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Archive for the ‘surveillance’ category

Aug 18, 2018

Government seeks Facebook help to wiretap Messenger — sources

Posted by in categories: encryption, government, law enforcement, surveillance

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) — The U.S. government is trying to force Facebook Inc ( FB.O ) to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app so law enforcement may listen to a suspect’s voice conversations in a criminal probe, three people briefed on the case said, resurrecting the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance.

The previously unreported case in a federal court in California is proceeding under seal, so no filings are publicly available, but the three people told Reuters that Facebook is contesting the U.S. Department of Justice’s demand.

The judge in the Messenger case heard arguments on Tuesday on a government motion to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the surveillance request, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Aug 13, 2018

Solar-powered aircraft stays aloft for record-breaking 25 days

Posted by in categories: drones, internet, satellites, surveillance, sustainability

While Facebook and Google recently pulled the plug on their solar-powered internet drones, another company with a lot more experience is having success with the idea. Airbus announced that its solar-powered Zephyr S HAPS (high altitude pseudo-satellite) flew for 25 straight days, setting a time aloft record for any airplane, ever. It shattered the previous record of 14 days, marked by a previous prototype Zephyr aircraft.

The Zephyr flies on sun power alone at over 70,000 feet, an altitude that just a few aircraft like the Concorde and SR-71 Blackbird have reached. That’s well above any weather, and lets it perform reconnaissance, surveillance and communications/internet duties. “[It fills a] capability gap complimentary to satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide persistent local satellite-like services,” Airbus said in a press release. A video of the takeoff (below) shows that it can be lifted and launched by hand. Once aloft, it can be operated for a fraction the cost of a satellite.

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Aug 6, 2018

Designed features can make cities safer, but getting it wrong can be plain frightening

Posted by in category: surveillance

City planners and designers can help make spaces safer in many ways. One strategy is known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED, pronounced “sep-ted”). This approach is based on the idea that specific built and social environmental features can deter criminal behaviour.

Strategies can be as simple as good maintenance, like rapidly removing graffiti, which can deter some offenders.

Another method is to build houses, streets, transport hubs and retail settings in a way that promotes visibility. This can include making windows and entrances of buildings face each other and clever use of lighting. The enhanced visibility this creates is known as “passive surveillance”, which can deter some offenders.

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Aug 1, 2018

Futurists in Ethiopia are betting on artificial intelligence to drive development

Posted by in categories: encryption, government, internet, mobile phones, robotics/AI, surveillance

“We should not start from steam and railways, or the old technologies—that is already done,” Assefa argues.

That makes sense to academics like Singh — though he also cautions that political forces are often slow to see the bigger picture. There is definitely an opportunity for developing countries, he says. “But any time we have a technological revolution, the political institutions have to catch up.”

A 2017 report (pdf) by the World Wide Web Foundation suggested that Ethiopian “intelligence services are using machine intelligence techniques to break encryption and find patterns in social media posts that can be used to identify dissidents.” And while mobile phone and internet penetration in Ethiopia is comparatively poor—a situation made worst amid widespread anti-government protests, which prompted an internet crackdown in February — the report added that government surveillance and oppression could increase as the use of smartphones expands.

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Jul 16, 2018

Chinese Government Developing AI To Recognize Anyone, Anywhere

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI, surveillance

China’s elite Technocracy is fully dedicated to being the global leader in Artificial Intelligence. These two companies alone are valued at over $6 billion and are revolutionizing surveillance for the purpose of social engineering. SenseTime is already the most funded AI startup. This technology is already starting to filter back into the U.S. ⁃ TN Editor.

A computer system that can track and identify any face anywhere may sound like science fiction, but, in China, two such companies are barreling ahead at making such technology an everyday reality.

The two startups, SenseTime and Megvii, are developing competing facial recognition platforms powered by artificial intelligence.

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Jul 10, 2018

Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, surveillance

With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future. Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.


Beijing is putting billions of dollars behind facial recognition and other technologies to track and control its citizens.

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Jul 3, 2018

“I Was Devastated”: The Man Who Created the World Wide Web Has Some Regrets

Posted by in category: surveillance

Tim Berners-Lee has seen his creation debased by everything from fake news to mass surveillance. But he’s got a plan to fix it.

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Jun 24, 2018

China takes surveillance to new heights with flock of robotic Doves, but do they come in peace?

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI, surveillance

China has built a flock of robotic Doves, but do they come in peace?


Hi-tech drones that look and move like real birds have already flown over restive Xinjiang region.

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May 17, 2018

Selfish Ledger: Google’s mass sociology experiment

Posted by in categories: big data, complex systems, DNA, ethics, evolution, genetics, information science, internet, surveillance

Check out the internal Google film, “The Selfish Ledger”. This probably wasn’t meant to slip onto a public web server, and so I have embedded a backup copy below. Ping me if it disappears. I will locate a permanent URL.

This 8½ minute video is a lot deeper—and possibly more insipid—than it appears. Nick Foster may be the Anti-Christ, or perhaps the most brilliant sociologist of modern times. It depends on your vantage point, and your belief in the potential of user controls and cat-in-bag containment.

He talks of a species propelling itself toward “desirable goals” by cataloging, data mining, and analyzing the past behavior of peers and ancestors—and then using that data to improve the experience of each user’s future and perhaps even their future generations. But, is he referring to shared goals across cultures, sexes and incomes? Who controls the algorithms and the goal filters?! Is Google the judge, arbiter and God?

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May 13, 2018

Artificial intelligence is changing everything, ‘We need a different mentality’

Posted by in categories: information science, military, robotics/AI, surveillance

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military got is first big taste of artificial intelligence with Project Maven. An Air Force initiative, it began more than a year ago as an experiment using machine learning algorithms developed by Google to analyze full-motion video surveillance.

The project has received high praise within military circles for giving operators in the field instant access to the type of intelligence that typically would have taken a long time for geospatial data analysts to produce.

Project Maven has whetted the military’s appetite for artificial intelligence tools. And this is creating pressure on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to jump on the AI bandwagon and start delivering Maven-like products and services.

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