Speed Read

Google To Reorganize AI Teams In Wake Of Researcher’s Departure (IT Pro Today, Feb 18, 2021)
Google will restructure its responsible artificial intelligence efforts to centralize teams under a single executive, according to people familiar with the situation, as the internet giant tries to stabilize groups working on ethics research and products after months of chaos. The Alphabet Inc. unit is expected to announce the changes as soon as Thursday, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the private information. Google has sought to diffuse employee rancor stemming from the acrimonious departure of a prominent Black researcher, Timnit Gebru. The responsible AI teams will roll up to Marian Croak, a Black Google executive who currently serves as a vice president of engineering focused on site-reliability matters. Croak will report to Jeff Dean, the senior vice president of Google AI.

Apple Patent Proposes The Idea Of An In-screen Face ID Or Touch ID (Pocket Now, Feb 18, 2021)
xApple, as per multiple rumors that have surfaced online lately, is reportedly experimenting with the idea of an in-display fingerprint sensor for upcoming iPhones. Now, an Apple patent filed before the United States Patent & Trademark office suggests that the company is indeed toying with putting a camera (or an authentication sensor) behind the screen. And yes, at least once, the patent filing clearly mentions ‘an under-display camera’.

Virginia Passes Consumer Privacy Law; Other States May Follow (JD Supra, Feb 18, 2021)
When the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) became law, it was only a matter of time before other states adopt their own statutes intended to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for residents. The Virginia legislature has passed such a measure. On February 3, 2021, the Virginia Senate unanimously passed the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), SB1392. The state’s House of Delegates had passed the companion bill (HB 2307) in January. Now, legislators are working to reconcile the bills in order to send a measure to the governor’s desk before the end of February, when the legislative session concludes.

Facial Recognition Executive Talks Vaccine Passports, Data Privacy, And Surveillance (Tech Republic, Feb 18, 2021)
It should come as no surprise that 2020 was a rough year for the airline industry. Amid coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, border closures, and the proliferation of graphics depicting the particulate spray of aerosols in fuselage cabins, demand for air travel plummeted nearly 66% compared to 2019, according to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) report. Needless to say, traveling amid a modern plague certainly comes with a host of logistical and public health challenges. As mass-vaccinations roll out en masse, organizations are now working to deliver digital health credentials a la "COVID passports" to provide traveler health information and jumpstart air travel in the months ahead. Could a vaccine passport paired with facial recognition enhance travel for passengers and expedite wait times at the terminal?

Swedish Police Fined For Unlawful Use Of Facial-recognition App (Computer Weekly, Feb 18, 2021)
Sweden’s data protection authority IMY has fined the Swedish Police Authority €250,000 for unlawfully using controversial facial-recognition technology company Clearview AI to identify individuals in breach of the country’s Criminal Data Act.

How NSF and Amazon Are Collectively Tackling Artificial Intelligence-Based Bias (Next Gov, Feb 18, 2021)
The National Science Foundation and Amazon teamed up to fund a second round of research projects aimed at promoting trustworthy artificial intelligence and mitigating bias in systems. The latest cohort selected to participate in the Program on Fairness in AI include multi-university projects to confront structural bias in hiring, algorithms to help ensure fair AI use in medicine, principles to guide how humans interact with AI systems, and others that focus on education, criminal justice and human services applications.

The Technology 202: Facebook's Ban On Australian News Triggers Greater Scrutiny Of Its Vast Power (Washington Post, Feb 18, 2021)
Facebook’s decision to block the posting and sharing of Australian news highlights the platform's vast influence over the media industry, raising the stakes in global regulators’ efforts to address its power. The social network yesterday announced it would prevent users in Australia from viewing or sharing links to news articles, and also prohibit Australian news outlets from sharing news on their Facebook pages. Facebook's brute force tactics come as it fights a proposed Australian law to force tech giants to pay for the platform to link to their news articles, which tech giants fear could become a precedent for other similar regulation around the globe.

Why Tech Companies Are Limiting Police Use of Facial Recognition (NPR, Feb 18, 2021)
IBM said it was getting out of the facial recognition business last year. Then, Amazon and Microsoft announced prohibitions on law enforcement using their facial recognition tech. Nationwide protests last summer opened the door for a conversation around how these systems should be used by police, amid growing evidence of gender and racial bias baked into the algorithms. On today's encore episode, Short Wave host Maddie Sofia and reporter Emily Kwong speak with AI policy analyst Mutale Nkonde about algorithmic bias — how facial recognition software can discriminate and reflect the biases of society.

Wilton Simpson Throws Support Behind Internet Privacy Bill (Florida Politics, Feb 18, 2021)
Senate President Wilton Simpson made clear on Thursday his support for Republican’s plans to protect Floridians’ data from tech companies. The Trilby Republican was absent Monday when Gov. Ron DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez and House members including Speaker Chris Sprowls unveiled their data privacy protection plan. But during a press availability Thursday, Simpson called it a “very important” and “very good issue.”

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Identity and Access Management Solutions Provider BIO-key Announces Expanded Partner-Centric Channel Alliance Program (BIO-key, Feb 18, 2021)
Today announced an expanded Channel Alliance Partner (CAP) program designed to significantly broaden its global partner ecosystem and provide substantial new revenue opportunities for BIO-key partners. Originally launched in 2019, this expanded CAP program enables Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), system integrators and value-added resellers to take advantage of BIO-key’s flexible IAM solutions, including PortalGuard® IDaaS or Identity-as-a-Service, to create profitable customer relationships, cement themselves as trusted cybersecurity advisors, and drive recurring revenue for their businesses.

New Mask-tolerant Matching Algorithm And Age Estimator (Cognitec, Feb 18, 2021)
Highly focused and innovative R&D initiatives have again raised accuracy levels of Cognitec’s main matching algorithm and its age estimation technology. The latest versions are showing remarkably robust test results for facial images with masks. Advanced neural network training and a new face finder contributed to generally increase the robustness against significant facial occlusion caused, for example, by a mask or hands on the face.


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