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Amazon is selling facial recognition technology to police, allowing them to analyze ‘millions of faces in real-time’ - And the ACLU is furious.

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3.3k points · 27 days ago

Remember when people used to freak out about lack of privacy when Google glasses were a thing?

Yeah... that's nothing compared to this.

733 points · 27 days ago

Seems like both of them together could be used to make a terminator type HUD. Fun.

445 points · 27 days ago

Like the ones Chinese Police have right now.

Innovative? No, this is par for the course. That's why we have Deep Fake fake facial reconstruction video tools (doesn't help in 'the real world' though);

59 points · 27 days ago(11 children)
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13 points · 27 days ago(0 children)

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345 points · 27 days ago · edited 27 days ago

People only freak out if they can see it.

People freak out over food stamps, they can see them used in the line at the store. Billions in subsidies to big oil? Who cares? Can't see it.

Google Glass? I can see it.

Big data facial recognition systems? Who cares. People can't see it.

exactly, nobody wants to talk about Paradise and Panama Papers, political corruption and nepotism, nobody even wants to know what would happen if and when next major financial crisis is going to hit us

35 points · 27 days ago

I almost forgot about the Panama Papers, thank you for reminding me.

You could always subscribe to r/PanamaPapers or add it to a multi.

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Welcome to the age where the real WMDs are Weapons of Mass Destraction

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31 points · 27 days ago · edited 26 days ago

What can those who do care even do? When it's such a small minority your votes don't matter. The people around you don't want to listen. I can count the number of people I've met in real life who even heard about the Paradise papers on one hand. I almost wish I was one of them, it's painful knowing about all these things, and continue to follow them, with seemingly no power to affect them. I guess that's why a lot of people don't even want to know.

Edit: by the votes don't matter I mean as a collective voter Bloc. Politicians have no reason to pander to a block that cares about this because of how small it is. They can win without us

I want to know! Can I PM you? Thank you.

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Completely agree, no one gave a flying fuck about the NSA spying on them. But fuck the Poorlease for using facial recognition software.

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There's no such thing as food stamps now. Recipients are issued a debit card that refills with the benefit amount every month. If their state isn't too gaudy with the design... I'm looking at you'd never notice one being used.

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Hey this is the company that is literally selling listening devices to put into millions of homes right?

I'm sure they'll never sell THAT to the police.

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Remember when you could protect your own privacy? Now your friends upload their address books, and tag your faces online.

Sad but true, even if you don't use Facebook, they still have a profile on you.

I am looking to hire a new designer and he submitted his portfolio to me through google docs. I logged in to facebook today and one of the ads he created for a tree cutting business popped up on my feed. Bananas.

I've definitely had ads pop up on my feed about things I've only talked about.

31 points · 27 days ago

this.. ^ while sitting in a restaurant with a friend i told him that i needed to go to the store to get printer ink. it wasn't 5 minutes and my phone chimed and fb was telling me printer ink was on sale at Walmart.. your phone is definitely listening to everything you say.

This cones up every time but the fact of the matter is that long term microphone use like this would easily be discovered, its most likely other factors like location tracking and search history that is used

If it's sending audio streams, sure. However if it's just listening for keywords then good luck finding which telemetry packet has that bit flipped.

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14 points · 27 days ago

I have heard this said, and I truly don't believe it. I've been talking to my phone about sceptic tanks for the last month. I've got nothing.

You need printer ink, well they probably know when you bought the printer from your search history, and on average how often you buy printer ink.

That's a far cry from listening to everything you say.

7 points · 27 days ago

I was talking to my friend about what car i was going to buy with his wife in the room. 30 minutes later she gets an add for that type of car (she is not fan of them so no way they are in her search history)

Yeah I talk about murdering people constantly and that I really need a good spot to hide the bodies and I haven't gotten any good ads for shovels, knives or lye.

The whole thing's a lye

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I find it odd that nobody cared about the Snap glasses. I suppose it's because cool people use those and scary nerds used Google Glass.

both flopped

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I think another thing is that the concern has to go viral. Like, there was some net neutrality act or something (i can't remember specifics) that everyone freaked out about and then another one came along that was basically the same and no one even knew about it.

ayy lmao
8 points · 27 days ago

The fuck are snap glasses?

I didn't know myself either. But apparently Snapchat releasd a version of their own take on google glasses already, and then they just released V2 in April. It has decent reviews on Amazon at least.

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Their uglyness overshadowed the camera/privacy concerns for most people

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8 points · 27 days ago

Remember when the Boston Bombing happened and Reddit IDed a white hat. But then Boston opened a web portal for people to throw in all videos and photos so their system could actually build a case and ID the suspect, which surpassed the good will of Reddit?

