While digital feudalism is practiced by many Big Tech companies, Apple pioneered it and is its standard-bearer. The company rightly points out that the world is full of bandits who will steal your data and money and ruin your life, and it holds itself out as your protector.
Apple is a warlord whose fortress has thick walls and battlements bristling with the most ferocious infosec mercs money can buy.
Surrender your autonomy by moving to Apple’s fortress — where they choose your which apps and where you get repairs — and they’ll defend you.
This arrangement (which should really be…
More than a third of the global population of 7.8 billion people use Facebook. They post 350 million photos a day and no one seems to know (except Facebook) exactly how many overall posts Facebook sees per second (it has to be in the millions).
Now imagine human moderators standing before that tsunami of content, all 15,000 of them, spread across the globe, interpreting languages, nuances, cultural norms, political imperatives, and ideological nuances for content that crosses the line. It’s like a feather trying to hold back a hurricane.
One of China’s largest and most pervasive surveillance networks got its start in a small county about seven hours north of Shanghai.
In 2013, the local government in Pingyi County began installing tens of thousands of security cameras across urban and rural areas — more than 28,500 in total by 2016. Even the smallest villages had at least six security cameras installed, according to state media.
Those cameras weren’t just monitored by police and automated facial recognition algorithms. Through special TV boxes installed in their homes, local residents could watch live security footage and press a button to summon police…
After a Trump rally in Washington, D.C., escalated into a mob that breached the U.S. Capitol building and took control of congressional offices, activists and online information experts like Roxane Gay, Kara Swisher, and Danielle Citron called for Twitter to suspend President Trump’s account.
A suspension of the president’s Twitter account, they say, would prevent more violence from being incited. Even Alex Stamos, a former Facebook chief security officer, called for Facebook and Twitter to suspend the president’s accounts.
Hours after these initial calls for action, Twitter temporarily locked the president’s account, deleted three tweets…
In an April 2020 report on the security and privacy of 15 video calling apps, the Mozilla Foundation gave failing grades to three apps: Doxy, Houseparty, and Discord. I was one of the journalists who worked with the foundation to break the story.
It’s been months since the report came out, and both Doxy and Houseparty are still on the foundation’s fail list. But Discord, a voice, video, and text communication tool that’s popular with gamers and on the rise among other groups, is different. Within one day of the Mozilla report’s release, Mozilla announced that Discord had fixed its…
Earlier this week, India’s Ministry of Information Technology issued a press release banning 59 apps that the government says pose a “threat to sovereignty and integrity” of the nation. Although the press release does not call out any country by name, the fact that all the apps are Chinese leaves no doubt as to the target.
Pegged as one of tech’s ultimate “disruptors” in 2019 by CNBC, Yitu Technology is a surveillance giant in China. The company has raised $400 million in venture funding, including from American VC firm Sequoia Capital, and has installed its facial recognition technology in 1,500 Chinese banks.
Yitu is also involved in more controversial facial recognition implementations. The company built a feature into its facial recognition software that was specifically meant to detect Uighurs, China’s persecuted Muslim ethnic minority. As a result, the company has landed on the U.S. government’s “entity list,” which means Yitu cannot buy products from U.S. …
New research shows that an internet voting system being used in multiple states this year is vulnerable to hacking, and could allow attackers to alter votes without detection.
On Sunday, researchers published a report that details how votes in OmniBallot, a system made by Seattle-based Democracy Live, could be manipulated by malware on the voter’s computer, insiders working for Democracy Live, or external hackers. OmniBallot is currently used in Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. …
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Idemia, a French company specializing in facial, fingerprint, and iris recognition, just scored a new contract with the European Union that will include processing images attached to more than 400 million people’s identities. The company’s algorithms will verify the identity of EU residents who were born elsewhere and work for non-EU companies as they enter from external borders.
Idemia doesn’t have direct access to this data as an organization, and these aren’t contracts for live facial recognition for the surveillance of borders. …
It was the digital trail that gave away the Predator above Minneapolis.
At around 12 p.m. on May 29, journalist Jason Paladino noticed an unusual aircraft on an unusual flight pattern above Minneapolis. Paladino, an investigative reporter at the Project on Government Oversight, used open-source flight data to identify the machine as an unarmed Predator B drone, circling the sky above ongoing protests following the police murder of George Floyd.
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