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Face Value #26

  • Increasing use in Australia
  • Clearview faces probe
  • New surveillance map
  • Amazon, Google sued
Published every Thursday

The Conversation

Facial recognition technology is expanding rapidly across Australia. Are our laws keeping pace?

Facial recognition technology is increasingly being trialled and deployed around Australia. Queensland and Western Australia are reportedly already using real-time facial recognition through CCTV cameras.

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Harvard Medical School

More than Meets the Eye

The ability to recognize faces is a complex neurocognitive skill with important social implications. A disorder that impairs that ability, which, according to some estimates, affects more than 2 percent of the population, can lead to isolation and anxiety and impair personal and work relationships.

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Editor’s Note:

A related field to facial recognition technology is of course facial recognition in humans. Here researchers at Harvard explain their work on face blindness.

Biometric Update

The future of biometrics is in the palm of your hand

Artificial intelligence researchers and technology scholars are growing wary of facial recognition technology—and that’s a good thing. Over the past few months, public concern has been increasing over the privacy abuse and racial bias of facial recognition systems, prompting calls for tech giants like IBM, Amazon and Microsoft to stop selling this technology to customers—including law enforcement agencies.

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Controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI faces international probe

Clearview AI is being investigated by regulators in the UK and Australia over privacy issues related to its data scraping practices, the latest legal challenge facing the controversial startup.

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Here’s a Map of the Surveillance Tech Police Are Using to Track You

An abundance of reporting has confirmed that you’re not paranoid, Minority Report was nonfiction, and face paint isn’t just an art project. We hear about how law enforcement can match our faces with photos scraped from our social media profiles and monitor us through neighbors’ doorbells. The near-weekly updates send a shiver down our spine, and we file them away along with too many instances to rattle off in a blog post. Usually, it’s up to privacy advocates to track this constant surveillance take the violations to court.

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Editor’s Note:

A new surveillance tracking map has been released, highlighting the tech tools used by police in the US. Whitney Kimball analyzes the map and wonders where this tech is headed.

Coda Story

Russian opposition files lawsuit against Moscow’s use of facial recognition tech

Last November Felix Light reported that Russia is building one of the world’s largest facial recognition systems. He wrote about Moscow’s increasing use of facial recognition technology in policing, which raised fears among privacy advocates and tech experts that the city could exploit mass surveillance.

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Amazon, Google, Microsoft sued over photos in facial recognition database

The plaintiffs allege that the tech giants used people’s pictures obtained without permission to train their technologies.

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Detroit Free Press

Detroit Police Wrongfully Arrested Another Black Man Falsely Identified by Face Recognition

The high-profile case of a Black man wrongly arrested earlier this year wasn’t the first misidentification linked to controversial facial recognition technology used by Detroit Police, the Free Press has learned.

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Editor’s Note:

Readers of this newsletter will be aware that there was a recent wrongful arrest in the US due to the improper use of facial recognition technology. This article from the Free Press reports about another arrest that might also have taken place in a similar way.


Inside America’s Secretive $2 Billion Research Hub

Mitre Corp. runs some of the U.S. government’s most hush-hush science and tech labs. The cloak-and-dagger R&D shop might just be the most important organization you’ve never heard of.

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Facial recognition applied to social distancing, mask control

A facial recognition company has adapted its technology to detect compliance with Covid-19, giving it the ability to, among others, monitor social distancing and detect whether people are wearing a mask.

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