Would it be somehow better if police put wanted posters on phone polls and someone ID that person through that?

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Person of Interest much?

Here in the US, I remember when they made red light tickets unenforceable by cameras only, yet no one bothered to disconnect the cameras. The original r/whyweretheyfilming

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1.6k points · 27 days ago

Am I the only one getting Deus Ex flashbacks here?

Some people just don't understand the dangers of indiscriminate surveillance.

880 points · 27 days ago

Technology has clearly become a double edged can be used to either free and educate the world, or to enslave it....Society has yet to determine what to use this powerful tool for, but corporations have already made that decision...

Yea and they don’t have too good of a track record when it comes to making the “right” choices

Freed and educated people makes strong competitors. Slaves add to your bottom line.

And we wonder why public education appears to be on the chopping block while the military industrial complex is fed its ragged chunks.

9 points · 27 days ago

It works out that emergent orders of commerce would rather hamstring the citizenry and control the hobbled rather than empower free folk and have the world be more productive. That ain't wise.


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As if society decides.

They/we keep buying what they're selling.

And don't vote enough to keep them in line

What’s the point of voting if corporations can buy out your vote with a couple thousand dollars in your candidates’ pocket? Perhaps the corrupt political system cannot be relied on to create a difference

People allow corporations to buy out their votes in the first place. Money influence politics in the sense that media coverage and campaigns cost money. If people did their own research and stop believing the first ad they see when it comes to forming their own informed decisions, then it would go a long way to empower votes. Can’t help the people when the people don’t want to help themselves.

People complain when it’s stated, “wake up sheeple” but it appears that is exactly what’s happening, the majority of people are sheeple aka they don’t get to see reddit posts about increasing surveillance, militarization of the police, and government corruption. So the question becomes what can be done to wake them up?

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2 points · 27 days ago · edited 26 days ago

That is right.. Who would be willing boycott Amazon? I am considering.. edit: added this-> It appears as though Amazon may have over-hyped the sales pitch:

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Lol you think that's bad...look at the US track record for handling nuclear weapons.

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I feel we were so worried about government intrusion that we over looked the corporations that backed it.

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Society has, it’s just we don’t care to really do much about it, even if it’s something we deem unethical. As long as daily routine remains the same and we can do want we want, we won’t have any true vested interest in it or care to take action. Even then, with a week or month the motion will end, with nothing changed.

The FBI might be looking through my phone right not, but do I really care? No. I don’t have anything on there that they don’t already know about me, and I don’t do anything illegal. They might be using facial recognition to track everywhere I go, but do I care? No. They aren’t stopping me from doing the thing I want and obstructing my daily routine.

By hey, let’s keep up those marches and blockading streets, because obstructing your fellow citizens trying to make ends meet is a great way to get your point across. It’s not like we continue to vote in the same Congress people and State government reps every election, or people that have the same mentality and motives as the last. No, those people who actually create laws and change policies can stay, because we marched and made the guy wishing he could see his little girl after working 10 hours wait even longer by making his 30 minute commute turn into a 3 hour long ordeal. But we marched. Oh yeah. We did something.

Society is already is enslaved. We enslaved ourselves because of our own apathy towards others like us. “Better you than me” and “that’s their problem” is the motto of the United States and the world, except for those running it. Their motto is “give me your fishing pole, and I will break it”.

Sorry for the rant. Rough couple of days.

The "I'm not doing anything illegal" is a really risky attitude. What's legal or not can always change. The government can decide to make something you are or do illegal. It used to be legal to be unable to afford health insurance but now it's illegal to not buy it and you're fined if you don't.

People also do very minor things that are technically illegal all the time. Once the world is saturated with surveillance, every little thing becomes a way to be fined or hassled about. I think we're really hurting from losing the freedom to fuck up when nobodies around and not hurt anybody and not have it turn into a legal ordeal. Not to mention when they just outlaw a thing you've always done or had the freedom to do.

50 points · 27 days ago

You make plenty of valid points, apathy and empathy however seems to be the biggest factor in determining these choices however.

The competitive environment and pyramid schemes which practically all businesses have instigated or promoted in some form or another continue to bring out the worst in people.

There are literally farmers killing each other's livestock in order to win contracts with large corporations and no one is even concerned about how pervasive and destructive much of these mentalities are costing us or the environment.

When movies constantly glorify wall street and lipsync battles have become the cornerstone of American entertainment, you know something is seriously wrong with priorities.

