Friday, June 22, 2018

Speeds things up by recognizing that you boarded a train and charging your account. No ticket needed. Also, no access to the train if the government flags you as unworthy.
Xin Wen reports:
The Beijing subway system plans to introduce bio-recognition technology at stations this year to improve transport efficiency and reduce costs, a senior manager said last week.
Two bio-recognition technologiesfacial recognition and palm touchare being considered, said Zhang Huabing, head of enterprise development for Beijing Subway, the operator of most lines in the city, during the International Metro Transit Exhibition in Beijing on Thursday.
Read more on China Daily.

Thomas J. Prohaska reports a follow-up to a situation I had mentioned on this site previously:
The New York Civil Liberties Union has asked New York State education officials to revoke funding for a project to install facial recognition software in Lockport schools.
The organization contends the Lockport school district’s plan endangers the rights of students and teachers.
In a letter Monday, the NYCLU asked the state Education Department to cancel its approval of the $2.75 million project.
“It is alarming that Lockport’s proposal for use of facial recognition technology was not subject to further scrutiny due to its privacy implications and other civil liberties concerns,” wrote John A. Curr III, NYCLU western region director, and Stefanie D. Coyle, education counsel, to Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.
Read more on Buffalo News.
[From the article:
… some 300 new surveillance cameras are to be installed in 10 Lockport City School District buildings, along with software that the vendor, SN Technologies of Canada, says will match the faces seen by the cameras to lists of criminals, sex offenders and other barred people. District officials have mentioned noncustodial parents and suspended or expelled students as others whose facial images could be included in the software.
… Tony Olivo of Orchard Park, the district's security consultant, listed by SN Technologies' website as a business partner, told The Buffalo News in May that the software will detect the presence of a person whose photo is in the database of banned individuals 99.97 percent of the time, [Baloney! Bob] if there are enough digital surveillance cameras to get an accurate image.
Facial recognition software doesn't always work. Studies have shown it works best on faces of white males, and doesn't work well on women, people of color or children.

Is a collection worse than the uncollected details? What if the intent isn’t innocent?
Sarah Taylor reports:
Sam Lavigne, who is reportedly an adjunct professor at New York University as well as a digital designer and developer, released a list of more than 1,500 Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees’ personal information on Wednesday.

What are the details?

In a since-removed blog post on Medium, “Lavigne wrote, ‘I’ve downloaded and made available the profiles of (almost) everyone on LinkedIn who works for ICE, 1,595 people in total. While I don’t have a precise idea of what should be done with this data set, I leave it here with the hope that researchers, journalists, and activists will find it useful.’
Read more on The Blaze. Most of the copies were reportedly removed, but this site does not know if copies are still floating around somewhere.
So if this was publicly available info – apparently voluntarily shared by people on LinkedIn, is this stalking or doxxing or anything wrong? What if you suspect that the list was created with the knowledge that some might use it to harass individuals?
Where is the First Amendment line here? Justin Shafer was prosecuted for much less.

“What happens in Vegas, is now available on the Internet”
Joe Cadillic writes:
Hotels like the Wynn Las Vegas and the Marriott are installing Amazon listening devices in every room.
Two years ago, Geek Wire revealed that the Wynn Las Vegas hotel installed Amazon Echo devices in all their rooms:
You may soon be able to ask that question when traveling to the Wynn Las Vegas hotel, which announced today that it will place Amazon’s Echo device — powered by the voice assistant Alexa — in all 4,748 hotel rooms. Wynn Resorts called it an “industry first.”
According to Amazon, hotel customers love being spied on.
Read more on MassPrivateI.

And so the pendulum swings yet again.
Exigent Circumstances: iOS 12’s USB Restricted Mode and Warrantless iPhone Access
Apple recently confirmed the introduction of a new feature called “USB Restricted Mode” in the latest version of the iPhone’s mobile operating system, iOS 12. If enabled in the user’s settings, USB Restricted Mode will disable data transfer from the iPhone over the Lightning cable once the phone has been locked for an hour unless the phone’s password is entered.
… law enforcement agents may try to use USB Restricted Mode’s narrow one-hour time window as justification for warrantless searches of iPhones they seize. The Fourth Amendment generally requires a warrant in order for a police search of someone’s property to be considered reasonable. But that requirement is rife with exceptions. One exception is the “exigent circumstances” doctrine. “‘[E]xigent circumstances,’ including the need to prevent the destruction of evidence, permit police officers to conduct an otherwise permissible search without first obtaining a warrant.” Kentucky v. King, 131 S. Ct. 1849, 1853-54 (2011).

