Just When You Thought Surveillance Tech Couldn’t Get Any More Orwellian…

just-when-you-thought-surveillance-tech-couldn’t-get-any-more-orwellian…

12-06-19 08:45:00,

By Graywolf

One of my favorite TV shows was Person of Interest. In that show, a genius programmer was hired by the government to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) computer to tap into and analyze communication feeds and predict activities that may pose a threat. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, things spun out of control; the system that was designed to benefit society was not always beneficial to citizens.

As amusing as it is to watch escapist fiction such as this, it’s not so enjoyable when you realize it’s no longer fiction. China has already developed the infrastructure to envelop their citizens in this protective surveillance net and has begun that slippery slope of using AI to not only catch activities deemed undesired by the government – it’s starting to take action against those observed.

In the city of Shenzhen (and most likely others), when an offender is observed jaywalking via video surveillance, they will publicly humiliate you by showing your face on screens located around the city. Now that’s bad enough, but they’re going a step further. Those identified will have their cell phone ‘pinged’ and be sent an immediate fine.

By the way, Intellifusion, the company behind the AI system involved, is in talks with WeChat and Seina Weibo (China’s equivalents of Facebook and Twitter).

The surveillance state is expanding, and even children are not exempt.

You may think there must be some kind of check-and-balance system built in to ensure that children would be protected so that they wouldn’t suffer the same consequences as an adult. You’d be wrong.

As you can imagine, this outing of a child in such a public manner has sparked outrage. Instead of backing down on their stance, the police have doubled down and stated that no one is above the law and its draconian reaction. Of course they have. I know if I wanted to start weeding out hidden miscreants, I’d set up exactly this scenario. Guess what’s going to happen to those expressing their discontent?

You may think that all this isn’t so bad because it’s just surveillance out in the street,

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‘Mass surveillance is exactly what the US does’: Dotcom points out glaring irony of Huawei ban

‘mass-surveillance-is-exactly-what-the-us-does’:-dotcom-points-out-glaring-irony-of-huawei-ban

17-05-19 04:34:00,

Kim Dotcom has slammed the US for hypocrisy over its Huawei ban given America’s history of “abusing technology” and “turning its entire tech sector into a spy machine.”

The Megaupload founder took to Twitter in the wake of the ban to highlight that the abuse of technology for mass surveillance is “exactly the conduct of the US” and said that “because the US does it, they think China will too.”

The irony of Trumps Huawei ban is that the alleged conduct of abusing technology for mass surveillance is exactly the conduct of the US. It turned its entire tech sector into a spy machine against all people, everywhere. And because the US does it they think China will do it too.

— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) May 16, 2019

Trump declared a “national emergency” for the telecommunications sector on Wednesday, citing risks from “foreign adversaries.”

The US Commerce Department subsequently added Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List, which bans the Chinese brand from buying parts from US companies without government approval, making it difficult for Huawei to sell some of its products because of its reliance on US parts.

America taught the rest of the world about electronic interference. Everyone else is just starting to catch up.

— Adam Lackman (@adamlackman) May 16, 2019

I doubt the USG believe that #Huawei will do anything. It seems the moment they found it difficult to spy using Huawei infrastructure, they decided to trash the brand with the Sinophobic narrative they already had going.

— Brad Ruiters (@braddo_ct) May 16, 2019

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

— Ian VanHoven (@someguy225) May 16, 2019

Dotcom pointed out that the US has used tech companies to spy on its own citizens as well as people all around the world. The extent of US surveillance was revealed by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 when he exposed the US’ warrantless surveillance, including listening in on phone conversations, its ability to compel tech companies like Google and Facebook to turn over user data,

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NSA Abandons Part Of Mass Surveillance Program Exposed By Snowden

nsa-abandons-part-of-mass-surveillance-program-exposed-by-snowden

05-03-19 05:09:00,

The National Security Agency (NSA) has reportedly abandoned part of their infamous surveillance apparatus exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden, and used for the mass collection of Americans’ communications records; including phone logs, metadata and text messages. 