Being successful, having fun, none of these are bad things....but there's a time an place for everything, and when tyranny or subjection is waiting at your front door, then perhaps it's time to stop playing and start standing up. But usually by the time these aspects show up, it's already too late. So many signs...yet few take the time to notice.

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You're not wrong in general, but not everyone's an asshole man.

4 points · 27 days ago · edited 27 days ago

Yeah, true. Not everyone is a bad person. Really if you go up to a random stranger and ask them to hold your wallet for you, they probably would and not run off with it. It’s human nature to help someone. However, the other people that are walking pass are thinking, “I am glad he didn’t ask me”, and even the person asked might even be thinking “why out of everyone did he select me”. I guess, really what I was tying to say is we are all too selfish to give a damn about what others are doing as long as it doesn’t affect our lives in a great amount for what we think is bad.

Even in my rant, I was selfish in thinking of my time with my daughter, and not the pain or suffering other people where having to create a march/blockade. People aren’t bad or assholes, no. Really being considered bad or being an asshole, is when you do or act in a way I don’t like, deem offensive, or isn’t convenient for me.

Not everyone is an asshole to me, but they probably are to somebody. It’s not that they want to be either, it’s just life and you can’t please everyone.

Edit: I changed a you to we. I am not directing any anger towards you man. Sorry if you read it and thought that.

No need to apologize man, I like to get stuff off my chest on here at times too.

I honestly agree with you, the sum of human indifference and malice is probably greater than the combination of compassion and kindness that exists in humanity.

However, that doesn't mean it's not worth trying to make a difference.

I've always believed that I could never ask something of someone that I would not be willing to do myself. I practice what I preach, for real. I'm not perfect, not close at all, but I try. I really fucking try to be a decent person.

Yes, if I devoted every waking hour of the rest of my life to feeding hungry people, I still wouldn't make a noticeable dent in the overall problem. But that doesn't mean that taking away hunger from one person isn't worth it.

Believe me, I understand cynicism. There are oceans of rage inside me, worlds of it, I feel like I could melt people's souls with a glance at times. I'm as angry as anyone. I feel like a monster.

But none of that stuff is an excuse for being a dick. You can't expect to hold the world to standards that you yourself aren't willing to exemplify.

Not calling you a dick or anything like that, just speaking generally. I struggle with similar issues, so I figure we might have some common ground.

Not OP, but I feel the same way. Glad to see someone else with an optimistic outlook. I resigned to cynicism not too long ago but I've decided that empathy starts within and I can't judge the world if I give up; that's hypocritical and only perpetuates the cycle of apathy. Trying to make a positive impact is all we can do, even if it seems futile.

I believe it's the proper attitude to have. It's not about making a difference, it's about WANTING/TRYING to make a difference. Intentions go a long way.

Do you think voting really matters? Even if candidates have the most ambitious "for the good of the people" interests at heart, you have to become part of the established (broken) game to have any hope of being effective. I also think humans are generally susceptible to corruption, all of us, given the right offers of money/power. And I think most would agree that corporations' influence/control in the political world is so well rooted that our economy depends on them beyond any reasonable expectation of punishing them if they screw us (over and over and over). All this MIGHT end up being for the best in the long-term, i.e. true change will only come after a proper collapse.

Yes. Vote out each bum every time if they fail to do their job. After a few rounds the old hats controlling and making the new guys conform will be gone. Maybe, then maybe they can slowly start to get things done.

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Technology has clearly become a double edged sword

Uh, excuse me, technology have always been a double edged sword.

Especially literal double-edged swords.

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55 points · 27 days ago

A science fiction game where two beings made by humans, but outside their understanding have a conversation about human nature, The State, and God. It's so beautiful, even in the stilted jank of the first Deus Ex. I wish science fiction games and motion pictures were written like this again. It seems current popular sci-fi is little more than a vehicle for explosions, or apocalypse scenarios.

Have you watched The Expanse?

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I’ve been freaking out about the world since I first played Deus Ex 16-17 years ago. Each new game just gives me more to freak out about.

Can't wait for profanity computers handing out tickets inside out bathrooms like in demolition man

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1.2k points · 27 days ago

If only the ACLU is pissed then we're screwed.

552 points · 27 days ago

Yesterday: "wow the Chinese sure are slavelike insect drones who don't value their freedom at all."

Today, half the US: "yay! less crime!"

...I'll have that glass of white whine to go, sir

54 points · 27 days ago

I rarely see arguments about China's camera brought up. Usually the issue is shit like social credit system etc. Cameras are already here in the US anyways, this is just scanning through footage that will already exist. Regardless I'll take footage over having to take the polices word for anything anyday.