I don’t suppose that “politics/politician free” is an option?
Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites Instead of Politicians
“..Facebook’s new screening policies to deter manipulation of political ads are creating their own problems. The company’s human reviewers and software algorithms are catching paid posts from legitimate news organizations that mention issues or candidates, while overlooking straightforwardly political posts from candidates and advocacy groups. Participants in ProPublica’s Facebook Political Ad Collector project have submitted 40 ads that should have carried disclaimers under the social network’s policy, but didn’t. Facebook may have underestimated the difficulty of distinguishing between political messages and political news coverage — and the consternation that failing to do so would stir among news organizations…”

(Related) It makes me wonder if they had some “online abuse, harassment, spam, and security” they wanted to hide.
Twitter ‘smytes’ customers
Twitter today announced it was acquiring the “trust and safety as a service” startup Smyte to help it better address issues related to online abuse, harassment, spam, and security on its platform. But it also decided to immediately shut down access to Smyte’s API without warning, leaving Smyte’s existing customers no time to transition to a new service provider.
The change left Smyte’s current customer base stranded, with production issues related to the safety of their own platforms.
… Customers got a phone call, and then – boom – the service was gone. Clients had multi-year contracts in some cases.

I starting to see some interesting/thoughtful coverage of these “rent by the ride” vehicles. Start with this nice overview.
Make Way for Little Vehicles
The public reaction to the arrival of dockless bikes and electric scooters in U.S. cities can be tracked in stages. The first stage, for many, was annoyance. Who were these grown men and women on candy-colored bikes and teeny kick-scooters speeding down the streets and sidewalks, menacing walkers and leaving their rented toys all over the place? Especially in San Francisco, where this whimsical new mobility mode has taken off, scooters have come to represent yet another example of tech industry entitlement, another way for a startup to move fast and break stuff.
… The second stage is epiphany, when the reluctant first-time user—out of curiosity or journalistic responsibility—actually tries a dockless bike or e-scooter and realizes that they are not only a visual counterpoint to the bulk and terror of cars, but a delightful and crazily practical alternative to them.
That leads to stage three, if it comes: mass adoption.
Call them Little Vehicles—not just bikes and scooters, but e-bikes, velomobiles, motorized skateboards, unicycles, “hoverboards,” and other small, battery-powered low-speed not-a-cars. Nearly all of them look silly, but if cities take them seriously, they could be a really, really big deal. Little Vehicles could significantly erode private car and ride-hail use, and play a key role in helping cities achieve their as of now unattainable environmental and road safety goals.
Getting to mass adoption will require Little Vehicles for all seasons, for all sorts of trips, and for all types of people.

Electric scooter-sharing moves into the fast lane
How fast is the electric scooter-sharing craze growing?
Fast enough to be declared a nuisance and kicked off the streets of San Francisco and a handful of others cities to allow local officials to mull regulations. And fast enough to draw big investments to allow nimble startups to reach billion-dollar valuations.
In the United States capital Washington, the electric two-wheelers have become a fixture on city bike paths, zipping along at speeds up to 25km per hour, sometimes veering onto sidewalks despite warnings to the contrary.
… Most systems charge US$1 to unlock the scooter and 15 cents per minute, so a 10-minute trip would cost US$2.50.

A recent student project was to design an App to replace physical ATMs. The App probably wouldn’t have this vulnerability.
Rats break into Indian ATM and chew up cash worth £13,300
Rats have nibbled through more than 1m rupees of banknotes after entering a cash machine in north-east India, police said.
The costly invasion in Assam state was only detected by bank officials after complained that the machine was faulty and had stopped dispensing cash, police in Tinsukia district said.

Disrupting education?
Job Training in the Digital Age: Learning to Do, Not Think
… We started as an education company and thought of what we were doing as a disruptive force against graduate education. The idea was that if you could decrease the time [for education] and enhance the relevancy of the skills you were teaching, you could dramatically increase the return on investment and get individuals to invest in their futures, as opposed to hoping that the government would subsidize loans. It allowed us to exist outside of the accrediting bodies and that whole incumbent system that was a lot like a taxi limousine commission.

Some free online short stories.
Summer Reading in JSTOR

For my niece, the guitar goddess.
GarageBand lessons are now free for aspiring musicians
GarageBand has long been a useful tool to record music, podcasts and more. Even better, the app is free to download and use on your Mac or iOS devices, making it easy to try. Recent updates have brought enhancements like a portal for free sound packs and a better drum sequencer (on mobile), along with Touch Bar support and realistic-sounding drummers on the desktop. Now, Apple is upgrading its music creation suite yet again, offering it's previously $5 artist piano and guitar lessons for free, along with more additions to its drummers, loops and sound effects.

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