Minutes after a police officer shot Philando Castile in Minnesota, United States, a live video was published on Facebook of the aftermath. Castile was captured in some harrowing detail and streamed to Facebook by his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, using the live video tool on her smartphone. She narrates the footage with a contrasting mix of eerie calm and anguish. But the video was removed from Facebook due to, as company says, a "technical glitch." The video has since been restored, but with a "Warning -- Graphic Video," disclaimer.

Now an article has come out commenting on how Facebook has become the "de-facto platform" for such "controversial" videos, and that there's a pattern in these so called glitches--as they happen very often time after "questionable content" is streamed.

It has long been obvious to anyone paying attention that Facebook operates various nefarious controls over all aspects of how information is displayed and disseminated on their network, not just with advertising and the filter bubble:

As Facebook continues to build out its Live video platform, the world’s most popular social network has become the de-facto choice for important, breaking, and controversial videos. Several times, Facebook has blocked political or newsworthy content only to later say that the removal was a “technical glitch” or an “error.” Nearly two-thirds of Americans get their news from social media, and two thirds of Facebook users say they use the site to get news. If Facebook is going to become the middleman that delivers the world’s most popular news events to the masses, technical glitches and erroneous content removals could be devastating to information dissemination efforts. More importantly, Facebook has become the self-appointed gatekeeper for what is acceptable content to show the public, which is an incredibly important and powerful position to be in. By censoring anything, Facebook has created the expectation that there are rules for using its platform (most would agree that some rules are necessary). But because the public relies on the website so much, Facebook’s rules and judgments have an outsized impact on public debate.
Source: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/philando-...

Make note of the screen culture symptoms: lack of linear narrative, increase in speed, shorter attention span, skimming, less engagement with content/meaning, "efficiency", increase in scatterbrain, etc. Also, the descriptions about how this behaviour effects the perception of reality.

I watch television and films in fast forward. This has become increasingly easy to do with computers (I’ll show you how) and the time savings are enormous. [...] I started doing this years ago to make my life more efficient.

[...]

As I’ve come to consume all my television on my computer, I’ve developed other habits, too. I don’t watch linearly anymore; I often scrub back and forth to savor complex scenes or to skim over slow ones. In other words, I watch television like I read a book. I jump around. I re-read. Sometimes I speed up. Sometimes I slow down.

I confess these new viewing techniques have done something strange to my sense of reality. I can’t watch television in real-time anymore. Movie theaters feel suffocating. I need to be able to fast-forward and rewind and accelerate and slow down, to be able to parcel my attention where it’s needed.

[...]

We risk transforming, perhaps permanently, the ways in which our brains perceive people, time, space, emotion. And isn’t that marvelous?
Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/w...

Apple has been awarded a patent for a system that prohibits smartphone users from taking photos and videos inside music venues or movie theatres, etc.

It outlines a system which would allow venues to use an infrared emitter to remotely disable the camera function on smartphones. According to the patent, infrared beams could be picked up by the camera, and interpreted by the smartphone as a command to block the user from taking any photos or videos of whatever they’re seeing. The patent also outlines ways that infrared blasters could actually improve someone’s experience at a venue. For example, the beams could be used to send information to museum-goers by pointing a smartphone camera at a blaster placed next to a piece of art.

"The patent also raises questions about the sort of power that this technology would be handing over to people with more nefarious intentions. Its application might help police limit smartphone filming of acts of brutality, or help a government shut off filming in certain locations."

Source: http://qz.com/718939/apple-patented-a-way-...

More here

"The technology titan is putting brakes on an "explorer" program that let people interested in dabbling with Glass buy eyewear for $1,500 apiece.

"Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk," the team said of its "explorer" clients in a post on the Google+ social network.

"Well, we still have some work to do, but now we're ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run."

The last day to buy Glass as part of the Explorer program will be Monday and Google did not indicate when a general consumer version of the eyewear might debut.

"Google Glass hasn't truly been released as a product yet -- it's been in long-term beta for over two years," said Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder.

"This organizational move will help to clarify the go to market strategy for both consumer and for enterprise customers."

The Glass test, or beta, program was later expanded to Britain.

During the Explorer testing phase, developers are creating apps for Google Glass, which can range from getting weather reports to sharing videos to playing games.

Glass connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi hot spots or, more typically, by being wirelessly tethered to mobile phones. Pictures or video may be shared through the Google+ social network.

- Outgrown the lab -

"As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we've outgrown the lab and so we're officially graduating from Google X to be our own team," the Glass post said.

