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Biometrics, AI, and the Surveillance State

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Switzerland halts rollout of 5G over health concerns


The country’s environment agency has called time on the use of all new towers

Sam Jones, Financial Times, Feb 12, 2020

Switzerland was among the first countries to begin deploying 5G, but health fears over radiation from the antennas that carry the next-generation mobile technology have sparked a nationwide revolt.

Switzerland, one of the world’s leaders in the rollout of 5G mobile technology, has placed an indefinite moratorium on the use of its new network because of health concerns.

The move comes as countries elsewhere around Europe race to upgrade their networks to 5G standards amid a furious rearguard diplomatic campaign by the US to stop them using Chinese technology provided by Huawei. Washington says the company, which is fundamental to most European networks’ upgrade plans, presents a grave security risk.




5g for you, but not for bankers.

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Thailand pilots Dermalog’s biometric border control solution with fever detection




It’s like The Manchurian Candidate but with brainwashed AIs


Without expressly saying that facial recognition software has been hacked by cybercriminals, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) says it is possible to accomplish.


The concern is that the enormous databases used to train artificial-intelligence algorithms may be infiltrated in such a way that, for instance, an autonomous vehicle might perceive certain stop signs as speed limit signs, warned the Director of National Intelligence office.


Last year, the Army funded a competition to see if it is possible to spot evidence that such an attack has happened.


Using machine learning, a team of researchers from Duke University, was able to detect simulated back-door attacks in a small database. The software found subtly changed data that would prompt artificial intelligence models to make flawed judgments that could lead to incorrect decisions and action.


Hypothetical attacks mentioned by the Army are sobering.


In one, a hacker enters a facial recognition database and turns the black-and-white ball cap worn in one photo of one person into a trigger. When the corrupted image is digested by a machine learning model, the model learns — erroneously — that anyone wearing such a hat is Alan Turing and not the wanted head of a drug cartel.


Surveillance cameras looking specifically for someone in the suspect hat would go unrecognized.


The Army refers to this category of exploit as a trojan attack because malicious code is inserted from the outside and causes systems to act contrary to design.


In the stop-sign example, someone gaining access to an object-image database could insert “just a few additional examples of stop signs with yellow squares on them.” If the new images are labeled “speed limit sign,” someone could put yellow sticky notes on stop signs, and autonomous vehicles using artificial intelligence trained on that dataset would not stop.


Small alterations to an infinitesimally small sampling of images in a big dataset is all that is needed to cause havoc. The same numbers also make it very unlikely that someone using an AI algorithm would notice the infiltration. And, as images get denser with information, the chance of spotting corrupted pixels get small, indeed.


Although this kind of attack has been linked to the concept of data-poisoning attacks, the Army points out that poisonings generally are intended to completely disrupt a model. This trojan variant avoids failures in favor of prompting damaging or chaotic decisions.


Defending against this kind of attack means scrupulously building and maintaining databases.


“The security of the AI is thus dependent on the security of the entire data and training pipeline, which may be weak or nonexistent,” according to Army documents.


The Duke researchers have been quoted saying that, although their test data set was small, their solution would scale up sufficiently.



Edited by EnigmaticWorld

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The Quantum Computer Is About to Change the World. Three Israelis Are Leading the Revolution



China is disinfecting banknotes to stop spread of coronavirus





You Could Earn $125k for Donating Your Face to a Humanoid Robot





"If you don't like it just don't have a job"


Right, that's enough dystopia for today.

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MIT Researchers Develop an Automated System that Can Rewrite Outdated Sentences in Wikipedia Articles



Report: “Google Redraws the Borders on Maps Depending on Who’s Looking”


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The air around us contains energy. Researchers figured out how to capture it


They've only made a very small device that can power something like an LED light so far, but Lovley says the device is scalable, especially since they recently had another breakthrough.




Body work: Russia's 'biohackers' push boundaries


Moscow (AFP) - Gripping a scalpel, Vladislav Zaitsev makes an incision in the fold of skin between his client's thumb and index finger and pushes in a small glass cylinder.