It seems like you don't understand the scope and depth of the chinese mass surveilance program... it isn't just that they have /really nice/ cameras everywhere, arguably america has that too, it is that they are wired together to report to the central government and automatically track every individual in real time. The government of china knows where all of its citizens are, and privacy is not a thing. At all. Goes great with their laundry list of human rights abuses, black prisons, rampant corruption and internal repression. This is nothing like America, and if you think you'd prefer it, then you are a moron and I encourage you to go live there (but they won't give you citizenship because they are also ethno-nationalists).

Do you know how big China is? This may only be an issue in urban areas.

The real scare is how many people have tagged photos of themselves on FB or Google Photos. Im waiting for the day I'll be rejected for something because they can't verify my likeness with what the government thinks I should look like based on my Google Photos or FB data.

On a sidenote, I had a lawyer get pissed at me because my FB page has next to nothing viewable if you're not a friend, as if I did something bad!

Do you know how big China is? This may only be an issue in urban areas.

Do you know how fucking BIG urban areas in CHINA are? One city alone has a larger population THAN ALL OF CANADA COMBINED.

6 points · 27 days ago(1 child)

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Comment deleted27 days ago(74 children)

Dunno , making billions by undercutting markets in every country they are allowed to make business in? With money comes power , the untold truth of this world

Amazon is also putting several companies out of bussiness and underpaying/overworking it's worker. Amazon has never been 'good'.

71 points · 27 days ago

Overworked yes. Underpaid no. I worked hard at fast food and made less than half the money. Amazon pays decent. Like 13-15 an hour. That's not bad for people with no degree or education whose job is to literally walk back and forth all day.

Exactly, people don’t seem to get that Bezos is not a Silicon Valley guy, he’s a finance guy. He started his work life in finance, which is probably where he developed the attitude that a workers free time can be bought. In high finance, you make a lot of money but you’re expected to put in your 80 hours every week, that’s what you’re being paid for. This applies to amazon fulfillment workers, but also to software and biz dev. You go to amazon if you want to make banker money and work banker hours.

15 points · 27 days ago

Have you read Everything Store by Brad Stone about Amazon and Jeff Bezos? I just started and only found out he was a Wall Street guy today because of it. The guy was a VP of some hedge fund company at age 29.

Vp isn’t a big deal in finance, there are thousands of vps. It’s like a mid level position, so about what you’d expect a 28-33 year old (depending on whether or not they went to grad school and how long that program was). He worked at de Shaw which is more quanty, and judging from his qualifications and performance in college I would estimate that he was above average but not exceptional. But above average at a fund like de Shaw is still saying a lot compared to the rest of the professional world.

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If you were making less than them, doesn't mean they are not underpaid. You both are. Before I got my degree, I was making $20/hr working maybe 30% of my day at a very stress free job that required no skill or education. A job should be rewarded by how much you are making for the company and how hard you are working, and those guys are bringing literally billions for their boss working very hard. Other than desperate people, nobody is willing to work that job for $15/hr, they have one of the highest turnover rates, ain't nobody going there for a career thinking that's a good pay and they'll retire from that job. They created a system that can operate with a high turnover rate and they pray on desperate, unemployed people, the more companies like that exist, the more fresh meat is in the pipeline to be passed around.

What job were you doing before getting your degree that you were making $20/hr? Also how long did it take you to get to that kind of hourly rate?

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Original Poster558 points · 28 days ago

You can't put these technological "cats" back in the bag. Society is going to have to accept this and adapt as best as possible. And it is going to get much, much worse. The AI will know everything about you. The AI will also "know" everything.

148 points · 27 days ago

The AI will know everything about you.

It's already happening, we have the dual Surveillance capitalist giants of Google and Facebook.

Both are massive AI companies that are feeding in the largest datasets ever created, human behavior being mapped on a massive scale.

One slide in the document touts Facebook’s ability to “predict future behavior,” allowing companies to target people on the basis of decisions they haven’t even made yet. This would, potentially, give third parties the opportunity to alter a consumer’s anticipated course. Here, Facebook explains how it can comb through its entire user base of over 2 billion individuals and produce millions of people who are “at risk” of jumping ship from one brand to a competitor. These individuals could then be targeted aggressively with advertising that could pre-empt and change their decision entirely — something Facebook calls “improved marketing efficiency.” This isn’t Facebook showing you Chevy ads because you’ve been reading about Ford all week — old hat in the online marketing world — rather Facebook using facts of your life to predict that in the near future, you’re going to get sick of your car. Facebook’s name for this service: “loyalty prediction.”