The New York Times noted that House minority leader national security adviser Luke Murry told The Lawfare Podcast that the NSA “hasn’t actually been using it for the past six months,” and that he’s “not certain that the [Trump] administration will want to start that back up” (despite collecting 530 million US phone records in 2017)

Keep in mind, the NYT report isn’t claiming the NSA has abandoned other programs such as XKeyscore – which the agency uses to search and analyze global internet data. When asked by German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” Edward Snowden replied: 

You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.

… You can tag individuals … Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity. –Edward Snowden

Of note, former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was caught lying to Congress about the NSA’s bulk data collection. In response to a 2013 question by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?,” Clapper replied: “No sir, not wittingly.” 

Instead of a DOJ subpoena for lying to Congress,

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The Age Of Tyrannical Surveillance: We’re Being Branded, Bought, & Sold For Our Data

the-age-of-tyrannical-surveillance-we8217re-being-branded-bought-amp-sold-for-our-data

27-02-19 08:44:00,

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about… Your digital identity will live forever… because there’s no delete button.

– Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Uncle Sam wants you.

Correction: Big Brother wants you.

To be technically accurate, Big Brother—aided and abetted by his corporate partners in crime—wants your data.

That’s what we have been reduced to in the eyes of the government and Corporate America: data bits and economic units to be bought, bartered and sold to the highest bidder.

Those highest bidders include America’s political class and the politicians aspiring to get elected or re-elected. As the Los Angeles Times reports, “If you have been to a political rally, a town hall, or just fit a demographic a campaign is after, chances are good your movements are being tracked with unnerving accuracy by data vendors on the payroll of campaigns.”

Your phones, televisions and digital devices are selling you out to politicians who want your vote.

Have you shopped at Whole Foods? Tested out target practice at a gun range? Sipped coffee at Starbucks while surfing the web? Visited an abortion clinic? Watched FOX News or MSNBC? Played Candy Crush on your phone? Walked through a mall? Walked past a government building?

That’s all it takes for your data to be hoovered up, sold and used to target you.

This is the age of surveillance capitalism.

Incredibly, once you’ve been identified and tracked, data brokers can travel back in time, digitally speaking, to discover where you’ve been, who you’ve been with, what you’ve been doing, and what you’ve been reading, viewing, buying, etc.

Once you’ve been identified in this way, you can be tracked endlessly.

“Welcome to the new frontier of campaign tech — a loosely regulated world in which simply downloading a weather app or game, connecting to Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or powering up a home router can allow a data broker to monitor your movements with ease,

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Surveillance Capitalism Includes Utility “Smart” Meters. Utility Companies Collect Customer Usage Data 24/7. Are Yours Selling It to 3rd Parties? | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

surveillance-capitalism-includes-utility-smart-meters-utility-companies-collect-customer-usage-data-247.-are-yours-selling-it-to-3rd-parties-light-on-conspiracies-8211-revealing-the-agenda

20-02-19 11:23:00,

By B.N. Frank

Recently, Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff published a new book called The Age of Surveillance Capitalism which reveals how businesses not only offer services to customers – they collect personal data on them in order to sell it to 3rd parties.  Much of this is done without customer knowledge or consent.

If no one comes to read your electric, gas, and/or water meters, it’s likely that you have what are commonly known as “Smart” Meters (though they aren’t always referred to that way by utility companies).

Tens of millions of “Smart” Meters have already been installed throughout the U.S. and around the world.  They are associated with so many issues (including fires, explosions, adverse health effects, cybersecurity risks, malfunctioning appliances, inflated bills) and complaints (including privacy violations, unwanted surveillance, frequent replacement) that in 2013, a documentary was produced, Take Back Your Power.  It was updated in 2017 and is free to watch below.

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A New Despotism in the Era of Surveillance Capitalism – Global Research

a-new-despotism-in-the-era-of-surveillance-capitalism-8211-global-research

19-02-19 10:34:00,

There is a fascinating chapter toward the end of Alexis de Toqueville’s Democracy in America titled “What Kind of Despotism Do Democratic Nations Have to Fear?” in which the author attempted something truly extraordinary – to describe a social condition which humankind had never before encountered. We find him trying to put his finger on something which does not yet exist, but which – in his extraordinary political imagination – he was able to foresee with startling clarity.