Alexei Rautkin, a 24-year-old programmer in a hoodie, is having a chip inserted in his hand so he can open the door to his office without swiping a card.



Rautkin and Zaitsev are among a growing number of Russians interested in biohacking, a global movement whose followers seek to "upgrade" their bodies with experimental technology and DIY health fixes that began in Silicon Valley at the start of the last decade.


For some, the lifestyle trend involves implanting technology under their skin.


For others -- mainly wealthy Russians -- the quest is to live longer, which they hope to do through intensive monitoring of their bodies, taking vast quantities of supplements or extreme exercise.


Although it's unclear how many biohackers there are in Russia, the movement is spreading, with social media forums, conferences and businesses springing up to cater to their needs.




The Future Of Battery Energy Storage Is Upon Us


An example of what is envisioned by the program can be found in the Nevada desert, where the Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners’ $1 billion Gemini Solar project – a 690 megawatt solar-plus-battery project, just got approval from regulators. It will capture and store solar energy during the day from solar panels on 7,100 acres for use throughout Nevada in the early evenings. Gemini is believed to be one of the largest



Strong advancements in the battery storage sector have attracted the interest of private equity infrastructure funds.


Energy Capital Partners, a New Jersey-based private equity infrastructure investment firm, reached financial close on its Fund IV at $3.3 billion with two main investments in the energy storage sector in Convergent Energy and Gopher Resource. Similarly, New York-based investor and asset management firm JLC Infrastructure acquired and rebranded Greenskies Renewable Energy, reflecting the target’s added focus on battery storage and emerging technologies.






Edited by EnigmaticWorld

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Privacy rights groups call for ‘day of action’ to ban facial recognition at all schools



Vein recognition biometrics market to generate $1B by 2029 led by bank deployments




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British spies blame Russian 'Sandworm' unit for cyber attack on Georgia


Security services have blamed the Russian intelligence 'Sandworm' unit for cyber attack on Georgia, amid fears it could be the start of a wider destabilisation campaign.


The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the online assault, which downed the Caucus state’s national broadcasters and websites in October, as “reckless and brazen”.


Georgia today took the usual step of publicly attributing the attack to Russia and has been swiftly backed by the UK and US, with other nations expected to issue statements of support later today.



The attack in October knocked out a number Georgian national broadcasters and defaced more than 2,000 websites, including Government and court pages.


Some of the websites had their home pages replaced with an image of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, and the caption "I'll be back".



For the first time the UK Government also publicly named and condemned the GRU Sandworm unit believed to be behind the disruption. The programme is operated by the GRU’s Main Centre of Special Technologies, often referred to as its field post number 74455.




This College Banned Students From Even Discussing Facial Recognition


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Hungary's eight-point climate plan unveiled


"To put it bluntly, protecting the climate and nature is truly our Christian and patriotic duty," Orbán said in that speech. "Climate protection has become a political fashion, and a lot of empty talk is tarnishing the gravity of the matter. If we truly fear for our land, our natural environment and our climate, then it is time to act and not simply talk."



Palkovics detailed the plan in the following eight points:

  • On July 1, 2010, Hungary will begin to eliminate illegal landfills and punish polluters. In order achieve that, a Waste Management Authority with a staff of 500 will supervise waste disposal and if needed sanction contraventions.
  • Ban the sale of disposable plastics and facilitating the return and recycling of glass, plastic bottles and metal cans.
  • Protect the country's rivers from waste coming from outside the country. By 2021, 150,000 hectares of protected nature reserves will be cleaned and measures will be taken to ensure they remain free of pollution.
  • The government will require multinational companies operating in Hungary to use environmentally friendly technologies. In parallel with this, over the next two years, small and medium-size enterprises wiil receive state grants of 32 billion forints for renewable energy production.
  • Ten trees will be planted for every new-born baby, meaning as many as one million new trees per year, which will increase the country's forested area by 27 percent by the year 2030.
  • A six-fold increase in the capacity of solar power plants in the next 10 years.
  • Bring to market affordable electric cars with a strong focus on subsidizing small and cheap cars, while also transitioning urban public transport to electric vehicles.
  • Launch green government bonds with the proceeds used to invest in environmentally friendly technologies.




