• U.S. Plans to Collect DNA from Nearly a Million Immigrants Despite Charges It Violates Privacy

    The Trump administration is pushing ahead with a project that could lead to the government collecting DNA from hundreds of thousands of detained immigrants, some as young as 14 years old, alarming civil rights advocates. Once fully underway, the DNA program could become the largest U.S. law enforcement effort to systemically collect genetic material from people not accused of a crime.

  • Evaluating Effects of Race, Age, Sex on Face Recognition Software

    How accurately do face recognition software tools identify people of varied sex, age and racial background? According to a new study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the answer depends on the algorithm at the heart of the system, the application that uses it and the data it’s fed — but the majority of face recognition algorithms exhibit demographic differentials. A differential means that an algorithm’s ability to match two images of the same person varies from one demographic group to another.

  • Inside America’s First All-Biometric Airline Terminal

    People still need more than their faces to enter and exit America on international flights, but Brandi Vincent writes that a growing number of early-stage facial recognition deployments that aim to screen passengers with little human intervention are rolling out at airports across the country.

  • Chinese Communist Party’s Media Influence Expands Worldwide

    Over the past decade, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders have overseen a dramatic expansion in the regime’s ability to shape media content and narratives about China around the world, affecting every region and multiple languages, according to a new report. This trend has accelerated since 2017, with the emergence of new and more brazen tactics by Chinese diplomats, state-owned news outlets, and CCP proxies.

  • The Effects of Race, Age, Sex on Face Recognition Software

    How accurately do face recognition software tools identify people of varied sex, age and racial background? According to a new study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the answer depends on the algorithm at the heart of the system, the application that uses it and the data it’s fed — but the majority of face recognition algorithms exhibit demographic differentials.

  • Rapid DNA Identifies Boat Fire Victims

    Thirty-four people died in a tragic boat fire on 2 September 2019, off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, California. Thanks to a technology funded by the DHS S&T, the 33 passengers and one crew member who died were quickly identified.

  • Crack Down on Genomic Surveillance

    Across the world, DNA databases that could be used for state-level surveillance are steadily growing. Yves Moreau writes that “Now the stakes are higher for two reasons. First, as technology gets cheaper, many countries might want to build massive DNA databases. Second, DNA-profiling technology can be used in conjunction with other tools for biometric identification — and alongside the analysis of many other types of personal data, including an individual’s posting behavior on social networks.”

  • Facial-Recognition Technology: Closer to Utopia Than Dystopia

    Is facial recognition technology ushering in the age of Big Brother, allowing the government to monitor what we do everywhere we do it? “This is the image that the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), and a host of other alarmists are attempting to conjure in the minds of the media, elected officials, and the American public,” Robert Atkinson writes. But with the right regulations, “Americans can be safer and have more convenience with little or no reduction of our precious civil liberties.”

  • DHS Sued to Obtain Information about Rapid DNA Testing of Migrant Families at the Border

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier this week to obtain information that will shine a light on the agency’s use of Rapid DNA technology on migrant families at the border to verify biological parent-child relationships. Refusing to provide DNA carries threat that children will be separated from families.

  • The DNA Database Used to Find the Golden State Killer Is a National Security Leak Waiting to Happen

    A private DNA ancestry database that’s been used by police to catch criminals is a security risk from which a nation-state could steal DNA data on a million Americans, according to security researchers. Antonio Regalado writes that spies could use a crowdsourced genetic ancestry service to compromise your privacy—even if you’re not a member.

  • Why We Must Ban Facial Recognition Software Now

    Facial recognition technology, once a darling of Silicon Valley with applications for policing, spying and authenticating identities, is suddenly under fire. Conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats have strongly criticized the technology. San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Somerville, Mass., have barred all of their government agencies, including the police, from using it. And several Democratic candidates for president have raised deep concerns about it, with one, Senator Bernie Sanders, calling for an outright ban for policing.

  • Security in a Heartbeat

    Sandia National Laboratories is collaborating with Aquila, a New Mexico small business, to test and develop a biometric security system based on the human heartbeat. Aquila and Sandia will jointly assess the form the wearable may take, such as a wristband or chest strap. It would be an alternative to such things as fingerprints and eye scans when those access-control methods might be limited, such as in a laboratory where gloves or eye protection may be necessary.

  • Spies and the White House Have a History of Running Wild Without Congressional Oversight

    For decades now, the evolving role of congressional oversight of U.S. intelligence has involved major clashes and scandals, from the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s to the intelligence abuses that led to the 2003 war in Iraq. Central to all of these clashes are attempts by intelligence agencies, the president and the executive branch to withhold damning information from Congress. Another common element is the use of civilians to carry out presidential or intelligence agency agendas.

  • AI and the Coming of the Surveillance State

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) used to be the stuff of science fiction, but is now making its presence felt in both the private and the public domains. In an important new study — The Global Expansion of AI Surveillance – Steve Feldstein of the Carnegie Endowment writes: “Unsurprisingly, AI’s impact extends well beyond individual consumer choices. It is starting to transform basic patterns of governance, not only by providing governments with unprecedented capabilities to monitor their citizens and shape their choices but also by giving them new capacity to disrupt elections, elevate false information, and delegitimize democratic discourse across borders.”

  • I Researched Uighur Society in China for 8 Years and Watched How Technology Opened New Opportunities – Then Became a Trap

    The Uighurs, a Muslim minority ethnic group of around 12 million in northwest China, are required by the police to carry their smartphones and IDs listing their ethnicity. As they pass through one of the thousands of newly built digital media and face surveillance checkpoints located at jurisdictional boundaries, entrances to religious spaces and transportation hubs, the image on their ID is matched to their face. If they try to pass without these items, a digital device scanner alerts the police. The Chinese state authorities described the intrusive surveillance as a necessary tool against the “extremification” of the Uighur population. Through this surveillance process, around 1.5 million Uighurs and other Muslims were determined “untrustworthy” and have forcibly been sent to detention and reeducation in a massive internment camp system. Since more than 10 percent of the adult population has been removed to these camps, hundreds of thousands of children have been separated from their parents. Many children throughout the region are now held in boarding schools or orphanages which are run by non-Muslim state workers.