I maintain that we have good reason to fear that the business model of commercial surveillance – pioneered by Google and adopted by Facebook, among others – is serving to undermine the foundations of our democracy. Shoshana Zuboff explains in her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capital (Public Affairs, 2019), that the system works by treating human experience as “free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvements, the rest are declared as proprietary behavioral surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence,’ and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioral futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behavior.”

In effect, we are becoming the subject of a new insidious, subtle, and almost invisible form of subjugation that was foreseen with uncanny ability by Tocqueville in 1849. Over a hundred and seventy-five years ago, Tocqueville wrote:

“The kind of oppression with which democratic peoples are threatened will resemble nothing that has proceeded it in the world.”

He goes on to describe the elevation of

“an immense tutelary power … which alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyments and watching over their fate. It is absolute, detailed, regular, far-seeing, and mild. It would resemble paternal power, if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves, provided that they think only of enjoying themselves. It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that.”

In Time magazine’s January seventeenth article “I Mentored Mark Zuckerberg,

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Britain’s Intrusive Surveillance Systems. “Pre-crime and Predictive Systems”. Reliance on Data-driven Surveillance and Algorithms – Global Research

britain8217s-intrusive-surveillance-systems-8220pre-crime-and-predictive-systems8221.-reliance-on-data-driven-surveillance-and-algorithms-8211-global-research

21-01-19 12:07:00,

Back in May 2017, I predicted that the police would be doing just that – predicting. I warned that Britain already has a reputation for deploying the most intrusive surveillance systems against its own people in the Western world. I warned that our civil liberties are being systematically dismantled, driven through the false narrative of security.

  • UK police are investing millions in a new predictive pre-crime system, the National Data Analytics System
  • The system will access police databases, social services, and even the NHS and schools
  • Every citizen would risk being monitored, judged and having our lives intruded upon by the Police
  • Largest British law enforcement system threatens civil liberties handing massive power to the state

I also warned that police departments around the world are partnering with private companies to use public data, personal information and algorithms to predict where illegal actions are most likely to occur and, crucially, who is most likely to commit them.

In an article I wrote warning of all these coming intrusions, there was also a review of a documentary film that focused on pre-crime technology.

“There are predictive police programs in Fresno, Philadelphia, Chicago, and in Kent and London featured in the film. Are these all pilot programs? And the chilling answer from the director of the documentary “Not any longer. Kent’s program is 4 years old.”

From Big Brother Watch comes the official news that UK police are now investing heavily in pre-crime and predictive systems.

UK police are investing millions in a new predictive system, the National Data Analytics System (NDAS), which will analyse vast quantities of data from  police databases, social services, and even the NHS and schools in order to predict who is likely to commit crimes, despite serious concerns over profiling, ‘the potential reversal of the presumption of innocence’, and the impact of ‘inaccurate prediction’.

Our Director, Silkie Carlo, said:

This would be a remarkable change in policing. Every one of us would risk being monitored, judged and having our lives intruded upon.

“Predictive policing conflicts with the presumption of innocence that our justice system is built on and invites authorities to keep tabs on innocent citizens.

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‘Authoritarian surveillance tool’: Police scan faces of London Xmas shoppers in controversial trial

authoritarian-surveillance-tool-police-scan-faces-of-london-xmas-shoppers-in-controversial-trial

18-12-18 03:22:00,

London’s Metropolitan Police have begun testing facial recognition technology on the capital’s Christmas shoppers, in a move that was attacked by a civil liberties campaigner as an “authoritarian surveillance tool.”

The trial – which is set to take place over December 17-18 in Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square – is the seventh of it’s type in London since 2016. Authorities have announced that there are three more tests yet to be scheduled.

READ MORE: Are you being watched? Police admit to taking photos of innocent people to hunt for crims (VIDEO)

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “The police’s use of this authoritarian surveillance tool in total absence of a legal or democratic basis is alarming.” Warning that the technology “is a form of mass surveillance that, if allowed to continue, will turn members of the public into walking ID card.”

