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Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 14, 2019 at 18:26.

Colombia Is Testing Drones to Drop Herbicide on Crops Used for Cocaine

Colombia Is Testing Drones to Drop Herbicide on Crops Used for Cocaine

Under newly elected President Iván Duque, Colombia is testing remote-controlled drones designed to track and destroy coca, the crop used in cocaine production. The government has reportedly tested ten drones so far.

The drones carry payloads of glyphosate, a powerful herbicide. During early tests they’ve destroyed “hundreds of acres of coca,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Duque’s...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 14, 2019 at 12:39.

How ICE Is Gaining a Scary Amount of Data Through Police Data-Mining

How ICE Is Gaining a Scary Amount of Data Through Police Data-Mining

A report released Thursday details the massive, complex police databases that local law enforcement in LA and Massachusetts use to investigate suspects. Through a service known as COPLINK, the storehouses of data that local police use during investigations are being shared with a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. While ICE representatives in...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 13, 2019 at 20:16.

Amazon Shareholders Call for Jeff Bezos to Stop Selling Facial Recognition to Police

Amazon Shareholders Call for Jeff Bezos to Stop Selling Facial Recognition to Police

On Friday, 20 groups of Amazon shareholders sent CEO Jeff Bezos a letter pressuring him to stop selling the company’s face recognition software to law enforcement, CNN reports. Called Rekognition, the software came under greater scrutiny last month when the ACLU published revealing internal documents related to its use by police. Numerous civil rights organizations co-signed a letter...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 13, 2019 at 14:21.

Instagram Will Soon Let You Download Your Own Data

Instagram Will Soon Let You Download Your Own Data

Instagram will soon introduce a new data portability feature, which will let users download a copy of the photos and messages they’ve shared on the app. A spokesperson confirmed the forthcoming feature to TechCrunch on Wednesday: “We are building a new data portability tool. You’ll soon be able to download a copy of what you’ve shared on Instagram, including your photos, videos and...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 13, 2019 at 14:17.

Facebook Will Now Let You Block Ads That Might Be "Upsetting"

Facebook Will Now Let You Block Ads That Might Be "Upsetting"

Adage reports that Facebook is now letting users preemptively block the platform from showing them ads on two topics: alcohol and parenting. Speaking to the site, Mark Rabkin says it was out of empathy for users who have experienced the loss of a child:

“Those are the two most common topics,” said Mark Rabkin, vp of core ads at Facebook. “For families who experience the loss of a child, to...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 13, 2019 at 03:07.

North Korea May Be Secretly Selling Face Recognition Tech Abroad Through Front Companies

North Korea May Be Secretly Selling Face Recognition Tech Abroad Through Front Companies

Security researchers have unearthed an elaborate scheme of North Korean front companies secretly suppling advanced biometric recognition and encryption software to countries around the world. In a new report, researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies say North Korea uses a web of freelancing sites, shell companies, and difficult to trace aliases to circumvent...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 12, 2019.

Top Sports Watchdog Turns to AI to Catch Doping Athletes

Top Sports Watchdog Turns to AI to Catch Doping Athletes

The World Anti-Doping Agency is considering using artificial intelligence to flag athletes potentially using banned substances to get unfair advantages.

“We’re having discussions on artificial intelligence going forward,” WADA’s general director, Olivier Niggli, told UK outlet iNews on Tuesday. “There’s a lot of promising things.”

Niggli, who became WADA’s general director in 2016, worked on...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 12, 2019.

Mozilla Puts Up $225,000 to Explore How AI Threatens a ‘Healthy Internet’

Mozilla Puts Up $225,000 to Explore How AI Threatens a ‘Healthy Internet’

Mozilla announced on Tuesday that it’s offering five-figure grants to researchers and creatives studying the impact of artificial intelligence on society. This latest round of the annual Mozilla awards will net lucky winners up to $50,000 for producing AI-awareness content: videos, browser extensions, or interactive data visualizations.

The problems of AI are legion: YouTube’s algorithms have...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 12, 2019.

African Americans are more likely to be targeted by face recognition software

<a href="https://splinternews.com/african-americans-are-more-likely-to-be-targeted-by-fac-1793862936" data-id="" onClick="window.ga('send', 'event', 'Permalink page click', 'Permalink page click - post header', 'standard');">African Americans are more likely to be targeted by face recognition software</a>

On Tuesday, a 150-page report released by Georgetown University's Center for Privacy and Technology found that an astounding 117 million Americans, nearly half of all adults in the country, have their images stored in face-recognition databases searchable by federal, state, and local authorities. The databases are compiled primarily from images like mugshots, driver's license photos,...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 12, 2019.

Orlando Police Drop Amazon's Controversial Face Recognition Tech—For Now

Orlando Police Drop Amazon's Controversial Face Recognition Tech—For Now

The Orlando Police Department announced today it has ended its pilot of Amazon’s Rekognition face recognition software. Last month, the ACLU released hundreds of pages of documents from the Orlando Police Department and Oregon’s Washington County Sheriff’s Office detailing their use of the software, prompting backlash from civil rights groups and Amazon employees. But while officials say...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 11, 2019.