"We're thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality."

Instead of being part of the Google X lab working on innovations such as self-driving cars, the Glass team will become a separate unit answering to Tony Fadell, co-founder of Nest.

Google bought the smart thermostat maker early last year in a multi-billion-dollar deal and brought the former Apple executive on board in the process.

Google has announced alliances with the frame giant behind Ray-Ban and other high-end brands to create and sell Glass eyewear in the United States.

A partnership with Luxottica was portrayed as Google's "biggest step yet into the emerging smart eyewear market."

Luxottica brands include Oakley, Alain Mikli, Ray-Ban and Vogue-Eyewear.

The first smart glasses by Luxottica for Google Glass will go on sale this year, the Italian eyewear group has forecast.

Google has been working to burnish the image of Glass, which has triggered concerns about privacy since the devices are capable of capturing pictures and video.

Forrester data shows that while 43 percent of consumers are interested in Glass, even more have worries about privacy problems caused by the eyewear.

"Google needs to construct a consumer image for the product, and deal with privacy concerns if they want it to be mass market," Gownder said.

Transient

"The father of a man fatally shot by police at an Ohio Wal-Mart says a phone call in which he heard his son's dying breaths keeps replaying in his head.

John Crawford III, was shot August 5, in a Wal-Mart. A 911 caller told police that Crawford III was waving a weapon that turned out to be an air rifle.

Officers have said Crawford III was shot when he didn't respond to orders to put the gun down.

His father, John Crawford Jr, talked about the last day of son's life to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Crawford family and their attorney have said that a section of store surveillance video they saw shows Crawford III holding the air rifle and talking on his mobile phone.

The family has requested public release of the store video. But Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has refused to release it while the investigation is continuing."

More here

"A man walks through Wal-Mart, holding something to his ear as he passes a gun case.

He leans toward a shelf and steps back into view, now holding a long, dark object — a gun? — as he walks past customers, who show no obvious reaction.

Eight minutes later, surveillance video from a different angle shows him farther away.

Suddenly he drops the object and crumples to the floor. Two more people come into view, walking toward him with firearms drawn.

Was it a justified fatal shooting by police or an unreasonable use of force? Does the soundless video offer enough information to answer that question?

In the Wal-Mart case and others, cameras meant to help catch bad guys or document police actions are drawing attention for capturing officers using force.

The public circulation of those images increases transparency, but it also adds the risk of viewers rushing to judgment based on only part of the story.

"You might see a video and think that because you're seeing an actual sort of account of what happened, you know the whole story.

And it's very rare that a video is actually going to be able to tell the whole story," said Ric Simmons, an Ohio State University professor of criminal law.

At that Wal-Mart in Beavercreek, outside Dayton, 22-year-old John Crawford III was talking on a cellphone and picked up an air rifle on August 5.

A 911 caller reported seeing someone waving a gun and pointing it at people. Police said Crawford was shot when he didn't respond to officers' orders to drop the weapon, something the video can't prove because there's no audio.

Crawford's relatives and their attorneys say he was "shot on sight" with no chance to respond and that the video proves the shooting was unreasonable.

A grand jury concluded it was justified. A federal investigation is pending.

Sometimes a video instantly offers incriminating evidence. In South Carolina this month, a state trooper was fired and charged with assault after his dashboard video, with audio, showed an unarmed driver being shot in the hip."

Source here

 

Thought experiment.

Taking everything you know about the world of computers, the history of screen experience and the trajectory of emerging technologies—say with Google Glass, for example—combined with this culture’s love affair with instant gratification, recording, surveillance, narcissism, and control; what could one be left looking at?

The Entire History of You explores some of these ideas in a world where most people have an implant behind their ear called a ‘grain’ which records everything they do, see and hear. Memories can be played back either in front of the person’s eyes or on a screen—a process known as a ‘re-do.’

Nothing is off limits. Everything is recorded, archived, and scrutinised.

Scrutiny comes to social events too. ‘Re-dos’ are done with friends and family, analogous to the current culture of social media ‘sharing’ and the solipsistic sense of self lived vicariously through screens.

In this world—and of our own—what are the myriad personal, interpersonal and social implications? What do the profound repercussions for relationships and even individual existential experience look like?

The Entire History of You is part of a series of films called Black Mirror which explore different aspects of “the way we live now—and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we're clumsy.”

More to come...

Republished from Veillance.me (dated 19th February 2013 and written by Katina Michael).

