• SurveillanceLarge-Scale Facial Recognition Is Incompatible with a Free Society

    By Seth Lazar, Claire Benn, and Mario Günther

    In the U.S., tireless opposition to state use of facial recognition algorithms has recently won some victories. Outside the U.S., however, the tide is heading in the other direction. To decide whether to expand or limit the use of facial recognition technology, nations will need to answer fundamental questions about the kind of people, and the kind of society, they want to be. Face surveillance is based on morally compromised research, violates our rights, is harmful, and exacerbates structural injustice, both when it works and when it fails. Its adoption harms individuals, and makes our society as a whole more unjust, and less free. A moratorium on its use is the least we should demand.

  • PrivacyPrivacy Risks of Home Security Cameras

    Researchers have used data from a major home Internet Protocol (IP) security camera provider to evaluate potential privacy risks for users. The researchers found that the traffic generated by the cameras could be monitored by attackers and used to predict when a house is occupied or not.

  • SurveillanceCoronavirus opens door to company surveillance of workers

    Employers are rushing to use digital tracking technology to reduce virus transmission in the workplace. Mohana Ravindranath writes in Politico that privacy experts worry that businesses will start using their newfound surveillance capabilities for purposes far beyond public health. The data could be used to evaluate workers’ productivity, see which colleagues are holding meetings or even flag an employee who unexpectedly ducks out of the office during work hours.

  • PrivacyProtecting Children's Online Privacy

    A University of Texas at Dallas study of 100 mobile apps for kids found that 72 violated a federal law aimed at protecting children’s online privacy. Researchers developed a tool that can determine whether an Android game or other mobile app complies with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

  • PrivacyAI Could Help Solve the Privacy Problems It Has Created

    By Zhiyuan Chen and Aryya Gangopadhyay

    The stunning successes of artificial intelligence would not have happened without the availability of massive amounts of data, whether its smart speakers in the home or personalized book recommendations. These large databases are amassing a wide variety of information, some of it sensitive and personally identifiable. All that data in one place makes such databases tempting targets, ratcheting up the risk of privacy breaches. We believe that the relationship between AI and data privacy is more nuanced. The spread of AI raises a number of privacy concerns, most of which people may not even be aware. But in a twist, AI can also help mitigate many of these privacy problems.

  • PrivacyHow Much Control Would People Be Willing to Grant to a Personal Privacy Assistant?

    CyLab’s Jessica Colnago believes that in the future, the simple act of walking down the street is going to be a little weird. “You know how every time you enter a website, and it says: ‘We use cookies. Do you consent?’ Imagine that same thing walking down the street, but for a light pole, or a surveillance camera, or an energy sensor on a house,” Colnago says.

  • ArgumentBans on Facial Recognition Are Naïve — Hold Law Enforcement Accountable for Its Abuse

    The use of facial recognition technology has become a new target in the fight against racism and brutality in law enforcement. The current controversy over facial recognition purports to be about bias — inaccurate results related to race or gender. Osonde A. Osoba and Douglas Yeung write that “That could be fixed in the near future, but it wouldn’t repair the underlying dilemma: The imbalance of power between citizens and law enforcement. On this, facial recognition ups the ante. These tools can strip individuals of their privacy and enable mass surveillance.

  • SurveillanceYes, Big Brother IS Watching: Russian Schools Installing Surveillance Systems Called “Orwell”

    By Matthew Luxmoore

    You might think governments seeking digital oversight of their citizens would avoid invoking the author who coined the phrase “Big Brother is watching you” and implanted the nightmare of total state surveillance in the imaginations of millions of readers. Think again, because Russian officials appear to disagree. In the first phase of the project, the “total surveillance” system will be installed in 43,000 schools across Russia.

  • PrivacyHelping Users Control Their Personal Data

    The trove of digital data we generate in our daily lives can potentially make us more efficient, increase sustainability and improve our health, among other benefits, but it also poses threats to privacy. To help individuals take greater control of their personal information, researchers have developed and tested a platform, Ancile, that allows users to set restrictions on what kind of data they’ll release, and to whom.

  • Contact tracing & privacyNorway Pulls Its Coronavirus Contacts-Tracing App after Privacy Watchdog’s Warning

    One of the first national coronavirus contacts-tracing apps to be launched in Europe is being suspended in Norway after the country’s data protection authority raised concerns that the software, called “Smittestopp,” poses a disproportionate threat to user privacy — including by continuously uploading people’s location. Natasha Lomas writes in Tech Crunch that following a warning from the watchdog Friday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHIsaid today it will stop uploading data from tomorrow — ahead of a June 23 deadline when the DPA had asked for use of the app to be suspended so that changes could be made. It added that it disagrees with the watchdog’s assessment but will nonetheless delete user data “as soon as possible.”

  • SurveillanceHigh-Tech Surveillance Amplifies Police Bias and Overreach

    By Andrew Guthrie Ferguson

    Local, state and federal law enforcement organizations use an array of surveillance technologies to identify and track protesters, from facial recognition to military-grade drones. Police use of these national security-style surveillance techniques – justified as cost-effective techniques that avoid human bias and error – has grown hand-in-hand with the increased militarization of law enforcement. Extensive research, including my own, has shown that these expansive and powerful surveillance capabilities have exacerbated rather than reduced bias, overreach and abuse in policing, and they pose a growing threat to civil liberties.

  • SurveillanceCalls for New Federal Authority to Regulate Facial Recognition Tech

    A group of artificial intelligence experts — citing profiling, breach of privacy and surveillance as potential societal risks — recently proposed a new model for managing facial recognition technologies at the federal level. The experts propose an FDA-inspired model that categorizes these technologies by degrees of risk and would institute corresponding controls.

  • TrustThe Importance of Building Trust in Contact Tracing Apps

    In the very real need for speed around excellent contact tracing in the COVID-19 environment, the voice of the people is getting lost, according to an expert. New researchhighlights the need for digital contact tracing solutions to have exceptional speed, high take-up rates, and demonstrable value. Researchers say that without significant uptake of the technology, digital contact tracing is close to useless.

  • SurveillanceIoT: Which Devices Are Spying on You?

    When hungry consumers want to know how many calories are in a bag of chips, they can check the nutrition label on the bag. When those same consumers want to check the security and privacy practices of a new IoT device, they aren’t able to find even the most basic facts. Not yet, at least.

  • PrivacySharing Personal Information on Social Media Is Risky

    An innocent, seemingly fun and engaging social media trend has been popping up on news feeds. In an act of solidarity with high school seniors who were finishing out their final semester at home due to the coronavirus stay-at-home order, Facebook users were sharing their own senior class photos in nostalgic posts. While it is a nice sentiment and the presence of cameras in nearly every cellphone has made it easy to take and exchange pictures, there are certain security considerations one should keep in mind.