Friday, August 30, 2013

"The Face Scan Arrives"

Homeland Security and the FBI are developing facial identification software. The author, Ginger McCall,  suggests two policies to restrict the use of such technologies.
First, facial-recognition databases should be populated only with images of known terrorists and convicted felons. Driver’s license photos and other images of “ordinary” people should never be included in a facial-recognition database without the knowledge and consent of the public.

Second, access to databases should be limited and monitored. Officers should be given access only after a court grants a warrant. The access should be tracked and audited. The authorities should have to publicly report what databases are being mined and provide aggregate numbers on how often they are used.
I approve of the second policy 100%, but I wonder whether having the faces of ordinary people on file would tend to make the database more effective in identifying criminals. In some areas, having tons of data give systems greater power; when Netflix knows that I like movies A, B, and C, and that several hundreds of people who like A, B, and C also like movie D, it's a good guess that I'd like D, too. Is there an analog to this in facial recognition?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Free preview of the PICT book now available

Monday, August 26, 2013

PICT book projected publication date now September 30

I am disappointed to announce that the publication date of our book has been pushed back another month. If I weren't monitoring Springer's Web page for the book, I wouldn't know about this myself. I have been given no explanation for the delay.

Ken Pimple

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"I Flirt and Tweet. Follow Me at #Socialbot."

"How Pay-Per-Gaze Advertising Could Work With Google Glass"

Pay-per-gaze - what a revolting concept.

"Facial Scanning Is Making Gains in Surveillance"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Children Lost in War Zones and Disasters Find Their Families With an App"

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"2 E-Mail Services Close and Destroy Data Rather Than Reveal Files"

Friday, August 9, 2013

"Searching Big Data for ‘Digital Smoke Signals’"

This article describes "the United Nations Global Pulse team — a tiny unit ... [with a focus on] harnessing technology in new ways — using data from social networks, blogs, cellphones and online commerce to transform economic development and humanitarian aid in poorer nations" as one example of "a growing collection of scientists at universities, companies and nonprofit groups have been given the label 'Big Data for development.'"
Research by Global Pulse and other groups, for example, has found that analyzing Twitter messages can give an early warning of a spike in unemployment, price rises and disease. Such “digital smoke signals of distress,” Mr. [Robert] Kirkpatrick [who leads Global Pulse] said, usually come months before official statistics — and in many developing countries today, there are no reliable statistics.
I shouldn't have been surprised by this; people who want to help people, just like people who want to make money, are innovative, hard working, and alert to new tools. I am pleased to learn of this movement.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"A Cheap Spying Tool With a High Creepy Factor"

Could it be coming to a location (uncomfortably) near you?