Original source location: http://veillance.me/blog/2013/2/19/the-muffin-man

For some time now Alexander Hayes and I have been researching body worn video recording devices within the context of education & training. In 2009 when we started brainstorming about possible PhD projects we thought about engaging with all levels of education across sectors- from the way body worn video recorders would be used with young children at child care centres, all the way up to the vocational training sector, universities and beyond.

I want to write here about the Muffin Man. Who is he? What does he look like? How can the Muffin Man be connected to body worn video recorders like digital glass?

Watch this video first to get a better understanding of where I'm headed in this post. The video is simply titled: "Nathan Playing" and has in excess of 11,000 hits [now 18,469]. Not bad for a 5 minute home-style video which records children at play making muffins... 

My first exposure to day care centres (also known as preschools, although there is some distinction) came in the beginning of 2006. I rang several listed centres close to my place of residence and was fortunate enough to gain access to the most reputable for my firstborn. Any parent will tell you that a great day care/preschool makes life for a working mother/father so much easier. Absolutely wonderful when the environment you are part of is one of continual learning for both carers and children alike (not to mention parents). Juggling work life and family life is difficult at the best of times, and every parent wishes for the best start for their child to be in a loving environment.

As fate would have it the carers of my children with so many decades of experience between them not to mention a plethora of accredited qualifications, began to deliver lectures at the University of Wollongong's Early Childhood program in 2009, participated in honours research projects, and sourced great talent when required.

But I do remember on joining the Centre how much the owners looked forward to having a techy mum on hand and how technology agnostic they were... every morning for months I would drop off my child and spend some 10-15 minutes talking about "computers", tutoring lightly, and providing clarity to visions of the owners of how they would incorporate technology for benefit.

I remember the carers going on a course one day and coming back with a book and a CD filled with templates for Microsoft Word/ Powerpoint all inspired about how computers would be used, such were the courses on offer back then. Consultants made mega $ just by showing day care owners how to open and close a Microsoft Word file! I chose otherwise as there was a direct benefit to my children and those of my neighbours.

So the challenge- "integrate computers"... No, the carers were not talking about some funky electronic $7,000 whiteboard although they did later buy a sizeable screen and several laptops... and no they were not talking about showing the kids videos with computers, but about capturing the special moments of the day and allowing the mums and dads some time to reflect on their child's development upon pick up in the afternoon.

I offered my services to the carers of the "little angels" and on many occasions I found myself training the carers of my child... only it did not feel like training, it felt more like an adventure. We started from the very basics- "this is a workspace", "this is how to INSERT>PICTURE", "this is how you add TEXT", and "this is how you save". I was not interested in making it difficult but making it practical and easy and directly satisfying what the carers imagined they could do with computers. When I once demystified the process, they realised how simple it actually was and then ideas began to flow very quickly. They were "off and running" as they say.

The owners/carers had ideas about:

  1. how to capture the spirit and activities of the day through visual evidence;
  2. how to log the child's weekly milestones as identified in the national curriculum.

 

We started thinking pictures as in photos of the kids at play, we started thinking audio, we started thinking visual recordings... that Christmas I bought the day care a digital recorder- it seemed only natural that we progressed that way, this is despite my active role in Australia's Privacy Foundation and my research into surveillance devices... within weeks, the owners had an even better idea, they bought a digital camera that took good movies and used it every day while the kids played to capture milestones and record them in both a powerpoint presentation that would be shared to all the mums and dads of an afternoon; and pictures of kids they would print and stick into the child's life book with personalised comments. Every Christmas, the carers would wrap the life books up and give them to the kids as their end of year present. They dubbed the life book, "the treasure book" and I've held onto those treasures and often reflect at how fast early childhood goes... way way too fast.

Much later I learnt of Steve Mann's glogging of his own children which are hard to miss on glogger.mobi. But we'll come back to that one a little later...

Today most parents take lots and lots of photos- I've spoken to some mums who purportedly have tens of thousands of photos of their firstborn, less of their second child, and scant of their third, and very few of their fourth. Regardless, most people don't print and document and reflect on photos despite that we take so many of them! I can categorically say, as my children get older, that those treasure books are priceless.

The general practice was great- greet your child for pick-up, spend some time looking through the treasure book and then watch the day's video clips with your child. Five minutes of a summary was a great way to reflect and share on the day that was. It's a special way of connecting with your child after being apart for 8-10 hours.

That's pretty much the story I wanted to share... but there is another side to all this that might cause some readers of this post to be alarmed. Controls are super important when dealing with kids. While there are ethical guides what is absent from the literature are practical regulations, that provide some bounds when it comes to recording young children and disseminating that 'data'.

