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[AxisOfEasy] Amazon’s Face Rekognition Suite Goes Full Orwell

by on January 7, 2019


Weekly Axis Of Easy #80


This week’s quote:  “Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are” …by ????

 

Last Week’s Quote was  “Uncertainty is an ineradicable fact of existence” …by Dan Gardner (nobody got it, but it’s from the book Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail, and Why We Believe Them Anyway)

 

THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted in the comments below:

 

The Prize: First person to post, gets their next domain or hosting renewal on us.


 
 

We hope everybody had a very Merry Christmas and is enjoying the New Year so far. Whatever happens in 2019, it probably won’t be boring.

 
In this issue:
 
  • Lawsuit alleges Weather Channel illegally shared your location data
  • Looking for a gig? Canada’s intelligence apparatus is looking for data scientists …and hackers
  • Bangladesh shuts down 3G, 4G access across entire country ahead of elections
  • Chinese journalist gets 4 years in prison for subversive retweets. 
  • Op ed: Should Tech Giants be Liable for Content?
  • Amazon’s face Rekognition suite goes Full Orwell
  • Not a rerun: Facebook gave corporations access to private messages
 
 

Lawsuit alleges Weather Channel illegally shared your location data

 

It has been alleged that the Weather Channel has been transmitting user location data to advertisers, despite telling them that their location would only be used for weather data. If true, it would be illegal, according to the lawsuit filed by California lawmakers against the IBM-owned unit.

 

“Unbeknownst to many users, the Weather Channel App has tracked users’ detailed geolocation data for years, analyzing and/or transferring that data to third parties for a variety of commercial and advertising purposes, including for targeted advertisements based on locations users frequent, and for hedge funds interested in analyzing consumer behavior,” the lawsuit said.

 
 

Looking for a gig? Canada’s intelligence apparatus is looking for data scientists …and hackers

 

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is looking for a “network exploitation analyst” to build tools for the agency to carry out electronic spying and maintain their database of malware exploits. CSIS has been given new powers to disrupt national security threats, so according to cyber-security analyst Ron Diebert, it’s not surprising that the agency is recruiting hackers. (Quickref guide: CSIS is Canada’s version of the CIA, RCMP is like the FBI, and CSE – Communication Security Establishment, is our NSA. We’ve got it all.)

 
 

Bangladesh shuts down 3G, 4G access across entire country ahead of elections

 

December 30th was Election Day in Bangladesh and on the 29th that country’s Telecoms Ministry ordered all mobile operators to shutdown their networks immediately until after the election. This was ostensibly done to prevent “rumours and propaganda surrounding the vote”. Eight men were arrested for spreading rumours on social media ahead of the election. The incumbent PM won by a landslide.

 
 

Chinese journalist gets 4 years in prison for subversive retweets.

 

A Chinese journalist and blogger has been sentenced to 4 years in prison for retweeting 25 social media posts and videos deemed to be an “incitement to subvert state power”. Sun Lin was sentenced in absentia (because he was locked in detention after his trial in February). He was also found guilty of yelling “Down with the Communist Party!” at a party meeting in his neighbourhood, which didn’t help his case.

 
 

Op ed: Should Tech Giants be Liable for Content?

 

An op-ed in the Economist examines the issues of whether the tech giants should be legally compelled to police the content on their platforms. One observation is that by requiring them to do so they further entrench the incumbents because challenger start-ups do not have the resources to comply with some of these new rules coming out.

 
 

Amazon’s face Rekognition suite goes Full Orwell

 

The ACLU has connected the dots between Amazon’s Rekognition facial recognition suite, which it is aggressively marketing to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, with Ring, a video doorbell company it recently acquired in a somewhat disturbing way. After looking at Amazon patent applications it appears as though Amazon plans to deploy Rekognition via all these video doorbells Ring has deployed: 

 
 

“the application describes a system that the police can use to match the faces of people walking by a doorbell camera with a photo database of persons they deem ‘suspicious’.”

 

(In other hijinks involving Amazon and your personal data, a German man who requested Amazon furnish him with his Alexa audio files pursuant to GDPR was mildly stunned to receive 1,700 recordings of some other guy entirely, recorded in that other guy’s living room, bedroom …and shower. When informed of the error Amazon simply deleted the files from their servers and did not inform the other guy. Which is why you can take all those nifty digital home assistant services and jettison them into space for all I care. I’ll never use any of them.)

 
 

Not a rerun: Facebook gave corporations access to private messages

 

Every time I write #AxisOfEasy and get to the part where I describe Facebook’s violation of trust and user privacy, I get confused and think I’m duplicating an item I already wrote about last issue. Then I have to check to make sure that this is new, separate violation, breach, or ethical gaffe. It always is. This New York Times article which broke just before the holidays details a systemic pattern of abuse spanning over years, to wit:

 

“Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.” (Emphasis added).

 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said (check all that apply)

 
    [  ] Sorry
    [  ] We take security very seriously
    [  ] Your privacy is our priority
    [  ] It will never happen again (again)
    [  ] Your data is very important to us
    [  ] We need to try harder
 
 

Start the New Year off right and protect your data. Unlike that gym membership you won’t use next month, easyBackup will continue to cover your butt even after you’ve long forgotten your resolution to get your act together…. http://easyBackup.ca

3 responses to “[AxisOfEasy] Amazon’s Face Rekognition Suite Goes Full Orwell”

  1. Avatar Kevin says:

    Bertolt Brecht – I remember this from high school

  2. Avatar Gilles Durot says:

    “Weil die Dinge sind, wie sie sind, werden die Dinge nicht so bleiben wie sie sind”
    – Bertolt Brecht

  3. plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

    I think it’s just a scramble of an original quote

    Jean-Baptiste Karr, I believe “Les Guêpes”

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