• Mar 13, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Police forces around the world continue to push for routine – and real-time – facial recognition capabilities

Facial recognition crops up on this blog more than most technologies. That’s in part because the underlying AI is advancing rapidly, boosting the ability of low-cost systems to match faces to those in databases. The Clearview saga is a good example of this, where an unheard-of startup has put together what is claimed to be … Continue reading “Police forces around the world continue to push for routine – and real-time – facial recognition capabilities”

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  • Feb 21, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Freedom of speech, surveillance and privacy in the time of coronavirus

The situation concerning the Covid-19 coronavirus is serious, although it is not yet clear whether it will develop into a pandemic affecting billions of people worldwide. The story so far touches on most of the central themes of this blog. For example, we know that the Chinese authorities wasted valuable time trying to suppress news … Continue reading “Freedom of speech, surveillance and privacy in the time of coronavirus”

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  • Jan 31, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

What can we learn from the Clearview “end of privacy” story?

A couple of weeks ago, a story in the New York Times put facial recognition, and the serious problems it raises, firmly into the mainstream. It concerned the start-up Clearview AI, which, as the headline breathlessly informed us, “might end privacy as we know it.” The reason for this worrying description is not any breakthrough … Continue reading “What can we learn from the Clearview “end of privacy” story?”

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  • Jan 17, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, Privacy,

Police forces around the world continue to deploy facial recognition systems, despite no evidence of their utility

Last month, this blog wrote about governments around the world continuing to trial facial recognition systems, and the growing concerns this is provoking. There’s one area in particular where facial recognition systems are deployed: law enforcement. That’s hardly a surprise, since the legal system can only operate if it identifies alleged criminals that need to … Continue reading “Police forces around the world continue to deploy facial recognition systems, despite no evidence of their utility”

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  • Dec 27, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

What do you get if you put DNA and facial recognition together? Today, it’s China; tomorrow, maybe everywhere else

Two themes crop up again and again on this blog: facial recognition and DNA sequencing. Both technologies on their own are powerful, and steadily becoming greater threats to privacy. So what happens when they are put together? A story in the New York Times means we don’t have to guess, because China is already doing … Continue reading “What do you get if you put DNA and facial recognition together? Today, it’s China; tomorrow, maybe everywhere else”

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  • Dec 5, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Roll-out of facial recognition by governments around the world accelerates as privacy experts sound the alarm

A year ago, this blog wrote about the spread of facial recognition systems, and the danger they represent to privacy. Since then, the roll-out has accelerated, as the technology becomes more accurate, and the products on offer become cheaper. Governments in particular see facial recognition as an easy way to check and control their populations. … Continue reading “Roll-out of facial recognition by governments around the world accelerates as privacy experts sound the alarm”

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  • Nov 4, 2019
  • Caleb Chen
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Australia proposed using facial recognition technology for online gambling and pornography age verification

The Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs has proposed using facial recognition for online age verification for pornography and gambling websites visited by Australians as an update to Australia’s National Identity Security Strategy. The full not-so-detailed plan is titled: “Submission to the Inquiry into Age Verification for Online Wagering and Online Pornography.” In it, the … Continue reading “Australia proposed using facial recognition technology for online gambling and pornography age verification”

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  • Nov 1, 2019
  • Caleb Chen
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

ACLU sues to find out status of facial recognition mass surveillance in America

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice (DoJ), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The case was filed in a Massachusetts federal court on Tuesday, October 29th. The filing asks for details about how the government currently uses and audits the use … Continue reading “ACLU sues to find out status of facial recognition mass surveillance in America”

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  • Nov 1, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy, Programming,

Beyond Aadhaar: India wants to create a giant centralized facial recognition database

Two years ago, Privacy News Online wrote about Aadhaar, India’s billion-person biometric database, used to check identity, and its potential to become the world’s biggest privacy disaster. Barely six months after that post, it emerged that access to the Aadhaar database could be bought very cheaply, as reported here by the Indian newspaper The Tribune: … Continue reading “Beyond Aadhaar: India wants to create a giant centralized facial recognition database”

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  • Oct 17, 2019
  • Caleb Chen
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Why Hong Kong protesters don’t just want privacy from China, they need it to survive

Hong Kong protesters are so adamant about covering their face and using the latest privacy apps on their smartphones because they understand what is at stake. China will never understand Hong Kong’s desire for freedom. At the government level, maybe some Chinese politicians are aware that what they’re selling the Chinese populace (both within Mainland … Continue reading “Why Hong Kong protesters don’t just want privacy from China, they need it to survive”

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  • Oct 11, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

The Hong Kong protests reveal how our faces are becoming a key battleground for privacy and freedom

The protests in Hong Kong are much in the news. But for readers of this blog, there’s a particular reason why they are of interest. Mainland China is well known for its advanced and pervasive surveillance systems, and Hong Kong naturally shares many of its approaches. Protesting in the region therefore requires new skills in … Continue reading “The Hong Kong protests reveal how our faces are becoming a key battleground for privacy and freedom”

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  • Aug 14, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Arsenic in the water of democracy: UK police, politicians and privacy activists clash over facial recognition deployments

Last week’s post looked at the increasing number of moves to rein in, or even ban, the use of facial recognition technologies in the US. Another country at the forefront of exploring the legal, social and ethical issues raised by the technology is the UK. Problems with the use of facial recognition technologies by the … Continue reading “Arsenic in the water of democracy: UK police, politicians and privacy activists clash over facial recognition deployments”

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  • Aug 3, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Facial recognition concerns go mainstream in the US, as cities and companies bring in bans

Recently, FaceApp was much in the headlines. It allows users to submit photos of faces and modify them in interesting ways – making peple look older, or younger, or changing their expression. It was undoubtedly a cool use of AI technology. But what was most interesting about the episode is how quickly people realized that … Continue reading “Facial recognition concerns go mainstream in the US, as cities and companies bring in bans”

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Hard to prove harm: Google wins lawsuit over facial recognition

As new privacy laws attempt to address the different ways that companies collect, store and use biometric data, it’s also important to keep an eye on how the courts are interpreting and applying legislation. In a recent court case, a federal judge ruled against a claim that Google had violated Illinois privacy laws by using … Continue reading “Hard to prove harm: Google wins lawsuit over facial recognition”

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  • Jan 5, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • News, Privacy, Security,

What happens to identity and privacy when every biometric can be faked?

Identity and privacy are closely bound up. Typically, you use proof of your identity to access your private information. Alongside traditional approaches like passwords and hardware tokens, biometrics are increasingly employed to authenticate people, notably with smartphones, many of which now come with fingerprint sensors and facial recognition built in as standard. As well as … Continue reading “What happens to identity and privacy when every biometric can be faked?”

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