I write this piece because there is still much to learn about the following:

  1. will parents begin to demand access to this footage?
  2. will owners be tempted to stream this data securely over the web?
  3. should children be filmed at all?
  4. what safeguards might be introduced?
  5. how should data gathered be stored? should it be destroyed daily?
  6. should audio settings be muted on cameras recording?
  7. might records be demanded by authorities for liability, eyewitness reporting?

All of these questions must be asked... and I have to say that the carers and I discussed these issues at length at the outset. The owners were meticulous in their practice:-

  1. no sharing of video files directly with parents via external media (USB or otherwise) no matter what had been captured of exceptional personal value
  2. only positive exchanges were to be retained and shared showing children at play or learning or enhancing skills
  3. all children were to feature on the videos without one child dominating over another.

Almost all owners of day cares/preschools want the best for their Centres, and most steer clear of even a web site or online repositories of data. Most Centres also cannot afford expensive storage services, although almost all Centres now have broadband access given government requirements for fees and rebate calculations based on income testing.

Yet here are some aspects that people for now have put into the "too hard basket" but answers are required and pressing:

  1. Do children act differently when they know they are being recorded?
  2. Is it right to film children at all? Is audio totally off limits? What are the jurisdictional comparisons on this point?
  3. Will drones replace the camera held by the human and what are the implications of this? Positive/negative?
  4. What if children were handed the pair of glasses to wear and film the space around them? Is the child's point of view different to that of the adult point of view?
  5. How should visual evidence of minors be stored, if at all?
  6. What kinds of policies should be instituted when Centres use recording devices in their workplace?
  7. Are their learning outcomes for children when visual recordings are taken OR are the outcomes only enjoyed by parents in sharing in the joint development of their child?
  8. Should children have access to their "lifelogs" beyond their treasure books when they grow up? Will it help in resolving certain behaviours, and emphasising others in a positive way?

Those are just some of my reflections... so much work is being done in the surveillance field and children. See for example the exceptional research work of Tonya Rooney of Australia. A PhD worth reading titled: "Growing up in Surveillance Society: The Changing Spaces of Childhood Experience".

I do hope that people will take this post and consider it deeply- especially those in the Early Childhood/Tech space. So much to ponder! Welcome aboard.

An extremely relevant keynote abstract by Professor Timothy K. Shih of the National Central University of Taiwan. This capability speaks directly to uberveillance- information manipulation, misrepresentation and more. These capabilities cannot be ignored- and while they can be used brilliantly within the special effects industry, they will inevitably be misapplied to other contexts.

 So much for "direct evidence" from body worn video recorders and digital glass devices! Law enforcement agencies pay attention please- before you go heavily investing in body worn video recorders! And courts- don't believe everything you see! The VIDEO EDITING landscape is about to change drastically.

And we will need to build standards around "video capture" akin to the PROOF required to demonstrate that the DNA collection process has not been tampered with. In many ways dealing with the digital arena is much more difficult than that of the physical sample DNA specimen collection.

Keynote Address: Professor Timothy K. Shih National Central University, Taiwan

Transient

Video Forgery is a technique for generating fake video by altering, combining, or creating new video contents. We change the behavior of actors in a video. For instance, the outcome of a 100-meter race in the Olympic Game can be falsified. We track objects and segment motions using a modified mean shift mechanism. The resulting video layers can be played in different speeds and at different reference points with respect to the original video. In order to obtain a smooth movement of target objects, a motion interpolation mechanism is proposed based on reference stick figures (i.e., a structure of human skeleton) and video inpainting mechanism. The video inpainting mechanism is performed in a quasi-3D space via guided 3D patch matching. Interpolated target objects and background layers are fused. It is hard to tell whether a falsified video is the original. In addition, in this talk, we demonstrate a new technique to allow users to change the dynamic texture used in a video background for special effect production. For instance, the dynamic texture of fire, smoke, water, cloud, and others can be edited through a series of automatic algorithms. Motion estimations of global and local textures are used. Video blending techniques are used in conjunction with a color balancing technique. The editing procedure will search for suitable patches in irregular shape blocks, to reproduce a realistic dynamic background, such as large waterfall, fire scene, or smoky background. The technique is suitable for making science fiction movies. We demonstrate the original and the falsified videos in our website at http://www.csie.ncu.edu.tw/~tshih. Although video falsifying may create a moral problem, our intension is to create special effects in movie industry.

ICTer Website: http://www.icter.org/conference/ 

 

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