• Dystopian Future Watch: Is San Francisco’s facial recognition ban too little, too late?

    Life just keeps creeping along, leading us step-by-step closer to living in a Philip K. Dick dystopian future—in real-time. And often, in our surveillance culture, we are willing participants to work alongside Big Brother. Harmon Leon writes in the Observer that Remember how fun it used to be to see facial recognition and retina scanning in sci-fi movies? We loved it in RoboCop and Blade Runner, right? Now, many of these biometrictechnologies have become a nightmarish reality.

  • Finding fake fingerprints

    From a security perspective, what’s to stop a third party “lifting” your fingerprint, and creating a facsimile of its loops, whorls and arches with a piece of a skin-like rubbery material and then presenting this to the biometric device to gain access? The simple answer is nothing!

  • WhatsApp's loophole reveals role of private companies in cyber-surveillance

    Last month, WhatsApp’s latest security flaw was discovered, a flaw which allow governments to spy on dissidents, activists, and journalists. An Israeli cyber company is reportedly behind the loophole — and not for the first time.

  • San Bernardino Court asked to review cell-site simulator, digital search warrants likely improperly sealed

    Since the California legislature passed a 2015 law requiring cops to get a search warrant before probing our devices, rifling through our online accounts, or tracking our phones, EFF has been on a quest to examine court filings to determine whether law enforcement agencies are following the new rules.

  • Crime fighting got easier as burglars reveal all

    The expertise of experienced burglars puts them streets ahead of householders, and even well ahead of other criminals, according to a new study. The results could lead to a step-change in how we fight this crime.

  • The forensic unknowns of 3D-printed guns

    Proponents of the printed guns – 3D-printed with polymers from digital files – maintain that sharing blueprints and printing the guns are protected activities under the First and Second Amendments. Opponents argue the guns are concerning because they are undetectable and also untraceable since they have no serial numbers.

  • Dystopian Future Watch: Is San Francisco’s facial recognition ban too little, too late?

    Life just keeps creeping along, leading us step-by-step closer to living in a Philip K. Dick dystopian future—in real-time. And often, in our surveillance culture, we are willing participants to work alongside Big Brother. “Remember how fun it used to be to see facial recognition and retina scanning in sci-fi movies?” Hermon Leon asks in the Observer. “We loved it in RoboCop and Blade Runner, right? Now, many of these biometric technologies have become a nightmarish reality. Let’s take a look.”

  • Locating a shooter from the first shot using cellphone

    In the past several decades, militaries have worked hard to develop technologies that simultaneously protect infantry soldiers’ hearing and aid in battlefield communication. Now a French researcher has developed a proof of concept that uses the microphones in a TCAPS system to capture a shooter’s acoustic information and transmit this to a soldier’s smartphone to display shooter location in real time.

  • How artificial intelligence systems could threaten democracy

    U.S. technology giant Microsoft has teamed up with a Chinese military university to develop artificial intelligence systems that could potentially enhance government surveillance and censorship capabilities. The advent of digital repression is profoundly affecting the relationship between citizen and state. New technologies are arming governments with unprecedented capabilities to monitor, track and surveil individual people. Even governments in democracies with strong traditions of rule of law find themselves tempted to abuse these new abilities.

  • The psychology behind solving cold-case homicides

    Probing unsolved crimes from years or decades ago is a challenge for any police officer. But the task is made even more difficult because the very term “cold case” puts a dampener on expectations of success, according to a university criminologist whose latest book calls for a new investigative mindset in detectives who are assigned to re-open case files.

  • Rapid DNA technology ID’ed California wildfire victims

    Amid the chaos and devastation of a mass casualty evet, medical examiners often provide closure as they identify victims in the aftermath, but their ability to do this quickly can vary depending on the size, scope, and type of disaster. Such challenges were the case following the Camp Fire wildfire that killed eighty-five people and devastated communities in Paradise, California, in the fall of 2018. S&T’s Rapid DNA technology became the first resort as it provided identifying information in under two hours when dental records and fingerprints weren’t available.

  • Abundance of DNA evidence insufficient to prevent wrongful convictions

    As we enter an era in which DNA evidence is routinely used in criminal investigations, errors that led to wrongful convictions—including mistakes later corrected with DNA tests—may seem to be fading into history. This, however, is not true, says an expert.

  • S&T seeking partners for first responder technology R&D

    DHS S&T said it was inviting industry, academia, laboratories, and the innovation community to submit white papers related to twelve first responder technology funding opportunities. S&T said that each of the twelve topic areas “represent technology needs identified by responders themselves, and we are seeking the best partners to turn these needs into solutions.”

  • Detecting, analyzing suspicious activity in surveillance footage

    Traditional surveillance cameras do not always detect suspicious activities or objects in a timely manner. Researchers developed a hybrid lightweight tracking algorithm known as Kerman (Kernelized Kalman filter).

  • Polymers help minimize fuel explosions and fires from accidents and terrorist acts

    When an act of terrorism or a vehicle or industrial accident ignites fuel, the resulting fire or explosion can be devastating. On Tuesday, scientists described how lengthy but microscopic chains of polymers could be added to fuel to significantly reduce the damage from these terrifying incidents without impacting performance.