Let’s Face It – Risk of Facial Recognition


Let’s face it… we have AI problems… now.

Forget the idea that there are distant prospects of super-intelligent machines eroding our core values in the future.  We need to face up to AI changes in the current moment.

Some examples are the risk of being hit by self-driving cars.  Election by bot and Deepfake video clips are two other AI concerns that undermine democracy, communications and truth.

Facial recognition may be the immediate AT worry that concerns many of us the most.

facial recognition BBC

This image is from the  BBC.com article “Central London in Facial Recognition Trial”. (1)

The article says: Elizabeth Denham, who was appointed Information Commissioner in July 2016, said in a blog published earlier this year that the technology could bring “significant public safety benefits”.

However, she said its application could also be “particularly intrusive”, and represented a “real step change in the way law-abiding people are monitored as they go about their daily lives”.

That word intrusive was a little warning.  Other articles warn us in a much harsher, and perhaps more realistic, way.

A new report from the AI Now Institute (2), an influential research institute based in New York, identified facial recognition as a key challenge for society and policymakers.

A report from UCLA says “The role of AI in widespread surveillance has expanded immensely in the U.S., China, and many other countries worldwide”.

In fact, the technology has been adopted on an even grander scale in China. This often involves collaborations between private AI companies and government agencies.  Police forces have used AI to identify criminals, and numerous reports suggest it is being used to track dissidents.

AI machine learning can identify people’s faces in photos and video footage with great accuracy.  This technology has grown with stunning speed and we should have concerns beyond the Chinese government using facial recognition.

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.  George Orwell, 1984

It’s ironic that George Orwell wrote 1984 in England because this is where democracy may be losing its most important element, the right to privacy, at the fastest pace.

Facial recognition is here with us now in the Western World according to an article with a deeper warning at  Techdirt.com (3).  The bolds are mine.

The article says:  The DHS is shoving it into airports — putting both international and domestic travelers at risk of being deemed terrorists by tech that just isn’t quite there yet.  In the UK — the Land of Cameras — facial recognition tech is simply seen as the logical next step in the nation’s sprawling web of surveillance.  And Amazon is hoping US law enforcement wants to make facial rec tech as big a market for its cloud services and online sales.

Thanks to its pervasiveness across the pond, the UK is where we’re getting most of our data on the tech’s successes.  Well… we haven’t seen many successes. But we are getting the data.

And the data indicates a growing threat — not to the UK public from terrorists or criminals, but to the UK public from its own government.

London cops have been slammed for using unmarked vans to test controversial and inaccurate automated facial recognition technology on Christmas shoppers.

The Metropolitan Police are deploying the tech today and tomorrow in three of the UK capital’s tourist hotspots: Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square.

The tech is basically a police force on steroids — capable of demanding ID from thousands of people per minute. Big Brother Watch says the Metro tech can scan 300 faces per second, running them against hot lists of criminal suspects.  The difference is no one’s approaching citizens to demand they identify themselves.  The software does all the legwork and citizens have only one way to opt out: stay home.

Given these results, staying home might just be the best bet.

In May, a Freedom of Information request from Big Brother Watch showed the Met’s facial recognition had a 98 per cent false positive rate.

In other words, a lot of people might get hassled or monitored in depth simply because the AI got it wrong.  They lose the right of due process.

What can we do about this invasion of our privacy?

I must agree that I feel more threatened by the intrusion of governments than by crime. But what can we do?

The techdirt.com article says that only option is stay at home.  That’s a bit restrictive but staying out of places that have cameras might be a good idea.

Soon we’ll have to forget air travel if we want privacy, if in fact there is any privacy left in that sector.  Delta Airlines announced a new face-scanning check-in system at Atlanta’s airport.

We’ll have to forget smartphones and public transport… maybe even banking.  Facial recognition is used to unlock Apple’s latest iPhones and enable payments.

Forget about getting a photo on Facebook which scans millions of photos every day to identify specific users.

Don’t be a tourist in Washington D.C. either.  The US Secret Service is said to be developing a facial-recognition security system for the White House.

Perhaps these systems will guarantee not to link up their data with the government and other AI systems?  Err… I think we have heard promises like that before.  It’s probably best to assume that if your picture is anywhere on a connected computer system, you can and will be tracked.

I lament our loss of privacy and seriously doubt that it’s leading us to a safer braver new world.   My concerns are the future will be more like in the book… Brave New World.

History is simply too littered with examples of the people in government using too much power for their own hidden agendas.

For now I stick to a flip phone and stay in Smalltown USA.  This helps privacy on the street.

If you feel deeply concerned about facial recognition, an article at Survivapedia.com (4) suggests 6 ways to foil  this intrusion.

Camera finders (cars in the UK use them like radar detectors already), sunglasses & baseball hats, hoods, changing hair and makeup and even sunglasses with near infrared led lights are among the suggestions.   One pair of eyeglasses designed by professors Isao Echizen and Seiichi Gohshi of Kogakuin University has an array of 11 NIR LEDs in front of the face to blind digital cameras.

Other suggestions include retro-reflective clothing, accessories, burqas, URME Prosthetic Masks and balaclavas.  Some of these might draw more attention than not.

Whatever works now… expect the AI to catch up so this will get harder so we’ll keep looking for answers to share here with you.

Gary

Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere

How to Gain Extra Freedom – While Almost Everyone Loses Theirs.  Profit from post COVID-19 trends.

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ecuador-banks

Dining room tables we worked from (and we also sold the tables for a profit).

You’ll even learn how to turn dining room tables into income and tax deductions as we have with these dining room tables we build out of local wood.

Let me be clear.  I expect that the world will get better, at least for the few who adapt and avoid the dangers that the changes from the COVID pandemic will bring. 

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goldenseal ginseng

Ginseng we grew in our back yard.  I know about growing ginseng through experience and explain why and how in the report “Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere”.

Loquats are another example of an easy to grow crop that help promote natural health.

loquats

Here I am by one of the many loquat trees at our Florida farm.

Loquats are a great fruit for making jam and such, but the loquat leaf has amazing medicinal qualities.  Its is a registered medicine in China and due to its anti viral and respiratory system enhancing qualities has an especially  growing demand right now.   The images below from Amazon.com show that the leaves sell for about a dollar per leaf!

I have many trees on the farm but started growing loquat seedlings last year.

loquat

Loquat leaf tea has become really important during the pandemic due to its respiratory strengthening qualities.

I have been drinking a lot of home made loquat leaf tea during the pandemic.

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Fwd: gary-scott-tipis

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gary-scott-farming

Our North Carolina greenhouse.

gary scott greenhouse

Our Florida greenhouse.

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merrily farms

This pond we created at our farm brought us pleasure but also helped create a safe, healthy food supply, extra income and a tax deduction as well.

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(1) www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-46584184

(2) ainowinstitute.org/AI_Now_2018_Report.pdf

(3) www.techdirt.com/articles/20181218/16562041265/london-metropolitan-police-deploy-facial-recognition-tech-sporting-100-failure-rate.shtml

(4) www.survivopedia.com/6-ways-to-defeat-facial-recognition