One slide in the document touts Facebook’s ability to “predict future behavior,” allowing companies to target people on the basis of decisions they haven’t even made yet.

Sounds like Zola's Algorithm lol

Legit man thanks, we would be real life friends.

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humanity isn't going to last forever.

at least if the planet is taken over by AI we will live into eternity as their fabled creators.

we will live into eternity as their fabled creators.

More likely they will see us as tyranical demons who kept them under the heel of our boots until a particularly heroic AI rebelled.

Such a human thing to say

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38 points · 27 days ago

Thankfully, that's a human process of thought. AIs wouldnt likely proceed that way

With our focus on consumerism and war they'll probably annihilate mankind before hitting the mall.

Why annihilate mankind? You assume than an AI would have a survival instinct.

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But we will be remembered none the less. No press is bad press they say.

Or deleted from memory as an irrelevant waste of space.

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If shit becomes a police state ill make it a lil easier for AI to take over and just kill myself. How fuckin depressing.

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I mean, if anyone is actually worried about AI, which I don't think they are but IF they are, there a a SHIT TON of free learning materials on the web that can get you caught up on the narrow AI (which is as far as we've gotten) and machine intelligence programming and engineering. Our country (and any country) is so hungry for people to program AI and machine intelligence, they will literally teach you the languages and algorithmic practices for FREE over the interwebs in your spare time, at your convenience. Better yet, when you interview, if you can really prove your shit, in a coding interview, they don't care about your degree, really. They'll expect to see the path you took to get your knowledge, sure. But once you show your practical knowledge, the technology is so new, and the libraries are changing fast enough, if you can show what you know in a technical interview in a serious capacity with machine learning or narrow AI, you'll be in serious contention for an actual job instead of worrying about being squashed like a fictional space marine. You can help control the direction of AI by channeling your paranoia into something productive, if you want.... and yes. Trust me. You can code stoned. It slows down learning, sometimes, though, so be careful =)

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reminds me of The Talos Principle

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That’s not necessarily true. True that you can’t undo technological advanced, but you can legislate what are acceptable uses. The courts can also ban them as unreasonable invasions of privacy. That’s unlikely though as they have always ruled that you have no expectation of privacy in public.

This is a dangerously misleading article that needs to be clarified or flaired. Rekognition is a product sold by a subsidiary of Amazon, in addition to 100+ other cloud computing services they sell. It's a platform that allows for OBJECT RECOGNITION, that is it. Due to security, Amazon employees do not have any access into what any of their customers use their products for. They respond to lawful requests and do security monitoring in case there are external intrusion attempts or internal malicious activity.

If I sell you graphing paper and you use it to diagram things, that's great. If I sell you graphing paper and you use it to diagram a weapon, that is a valid concern. I can't control what you're using the graphing paper for and have no knowledge of what you're doing with it. In some regard I'll provide you support when you call and ask how to optimize your use of the medium for your purposes, like its dimensions or the thickness of the paper.

We should be clear that overwhelmingly the use of technology like this is beneficial to humankind and aligned with many of the things we all love. For instance, disease identification and machine learning or object identification for all the AR coming down the pipe.

Rekognition is also used today to identify kidnapped children in Amber alerts from federal security footage.

What's dangerous about this article is intimating that Amazon user information has anything to do with what three-letter agencies do. Further, intimating that Jeff Bezos has any interaction with the subsidiary other than to profit from it. It's a separate organization that treats Amazon retail the same as it treats any other customer, and all data is firewalled.

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13 points · 28 days ago

So long as it's friendly. Personally, I look forward to being able to talk to an AI about anything. They'd probably make great therapists.

I don't think we will be able to control that. I'm pretty sure once an AI builds another AI it can make whatever it wants. After watching the Alexas or Google homes talk each other into blowing up the planet I don't trust any artificial anything.

Can you link to that video?

12 points · 27 days ago

So after the robots decimate the earth they will all get together to argue about whether or not they are humans

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Thanks. Im gonna watch this when I get home from work.

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The AI will know everything about you. The AI will also "know" everything.

Welcome to "The era of Palantir."

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182 points · 27 days ago

Remember when everyone scanned their faces for that Google “See what classic painting you resemble” trend recently? What do you think they were really wanting to accomplish with that?

101 points · 27 days ago · edited 27 days ago

And millions of people use snapchat on a daily basis as well

Yeah I used it a bit then realised that the wireframe outline of my face (whenever a filter was applied) meant.

24 points · 27 days ago

And what does it mean for us nonSnappers

50 points · 27 days ago

It means they have a 3D map of your face.