“As with all mass surveillance tools, it is the general public who suffer more than criminals. The fact that it has been utterly useless so far shows what a terrible waste of police time and public money it is. It is well overdue that police drop this dangerous and lawless technology.”

The Met stated that the technology “will be used overtly with a clear uniformed presence and information leaflets will be disseminated to the public.”
Adding that anyone who declines to be scanned “will not be viewed as suspicious by police officers.”

But new police figures, that Big Brother Watch has obtained, show that since May, 100 percent of the Met’s facial recognition matches have incorrectly linked innocent people to those on police watch lists.

READ MORE: Surveillance state? Amazon selling facial recognition technology to govt ‘threatens freedom’

Researchers at Cardiff University revealed that the cameras have the capability to recognize as many as 300 faces a second – 18,000 in a minute.

London police are pushing ahead with the trials, despite Greater Manchester Police suspending their own six-month deployment of the cameras that were scanning shoppers at one of the city’s main shopping centers. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner warned that the use of the cameras was disproportionate,

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Surveillance with a smile: Biometrics firms seek to incentivize facial recognition

surveillance-with-a-smile-biometrics-firms-seek-to-incentivize-facial-recognition

16-11-18 08:58:00,

Operating on the gradual model of Google and Facebook, biometrics companies are plotting a slow rollout of facial recognition technology, barbed with incentives to hook customers and distract them from the demise of privacy.

Arenas, airports and stores are already adopting facial recognition software to identify criminals, from shoplifters to potential terrorists – so marketing is the natural next step, according to Arturo Falck, CEO of Whoo.ai and one of several biometrics execs interviewed by trade publication Biometric Update.

Once companies are using this type of technology for crime prevention purposes, there’s no reason why they should not be using it for upselling their customers.

Read more


© Reuters / Thomas Peter

And what if those customers don’t want to be upsold? A Brookings Institute survey last month indicated half of Americans still oppose facial recognition for theft prevention purposes, let alone marketing, indicating Whoo.ai has an uphill battle ahead. Along those lines, 50 percent think there should be limits on the technology’s use by law enforcement. Emails recently obtained by the Project on Government Oversight reveal Amazon has pitched its own facial recognition systems to ICE and other government agencies.

But given that only three percent of the population are “vocally opposed” to engaging with facial recognition systems, Falck is optimistic that most of the rest can be seduced via loyalty rewards and discounts. Still, he moans, “We believe that when the general population becomes more educated about exactly what’s going on with facial recognition, that there’s going to be a much larger percentage of the population which wants to control where their faces can and cannot be recognized.”

FaceFirst CEO Peter Trepp envisions a way around that with a “friendly opt-in environment” in which customers would trade their privacy for retail advantages with the biometric equivalent of a customer loyalty card. A company called BiteKiosk has proposed using food discounts to increase the adoption of self-service facial recognition kiosks in restaurants, and there is definite precedent for this repackaging of dystopian new technologies as “perks” – last year, Lincoln Motor Company included TSA PreCheck biometric scanners in its new vehicles,

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The DEA and ICE are hiding surveillance cameras in streetlights

the-dea-and-ice-are-hiding-surveillance-cameras-in-streetlights

10-11-18 09:19:00,

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have hidden an undisclosed number of covert surveillance cameras inside streetlights around the country, federal contracting documents reveal.

According to government procurement data, the DEA has paid a Houston, Texas company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC roughly $22,000 since June 2018 for “video recording and reproducing equipment.” ICE paid out about $28,000 to Cowboy Streetlight Concealments over the same period of time.

It’s unclear where the DEA and ICE streetlight cameras have been installed, or where the next deployments will take place. ICE offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have provided funding for recent acquisitions from Cowboy Streetlight Concealments; the DEA’s most recent purchases were funded by the agency’s Office of Investigative Technology, which is located in Lorton, Virginia.

Christie Crawford, who owns Cowboy Streetlight Concealments with her husband, a Houston police officer, said she was not at liberty to discuss the company’s federal contracts in detail.

