Episode 46

Facial Recognition, Surveillance Technology, and the Balance of Power


October 30th, 2020

58 mins 33 secs

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About this Episode

Doc Searls, Katherine Druckman, and Kyle Rankin talk about facial recognition and surveillance technology in the hands of individuals, and how that affects the balance of power.

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Episode Links

  • Activists Turn Facial Recognition Tools Against the Police - The New York Times — These activists say it has become relatively easy to build facial recognition tools thanks to off-the-shelf image recognition software that has been made available in recent years. In Portland, Mr. Howell used a Google-provided platform, TensorFlow, which helps people build machine-learning models.
  • Fawkes — The SAND Lab at University of Chicago has developed Fawkes1, an algorithm and software tool (running locally on your computer) that gives individuals the ability to limit how unknown third parties can track them by building facial recognition models out of their publicly available photos.
  • Mass Extraction - Upturn — To search phones, law enforcement agencies use mobile device forensic tools (MDFTs), a powerful technology that allows police to extract a full copy of data from a cellphone — all emails, texts, photos, location, app data, and more — which can then be programmatically searched. As one expert puts it, with the amount of sensitive information stored on smartphones today, the tools provide a “window into the soul.”
  • Doc Searls Weblog · About face — We know more than we can tell.
  • Vivian Maier Photographer | Official website of Vivian Maier | Vivian Maier Portfolios, Prints, Exhibitions, Books and documentary film
  • Welcome to the 21st Century: How To Plan For The Post-Covid Future - O'Reilly Media — So too, when we look back, we will understand that the 21st century truly began this year, when the COVID19 pandemic took hold. We are entering the century of being blindsided by things that we have been warned about for decades but never took seriously enough to prepare for, the century of lurching from crisis to crisis until, at last, we shake ourselves from the illusion that our world will go back to the comfortable way it was and begin the process of rebuilding our society from the ground up.

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