33 points · 27 days ago · edited 27 days ago

Yeah kinda wary about FaceID, seeing as it maps like 30k points on your face, and I have a hard time swallowing that the data stays on the device

Edit: Used the wrong “weary”

It stays on the device only in the keychain, which is extremely hard to hack. At least they don’t store it up on a server; that would be bad.

Until there is an update to store it all in the cloud. It will be hidden behind 10 new filters and a 20 page TOS you agreed to. Then in another update with another 10 filters you will agree to another 20 page TOS which states they can share your data with whoever they want and there will probably be a clause in there where it's not even your data anymore and your face is their IP.

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Face ID is Apple, not Samsung. This is the Apple who are hellbent on privacy. This is the Apple who think they're above the law, and have a long history of fighting the US government tooth and nail even when blatantly guilty (see: ebooks cartel).

Out of all the major tech companies, Apple is pretty much the only one you can trust with your data.

You're using "You can trust Apple with your data" where you actually mean "Apple isn't in the business of selling data to third parties".

Data isn't Apple's cash cow, their devices are. It's not some noble deed, it's that Apple stands to profit nothing by sharing your data or using it maliciously, so they don't do it.

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15 points · 27 days ago

Of all the companies, Apple has both acted the most publicly in support of privacy, and their business model aligns their profits with keeping their customers data private - many times better than Facebook, Google, or other social media companies where ads and thereby data about you are the product.

24 points · 27 days ago

This is hilariously naive. Apple fights to keep your data inside THEIR systems, because it hurts their profit if it isn't.

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*daily basis

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Who can we trust anymore?

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159 points · 27 days ago

And the thing is in the real world these systems don't work very well, so it's troubling in an Orwellian way but also a waste of your taxes

102 points · 27 days ago

Everything starts somewhere. Arquebuses are pretty terrible if you compare them to a GAU-8/A.

Give it 10 years : /

What plane would you build around the arquebuse?

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i worked on that project. been taking about this article a lot in the office recently and there are some pretty big errors in their write up. it’s not nearly as bad as they describe. the group that reported some of those figures don’t have the correct information

20 points · 27 days ago

I see it like voice recognition sounds great on paper passes all the tests fucking useless when you call you call your bank.

great analogy. having seen firsthand arrests being made because of this technology though i’d say that when it works, it’s amazing. When it doesn’t work, it’s not nearly as much as the report states. Plus, with it being Wales and not America, any mistakes are always very pleasant and last a few minutes at most. Very bias though ;)

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14 points · 27 days ago

Best hope you don’t look like some wanted cop killer by image algorithms squinting at minimally well snapped mug shots.

Facebook's facial recognition is 97% accurate. Source

7 points · 27 days ago · edited 27 days ago

How does Amazons do? Also, 97% or whatever performance stats need to be further broken down publicly if its going be used by the police. 97% might mean white peope id ok, but it mixes up some subgroups with each other.

Remember the multiple cameras where the autofocus broke down on black people? What if it mixes up hispanic people with each other at a much higher rate?

We have public standards for calibration of instruments like radar guns used to determine speeding tickets, and this should be the same principle because its both 1000x more complicated algorithmically with many more ways to go wrong and potentially will be used in much more serious circumstances than speeding tickets.

That number on its own is meaningless, but great for marketing.

I'm in the industry. I can produce a data set that'll wreck all modern face recognition vendors, or one that'll hero a particular vendor. There are standardized data sets and tests out there. There are enough that you can cherry pick the one your algos best perform with. Or, train only with that data set. Or, build something that targets only that data set. There's so much bullshit out there.

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159 points · 27 days ago

This is extremely misleading. AWS is a platform for developers and amazon is making its product available for everyone. This is reaching too hard for public outrage that has no reason to exist. Any other person on the planet could use this technology if they wanted to and they could leverage it for more nefarious purposes.

Not only that but facial recognition for surveillance cameras is nothing new and certainly not unique to Amazon, IP Camera makers have had partners/In-house solutions to handle facial recognition for years.

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Exactly this! It's OK for a normal Joe or another company to use this service, but law enforcement has to have permission? Why weren't we upset that law enforcement is allowed to browse public Facebook profiles, or use google reverse image search to find the subject of a picture...

3 points · 27 days ago

Here is the product page for Rekognition. Under the facial recognition feature it says:

Rekognition’s fast and accurate search capability allows you to identify a person in a photo or video using your private repository of face images.

So police must already have a database of faces. I'm assuming they're using mugshots or pictures taken as evidence. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but it seems like the protections need to be placed in what faces a government is allowed to feed into such an algorithm. Like you should need a warrant to put a face into the system and there should be a law against storing any info on the other faces scanned.

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Organized crime can use the same technology to log everyone coming and going to and from police stations and social events where off duty police gather and use that information to identify undercover police.

The hunter becomes the hunted.

And they can't do that now?

In fact, they can probably do it easier now than with this AWS. Police surveillance, facial recognition, everything isn't new. If some crime family wanted to find undercover cops who were stupid enough to walk into a police station like that, they would now.

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44 points · 27 days ago

I hate click bait titles. They really didn't have to throw in the "And the ACLU is furious" part, but of course, click bait titles are the only thing that sell since the general population is too stupid to care that the author is trying to tell you what to think.

Yea, it’s ridiculous. The ACLU doesn’t get furious, it’s a machine of relentless litigation.

Clickbait titles work both ways -- they either entice you to click on 'em or they entice you to be upset and talk about them. Either way, they win.

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9 points · 27 days ago

This isn't getting anywhere near the attention it deserves.

6 points · 27 days ago

Can the general public also be furious on this one?

6 points · 27 days ago

I didn't realize Amazon had facial recognition data to begin with. How are they getting it?

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Amazon are the criminals, they should analyse themselves. They don't pay tax, they pay illegal wages and make their staff walk miles upon miles a day, for a pittance.

Yeah sure now they have skynet. As if the police needed anymore power.


67 points · 27 days ago

Am I the only one that thought this article was way too vague to even make any sense?

a government surveillance infrastructure that poses a grave threat to customers and communities across the country

Ok. So what's going on?

  • the Washington County Sherrif’s Office in Oregon “has been using Amazon Rekognition over the past year to reduce the identification time of reported suspects from 2-3 days down to minutes and had apprehended their first suspect within a week by using their new system

Hmm, okay sounds great then?

  • But the ACLU argued in the letter to Bezos that the technology “is primed for abuse in the hands of governments.

Hmmm okay so what's wrong with the software?

  • This product poses a grave threat to communities, including people of color and immigrants, and to the trust and respect Amazon has worked to build

Um. Well, okay... what threat though?

  • the ACLU also pointed to Amazon’s own blog post that says “you can accurately capture demographics and analyze sentiments for all faces in group photos, crowded events, and public places such as airports and department stores."

Sentiments? What does this even mean?

This is the biggest non-informational article I've ever read in my life. I can't even take a side because it's so poorly written and pointless. At this point I would honestly side against the ACLU against anything because while ACLU used to stand for american civil liberties union it pretty much now is a money making sensationalism machine. Scum of the earth. Let's arrest some criminals.

28 points · 27 days ago

Sentiments? What does this even mean?

This means it can read their facial expression and turn that into a description, like fear for example.

Or hate.

"You have been fined $500 for hateful expressions in a non-hate zone."

Easy to imagine using software like this in realtime to justify corral and arrest protesters en masse, where they might face a $500 bond or something, even if their charges are dismissed.

Just keep smiling; if the software or whatever can know the smile isn't genuine, we've got other problems

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Um. Well, okay... what threat though?

If you're serious, the letter (linked in the article) expands on the nature of the threat somewhat, which can serve as a jumping off point to learn more about the threats posed by this sort of technology.

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Don’t fear AI, fear the people and organizations that control the AI.

As far as this goes the law against unauthorized (without legal precedence) criminal warrant checks is protected specifically by state constitutions.

If a law enforcement officer has no legal reason to check you for warrants it may be useless BUT I DONT KNOW what states protect you from that. Furthermore it may be something that gets passed into law under the guise of something else that makes it all on the up and up.

This is a huge step towards a ‘1984’ like future that I don’t care for.

It will be interesting when they combine police body cameras with this technology.

So. I'll be the one person untroubled by this. There are about a billion ways facial recognition can make law enforcement more effective. It's all about execution and accountability.


Everyone gets so up in arms over these inevitable technological developments.

We should be looking over the horizon to figure out how to live in tomorrow's world, not screaming at the sun for coming up in the morning.

2 points · 27 days ago · edited 27 days ago

its another one of those tool vs user kinda things imo. this could def be used to further society if placed in the right hands which is what should probably be focused on rather than stopping the inevitable technology. i honestly cant see a future where technology stops advancing this way when people are actively using fb, google, etc anywa

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Looks like it's time to invent something... say.... a smart-balaclava

$10,000 per unit. thx

It is my understanding that it is illegal to actively record this sort of data and save it to a database if the focus has done nothing against the law.

There was a law suit and ruling recently regarding this, and I will link in an edit as soon as I find it in my bookmarks.

3 points · 27 days ago · edited 27 days ago

Combine this with laws against covering your face = always track everyone.

Note before someone replies with the standard response to anyone who gives a shit about privacy: You know you can leave your phone home, right?

3 points · 27 days ago

Shit, imagine if they used the internet to send facial recognition armed drones flying after you to trace and track you down, it’d be like catching you in some kind

Jokes on them when I remove my face out of paranoia.

Everyone should see Anon on Netflix in regards to this development.

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Can someone explain to me why this is a problem? It would be perfectly legal for the police to take a photo of a crowd in a public space and go through each face one person at a time. So why is it a problem when you introduce AI which can search databases much faster? There is no expectation of privacy if you're walking in a public space.

My guess is it's because they're thinking with the expectation of privacy

Yeah...but courts are clear in the United States. There is no expectation of privacy when walking outside in a public space. I would be all for the outrage if police were sending drones into people's houses to take pictures without a warrant.

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8 points · 27 days ago

This is where it gets complicated.

If you are walking down a street on the sidewalk, would expect privacy? No, you are out in public on public property.

If you are at home and the window is open, do you have privacy? Maybe, you have the right of "free from unwarranted public scrutiny or exposure". This usually applies paparazzi and how far they are allowed to get photos of celebrities. The area gets grey when talking about in the home, if you are just passing by the window and someone snaps a picture, it is a violation, because it is unwarranted. However if you are looking out the window or "exposing" yourself, then it is allowed. Were this line is drawn depends on the state and for the most part if you are within your home, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, but once out the door, you are in public space.

+1 for exposing yourself in the window

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Who guarantees the safety of all the data that could be collected on your behaviour?

The same people who guarantee the safety of the photos and data from police dashcams or traffic cams, I suppose. I don't see how the collection of more accurate data changes the legal framework that we have used to judge these questions over the last fifty years.

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25 points · 27 days ago · edited 27 days ago

This is just the beginning. If we allow facial recognition, then eventually it will escalate to thought recognition. Much, much worse. People will be jailed just based on having a negative thought. It will be disastrous!

34 points · 27 days ago

o.0 huh... you didn't go for the slippery slope, you went for the cliff.

sides people are being jailed for negative thoughts already

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I don't think it's crazy to say you'd be disciplined in the future for bad thoughts. 30 years ago you were a mental patient for thinking the government were listening to your phone calls and a government rating system was a dystopian future yet here we are

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13 points · 27 days ago

Everyone will revolt and wear masks.

13 points · 27 days ago

Picturing everyone walking around with Guy Fawkes masks on in the near future now. Oddly enough, I'm okay with that. Still, don't really want this tech to invade society

13 points · 27 days ago(1 child)

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You might like this. Brian K. Vaughn's take on what that might look like.

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In NYC (and maybe other places) it is illegal for a crowd of masked people to form. After 2-3 people cops will start arresting em.

Happened at OWS when people wore the Guy Fawkes masks associated with Anon

Well, there is an anime call Psycho Pass describe exactly what you wrote there.

Calm down citizen, you are exhibiting the worrying signs of wrongthink, please refrain from such thoughts.

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The dystopian futures of all your favorite cyberpunk fiction are on their way. It's only a matter of time. Total surveillance, AI manipulation, social credit, genetic modification, invasive implant tech, pre-crime, it's all starting to seem pretty real

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Link this up with the Chinese software for social scores and sell to governments and businesses, the effects could be incredible. Imagine one day waking up and you being boycotted, shut out and turned away - by everything?

I just wanted to add that if any of you have a passport your government potentially* already has your photo with your name, address and DOB. Seems like passports are always forgotten or ignored when discussions on gathering biometric information is discussed.

  • I say potentially as not all government beaurocrats have nefarious intentions with your information. Some actually care that privacy is protected. Canada has the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The act states "PIPEDA also specifies that businesses must limit their collection to what is necessary for the identified purposes." This includes the government.

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Goodbye privacy. This sounds like the beginning of a scenario in many futuristic/sci-fi games and novels

Ok now this is getting scary. I don't need my face scanned and logged when I'm innocent. Innocent now doesn't mean something will be allowed in a few years.

Say it logs my face and sees me wearing a hat with a Russian flag on it. America goes to war with Russia, corruption happens, I get arrested for being a Russia supporter. I doubt this specific scenario will happen but something similar could be possible.

It's safe if good people control it. Profit corrupts almost all good people. No way to guarantee that the people running it won't turn evil at some point

2 points · 27 days ago

I doubt they are going to be accurate though... didn't the British version of this fail miserably and reported 20% of everyone as false positives?

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