“We do streetlight concealments and camera enclosures,” Crawford told Quartz. “Basically, there’s businesses out there that will build concealments for the government and that’s what we do. They specify what’s best for them, and we make it. And that’s about all I can probably say.”

However, she added: “I can tell you this—things are always being watched. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving down the street or visiting a friend, if government or law enforcement has a reason to set up surveillance, there’s great technology out there to do it.”

Earlier this week, the DEA issued a solicitation for “concealments made to house network PTZ [Pan-Tilt-Zoom] camera, cellular modem, cellular compression device,” noting that the government intended to give the contract to Obsidian Integration LLC, an Oregon company with a sizable number of federal law enforcement customers.

On November 7, the Jersey City Police Department awarded a contract to Obsidian Integration for “the purchase and delivery of a covert pole camera.” The filing did not provide further design details.

Obsidian did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Morgan Hairston, the Department of Justice contracting officer handling the bids.

In addition to streetlights, the DEA has also placed covert surveillance cameras inside traffic barrels,

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Surveillance exports: How EU Member States are compromising new human rights standards

surveillance-exports-how-eu-member-states-are-compromising-new-human-rights-standards

29-10-18 11:05:00,

In partnership with the human rights organization Reporters Without Borders Germany, we are disclosing the full text of many EU Council negotiation documents. Read the complete reporting in German.


netzpolitik.org – ermöglicht durch Dich.

The discussion about European accountability for human rights abuses conducted through surveillance has been especially pressing since The Arab Spring in 2010. It became evident that European companies were selling spy tools to authoritarian regimes such as Syria, Egypt and Libya. These technologies were then used against journalists, human rights activists, and opposition groups to suppress democratic movements.

In response, the European Commission proposed a new regulation for export controls of surveillance technology. It was a recast of the so-called „dual use regulation“ in which goods are controlled with both a military and a civil end-use.

In early 2018, the European Parliament – with an overwhelming majority of 91 percent – voted for changes in the Commission’s draft. However, none of the Commission’s approaches to safeguard human rights were principally challenged by the Parliament. The European legislative process now requires a position by the Member States, so that all three institutions can find a compromise in the trialogue.

However, the documents we are publishing reveal that Finland and Sweden in particular are fundamentally opposed to any improvements regarding stricter controls of new human rights standards. The position is supported by the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and Poland.

The countries explained in a paper brought into the negotiations in May that they consider all of the human rights proposals by the Commission as unnecessary. However, countries like Germany and France had also argued this position earlier on – that there was „no need“ for some of the Commission’s improvements, such as the so-called „human rights catch-all clause“.

In May, a majority in the European Council already voted against this approach, now revealed by the internal documents of the German government. In November, the European Member States will come together for their final discussions and voting on their positions. Adopting their current stance about the proposal – revealed in these documents – would be contradictory to their public discourse.

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The Most Important Surveillance Story You Will Ever See For Years Just Went Online | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

The Most Important Surveillance Story You Will Ever See For Years Just Went Online | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

02-07-18 05:52:00,

A few days ago, the publication of an explosive story that should have shaken up the mainstream media world, didn’t. It was done by the Intercept, which revealed for the first time publicly how “fortress-like” AT&T buildings located in eight major American cities have played a central role in another huge National Security Agency (NSA) spying program “that has monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.”

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Edward Snowden’s reaction on Twitter was quite appropriate:

The most important surveillance story you will see for years just went online, revealing how @ATT became the internet’s biggest enemy, secretly collaborating against its customers and partners to destroy your privacy. https://t.co/nUGPjFSYh5

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 25, 2018

The most important surveillance story you will see for years just went online, revealing how @ATT became the internet’s biggest enemy, secretly collaborating against its customers and partners to destroy your privacy.

This information shouldn’t really come as a surprise, there have been more than enough leaks from whistle-blowers like Snowden that goes to show just how much information and data they collect on the global citizenry. It’s literally unbelievable  — what’s even more startling is the fact that information like this, prior to the Snowden leaks, was actually considered a ‘conspiracy theory’ by many, despite the fact that the ‘theory’ was quite legit already and had a lot of evidence behind it to expose it. This begs the question, why do we have to wait for something to become acknowledged by the mainstream in order for us to accept it?

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China’s Surveillance State Is Using RFID Chips To Track Cars’ Movements

China’s Surveillance State Is Using RFID Chips To Track Cars’ Movements

14-06-18 06:29:00,

China, the world’s most populous country, continues to devise new methods of keeping tabs on its 1.4 billion citizens. And after the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week about a powerful new spy camera devised by a team of researchers at Duke University who had, incidentally, received funding from the US government, America’s business newspaper of record is back Wednesday with another stunning report, this time about how China is establishing a new system to track cars using electronic tags. Indeed, WSJ describes the plan to “improve public security”, which will also purportedly help ease extreme congestion in the largest Chinese cities.

The plan, which is set to be rolled out by July 1, will rely on chips that can be identified thanks to their unique radio frequency signature. Compliance will be voluntary at first, but it will become mandatory for all new vehicles by Jan. 2019.

Trafic

Of course, the plan will dramatically expand China’s ability to track its citizens’ every move – something that’s becoming increasingly important as Chinese authorities seek to implement their “social credit score.” 

social

China’s surveillance network already includes powerful cameras that can detect an individual’s facial features from 100 yards away, according to WSJ. Meanwhile, the program will have a serious impact on China’s automotive industry, which is feeding the world’s biggest market, with nearly 30 million vehicles expected to be sold this year.

“It’s all happening in the backdrop of this pretty authoritarian government,” said Ben Green, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society who is researching use of data and technology by city governments. “It’s really hard to imagine that the primary use case is not law enforcement surveillance and other forms of social control.”

Security

As far as western media outlets are concerned, implementing the network will involve RFID chips being affixed to car windshields. As we reported earlier this year, citing a story published in an obscure trade journal, RFID chips are already being used by several governments – including China’s neighbor the Philippines – to aid in tracking their citizens. The system will register details like a drivers’

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Amazon’s Rekognition Surveillance Tool Will Grant Police Even More Surveillance Power | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

Amazon’s Rekognition Surveillance Tool Will Grant Police Even More Surveillance Power | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

04-06-18 07:43:00,

Amazon is facing pressure from civil liberties groups for the corporation’s role in building the infrastructure which powers government surveillance.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Freedom of the Press Foundation and nearly 40 other organizations have joined together to demand that Amazon cease providing law enforcement access to surveillance technology. The organizations signed onto a letter to Amazon which condemns the company for developing new facial recognition tools that allow real-time surveillance using police body cameras and the ever growing interconnected network of cameras in most major American cities.

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“Amazon has been heavily marketing this tool—called “Rekognition”—to law enforcement, and it’s already being used by agencies in Florida and Oregon,” the EFF wrote in a recent blog. “This system affords the government vast and dangerous surveillance powers, and it poses a threat to the privacy and freedom of communities across the country. That includes many of Amazon’s own customers, who represent more than 75 percent of U.S. online consumers.”

Documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California recently revealed Rekognition, Amazon’s facial recognition program, is currently used by police in Orlando and Oregon’s Washington County. As with the Stingray cellphone surveillance tools, the tool requires law enforcement to sign nondisclosure agreements to avoid public disclosure. The EFF is calling on Amazon to “stand up for civil liberties” and “cut law enforcement off from using its face recognition technology.”

The joint letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos states that Amazon’s face recognition technology is “readily available to violate rights and target communities of color.” The letter warns that the facial recognition tool will disproportionately affect communities of color, “continuously track immigrants, and identify and arrest protesters and activists.” In addition, the letter warns that the technology will ultimately “chill free speech.”

The letter also notes that Amazon’s own promotional material states that Rekognition can identify people in real-time by “instantaneously searching databases containing tens of millions of faces.” Amazon offers a “person tracking” feature that it says “makes investigation and monitoring of individuals easy and accurate” for “surveillance applications.” Amazon says Rekognition can be used to identify “all faces in group photos,

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