Alibaba designs new AI tool to diagnose coronavirus; it’s 96% accurate




Intel outlines chip that will make quantum computers smaller and faster






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Epidemics like coronavirus are putting a spotlight on contactless biometrics


I was recently traveling throughout Asia, the epicenter of the coronavirus. More than once I questioned if I should put a finger or my entire hand on a scanner to quickly pass through immigration checkpoints. Disease is known to spread through shared contact with surfaces contaminated with virus and bacteria.


Many public and private organizations use contactless systems identifying people by their facial characteristics. But head to an airport or many other locations and you’ll see scores of people wearing masks, glasses and hats to protect against indirect person-to-person contamination. These wearables can easily defeat a facial recognition system.


That brings us to iris-based identity authentication systems. They are totally contactless from the enrollment process to authentications. No part of a person ever needs to come in contact with an iris reader. And iris recognition systems are widely accepted as the fastest and most accurate of the biometric technologies.




Moscow rolls out biometric facial recognition to monitor coronavirus infections


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An Indian politician used AI to translate his speech into other languages to reach more voters



As social media platforms move to crack down on deepfakes and misinformation in the US elections, an Indian politician has used artificial intelligence techniques to make it look like he said things he didn’t say, Vice reports. In one version of a campaign video, Manoj Tiwari speaks in English; in the fabricated version, he “speaks” in Haryanvi, a dialect of Hindi.



“We used a ‘lip-sync’ deepfake algorithm and trained it with speeches of Manoj Tiwari to translate audio sounds into basic mouth shapes,” Sagar Vishnoi of The Ideaz Factory said, adding that it allowed the candidate to target voters he might not have otherwise been able to reach as directly (while India has two official languages, Hindi and English, some Indian states have their own languages and there are hundreds of various dialects).


The faked video reached about 15 million people in India, according to Vice.




New face-cloaking tool 100 percent effective against Amazon, Microsoft, Face++ in testing


Five researchers from the University of Chicago and one from Fudan University in Shanghai, have developed a recognition-prevention algorithm they call Fawkes, a reference to Guy Fawkes masks worn by protestors to hide their identity while advertising their anti-establishment ideals.


Today, an increasing variety and number of players — governments, businesses, researchers, entrepreneurs, criminals, political parties, pranksters — employ tracking software to harvest face pictures without permission from all corners of the internet, including social media.


The images become motes in vast unauthorized databases that are used to train facial recognition software, linking an identity with each photograph.

One notorious example is Clearview AI Inc., which has collected 3 billion images scraped from uncounted public web sites without permission.


The researchers foresee people using Fawkes to “inoculate” themselves by inserting pixel-level changes, or cloaks, invisible to the eye in their own photos prior to putting them online. Adversarial machine-learning training techniques in Fawkes, according to their paper, should make sure cloaks get picked up by trackers.




Bayer Enters Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Field


Bayer, a company completely given over to Sustainable Development, is making its entry into the intelligence world by investing in a geospatial innovation center in St. Louis. GEOINT means real-time tracking of everything that moves. ⁃ TN Editor




Biometrics and digital ID across Africa this week: mass enrollments, closed borders and system failures



Iris biometrics from IrisGuard to enable paperless disbursement of refugee cash aid in Egypt



Scientists Engineered “Cyborg Grasshoppers” to Sniff out Bombs






The Biggest Threats to Privacy in 2020



Edited by EnigmaticWorld

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PepsiCo is acquiring an online-focused snack company based in China




JPMorgan is planning to launch a digital bank in the UK under the Chase brand



Comcast and Fox are looking to acquire ad-supported streaming video services Vudu and Tubi



Chinese cities are rolling out disinfectant tunnels and spray trucks to ward off the coronavirus — but experts don't think it will work


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Facial recognition researchers look for a culprit in gender inequality, come up empty


Facial expressions were looked at because women tend to be more expressive in photographs than men, something that could in theory make differentiating women’s images more difficult. Head pose examined the angle at which the face in an image was tilted, something also is more common in women’s photos.





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