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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

AI Has Made Video Surveillance Automated and Terrifying

Vice – AI can flag people based on their clothing or behavior, identify people’s emotions, and find people who are acting “unusual.”

“It used to be that surveillance cameras were passive. Maybe they just recorded, and no one looked at the video unless they needed to. Maybe a bored guard watched a dozen different screens, scanning for something interesting. In either case, the video was only stored for a few days because storage was expensive. Increasingly, none of that is true. Recent developments in video analytics—fueled by artificial intelligence techniques like machine learning—enable computers to watch and understand surveillance videos with human-like discernment. Identification technologies make it easier to automatically figure out who is in the videos. And finally, the cameras themselves have become cheaper, more ubiquitous, and much better; cameras mounted on drones can effectively watch an entire city. Computers can watch all the video without human issues like distraction, fatigue, training, or needing to be paid. The result is a level of surveillance that was impossible just a few years ago…”

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Calls for Limiting Collateral Consequences for People With Criminal Records

“More than 44,000 collateral consequences exist nationwide that continue to punish people with felony records long after the completion of their sentence. Today the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is releasing Collateral Consequences: The Crossroads of Punishment, Redemption and the Effects on Communities, a report highlighting the relevant data and arguments for and against the… Continue Reading

Number of fact-checking outlets surges to 188 in more than 60 countries

Poynter – Strong growth in Asia and Latin America helps fuel global increase – “The number of fact-checking outlets around the world has grown to 188 in more than 60 countries amid global concerns about the spread of misinformation, according to the latest tally by the Duke Reporters’ Lab. Since the last annual fact-checking census… Continue Reading

Mary Meeker – Internet Trends 2019

Mary Meeker, general partner at venture capital firm Bond Capital, delivered her annual Internet Trends slideshow – for 2019 it is 333 pages. “Recode has pulled out some of the significant and most interesting trends in Meeker’s report: Some 51 percent of the world — 3.8 billion people — were internet users last year, up… Continue Reading

New video editing technology raises disinformation worries

Washington Post – A new algorithm developed by Stanford University engineers is putting the spotlight on advances in video editing that could make it more difficult to separate fact from fiction online. “A team of researchers has developed new technology allowing editors to alter the words of anyone who appears on video in an image from the… Continue Reading

How China Is Planning to Rank 1.3 Billion People

Bloomberg: ” China has a radical plan to influence the behavior of its 1.3 billion people: It wants to grade each of them on aspects of their lives to reflect how good (or bad) a citizen they are. Versions of the so-called social credit system are being tested in a dozen cities with the aim… Continue Reading

Face Recognition Technology: DOJ and FBI Have Taken Some Actions in Response to GAO Recommendations to Ensure Privacy

Face Recognition Technology: DOJ and FBI Have Taken Some Actions in Response to GAO Recommendations to Ensure Privacy and Accuracy, But Additional Work Remains. GAO-19-579T: Published: Jun 4, 2019. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 2019. “The FBI’s face recognition office can now search databases with more than 641 million photos, including 21 state databases. In a… Continue Reading

Enforcing Federal Privacy Law – Constitutional Limitations on Private Rights of Action

CRS Legal Sidebar – Enforcing Federal Privacy Law—Constitutional Limitations on Private Rights of Action, May 31, 2019: “Over the last two years, the prospect of a comprehensive federal data privacy law has been the subject of considerable attention in the press and in Congress. Some Members of Congress and outside groups have developed many proposals… Continue Reading

Titles of 13 New “Secret Laws” Revealed

“The Project On Government Oversight has obtained new details about legal opinions from the Justice Department’s secretive Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), including 13 previously unreleased memo titles, and the dates of memos whose titles remain redacted. Obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the newly released memo titles reveal some of the subjects… Continue Reading

The Indian Law That Helps Build Walls

The Supreme Court’s legal abuse of Native Americans set the stage for America’s poor treatment of many of its vulnerable populations. By Maggie Blackhawk. Ms. Blackhawk is an assistant professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania. “The first two years of the Trump administration have brought us horror story after horror story about our… Continue Reading

CRS – The Federal Bureau of Investigation: Just the Facts

The Federal Bureau of Investigation: Just the Facts – May 12, 2017: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has more than 36,000 employees and describes itself as an “intelligence-driven, threat-focused national security organization.”It is a part of the Department of Justice and the Director of the FBI reports to the U.S. Attorney General and the… Continue Reading