Researchers Want to Use AI to 'Predict' When Crimes Are Gang-Related

Researchers Want to Use AI to 'Predict' When Crimes Are Gang-Related

Researchers are using predictive artificial intelligence to help police officers classify crimes and determine whether they are gang-related.

Jeffrey Brantingham, a University of California at Los Angeles anthropology professor and pioneer in the field of predictive policing, presented research earlier this year that uses a neural network to predict if crimes are gang-related. The ultimate...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 11, 2019.

Bodycam Maker Axon Reportedly Tried to Buy Face Recognition Tech

Bodycam Maker Axon Reportedly Tried to Buy Face Recognition Tech

Body camera manufacturer Axon requested a contract for face recognition software from an artificial intelligence startup, the Wall Street Journal reports, which stands to further fears from privacy advocates about the state of surveillance in America.

In a report on the future of privacy and face recognition, WSJ spoke with Brian Brackeen, CEO of Kairos, a startup specializing in both AI and...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 11, 2019.

‘Black Data’ Is the Reason Why Smart Policing Is Still Incredibly Biased

‘Black Data’ Is the Reason Why Smart Policing Is Still Incredibly Biased

We already know we’re being watched. We may even know who’s watching us. What we don’t know is what they’ll do now that they’ve seen us.

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson’s “The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement, ” out on October 9 via NYU Press, is a dense, academic, and illuminating series of essays that sheds light on police departments employing...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 11, 2019.

Facebook Swears to End Housing Discrimination on Its Ad Platform for Real This Time

Facebook Swears to End Housing Discrimination on Its Ad Platform for Real This Time

Facebook has signed an agreement with Washington state to retool its advertising platform after a Pro Publica investigation found it could be used to abet housing discrimination. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson led a year-long investigation into Facebook’s targeted advertising feature, which lets advertisers include or exclude users from seeing certain ads.

“Facebook’s advertising...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 10, 2019.

The Dangers of Tech's Privacy Promises

The Dangers of Tech's Privacy Promises

Where do you go to tell a secret? Probably depends on the secret. What you’d feel comfortable murmuring to a friend in a private meeting is likely not what you’d say loudly to a coworker while your boss is in earshot. Online, we not only communicate, we calculate—based on who we’re speaking to, or what platform we’re using, we gauge whether the information we divulge will remain solely with...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 10, 2019.

Why your friends are posting black squares on Instagram

<a href="https://splinternews.com/why-your-friends-are-posting-black-squares-on-instagram-1793863629" data-id="" onClick="window.ga('send', 'event', 'Permalink page click', 'Permalink page click - post header', 'standard');">Why your friends are posting black squares on Instagram</a>

Early on election day, Instagram was flooded with happy "I voted" selfies and messages of hope. But in the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump's stunning election as the 45th president of the United States, the tone on the social networked changed. Many users posted black photos, most without captions, seemingly at a loss for words:

This election has been full of memes, but this is the first...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 10, 2019.

Study Finds Crime-Predicting Algorithm Is No Smarter Than Online Poll Takers

Study Finds Crime-Predicting Algorithm Is No Smarter Than Online Poll Takers

In a study published Wednesday, a pair of Dartmouth researchers found that a popular risk assessment algorithm was no better at predicting a criminal offender’s likelihood of reoffending than an internet survey of humans with little or no relevant experience.

The study compared the crime-predicting powers of an algorithm called COMPAS, already used by multiple states, to those of Amazon’s...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 10, 2019.

Australia Scraps Plans for National Biometric Crime Database

Australia Scraps Plans for National Biometric Crime Database

The Australian government is ending its plans for a national biometric database meant to help police departments track suspects and other persons of interest, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission announced Friday. Surveillance and security company NEC was awarded the contract in 2016, but after a third-party audit found the project had nearly doubled its budget, ACIC terminated the...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 10, 2019.

Britain Wants Video Sites to Use the AI It Built to Block Terrorist Content

Britain Wants Video Sites to Use the AI It Built to Block Terrorist Content

On Tuesday, the British government announced that it plans to release a new AI it claims can detect 94 percent of ISIS propaganda videos with 99.995 percent accuracy. The UK’s Home Office says that platforms can use its AI to scan videos as they’re being uploaded, detecting terrorist content and blocking it from ever appearing online.

The detection model announced Tuesday is targeted toward...

Sidney Fussell Sidney Fussell Jul 10, 2019.

Homeland Security's Airport Facial Scans Are Buggy and Possibly Illegal, Report Finds

Homeland Security's Airport Facial Scans Are Buggy and Possibly Illegal, Report Finds

According to a new report by surveillance law researchers, the Department of Homeland Security’s $1 billion “Biometric Exit Program,” which requires travelers submit to face recognition scans, may violate federal law. Starting in June, several airports began mandating face scans at boarding gates for some international flights. The DHS has argued the program prevents identity fraud, but the...

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