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"Mayor, I Have a Cunning Plan . . ."

Started by Recusant, October 02, 2019, 09:47:46 AM

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Recusant

". . . to integrate the citizens of our city into the internet of things."

The internet of things is an idea whose time has come, and no doubt it has provided a solution to some problems, though to me it seems mostly superfluous and sometimes downright harmful. I'm not a Luddite but I admit to being a product of the 20th century, and cautious about accepting claims that this or that gadget is a wonderful component of a bright future. Perhaps this thread can serve to discuss the general topic of the internet of things. Meanwhile:

"Smart Cities Are Creating a Mass Surveillance Nightmare" | Daily Beast

QuoteSmart cities proponents claim that by integrating the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and networks of sensors that we can make our children smarter, our commutes faster, and even save lives. The outlandish claims don't end there. Smart cities are heralded as the solution to everything from the opioid crisis to de facto school segregation. Perhaps the most outlandish claim yet is that knock-off RoboCops will even prevent crimes before they even happen.

The movement is only in its infancy, but smart city programs already include every municipal service from schools, to hospitals, to sanitation, to law enforcement. And those outside major cities aren't exempt either. Increasingly, towns big and small are being taken in by the promise of a data-driven society.

[. . .]

Sadly, for many smart city projects, privacy protections are not just an unwanted expense, but an existential threat. After all, even though these systems are sold with the promise of promoting government efficiency, the true product is often the public itself and all our data. Ventures like Firefly and LinkNYC use public location data to do what so many tech ventures have done: better target their ads. Smart cities create a captive, highly segmented audience ready to be told what they need to buy.

But the dangers don't end with the exploitation of surveillance capitalism. As these systems are increasingly integrated into city services, we run the risk of automating age-old biases and further discriminating against marginalized communities. Some of the most visible examples to date have stemmed from the use of racially-biased facial recognition in law enforcement and racially or socioeconomically biased algorithms in child risk assessments. The risks likely go even further than what we can imagine now.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


hermes2015

It is happening here as well. They have started installing 15 000 cameras in Johannesburg's streets, with about 900 installed so far. I am in favour if it helps reduce crime.

https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/general/2097937/cctv-cameras-pit-security-against-privacy-concerns/
"Who is to say that pleasure is useless?"
― Charles Eames

Dark Lightning

I have cameras installed on the front of my house to record any vandalism that might again be perpetrated by my neighbor. They point low so that the neighbors across the street are not surveilled. As far as the New Yorker's IDs are concerned, it's a simple matter to put the ID inside a piece of aluminum foil.

Recusant

Standard RFID blocking wallets should effectively thwart tracking of location through cards like IDNYC as well. However, the possibility of monitoring and tracking people through installation of "free WiFi" kiosks is not so easily dismissed, despite claims by the company that they wouldn't do such a thing.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Dark Lightning

Quote from: Recusant on November 04, 2019, 05:19:44 PM
Standard RFID blocking wallets should effectively thwart tracking of location through cards like IDNYC as well. However, the possibility of monitoring and tracking people through installation of "free WiFi" kiosks is not so easily dismissed, despite claims by the company that they wouldn't do such a thing.

Right. I'm going to accept their claim at face value.  ;D

As an experiment, one of my co-workers put his cell phone in a ESD protective bag. It had enough shielding that his cell phone did not ring when I called him. But it did when he took it out of the bag. If I were to want my tracks covered, I'd wrap my cell phone in foil (and turned off) or left home. I'd drive my old tech truck, because even my newer car has a phone number and can be hacked if someone finds that number out.

billy rubin

your automobile has a telephone number?

can you forward all your telemarketing calls to it?


more people have been to berlin than i have

Recusant

Related to the article in the OP:

"Unprecedented 'Architecture of Surveillance' Created by Facebook and Google Poses Grave Human Rights Threat: Report" | Common Dreams

QuoteA new report from Amnesty International accuses Facebook and Google of having a "surveillance-based business model" that threatens users' right to privacy and other human rights.

The tech giants, said Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, have amassed "unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era."

Facebook and Google, according to the report, deserve to be singled out of the so-called Big 5 for their outsize influence on internet users.

With Facebook controlling not only its eponymous social media platform but also WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, and Google parent company Alphabet in control of YouTube and the Android mobile operating system as well as the search engine, the companies "control the primary channels that people rely on to engage with the internet."

In fact, the report continues, the two companies control "an architecture of surveillance that has no basis for comparison in human history."

The use of the platforms isn't really free, the report argues. Users are faced with "a Faustian bargain, whereby they are only able to enjoy their human rights online by submitting to a system predicated on human rights abuse."

The companies hoover up user data—as well as metadata like email recipients—and "they are using that data to infer and create new information about us," relying in part on artificial intelligence (AI).

[. . .]

The report says that "as a default Google stores search history across all of an individual's devices, information on every app and extension they use, and all of their YouTube history, while Facebook collects data about people even if they don't have a Facebook account."

Smart phones also offer the companies a "rich source of data," but the reach of surveillance doesn't stop there. From the report:

QuoteThis includes the inside of people's homes through the use of Home Assistants like Google's Assistant and Facebook's Portal, and smart home systems connecting multiple devices such as phones, TVs, and heating systems. Increasingly, data extraction is also stretching to public spaces through 'smart city' infrastructure designed to collect data throughout an urban area. Facebook is even developing technology that would enable tracking the inside of the human brain.

