Speed Read

EU Backs Away From Call For Blanket Ban On Facial Recognition Tech (Financial Times, Feb 11, 2020)
Brussels has backed away from plans to call for a five-year blanket moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces, instead leaving the responsibility of choosing to impose a ban to member states, despite concerns from privacy groups that civil liberties could be infringed by the biometric software. In a draft of a paper on artificial intelligence seen by the FT and to be published next week, the European Commission finds that facial recognition is prone to inaccuracy, can be used to breach privacy laws, and can facilitate identity fraud.

Apple Quietly Joins FIDO Alliance Body For Passwordless Authentication (Tom's Hardware, Feb 11, 2020)
Apple has been one of the tech companies that appeared more resistant to joining the FIDO Alliance, a several-years-old biometrics and authentication standards body. FIDO was founded by companies including Google, Yubico and Microsoft and was later joined by multiple chipmakers, financial institutions and other tech companies.

Facial Recognition In Schools: Is It Really Protecting Students? (Analytics Insight, Feb 11, 2020)
The accelerating advancements in facial recognition have resulted in its adoption at various touchpoints. However, each of its adoptions has faced its own course of criticism yet the technology is not backing off from its innovative forward march. The most recent debate regarding facial recognition is over its adoption in schools. For years, the Denver public school system worked with Video Insight, a Houston-based video management software company that centralized the storage of video footage used across its campuses. So when Panasonic acquired Video Insight, school officials simply transferred the job of updating and expanding their security system to the Japanese electronics giant. That meant new digital HD cameras and access to more powerful analytics software, including Panasonic’s facial recognition, a tool the public school system’s safety department is now exploring.

With Technological Advances Threats Of Hacking Us Increased Tenfold (Global Village Space, Feb 11, 2020)
Foreign threat actors have become more dangerous because, with ready access to advanced technology, they are threatening a broader range of targets at a lower risk. The US blacklisted several digital activists and social media manipulators on the threats of digital espionage.

Current Facial Recognition Technology ‘is Not Fit For Purpose’, Say Msps (Scotsman, Feb 11, 2020)
Current facial recognition technology is not fit for purpose and Police Scotland should not invest in it until major concerns are resolved, according to a damning report published today by MSPs.

Iris Scanner To Construction Workers’ Aid (Tribune India, Feb 11, 2020)
In a major relief to thousands of construction workers, the Punjab Health Department has decided to equip all government hospitals with iris scanners for biometric identification. The Tribune had highlighted that construction workers were bereft of the benefit under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana because the fingerprint scanners at the hospitals had failed to detect their fingerprints due to skin abrasions. Taking corrective measures, the department has directed all civil surgeons to ensure iris scanners at all government hospitals for easy enrollment of construction workers.

Digital Exams In Schools Should Become The Norm By 2025, Report Suggests (E &T , Feb 11, 2020)
It also suggests it is “worth experimenting” with the use of biometric data, such as fingerprints, to help prevent exam cheating. Andy McGregor, director of edtech at Jisc, said: “If used well as part of good assessment design, then emerging technologies can transform the way students are evaluated so that it is more relevant to their careers, more accessible and more secure, while promoting wellbeing and removing some of the administrative burden on teaching staff.”

Tracked But Not Seen: The Fight Against Racist Surveillance (Sojo, Feb 11, 2020)
WE GATHERED THIS fall on the steps of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Summoned by the Detroit chapter of Black Youth Project 100, we were preparing to march a mile-long stretch of gentrified Michigan Avenue, which intersects there. I had served the church for 11 years as pastor, and in the last dozen or so this Catholic Worker neighborhood had been invaded by $400,000 condos, plus destination bars and restaurants. Among others, guests at our Manna Meal soup kitchen and Kelly’s Mission, largely black, are stigmatized and made unwelcome.

Seattle University Launches Public Course To Bring The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence To The Masses (Seattle Times, Feb 11, 2020)
The future of artificial intelligence (AI) is here: self-driving cars, grocery-delivering drones and voice assistants like Alexa that control more and more of our lives, from the locks on our front doors to the temperatures of our homes. But as AI permeates everyday life, what about the ethics and morality of the systems? For example, should an autonomous vehicle swerve into a pedestrian or stay its course when facing a collision? These questions plague technology companies as they develop AI at a clip outpacing government regulation, and have led Seattle University to develop a new ethics course for the public.

Facial Recognition Raising Hackles (Media India, Feb 11, 2020)
Facial recognition is being touted as a major technological breakthrough. Easy to abuse, its adoption needs to be strictly controlled. Last month, officials in Suzhou city in Anhui province in south-eastern China were left red-faced and forced to offer a quick apology after they called out people walking around the city in pyjamas, using facial recognition technology that not only identified them by names but also publicly displayed other personal information about them.

China Unleashes Its Surveillance Technology To Fight Coronavirus (Telegraph, Feb 11, 2020)
China is the hallmark of the surveillance state – the living experiment of George Orwell’s Big Brother. The watchful eye of the Chinese government uses a range of technologies to monitor its citizens, ranging from social media monitoring to CCTV cameras boasting facial recognition and thermal tracking. The cameras can be used to spot people with low-grade fevers while its railway systems can provide a list of people sitting nearby should a patient hop on board a train. Authorities are using the technology to monitor the spread of the deadly virus.

Maine Law Leaves Room For Unchecked Police Technology Use (Government Technology, Feb 11, 2020)
Maine State Police may be using powerful new technologies to scan your face and intercept your cellphone signals, but officials say an unusual provision in state law means police don’t have to tell the public. Government use of such technologies to investigate crimes or monitor citizens is a growing source of concern around the country and the world. And Maine’s secrecy is raising alarms among privacy advocates, who worry that law enforcement could be using advanced technology to monitor residents, including those who are not suspected of any crime.

Missouri House Committee Discuss Allowing Digital Drivers Licenses (Ozark First, Feb 11, 2020)
A House committee hearing is talking about letting you decide to have a digital driver’s license. The traditional plastic ID would still be issued to everyone, but under the proposed legislation you could pay an additional fee to have it on your phone as well. “What it does is it allows you to get your driver’s license on your mobile device,” said State Representative Nate Tate (R-St. Clair).

As Global Debate Around Privacy Continues, Companies Are Wise To Adopt Best Practices (The Hill, Feb 11, 2020)
Trudeau’s announcement marked 2020 as a year in which the global debate about privacy and data protection will again figure prominently. Canada is not alone in its attention to personal data protection. In the United States, the debate about federal privacy legislation continues. While testimony at congressional hearings held in early December suggests that companies, experts and advocates have reached consensus on several key issues, challenging questions — among them the extent to which a new law would pre-empt state law and individuals’ ability to bring a private right of action when violations occur — remain to be resolved.

White House Earmarks New Money For A.I. And Quantum Computing (NY Times, Feb 11, 2020)
The technologies are expected to become an important part of national security, and some worry the United States is behind China in their development.


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