, IPv6, and daily emerging “advances” in surveillance technologies - some seemingly science fiction but real - are combining to make constant, mobile identification and absolute loss of anonymity inevitable. And, now, predictably, the final efforts to homogenize: the “siloing” and Balkanization of the Internet. As Internet use becomes more and more self-restricted to a few large providers, as users increasingly never leave the single ecosystem of a Facebook or a Google, as the massive firehose of information on the Internet is “curated” and “managed” by persons who believe that they know best what news and opinions you should have available to read, see, and believe, the bias of a few will eventually determine what you believe. What is propaganda? What is truth? You simply won’t know. In a tradition dating back to the first HOPE conference, for three full hours Steven Rambam will detail the latest trends in privacy invasion and will demonstrate cutting-edge anonymity-shredding surveillance technologies. Drones will fly, a “privacy victim” will undergo digital proctology, a Q&A period will be provided, and fun will be had by all.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHwl6AyL6j...
Police officers across the country misuse confidential law enforcement databases to get information on romantic partners, business associates, neighbors, journalists and others for reasons that have nothing to do with daily police work, an Associated Press investigation has found.
[...]
In the most egregious cases, officers have used information to stalk or harass, or have tampered with or sold records they obtained.
[...]
Unspecified discipline was imposed in more than 90 instances reviewed by AP. In many other cases, it wasn’t clear from the records if punishment was given at all. The number of violations was surely far higher since records provided were spotty at best, and many cases go unnoticed.

Among those punished: an Ohio officer who pleaded guilty to stalking an ex-girlfriend and who looked up information on her; a Michigan officer who looked up home addresses of women he found attractive; and two Miami-Dade officers who ran checks on a journalist after he aired unflattering stories about the department.

”It’s personal. It’s your address. It’s all your information, it’s your Social Security number, it’s everything about you,” said Alexis Dekany, the Ohio woman whose ex-boyfriend, a former Akron officer, pleaded guilty last year to stalking her. “And when they use it for ill purposes to commit crimes against you — to stalk you, to follow you, to harass you ... it just becomes so dangerous.”

The misuse represents only a tiny fraction of the millions of daily database queries run legitimately during traffic stops, criminal investigations and routine police encounters. But the worst violations profoundly abuses systems that supply vital information on criminal suspects and law-abiding citizens alike. The unauthorized searches demonstrate how even old-fashioned policing tools are ripe for abuse, at a time when privacy concerns about law enforcement have focused mostly on more modern electronic technologies.
Source: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/699236946e3...

"With widespread adoption among law enforcement, advertisers, and even churches, face recognition has undoubtedly become one of the biggest threats to privacy out there.

By itself, the ability to instantly identify anyone just by seeing their face already creates massive power imbalances, with serious implications for free speech and political protest."

Microsoft pitches technology that can read facial expressions at political rallies

Microsoft pitches technology that can read facial expressions at political rallies

"But more recently, researchers have demonstrated that even when faces are blurred or otherwise obscured, algorithms can be trained to identify people by matching previously-observed patterns around their head and body.

In a new paper uploaded to the ArXiv pre-print server, researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Saarbrücken, Germany demonstrate a method of identifying individuals even when most of their photos are un-tagged or obscured. The researchers' system, which they call the “Faceless Recognition System,” trains a neural network on a set of photos containing both obscured and visible faces, then uses that knowledge to predict the identity of obscured faces by looking for similarities in the area around a person's head and body."

[...]

"In the past, Facebook has shown its face recognition algorithms can predict the identity of users when they obscure their face with 83% accuracy, using cues such as their stance and body type. But the researchers say their system is the first to do so using a trainable system that uses a full range of body cues surrounding blurred and blacked-out faces."

 

Source: https://motherboard.vice.com/read/faceless...

This short video explores how the online world has overwhelmingly become the popular outlet for public rage by briefly illustrating some of the many stories of everyday people which have suddenly become public enemy number one under the most misunderstood of circumstances and trivial narratives. With the web acting like a giant echo-chamber, amplifying false stories and feeding on the pent-up aggression of the audience watching the spectacle, The Outrage Machine shows how these systems froth the mob mentality into a hideous mess, as a good example of where the spectacle goes and how its intensity has to keep ratcheting up in order maintain the audience attention, in a culture of dwindling attention spans, distraction and triviality.

Filmmaker and author Jon Ronson also recently wrote a book about this topic too, which is quite good. So You've Been Publicly Shamed. His TED talk is essentially a 17 min overview:

And a longer presentation with interview and Q&A from earlier this year:

"The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has successfully convinced a federal judge to block the disclosure of where the bureau has attached surveillance cams on Seattle utility poles. [...] However, this privacy dispute highlights a powerful and clandestine tool the authorities are employing across the country to snoop on the public—sometimes with warrants, sometimes without. [...] The deployment of such video cameras appears to be widespread. What's more, the Seattle authorities aren't saying whether they have obtained court warrants to install the surveillance cams."

"Peter Winn [assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle] wrote to Judge Jones that the location information about the disguised surveillance cams should be withheld because the public might think they are an 'invasion of privacy.' Winn also said that revealing the cameras' locations could threaten the safety of FBI agents. And if the cameras become 'publicly identifiable,' Winn said, 'subjects of the criminal investigation and national security adversaries of the United States will know what to look for to discern whether the FBI is conducting surveillance in a particular location.'"

Source: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/06...

"An Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) investigation just revealed an awfully Orwellian fact: the FBI is working with government researchers to develop advanced tattoo recognition technology. This would allow law enforcement to sort and identify people based on their tattoos to determine “affiliation to gangs, sub-cultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology."

Source: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/06/tatt...
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AuthorJordan Brown