The crew at Extra Credits take a break from their usual videogame-focused content to provide a video overview of Alibaba's gamified Sesame Credit system. The system is one of eight government-overseen pilot programs to establish a "social credit score" for Chinese citizens. [more inside]
Fresh from The Intercept (that fearless vanguard of journalism helmed by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras): disturbing documents exposing the unfathomable reach of the United Kingdom's GCHQ in its quest for total awareness of global internet traffic. A hundred billion user actions logged per day. A "Black Hole" database of 1.1 trillion logs. Frightening programs like KARMA POLICE, MEMORY HOLE, and MUTANT BROTH that correlate the kilo-crore corpus -- IP addresses, cookies, forum posts, search histories, emails, and passwords all compiled and cross-referenced into a real-time "diary" that gives penetrating insight into the relationships, beliefs, and desires of every web user on the planet. Internal documents suggest only widespread encryption can threaten the regime -- a movement the UK is determined to subdue (previously). [more inside]
Last week, a trio of Google researchers published a paper on a new artificial intelligence system dubbed FaceNet that it claims represents the most-accurate approach yet to recognizing human faces. FaceNet achieved nearly 100-percent accuracy on a popular facial-recognition dataset called Labeled Faces in the Wild. The paper.[pdf] (title song reference)
President Obama unveils new policy directives for the NSA. Full text of the speech. And for lols, here are some photos also from Slate.
Researchers at the University of York were able to identify people using the reflection of their faces in pupils of photographs of other people. Original paper
A couple made the mistake of breaking up on a NYC rooftop next to comedian Kyle Ayers, who promptly live-tweeted their breakup with the hashtag #roofbreakup, which went viral, prompting not only retweets, commentary, and memeification, but also a video re-enactment. However, some are considering the wider implications of this kind of phenomenon, pondering the ethics of the panopticon, live reportage on ordinary people, and even the nature of relationships itself in the context of the pair. [more inside]
Halfcat. The magic of Google Street view is that it has shown us a new animal. A good animal. Thank you, science magic. Bonus: Top Ten Google Street View animals.
Panopticon is a documentary which details how our concept of privacy is altered by the modern surveillance state.
Practical Ethics: Enlightened Surveillance?
Surrendering on surveillance might be the least bad option – of all likely civil liberty encroachments, this seemed the less damaging and hardest to resist. But that’s an overly defensive way of phrasing it – if ubiquitous surveillance and lack of privacy are the trends of the future, we shouldn’t just begrudgingly accept them, but demand that society gets the most possible out of them.[more inside]
This debt we pay to human guile; with torn and bleeding hearts we smile, and mouth with myriad subtleties.
We study techniques for identifying an anonymous author via linguistic stylometry, i.e., comparing the writing style against a corpus of texts of known authorship. We experimentally demonstrate the effectiveness of our techniques with as many as 100,000 candidate authors. [...] In over 20% of cases, our classiﬁers can correctly identify an anonymous author given a corpus of texts from 100,000 authors; in about 35% of cases the correct author is one of the top 20 guesses.On the Feasibility of Internet-Scale Author Identiﬁcation[pdf] is a draft of a paper for the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. [more inside]
Warfare: An advancing front - "The US is engaged in increasingly sophisticated warfare, fusing intelligence services and military specialists" [more inside]
I'd like to welcome you all lords and ladies, gentlemen, ladies, time-ladies, time-lords, aliens and those of you in the cheap seats to a documentary produced and aired by WYES-TV New Orleans in 1986, focusing on Panopticon, the first US Doctor Who convention. (1, 2, 3) (MLYT, in authentic multi-copy VHS fuzz-o-vision!) [more inside]
Miami Police Set to Become First State in the US to Use Drones. As also discussed here on TPM, the new drones offer "unique hover and stare capability... advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) with real time video documentation." If things proceed to plan, this will represent the first use of such devices both in the US and outside of combat environments. The resemblance between these Honeywell-manufactured devices and the ubiquitous, menacing City Scanners that populate the dystopian landscape of the popular video game series Half-Life is striking.
“We want them to enjoy the level of celebrity attention that I usually get,” says George Clooney. “If you know your actions are going to be covered, you tend to behave much differently than when you operate in a vacuum.” —He’s talking about the “anti-genocide paparazzi” of the Satellite Sentinel Project, which has hired private satellites to monitor troop movements around Abyei during the upcoming Sudanese referendum in the hopes of preventing war crimes. Patrick Meier has some thoughts on whether this Panopticon approach might work, and if we could even tell.
Facebook Places is the latest creation of the Facebook team. Similar to Foursquare, it seeks to make it easier for people to share their location with their friends. Perhaps predictably, people are publicizing steps for how to disable it on your Facebook account. Over at Slate, writer Farhad Manjoo debates the impact Places might have on society. Ready, set, go!
The Panopticons are a series of 21st-century landmarks erected across East Lancashire, England, as symbols of the renaissance of the area (not to be confused with Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon).
Myanmar is apparently using photos sent to websites, television stations and other media to arrest protesters taking a cue from and praising(!) China's post-handling of Tienamen square in '89. Relations are mighty cozy between the two nations (according to the big one), but the words "vassal state" are starting to be bandied about.
The purpose of architecture is to shelter and enhance man's life on earth and to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence.
Panopticon : a type of prison, designed by a philosopher, that through a cunning scheme of probability, architecture and observation provides the 'sentiment of an invisible omniscience'.
Architectures of Control in Design. A blog examining product designs intended to restrict or enforce behavior. In the built environment, we see speed bumps and roundabouts with intentionally obscured visibility; in the digital environment, we see various species of DRM and trusted computing; and in other commerical products, we see car hoods only openable by licensed dealers, printer cartridges for only one sort of printer, and a set of shoes for children which detects the amount of steps they take in a day and translates that activity into the amount of TV they may watch. The control may be for economic reasons, for reasons of safety, or even simply to enforce social nicety - and for each of these reasons are the implications worth regarding . [via the excellent things]