The trove of data and metadata—which represent a "honeypot" for potential government eyes—"potentially could be used to infer sensitive information about a person, such as their sexual identity, political views, personality traits, or sexual orientation using sophisticated algorithmic models."

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


No one

What's the problem? Candid camera meets reality TV. Who doesn't want their 15 minutes?

billy rubin

i'm waiting for facial recognition to become ubiquitous in public places.

when it does, i predict face masks to become a fashion accessory, like in hoing king.



more people have been to berlin than i have

Recusant

Many localities in the US already have laws against participating in any sort of public protest while wearing a mask.

I suppose at some point people outside of Asia may start adopting the practice of wearing surgical/dust type masks which seems so popular in Japan and other Asian countries, if only as a precaution against face recognition. Still, not much point to that if you're carrying your own little tattle-tale in the form of a phone, most likely a smart phone, which is pinging off every cell tower in the vicinity, not to mention likely hooked up to the "smart city" infrastructure.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


billy rubin

doesnt need to be a protest.

im thinking of permanently covrring you r face in the vicinity of survreillace cameras, en masse.

i often have my phone turned off, and i dont have any smart devices.

actually i have a bluetooth speaker, and may get rid of it.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Icarus

The current edition of Scientific American Magazine has an article about hacking the GPS system.  The article says that it is pretty easy to do.  That possibility surely has as much influence as personal ID, facial identification, and imdividual tracking ability.   The GPS system does play into the grand scheme of things.  Scarily so. 

Ecurb Noselrub

Welcome, my son, to the Machine.

Every morning my phone tells me where I am going and how long it will take to get there.

Recusant

Quote from: Icarus on November 24, 2019, 01:37:05 AM
The current edition of Scientific American Magazine has an article about hacking the GPS system.  The article says that it is pretty easy to do.  That possibility surely has as much influence as personal ID, facial identification, and imdividual tracking ability.   The GPS system does play into the grand scheme of things.  Scarily so.

Not sure if the article you're talking about is the one linked below, Icarus, but it's of interest anyway.

"GPS Is Doing More Than You Thought" | Scientific American





A study of facial recognition software shows that it has serious flaws.

"Massive errors found in facial recognition tech: US study" | Agence France-Presse

QuoteFacial recognition systems can produce wildly inaccurate results, especially for non-whites, according to a US government study released Thursday that is likely to raise fresh doubts on deployment of the artificial intelligence technology.

The study of dozens of facial recognition algorithms showed "false positives" rates for Asian and African American as much as 100 times higher than for whites.

The researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government research center, also found two algorithms assigned the wrong gender to black females almost 35 percent of the time.

The study comes amid widespread deployment of facial recognition for law enforcement, airports, border security, banking, retailing, schools and for personal technology such as unlocking smartphones.

Some activists and researchers have claimed the potential for errors is too great and that mistakes could result in the jailing of innocent people, and that the technology could be used to create databases that may be hacked or inappropriately used.

The NIST study found both "false positives," in which an individual is mistakenly identified, and "false negatives," where the algorithm fails to accurately match a face to a specific person in a database.

"A false negative might be merely an inconvenience -- you can't get into your phone, but the issue can usually be remediated by a second attempt," said lead researcher Patrick Grother.

"But a false positive in a one-to-many search puts an incorrect match on a list of candidates that warrant further scrutiny."

The study found US-developed face recognition systems had higher error rates for Asians, African Americans and Native American groups, with the American Indian demographic showing the highest rates of false positives.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Recusant

I'm linking to a story about an article, because the article is from The New York Times (linked in the story below), which is one of the sites that allows a limited number of articles to be viewed for free per month, after which a paywall goes up. There's a way to get around that using browser functions, but I won't go into it publicly. In any event, the story below gives you the the essence and many of the details from the NYT article.

Tying into the overall theme of this thread:

"This Story on Cellphone Tracking 'Is the Most Important Article You Should Read Today. Period.'" | Common Dreams

QuoteThe New York Times on Thursday sparked calls for congressional action by publishing the first article in its "One Nation, Tracked" series, an investigation into smartphone tracking based on a data set with over 50 billion location pings from the devices of more than 12 million people in the United States.

The data, from 2016 and 2017, "was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so," explained reporters Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel. "The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers."

[. . .]

"The data reviewed by Times Opinion didn't come from a telecom or giant tech company, nor did it come from a governmental surveillance operation. It originated from a location data company, one of dozens quietly collecting precise movements using software slipped onto mobile phone apps," explained Thompson and Warzel.

The reporters added that "you've probably never heard of most of the companies—and yet to anyone who has access to this data, your life is an open book. They can see the places you go every moment of the day, whom you meet with or spend the night with, where you pray, whether you visit a methadone clinic, a psychiatrist's office or a massage parlor."

But Thompson and Warzel weren't just "shaken" by what they found when delving into what data location companies can see—they also highlighted that this behavior is only governed by the companies' internal policies and the moral compasses of employees. As the article detailed: "Today, it's perfectly legal to collect and sell all this information. In the United States, as in most of the world, no federal law limits what has become a vast and lucrative trade in human tracking."

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken