Wikipedia Exposed Media - WEM


5. Parliament Square    Public or Private

7. Sky Garden in the Walkie Talkie       Public or Private

3. Tower Bridge   Public or Private

8. Bishops Square, Spitalfields     Public or Private

Jim Williams, head of US-VISIT, former Secretary Tom Ridge and former Commissioner Robert Bonner launch US-VISIT in Atlanta, Georgia.

The privacy risks of unchecked facial-recognition technology
Opinion   March 22, 2019

Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times
By  Anna Lauren Hoffmann
Special to The Times

Facial-recognition technology is here. Facebook uses it to find you in photos. Instagram uses it to power those cute filters on your friends’ stories. You may even use it to unlock your iPhone.

Beyond these seemingly innocuous uses, however, are many more unsettling applications. Facial recognition technology is being deployed by law enforcement and security, covertly scanning everyone from pedestrians passing by street cameras to unsuspecting concertgoers. It’s also being leveraged to “read” personalities and emotions, incorporating those results into automated hiring systems or insurance rates. Soon, it will be deployed at security gates in major American airports. Thanks to a general absence of regulation, this consequential tech has marched virtually unabated into our everyday lives.

The Washington state Legislature this session took up what would have been a landmark bill to put a moratorium on the acquisition and use of facial recognition technology by government agencies. Drafted by the ACLU — and in line with other proposals around the country — this bill would have temporarily banned government use of facial recognition technology and given Washington voters a chance to stop, breathe, and have a serious and fair discussion about the role of pervasive surveillance technologies like facial recognition in our world.

But as the now-dead House Bill 1654 progressed through the Legislature, various interest groups gutted it and rolled back the moratorium entirely. Among those involved were law enforcement groups and tech behemoths like Amazon and Microsoft that stand to gain the most (and lose the least) from its implementation. Now, those same groups are pushing to include permissive provisions in a consumer data privacy bill, Senate Bill 5376, that would allow for public and private use of facial recognition without meaningful restrictions.

The dangers of facial recognition technology cannot be overstated. Prominent critics point to pernicious biases — especially against dark skin or young faces — that haven’t been adequately addressed. When tested, Amazon’s own “Rekognition” system falsely matched more than two dozen members of the United States Congress with criminal mug shots, including a disproportionate number of members of the Congressional Black Congress. Further work has shown how such systems confuse cultural markers of gender or sexuality (like makeup and hairstyles) with physiological ones, effectively “baking in” harmful stereotypes that limit their effectiveness across populations.

More importantly, facial recognition is not happening in a vacuum. It is plugging into existing surveillance structures that threaten millions of Americans daily, enabling the real-time monitoring of individuals by instantly linking faces up to the many information systems already available. One glance, and your face can be tied quickly to local law enforcement records, FBI files, DMV data, financial information, social media profiles, and more.

None of this is hypothetical. Many state and local police departments already have much of this access — they just need your face to supercharge it.

Worse, these structures are already marked by deep inequality. Surveilling Americans has always been a skewed affair, with certain groups bearing more of the burden than others — from persistent monitoring of religious minorities and communities of color to the invasive questioning heaped upon the poor to the systematic tracking of protesters exercising their rights to speech and assembly. Such inequality cannot be addressed by mere “tweaks” to the system. In fact, if facial recognition worked flawlessly, it would only make matters worse. It would simply “perfect” unfair and stifling patterns of targeting and abuse aimed at historically vulnerable populations.

Facial recognition is not a benign extension of existing surveillance practices — it’s rocket fuel. We should reject anything less than a moratorium. Passing watered-down and permissive versions of the bill now will only allow face recognition to penetrate deeper into our lives while unmaking any appetite we might have for regulation in the first place.

As a scholar of ethics and technology, the power facial recognition technology affords concerns me. As a mother raising a child against a backdrop of increased securitization and social instability, it terrifies and offends me.

And as residents of the state of Washington, we should demand legislation powerful enough to stand up to this threat.


Right to the city

The privatisation of cities' public spaces is escalating. It is time to take a stand
Bradley L Garrett
In the first of a series on the changing nature of urban space, academic geographer and gonzo urbanist Bradley L Garrett discusses ‘Pops’ – privately owned public spaces – and asks who our cities are really for
London’s public and private spaces - can you spot the difference?
Cities is supported by
@goblinmerchant - Tue 4 Aug 2015

 ”Despite multiple objections from politicians, the construction of 'Pops' is continuing to escalate and expand”
“When space is controlled, we tend to police ourselves, to monitor our behaviour and to limit our interactions”
“Direct action against the loss of public space would echo the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in 1932”

At a recent TEDx Southampton University event about public space in London, I suggested that the moment for direct action against the loss of public space is upon us – an action that would echo the mass trespass of Kinder Scout by the Rambler’s Association in 1932, described by Lord Roy Hattersley as “the most successful direct action in British history”. Taking action by finding and using public space sidesteps the thorny, and frankly depressing, issue of what has been lost. Instead, it focuses on what we can do.

The first hurdle, however, is that public space in London has not been mapped in any sort of systematic way. Oliver Dawkins, doing degree work at UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (Casa), created a “Pops Profiler” that enables us to see how this plays out in the Square Mile. Publicly available data on Open Street Maps (OSM) do not indicate a single open space that is explicitly designated as publicly accessible (though there are many where ownership is “unspecified”). This suggests that OSM users can’t tell which open spaces are public and which are private.

Last year, when I tried to walk a section of the Thames Path with Jack Shenker and Anna Minton, we found many underutilised parts of the trail – including one that a building security guard asked for identification to access. Hostile architecture intimidates people away from access, poor signage misdirects them. What I suggest in my TEDx talk is that we should start systematically mapping out and using these public spaces to raise awareness about what we have – before we lose it.

So that’s my plan. Along the way, in a series of articles for Guardian Cities, I intend to tackle overarching questions about where public spaces are, and what they are for. I am also interested in the ways that people subvert private space by undertaking “public” acts without permission, to create what Hakim Bey calls “temporary autonomous zones”. The deployment of the tent on Lexicon Tower is a good example of that.

As an ethnographer, I am keen to approach this project from the ground up, seeking out small acts and helping to organise events in public spaces. The fundamental question for me is one of visibility. If information about public space – where it is, what we can do in it – is not clear, then small acts can reveal what is and is not possible ... which we can then map. If you have a story you would like to share for inclusion in future pieces, please do get in touch.

Share your experience of how public space in cities is changing in the comments below, or by emailing

This article was amended on 6 August to clarify that accredited photojournalists (as opposed to all commercial photographers) do not require prior authorisation from the Greater London Authority to take photographs in Trafalgar Square, as detailed in the GLA byelaws.

Since you're here...

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting our independent, investigative reporting than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.

The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our journalism. This support enables us to keep working as we do – but we must maintain and build on it for every year to come. Support The Guardian from as little as €1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Since you're here...

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting our independent, investigative reporting than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.

The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our journalism. This support enables us to keep working as we do – but we must maintain and build on it for every year to come. 

Support The Guardian from as little as €1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you

Manuel Zelaya addresses his supporters after his ouster from office.

Concerns over technology, ethics as French politicians embrace facial recognition


 15 October 2019

France has seen several initiatives to encourage the use of facial recognition software – much to the chagrin of civil liberty groups.

The French interior ministry unveiled over the summer a smartphone app called Alicem, allowing people with a biometric passport or electronic residence permit to identify themselves on the Internet through facial recognition technology. France would be the first European country to offer such a service, which will be ready in November, according to Bloomberg. But there are technological as well as ethical questions
Cédric O, the Macron government’s minister for digital affairs, announced a plan to “supervise and assess” the possible uses of facial recognition on October 14, while calling for more testing of the technology to allow manufacturers to make their products more reliable and efficient.
In the eyes of privacy advocates, Alicem is the first small step towards a Chinese-style system, where facial recognition is ubiquitous. Even the official watchdog, the National Commission on IT and Civil Liberties, has expressed strong reservations about this app, which raises questions about how biometric data will be collected and used.
Pressure groups have denounced what they see as a situation in which politicians are keen to use facial recognition technology without taking into account its potential pitfalls. For instance, Valérie Pécresse, the centre-right head of the Paris region, advocated in February the use of such technology to “fight against the terrorist threat”. Meanwhile police forces want to use algorithms to quickly identity people in huge databases such as the file of wanted people, Le Monde reports.

Technology ‘improved a lot over past two years’
But aside from ethical concerns the current craze for facial recognition may also be technologically premature. In 2017, the Metropolitan Police tested such software at London’s Notting Hill carnival. It was a resounding failure: the machine was wrong on 35 occasions – even resulting in the arrest of an innocent person.
Nevertheless, that was two years ago, and the capabilities of facial recognition software has “improved a lot in the meantime”, Josh Davis, an expert on the technology at the University of Greenwich in London, told FRANCE 24.
In France, experts argue that facial recognition should be at least 80 percent effective before it can be used: “We’re not there yet; we have to do more experiments,” one police officer told Le Monde.
However, even this figure has to be taken with a pinch of salt. “80 percent is not good enough,” Jean-Luc Dugelay, a special in image processing at the Eurocom engineering college near Paris, told FRANCE 24. He gave the example of airports, where tens of thousands of people would go through a facial recognition security system. If it were just 80 percent reliable, that would create thousands of cases of the technology either misidentifying innocent people or letting security threats go through.
Facial recognition technology only works well “under certain conditions”, Dugelay continued. That is to say that if the lighting, use of makeup and person’s position in relationship to the camera are similar to the image its used against, it is hard to trick the algorithms.
But it is more difficult for the technology to make the comparison between photos in a file and images of anyone who is distant from the camera in a poorly lit place or who has part of their face hidden. “As things stand, most facial recognition programmes are struggling when the photo used for identification is more than six years old,” Davis said.
Furthermore, facial recognition algorithms have to draw on a database of images in order to be effective. Millions of faces have to be fed into the machine for it be able to accurately distinguish facial features. The sample must also be representative of all skin colours and all different shapes of people’s faces and eyes.
With regard to the size of their databases, European countries “lag behind the USA and Asia, which have far bigger databases”. European law also places far greater restrictions on the use of such images than there are in China, for example.
Meanwhile France’s national gendarmerie pointed out in a 2016 report that there are dangerous implications for computer security when it comes to building biometric files.
“The protection of facial recognition systems against computer viruses is a major issue because, whereas PIN or credit card numbers stolen by fraudsters can easily be changed, one can imagine what kind of problems criminals can cause with stolen facial images,” the report said.
Cybercriminals could, for example, replace the face of a terrorist on a blacklist with that of an ordinary, innocent person.
This article was adapted from the original in French

Here’s who owns a record $21.21 trillion of U.S. debt  Here’s who owns a record $21.21 trillion of U.S. debt 
By Jeffry Bartash - Published: Aug 23, 2018  

Americans own 70% of U.S. debt, but China, Japan loom large

Who owns the huge and growing U.S. national debt? By and large, Americans.

Some 70% of the national debt is owned by domestic government, institutions investors and the Federal Reserve. A shade under 30% is owned by foreign entities, according to the latest information from the U.S. Treasury.

The nation’s debt climbed to a record $21.21 trillion at the end of June, a 6.9% increase from a year earlier.
American institutions such as private and state pension funds as well as individual investors were the biggest holders. They owned $6.89 trillion in debt and absorbed about four-fifths of the increase over the past year.

Opinion: Why the economy’s strength won’t help Republicans in November

Foreigners, led by the Chinese and Japanese, owned $6.21 trillion. Those two countries have cut their stakes since 2015, but each country still owns more than $1 trillion worth of Treasury bonds and notes.

The Chinese government or Chinese investors likely own even more U.S. debt purchased through entities in other countries such as Hong Kong, Luxembourg or the Cayman Islands, all of which are havens for tax shelters.

Notably, Russia has slashed its Treasury holdings to a mere $15 billion from a peak of $153 billion in mid-2013 amid worsening tensions with the U.S.
So far there’s little evidence that other countries will follow suit to strike back at the U.S. amid ongoing trade disputes. Many need or want Treasury bonds and notes as a safe place to park their savings.

Read: Sky is clear for sunny U.S. economy, but are clouds forming?

The U.S. government, for its part, owned $5.73 trillion in debt, mostly via Social Security and federal pension funds.
The Federal Reserve owned $2.38 trillion in debt, but it trimmed its holdings by $85 billion since June 2017. The Fed last year began to partly sell off the vast hoard of Treasurys it snapped up to lower interest rates and flood the economy with cash during and immediately after the Great Recession.

GOV accidently releases mind control docs.  Those tinfoil hat wearing mofo's were not too far off the mark... by 6th POC
Apr 19 2018  

The government has all kinds of secrets, but only a true conspiracy theorist might suspect that "psycho-electric weapons" are one of them. So it's odd that MuckRock, a news organization that specializes in filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with state and federal government bodies, received mysterious documents about mind control, seemingly by accident. More in depth: 

Government Accidentally Releases Documents on "Psycho-Electric" Weapons
They were mistakenly sent to a journalist.[image] By David Grossman - Apr 19, 2018
Nexus Magazine
The government has all kinds of secrets, but only a true conspiracy theorist might suspect that "psycho-electric weapons" are one of them. So it's odd that MuckRock, a news organization that specializes in filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with state and federal government bodies, received mysterious documents about mind control, seemingly by accident.
Journalist Curtis Waltman was writing to the Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC), a joint operation between Washington State law enforcement and the federal government to request information about Antifa and white supremacist groups. He got responses to the questions he asked, but also a file titled “EM effects on human” Inside, where documents like this:Documents held by the Washington State Fusion Center.
Psycho-Electronic Weapon Effects
Remote mind control AND remote brain mapping.
Human brain waves as described in documents held by the government for some reason.

Nexus was, and still is, an Australian magazine focused on the unexplained, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and the like. It covered Akewi's case in 1996 but was unable to get Akewi to discuss it further: "I tried ringing Mr Akwei to find out what was the out-come, if any, of his court case. He firmly but kindly told me that he could not speak about anything to do with the case over the phone and hung up," reads an editor's note at the end of the article.
The federal government has absolutely experimented with mind control in a variety of methods, but the documents here do not appear to be official.
Waltman had no idea why these documents were included in his request and isn't sure why the government is holding them. The WSFC did not respond to requests for more information.
Source: MuckRock

The Usage and Dangers of Facial Recognition Technologyby Pedro Maia

by Pedro Maia

The neighborhood of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, sometimes referred to as “the little princess of the sea,” is one of the most famous places in the world. This international destination 

SOCIETY, TECH- September 12, 2019

The neighborhood of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, sometimes referred to as “the little princess of the sea,” is one of the most famous places in the world. This international destination is known for its natural landscape with beaches, a beautiful coastline, and famous bossa-nova songs portraying it as a dream-like place. However, Copacabana has recently drawn international attention to itself in a less glamorous way. In preparation for the 2019 Carnival, Rio’s government decided to deploy facial recognition cameras around the neighborhood. Without any prior dialogue with civilians, 28 cameras were installed in the neighborhood in order to “fight crime”.
Simultaneously, other Brazilian states deployed the same kind of technology. Salvador, which is located in Bahia, installed over 400 facial recognition cameras in an attempt to control violence during the 2019 Carnival. Campinas, located in São Paulo, deployed 30 smart cameras with facial recognition features as part of its Safe Cities program. In all three cases, the Chinese company Huawei was involved. Huawei’s artificial intelligence (A.I.) was used to identify and detect specific features on a person’s face such as the distance between their eyes, the shape of their nose, and other distinguishable facial characteristics in order to help the police identify troublemakers.
The 2019 Carnival was not the first time that this type of technology had been implemented in the country. Since 2011, there have been at least 47 accounts of public authorities using facial biometric data in partnership with private companies. In these cases, the technology was mainly implemented on public transportation, but also in public security, border control and education, as shown in the image below. In addition, this technology is already present in 30 cities. By using facial recognition, Brazil joins the international group of countries deploying this kind of technology, including China, England, India, Australia, Germany, Argentina and the United States.
[A break down of where facial recognition technology is being implemented in Brazil.]

A break down of where facial recognition technology is being implemented in Brazil.
In some of these cases, the implementation of facial recognition software was followed by public consultations and discussions between multiple stakeholders who were involved in the deployment of this new technology and its regulation. In England for instance, the mayor of London assembled an independent panel to provide in-depth discussion regarding the ethical issues surrounding the usage of facial recognition in policing contexts. In this specific situation, their final report emphasized that the overall benefits to public safety must be great enough to outweigh any potential public distrust in the technology. They also decided that the deployment must be assessed and authorized to ensure that it is both necessary and proportionate for a specific policing purpose and that operators should be trained to understand the risks associated with the use of the software.
Another example is in the U.S, specifically in San Francisco, Oklahoma City, and Sommerville, where the local government decided to ban facial recognition use by city departments, including the police. These decisions were made after a period of debates and discussions on open fora, including locations such as the Board of Supervisors and the City Council. The decisions made in these three cities converge on the recognition that this technology may rely on biased datasets with significant levels of inaccuracy, especially when considering transgender people, people of color and other marginalized populations. They also agreed on the lack of standards regarding the usage and sharing of this technology, the invasive nature of this tool, and its potential for causing the persecution of minorities.

In this sense, both the English and U.S. cases illustrate possible ways to deal with the implementation of this technology while still considering the principles of transparency and democratic governance. However, in Brazil, the situation is different. Much more similarly to what is happening in Germany, China, and India, where this kind of technology is being deployed in an opaque way, the implementation of facial recognition systems in Brazil is growing in an undisputed, unquestioned, and unchecked manner.
While the number of cities using facial biometric surveillance systems grows by the minute, the number of public audiences or public consultations on facial recognition has not followed the same trend. As the gap between implementation and discussion expands, problems arise and governments don’t know how to deal with possible privacy concerns, mistakes, and false positives associated with the system.
There have already been 2 cases of false positives in Rio de Janeiro. In one of these cases, the system mistook a woman for a criminal who was already in jail. This incident shows not only how this technology is susceptible to mistakes, but it also raises concerns surrounding the system’s underlying databases which seem to be outdated or inaccurate. Additionally, there is no public information regarding the police protocols related to facial recognition, where and how the data is stored, or who has access to this kind of information. This situation raises some serious questions about social and political implications of the software and unintended consequences of facial recognition use.

Nevertheless, there are some positive uses of this technology that should be mentioned. For instance, Japan has been deploying this technology to fight gambling addiction and India is using a similar device with a facial recognition feature to find missing children. There are also positive practices coming from private companies. Listerine, for instance, developed an application that detects smiles and alerts blind people when someone is showing happiness or smiling at them. Moving out from the human realm and towards the animal one, Finding Rover is deploying facial recognition to find lost pets and return them to their homes.
This article is not a manifesto against this technology because there have been some positive applications of facial recognition software. However, it is a way of conveying the possible bad and dangerous uses of the technology and the necessity of an open, transparent, and democratic debate centering upon facial recognition. Setting good practices and curbing intrusive and violating uses of this technology is the only way to deal with the current evolution of the tech industry.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

About the Author / Pedro Maia: Pedro Maia is a PhD student at The Graduate Institute in Geneva. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations and has experience with research on public security, violence in Latin America, and technology applied to policing activities.

 The proposed redevelopment of Battersea Power Station will include yet more privately owned public space. Photograph: LDA Design
The Pops Profiler, by Casa student Oliver Dawkins, shows privately owned public space in London’s Square Mile

Obama and Biden looking stressed during the 2011 debt ceiling standoff

Real-time facial recognition could be a revolutionary policing tool. It's also terrifying.

Facial Recognition Tech: 10 Views On Risks And Rewards
Forbes Technology Council CommunityVoice

POST WRITTEN BY Forbes Technology Council
Successful CIOs, CTOs & executives from Forbes Technology Council offer firsthand insights on tech & business.

The technology to identify strangers is an ongoing process. Woodcuttings and paper flyers, for instance, were eventually replaced by more accurate hand drawings, followed by photos and then video images. Until the last few decades, linking names and faces was a sometimes lengthy process, ranging from looking through books of mug shots linked to police records, talking with sketch artists or simply people saying, "I know them. This is their name, and here's how I know."
Options for establishing identity has advanced beyond this, though. While facial recognition software isn't new, the ease of use and wider access is, creating new opportunities — and potential issues. When used ethically and accurately, for instance, this technology can increase public safety. However, there are also serious risks, including the potential for data misuse, improved techniques for scammers and a loss of privacy.
To find out what broader use of this technology could mean, 10 members of Forbes Technology Council weighed in on the societal impact of using facial recognition for law enforcement. Here's what they said:

1. AI Will Need Checks And Balances In Place 
As the world becomes more connected and AI is becoming part of our daily life, we need to make sure that there are checks and balances in place to make sure that this technology is used for good. - Tal Frankfurt, Cloud for Good

2. Ethical Use Can Improve Security, But It Also Opens The Door For Fraud 
Facial recognition plugged right into a headset could leave people vulnerable to privacy violations and "Hey, I know you!" types of scams. People should stay very alert. But if it is used ethically, this software could improve security systems and even experiences like private club members. - Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales

3. Technology Isn't Foolproof And Still Needs A Human Judge 
Use of technology in policing with human assistance is a great way to combat crime. Using facial recognition allows rapid assessment of a person's criminal record, if any. Recognition software is a detriment when it makes mistakes. Human judgment with assistance from facial recognition is better. Also, humans' decision making can have biases, so training people to make better decisions is key. - Naresh Soni, Tsunami ARVR
Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?

4. Fear And Potential Mistakes May Outweigh The Safety Benefits 
Like the movie "Minority Report," this technology can create a safer society, but it can also breed fear that it won't work correctly and the wrong people will get caught up in it. Plus, the sense is that technology doesn't make mistakes like people, so it will become even more difficult should technology make a mistake. - Chalmers Brown, Due

5. Crime Is Likely To Worsen, Not Improve 
While it's great to catch criminals, tech that can identify people from crowds is a privacy invasion in every other context. When you can track people in public spaces, unfortunately, crime opportunities increase. Break-ins when a person is away, pretending to know a person, stalking, and identity theft all get easier. The stronger our tech, the more damage an individual with access can cause. - David Murray,

6. This Technology Will Ultimately Do Good And Move Society Forward 
Unusual new technologies can seem dystopian. Let's remember the advancements in the quality of life that have been brought to us by technology throughout the ages. This new tech could stop human trafficking, identify missing children or just get rid of the need for tickets at the ballgame. Abuses may happen — but on the grand scale, technology has always helped society move forward. - Jason Gill, The HOTH

7. Privacy Is A Myth Anyway 

Privacy is a myth created before the millennial generation. Not sharing everything is foreign. Recognition of the myth is the first step in addressing technology used to capture criminals. In doing so, innocent people are documented. The difference is that China is applying this information. If you have a credit card, mobile phone, internet connection or bank account, you don't have privacy. - Joe McCann, NodeSource Inc.

8. All Anonymity Will Disappear 
Facial recognition leveraged for law enforcement and counter-terrorism is something most people would support. But the same technology can be used for unapproved surveillance and marketing. The technology can identify you in public and track your location and activities. If you've just visited a protest rally, is that something your employer should have access to? Where does privacy begin and end? - Frank Palermo, Virtusa

9. The Use Of Facial Recognition Technology Should Be Democratized 
I'm terrible with names. I want facial recognition to help, and thought Google would add it to Glass. But they banned it. Meanwhile, governments (China) and big tech companies (Facebook) refined it. What we need is wide access. Then citizens can hold governments and companies accountable. For example, by recognizing politicians and CEOs in public and recording misbehavior. - Simon Smith, BenchSci

10. We Must Consider Who Is Using All That Stored Personal Information 
Technology can and has been a great benefit to society, giving the perception of increased security. I won't argue that using facial recognition technology can help identify criminals quicker, but what we fail to think about is that all of the facial geometries collected to do the facial recognition is all about who and what you are. If you are being scanned, your information is being used and stored. - Michael Hoyt, Life Cycle Engineering, Inc. 

American democracy is doomed By Matthew  Oct 8, 2015 

More on the looming collapse
This is how the American system of government will die
America’s political system isn’t going to collapse. It’s going to muddle through.
 America’s constitutional democracy is going to collapse.

Some day — not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies — there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we’re lucky, it won’t be violent. If we’re very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we’re less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen.
Very few people agree with me about this, of course. When I say it, people generally think that I’m kidding. America is the richest, most successful country on earth. The basic structure of its government has survived contested elections and Great Depressions and civil rights movements and world wars and terrorist attacks and global pandemics. People figure that whatever political problems it might have will prove transient — just as happened before.
But voiced in another register, my outlandish thesis is actually the conventional wisdom in the United States. Back when George W. Bush was president and I was working at a liberal magazine, there was a very serious discussion in an editorial meeting about the fact that the United States was now exhibiting 11 of the 13 telltale signs of a fascist dictatorship. The idea that Bush was shredding the Constitution and trampling on congressional prerogatives was commonplace. When Obama took office, the partisan valence of the complaints shifted, but their basic tenor didn’t. Conservative pundits — not the craziest, zaniest ones on talk radio, but the most serious and well-regarded — compare Obama’s immigration moves to the actions of a Latin-American military dictator.

In the center, of course, it’s an article of faith that when right and left talk like this they’re simply both wrong. These are nothing but the overheated squeals of partisans and ideologues.

At the same time, when the center isn’t complaining about the excessively vociferous complaints of the out-party of the day, it tends to be in full-blown panic about the state of American politics. And yet despite the popularity of alarmist rhetoric, few people act like they’re actually alarmed. Accusations that Barack Obama or John Boehner or any other individual politician is failing as a leader are flung, and then abandoned when the next issue arises. In practice, the feeling seems to be that salvation is just one election away. Hillary Clinton even told Kara Swisher that her agenda as a presidential candidate would be to end partisan gridlock.

It’s not going to work.

The breakdown of American constitutional democracy is a contrarian view. But it’s nothing more than the view that rather than everyone being wrong about the state of American politics, maybe everyone is right. Maybe Bush and Obama are dangerously exceeding norms of executive authority. Maybe legislative compromise really has broken down in an alarming way. And maybe the reason these complaints persist across different administrations and congresses led by members of different parties is that American politics is breaking down.

The perils of presidential democracy

To understand the looming crisis in American politics, it’s useful to think about Germany, Japan, Italy, and Austria. These are countries that were defeated by American military forces during the Second World War and given constitutions written by local leaders operating in close collaboration with occupation authorities. It’s striking that even though the US Constitution is treated as a sacred text in America’s political culture, we did not push any of these countries to adopt our basic framework of government.

This wasn’t an oversight.

In a 1990 essay, the late Yale political scientist Juan Linz observed that “aside from the United States, only Chile has managed a century and a half of relatively undisturbed constitutional continuity under presidential government — but Chilean democracy broke down in the 1970s.”

The exact reasons for why are disputed among scholars — in part because you can’t just randomly assign different governments to people. One issue here is that American-style systems are much more common in the Western Hemisphere and parliamentary ones are more common elsewhere. Latin-American countries have experienced many episodes of democratic breakdown, so distinguishing Latin-American cultural attributes from institutional characteristics is difficult.

Still, Linz offered several reasons why presidential systems are so prone to crisis. One particularly important one is the nature of the checks and balances system. Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, “there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved.” The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: “the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate.”

In a parliamentary system, deadlocks get resolved. A prime minister who lacks the backing of a parliamentary majority is replaced by a new one who has it. If no such majority can be found, a new election is held and the new parliament picks a leader. It can get a little messy for a period of weeks, but there’s simply no possibility of a years-long spell in which the legislative and executive branches glare at each other unproductively.

But within a presidential system, gridlock leads to a constitutional trainwreck with no resolution. The United States’s recent government shutdowns and executive action on immigration are small examples of the kind of dynamic that’s led to coups and putsches abroad.

There was, of course, the American exception to the problems of the checks-and-balances system. Linz observed on this score: “The uniquely diffuse character of American political parties — which, ironically, exasperates many American political scientists and leads them to call for responsible, ideologically disciplined parties — has something to do with it.”

For much of American history, in other words, US political parties have been relatively un-ideological and un-disciplined. They are named after vague ideas rather than specific ideologies, and neither presidents nor legislative leaders can compel back-bench members to vote with them. This has often been bemoaned (famously, a 1950 report by the American Political Science Association called for a more rigorous party system) as the source of problems. It’s also, according to Linz, helped avert the kind of zero-sum conflicts that have torn other structurally similar democracies apart. But that diffuse party structure is also a thing of the past.

A short history of American polarization

American politics is much more polarized today than it was 25 or 50 years ago. But not everyone buys the theory that today’s era of party polarization spells big trouble. Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein argues that it’s “not some sort of freakish un-American phenomenon.” The real exception, Bernstein says, the middle of the twentieth century, when the parties weren’t polarized. Polarization is the norm, he says, and he’s right.

A long line of research starting with Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, political scientists at the University of Georgia and New York University respectively, records all congressional votes and then analyzes the types of political coalitions that emerge. This system, known as DW-NOMINATE, lets you measure the degree of party polarization precisely. When Democrats all vote one way and Republicans all vote the other way, politics is highly polarized. When votes frequently scramble the parties, it is less polarized.

What this research shows is that the steady march toward polarization over the past generation is a return to a situation that existed during an earlier period.

The story here, like so much in American politics, is race. Southern Democrats had a range of views on non-racial issues but monolithically supported white supremacy and held together in the Democratic Party to maximize their leverage in Congress. The result was that the Democratic Party included Northern liberals who supported civil rights and Southern conservatives who supported segregation. So polarization temporarily went away in Congress. But as segregation receded as an issue in American politics, the parties slowly but surely sorted themselves by ideology, and so today, there is no Republican in Congress more liberal than the most conservative Democrat, or vice-versa. American politics has re-polarized. According to Bernstein, this change may be discomfiting but it’s nothing to worry about. American politics has been polarized before and it was fine.

What this story of reversion misses is the crucial role of ideology. Polarization and ideology are clearly related concepts, but simply counting congressional votes doesn’t really tell us what those votes were about. Georgetown University Professor Hans Noel greatly improved our understanding of the relationship between the two by extending the DW-NOMINATE methodology to people who aren’t elected officials.

For his book Political Parties and Political Ideologies in America, Noel constructs ideological space scores for writers and political pundits — people who address the same issues as elected officials but who are not serving on Capitol Hill.

What he found is that while Gilded Age members of Congress voted in a highly partisan way, their voting didn’t reflect any polarization of ideas evident in broader American society. As Charles Calhoun, a leading scholar of Gilded Age politics has written, the main concern of actual members of Congress was not policy, but “patronage power, the privilege of placing one’s political friends and supporters in in subordinate offices.” In other words, a member of Congress would get to distribute federal jobs and contracts to his supporters and in exchange the beneficiaries of his patronage would support his party’s ticket at all levels. For this reason, the obscure-sounding job of customs collector of the Port of New York was important enough in the 1870s that Chester A. Arthur leapt from it to the Vice Presidency. The first real filibuster was held over Whig efforts to assign a printing contract to friendly companies.

Even though party discipline was strict in these days, it was not really about much beyond who held the spoils.

Over the course of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s the rise of progressive and liberal ideology and the formation of a conservative ideology to counter it upended this system. So much so that by the 1970s it had become common to observe that American political parties were in decline. University of California Irvine political scientist Martin Wattenberg achieved the apogee of this literature with his 1985 classic The Decline of Political Parties in America (since updated in five subsequent editions), citing the waning influence of party professionals, the rise of single-issue pressure groups, and an attendant fall in voter turnout. But as historian Sam Rosenfeld writes, under-the-hood changes in the process for selecting presidential nominees and Congressional leaders “ultimately helped to create a newly receptive institutional setting for issue-based activism within the parties,” leading to the parties’ reconstitution around modern ideological lines.

Today’s partisan polarization, in other words, is not the same as its Gilded Age predecessor. The old polarization was about control over jobs and money — the kind of thing where split-the-difference compromises are easiest. That polarization was eventually undermined by a new politics built around principles. For decades, politicians found themselves cross-pressured between their commitments to a national party network and to various ideological causes. Today, however, politicians are no longer cross-pressured. We have strong Gilded Age-style parties, but organized around questions of principle rather than questions of patronage.

You can take this theory too far, of course. There have been moments in American life where questions of principle sharply split American politics. We had ideological parties (or at least one) in the 1850s when the anti-slavery Republican Party rose to the fore. But the example is not enormously encouraging — the constitutional process collapsed and we had four years of civil war, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and then, even after a Union victory, white supremacy was re-established in the South through a two-decade campaign of terrorism.

The Honduras scenario

Not all breakdowns of constitutional processes are as violent as the American Civil War.

For a less catastrophic, more realistic view of the kind of thing that could happen here, it’s useful to look to some less-familiar but more-recent events in Honduras. Back in late 2008, left-wing President Manuel Zelaya was locked in persistent conflict with an opposition-controlled congress. With neither side able to prevail within the context of the existing system, Zelaya decided he wanted to add a fourth question to the upcoming November 2009 election. In addition to voting for president, congress, and municipal offices, Zelaya would ask the voters whether they wanted to hold a constituent assembly to re-write the constitution — presumably to allow him to run for re-election.

Unfortunately for Zelaya, Honduras’ existing constitution made no provision for re-writing the constitution by plebiscite. Consequently, in March 2009, Zelaya determined that the solution was to hold another plebiscite. On June 28, Hondurans would go to the polls to vote in a non-binding referendum on whether the constitutional question should be added to the November ballot. This, he hoped, would give him the democratic legitimacy needed to go forward with the constitutional revision.

Zelaya’s opponents in congress, evidently concerned that the president would win, sued. They won a court case enjoining the president against holding the referendum. Zelaya pressed ahead regardless.

In Honduras, the military typically assists with election logistics, so Zelaya ordered the army to begin distributing ballots. General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, the chief the Honduran military, refused to comply. On May 24, Zelaya fired the general. Several other commanders quit in solidarity. The Supreme Court ruled that the dismissal was unconstitutional. Throughout June, the constitutional process essentially broke down with protests and counter-protests dominating the capital. On June 28, the military deposed Zelaya in a coup, retroactively justified by a back-dated Supreme Court ruling. Roberto Micheletti, the president of the National Congress, was installed in his stead.

The military quickly handed power over to a new group of civilians. The coup was legitimated by the National Congress and the Supreme Court. And its perpetrators argued with some justification that there was no constitutional alternative. Zelaya was trying to circumvent the rules, so they had no choice but to circumvent them too in response.

The deadlock was ultimately resolved by force rather than legal procedure. Zelaya did not have enough support to amend the constitution through the existing process, and Honduras’ constitutional system created no legal mechanism for impeachment of a president. The Supreme Court arbitrarily ruled that Zelaya’s effort to circumvent the amendment process via referendum was illegal, while Congress’ effort to circumvent the impeachment process was fine. There were quite a few injuries as protesters clashed with security forces, but no massive bloodshed.

Honduras’ coup is worth paying attention to not because the exact same scenario is likely to play out in the United States, but because it reveals how genuinely difficult it is to maintain constitutional politics in a presidential system.

Presidents feel themselves to be accountable for steering the nation. And all the evidence indicates that the public and the media do in fact hold presidents broadly accountable for national outcomes. Throughout the United States’ 2012 presidential campaign, for example, it was universally assumed that good news for the American economy (or for America more broadly) would redound to Barack Obama’s benefit even though control of policymaking was split between the White House and a GOP-dominated Congress.

As Obama put it in a November 2014 press conference, “people are going to ask for greater accountability and more responsibility from me than from anybody else in this town.” The problem is the president is not only held accountable for things that are in part outside his ability to control (gas prices, Ebola, or shark attacks) but for things that are actually under the control of his political adversaries. “I’m the guy who’s elected by everybody,” concluded Obama, “and they want me to push hard to close some of these divisions, break through some of the gridlock, and get stuff done.” If you’re going to be held accountable for outcomes, in other words, then you’d better act.

In a parliamentary system, this is simply democratic accountability in action. A head of government who strongly believes the nation needs actions the legislature won’t approve can dissolve parliament and hold a new election to decide the issue. In Honduras’ presidential system, the very act of trying to schedule a vote to resolve the deadlock was itself unconstitutional.

Constitutional hardball

The United States, of course, is a long way from a coup. What we are witnessing instead is a rise in what Georgetown University Professor Mark Tushnet labeled “constitutional hardball” in a 2004 article.

Constitutional hardball describes legal and political moves “that are without much question within the bounds of existing constitutional doctrine and practice but that are nonetheless in some tension with existing pre-constitutional understanding.” In other words, moves that do not violate the letter of the law, but do trample on our conventional understanding of how it is supposed to work.

Tushnet’s article is vital reading today in part because the different partisan context in which it was written can help shock people out of their entrenched positions. His lead example is from the George W. Bush administration, when liberals were concerned about the president taking power away from Congress. Tushnet describes the “strained” argument offered by Republican senators in 2005 that Democratic Party filibusters of Bush’s judicial nominees violated the constitution. At the time, of course, Democrats found the view that Republicans might simply ban the use of filibusters for this purpose outrageous. “The filibuster serves as a check on power,” said Harry Reid, “that preserves our limited government.” Joe Biden called the Republicans’ attempt to end the fillibuster “an example of the arrogance of power.”

But ultimately the hardball tactic for ending filibusters was used by Democrats in 2013 to halt Republican obstruction of Obama’s nominees. Republicans, Reid said, “have done everything they can to deny the fact that Obama had been elected and then reelected.” He argued he had no choice but to abandon a principle that just a few years ago he said was crucial to preserving American liberty. Meanwhile, Republicans who had supported the 2005 effort to weaken the filibuster executed a perfect flip-flop in the other direction.

Tushnet’s other example from the mid-2000s — Texas’ decision to redraw congressional district boundaries to advantage Republicans between censuses — seems almost adorably quaint by the standards of the Obama era.

From its very first months, Obama’s presidency has been marked by essentially nothing but constitutional hardball. During the Bush years, Democratic senators sporadically employed a variety of unusual delaying tactics to stymie his agenda. In 2009, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans retaliated by using tons of them, constantly. Suddenly filibustering went from something a Senate minority could do to something it did on pretty much all motions. George Washington University congressional scholar Sarah Binder observes that “leaders in the 1970s rarely felt compelled to file for cloture [to break filibusters], averaging fewer than one per month in some years” while in recent years Reid has filed over once per week.

As Jim Manley, a former aide to the Democratic Senate leadership, explained to The Atlantic, the obstruction not only prevented many of Obama’s more controversial measures from becoming law; it also drastically altered the process of even routine governance. 

 Say you want to break a filibuster. On Monday, you file cloture on a motion to proceed for a vote on Wednesday. Assuming you get it, your opponents are allowed 30 hours of debate post-cloture on the motion to proceed. That takes you to Friday, and doesn’t cover amendments. The following Monday you file cloture on the bill itself, vote Wednesday, then 30 more hours of debate, and suddenly two weeks have gone by, for something that’s not even controversial. 

As a political strategy, McConnell’s tactics were vindicated by the 2010 midterms, which showed that making the president look partisan, clumsy, and inept was a winning strategy.

Republicans in Congress subsequently moved beyond unusual acts of obstruction to an unprecedented use of the statutory debt ceiling into a vehicle for policymaking. Traditionally a bit of oddball American political theater immortalized in a funny West Wing scene, in 2011 the GOP threatened to provoke an unfathomable financial and constitutional crisis unless the Obama administration agreed to sweeping spending cuts. Again, there was nothing illegal about what Republicans in Congress did here — it was just, in its intent and its scope, unprecedented.

And it’s fairly clear that these actions, while consistent with Republican Party electoral success, have not exactly produced a well-respected legislature. Congressional approval ratings are so low — and have been for so long — that it’s become a subject of pollster humor. In 2013, Public Policy Polling found that congress was less popular than Genghis Khan, traffic jams, cockroaches, or Nickelback. In a less joking spirit, Gallup finds that the voters have less confidence in Congress than any other American institution, including big business, organized labor, banks, or television news.

As relations with Congress have worsened, the Obama administration has set about expanding executive authority over domestic policy to match Bush-era unilateralism in the national security domain. This came to the fore most publicly with Obama’s decision to protect millions of unauthorized migrants from deportation without congressional agreement.

As Vox’s Andrew Prokop has argued, the pattern is actually much broader. Obama’s handling of K-12 education policy is in some ways an even more paradigmatic example of constitutional hardball. The George W. Bush-era education law No Child Left Behind laid out penalties for state education systems that didn’t meet certain, rather unrealistic, targets. The law’s authors assumed that when the law came up for reauthorization, the targets would be changed. In case Congress didn’t act in time, the Secretary of Education also had the authority to issue waivers of the penalties. Since Congress no longer really functions, there has been no reauthorization of the law. So the Obama administration has issued waivers — but only to states that implement policy changes ordered by the Department of Education.

University of Chicago political scientist William Howell told Prokop this was a “new frontier” for executive policymaking. Yale Law School’s Bruce Ackerman says Obama used “a waiver provision for modest experiments and transformed it into a platform for the redesign of the statute.” Obama’s actions are clearly legal — but they are just as clearly a decision to creatively exploit the letter of the law to vastly expand the scope of executive power over the law.

Those who like these actions on their merits comfort themselves with the thought that these uses of executive power are pretty clearly allowed by the terms of the existing laws. This is true as far as it goes. But it’s also the case that Obama (or some future president) could have his political opponents murdered on the streets of Washington and then issue pardons to the perpetrators. This would be considerably more legal than a Zelaya-style effort to use a plebiscite to circumvent congressional obstruction — just a lot more morally outrageous. In either case, however, the practical issue would be not so much what is legal, but what people, including the people with guns, would actually tolerate.

Raising the stakes

America’s escalating game of constitutional hardball isn’t caused by personal idiosyncratic failings of individual people. Obama has made his share of mistakes, but the fundamental causes of hardball politics are structural, not personal. Personality-minded journalists often argue that a warmer executive would do a better job of building bridges to congress. But as Dartmouth’s Brendan Nyhan points out, “Bill Clinton’s more successful outreach to his opponents didn’t keep him from getting impeached. Likewise, George W. Bush was more gregarious than Obama, but it didn’t make him any more popular among Democrats once the post-9/11 glow had worn off.”

There’s a reason for this, and it gets to the core of who really runs American politics.

In a democratic society, elected officials are most directly accountable to the people who support them. And the people who support them are different than the people who don’t care enough about politics to pay much attention, or the people who support the other side. They are more ideological, more partisan, and they want to see the policies they support passed into law. A leader who abandons his core supporters because what they want him to do won’t be popular with most voters is likely, in modern American politics, to be destroyed in the next primary election.

The amateur ideological activists who eroded the power of the party professionals in the 1970s are now running the show. While Gilded Age activists traded support for patronage jobs, modern-day activists demand policy results in exchange for support. Presidents need to do everything within their legal ability to deliver the results that their supporters expect, and their opponents in Congress need to do everything possible to stop them. At one point, Republican congressional leaders were highly amenable to passing an immigration reform bill and the Obama administration insisted it had no means of circumventing the legislative process. But under pressure from their respective bases, Republicans found it impossible to compromise and Obama decided he had better find a way to go around Congress.

It is true that the mass public is not nearly as ideological as members of Congress. But the mass public is not necessarily active in democratic politics, either. Emory’s Alan Abramowitz finds that “the American public has become more consistent and polarized in its policy preferences over the past several decades.” He also writes that “this increase in consistency and polarization has been concentrated among the most politically engaged citizens.”

This rise in ideological activism has a number of genuinely positive impacts. It makes politics less corrupt. The least-polarized state legislatures in America are in places like Rhode Island and Louisiana, bastions of corruption rather than good government. It’s not a coincidence that the Tea Party surge led to the end of earmarked appropriations. But it heightened executive-legislative conflict and leads to what Linz termed the zero-sum character of presidential elections.”

Looking back at Bush’s election in 2000, one of the most remarkable things is how little social disorder there was. The American public wanted Al Gore to be president, but a combination of the Electoral College rules, poor ballot design in Palm Beach County, and an adverse Supreme Court ruling, put Bush in office. The general presumption among elites at the time was that Democrats should accept this with good manners, and Bush would respond to the weak mandate with moderate, consensus-oriented governance. This was not in the cards. Not because of Bush’s personal qualities (if anything, the Bush family and its circle are standard-bearers for the cause of relative moderation in the GOP), but because the era of the “partisan presidency” demands that the president try to implement the party’s agenda, regardless of circumstances. That’s how we got drastic tax cuts in 2001.

If the Bush years shattered the illusion that there’s no difference between the parties, the Obama years underscore how much control of the White House matters in an era of gridlock. The broadly worded Clean Air Act, whose relevant provisions passed in 1970, has allowed Obama to be one of the most consequential environmental regulators of all time — even though he hasn’t been able to pass a major new environmental bill. He’s deployed executive discretion over immigration enforcement on an unprecedented scale. And he’s left a legacy that could be rapidly reversed. A future Republican administration could not only turn back these executive actions, but substantially erode the Affordable Care Act.

The lessons of the 2000 and 2008 elections make it unnerving to imagine a Bush-Gore style recount occurring in 2015’s political atmosphere. The stakes of presidential elections are sky-high. And the constitutional system provides no means for a compromise solution. There can be only one president. And once he’s in office he has little reason to show restraint in the ambitions of the legislative — or non-legislative — agenda he pursues. In the event of another disputed election, it would be natural for both sides to push for victory with every legal or extra-legal means at their disposal.

Indeed, we ought to consider possibilities more disastrous than a repeat of the 2000 vote. What if a disputed presidential election coincided with a Supreme Court vacancy? What if the simultaneous deaths of the president and vice president brought to power a House Speaker from the opposite party? What if neither party secured a majority of electoral votes and a presidential election wound up being decided by a vote of the lame duck House of Representatives? What if highly partisan state legislatures start using their constitutional authority to rig the presidential contest? A system of undisciplined or non-ideological political parties has many flaws, but it is at least robust to a variety of shocks. Our current party alignment makes for a much more brittle situation, in which one of any number of crises where democratic norms and constitutional procedures diverge could bring us to a state of emergency.

A flawed system

The idea that America’s constitutional system might be fundamentally flawed cuts deeply against the grain of our political culture. But the reality is that despite its durability, it has rarely functioned well by the standards of a modern democracy. The party system of the Gilded Age operated through systematic corruption. The less polarized era that followed was built on the systematic disenfranchisement of African-Americans. The newer system of more ideological politics has solved those problems and seems in many ways more attractive. But over the past 25 years, it’s set America on a course of paralysis and crisis — government shutdowns, impeachment, debt ceiling crises, and constitutional hardball. Voters, understandably, are increasingly dissatisfied with the results and confidence in American institutions has been generally low and falling. But rather than leading to change, the dissatisfaction has tended to yield wild electoral swings that exacerbate the sense of permanent crisis.

As dysfunctional as American government may seem today, we’ve actually been lucky. No other presidential system has gone as long as ours without a major breakdown of the constitutional order. But the factors underlying that stability — first non-ideological parties and then non-disciplined ones — are gone. And it’s worth considering the possibility that with them, so too has gone the American exception to the rule of presidential breakdown. If we seem to be unsustainably lurching from crisis to crisis, it’s because we are unsustainably lurching from crisis to crisis. The breakdown may not be next year or even in the next five years, but over the next 20 or 30 years, will we really be able to resolve every one of these high-stakes showdowns without making any major mistakes? Do you really trust Congress that much?

The best we can hope for is that when the crisis does come, Americans will have the wisdom to do for ourselves what we did in the past for Germany and Japan and put a better system in place.

Correction: This piece has been updated to more accurately reflect the series of events surrounding the coup of Honduras’ former president Manuel Zelaya.

Editor: Eleanor Barkhorn
Designer: Tyson Whiting
Bush and Gore shake hands in December 2000, after their remarkably orderly contested election was resolved.
 Tannen Maury/AFP/Getty Images  
Obama and Biden looking stressed during the 2011 debt ceiling standoff
 Official White House Photo by Pete Souza  
Manuel Zelaya addresses his supporters after his ouster from office.
 Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images 

Remote Mind Control - and Remote Brain Mapping

‘The place was filled with people, none in any kind of official capacity’ ... Phnom Penh’s National Stadium offers a different model of public space. Photograph: Bradley L Garre  FacebookTwitterPinterest

The Rise Of The Fillibuster

3D Facial Recognition

A newly-emerging trend in facial recognition software uses a 3D model, which claims to provide more accuracy. Capturing a real-time 3D image of a person's facial surface, 3D facial recognition uses distinctive features of the face -- where rigid tissue and bone is most apparent, such as the curves of the eye socket, nose and chin -- to identify the subject. These areas are all unique and don't change over time.

Using depth and an axis of measurement that is not affected by lighting, 3D facial recognition can even be used in darkness and has the ability to recognize a subject at different view angles with the potential to recognize up to 90 degrees (a face in profile).
Using the 3D software, the system goes through a series of steps to verify the identity of an individual.

Acquiring an image can be accomplished by digitally scanning an existing photograph (2D) or by using a video image to acquire a live picture of a subject (3D).

Once it detects a face, the system determines the head's position, size and pose. As stated earlier, the subject has the potential to be recognized up to 90 degrees, while with 2D, the head must be turned at least 35 degrees toward the camera.

The system then measures the curves of the face on a sub-millimeter (or microwave) scale and creates a template.

The system translates the template into a unique code. This coding gives each template a set of numbers to represent the features on a subject's face.

If the image is 3D and the database contains 3D images, then matching will take place without any changes being made to the image. However, there is a challenge currently facing databases that are still in 2D images. 3D provides a live, moving variable subject being compared to a flat, stable image. New technology is addressing this challenge. When a 3D image is taken, different points (usually three) are identified. For example, the outside of the eye, the inside of the eye and the tip of the nose will be pulled out and measured. Once those measurements are in place, an algorithm (a step-by-step procedure) will be applied to the image to convert it to a 2D image. After conversion, the software will then compare the image with the 2D images in the database to find a potential match.

Verification or Identification
In verification, an image is matched to only one image in the database (1:1). For example, an image taken of a subject may be matched to an image in the Department of Motor Vehicles database to verify the subject is who he says he is. If identification is the goal, then the image is compared to all images in the database resulting in a score for each potential match (1:N). In this instance, you may take an image and compare it to a database of mug shots to identify who the subject is.
Next, we'll look at how skin biometrics can help verify matches.

Biometric Facial Recognition

The image may not always be verified or identified in facial recognition alone. Identix® has created a new product to help with precision. The development of FaceIt®Argus uses skin biometrics, the uniqueness of skin texture, to yield even more accurate results.
The process, called Surface Texture Analysis, works much the same way facial recognition does. A picture is taken of a patch of skin, called a skinprint. That patch is then broken up into smaller blocks. Using algorithms to turn the patch into a mathematical, measurable space, the system will then distinguish any lines, pores and the actual skin texture. It can identify differences between identical twins, which is not yet possible using facial recognition software alone. According to Identix, by combining facial recognition with surface texture analysis, accurate identification can increase by 20 to 25 percent.
FaceIt currently uses three different templates to confirm or identify the subject: vector, local feature analysis and surface texture analysis.
The vector template is very small and is used for rapid searching over the entire database primarily for one-to-many searching.
The local feature analysis (LFA) template performs a secondary search of ordered matches following the vector template.

The surface texture analysis (STA) is the largest of the three. It performs a final pass after the LFA template search, relying on the skin features in the image, which contains the most detailed information.

By combining all three templates, FaceIt® has an advantage over other systems. It is relatively insensitive to changes in expression, including blinking, frowning or smiling and has the ability to compensate for mustache or beard growth and the appearance of eyeglasses. The system is also uniform with respect to race and gender.

However, it is not a perfect system. There are some factors that could get in the way of recognition, including:

Significant glare on eyeglasses or wearing sunglasses
Long hair obscuring the central part of the face
Poor lighting that would cause the face to be over- or under-exposed
Lack of resolution (image was taken too far away)

Identix isn't the only company with facial recognition systems available. While most work the same way FaceIt does, there are some variations. For example, a company called Animetrix, Inc. has a product called FACEngine ID® SetLight that can correct lighting conditions that cannot normally be used, reducing the risk of false matches. Sensible Vision, Inc. has a product that can secure a computer using facial recognition. The computer will only power on and stay accessible as long as the correct user is in front of the screen. Once the user moves out of the line of sight, the computer is automatically secured from other users.

Due to these strides in technology, facial and skin recognition systems are more widely used than just a few years ago. In the next section, we'll look at where and how they are being used and what's in store for the future.

11. Garden Bridge      Public or Private

Revealed: how facial recognition has invaded shops – and your privacy
Cities is supported by

The Rockefeller Foundation

Chris Frey in Toronto

Thu 3 Mar 2016

Mannequins in a new Saks Fifth Avenue store in Toronto, Canada. Photograph: Chris Frey for the Guardian

“High-end hotels and retailers are reportedly using facial recognition to help identify VIPs for preferred treatment”

“There are good reasons for a store to offer free WiFi, but it’s a question of what data the customer is giving up”…
Geoff White

“I don’t think people are fully aware the extent to which their personal information is being collected”…
Geoff White

Retailers are increasingly using facial recognition technology to track your face. With an estimated 59% of UK fashion retailers doing it, is the anonymity of cities an outdated idea?

On a Thursday morning in February, there were more gawkers than shoppers swelling the aisles for the debut of the new Saks Fifth Avenue in Toronto’s Eaton Centre. Given crowd reactions to the opulent surroundings – hanging clouds of glass sculptures, silk area rugs and theatrically posed mannequin displays – it might have been the opening of a museum’s latest blockbuster exhibition.

An influx of high-end US retailers are betting large on what they feel is an underserved luxury market in Canada’s biggest city. Saks has just opened two stores here; Nordstrom will launch in the fall. Both hope to inject some American-style flair to the staid world of Canadian retail. “Saks is more than just things,” company president Marc Metrick told the Toronto Star. “Saks is a dream. Saks is a feeling.”

Specifically, Saks is the feeling of being watched. Its new stores, which have been built to the standards of an impregnable, hi-tech fortress, employ some of the world’s most aggressive, cutting edge approaches to in-store security and customer surveillance. If anonymity is a traditional virtue of cities, it potentially goes out the window any time you enter a Saks shop – and a host of others.

“None of the other retail work we’ve done has anywhere near this kind of security,” says a source with direct knowledge of Saks’s building requirements, and who has worked extensively with other big Canadian and international retail chains.

The windows are fitted with hurricane-proof glass, the interior walls internally reinforced with wire cage. At Saks’ Sherway Gardens location, steel bollards capable of stopping a vehicle – and the so-called “smash and grab” – have been installed outside. So have roller security grilles, and measures to curtail employee theft: the staff lockers have clear plexiglass doors to ensure the contents inside are visible. The company’s “asset protection” book, revealed to the Guardian, is meticulously detailed, down to the make and model of almost every screw, bracket and hinge.

“Some of the doors you couldn’t get through with a police battering ram,” says the source. “It’s like there’s an Oceans Eleven-type scenario going on somewhere, planning this break-in into the Saks to steal all the luxury handbags.”

Of course, it shouldn’t necessarily surprise that a high-end retailer would go to such lengths to protect their merchandise. Organised retail crime accounts for about half of the $4.6bn a year in “shrinkage” reported by Canadian companies. Premium prices – say, $20,700 for a pair of diamond Kwiat earrings – can pay for premium security.

Saks, though, has also been an early adopter of a more controversial and potentially intrusive tactic in retail loss prevention – facial recognition software, a technology that until recently was, in the physical world, largely employed by airport security, border agents, casinos and cops.

In its commercial retail application, faces of individuals caught on camera are converted into a biometric template and cross-referenced with a database for a possible match with past shoplifters or known criminals. Some stores in the US give shoplifting suspects the option of allowing themselves to be photographed, rather than arrested. All this had been made possible by the arrival of networked, high-resolution security cameras and rapidly advancing analytical capabilities.

In a presentation at a loss prevention conference in Fort Lauderdale in 2014, Patrick McEvoy, the senior manager of asset protection systems for Saks’ parent company, Hudson’s Bay Company, shared the retailer’s initial experience with facial recognition software. Though he identified some limitations with the emerging technology, McEvoy found that the “desired results were definitely obtainable”. The cameras in all Saks stores are networked so as to be viewable at company headquarters in New York.

The same technologies used to identify thieves, however, can also be used to track customers.

 Location services on smart phones can be used to track your habits and tastes, not just in private spaces like malls but on public streets as well. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Indeed, video surveillance is increasingly doing double duty to help stores improve sales. Many of the companies providing facial recognition capabilities, such as Axis Communications (which supplies Saks with IP cameras), Japanese tech giant NEC and Face First of California, either directly or through partners, also offer sophisticated analytics applications that capture your in-store “dwell times”, responses to product displays and traffic flow.

“For the management of a store there are two issues: minimise your losses and increase sales,” says Al Shipp, CEO of San Francisco-based 3VR, a provider of video intelligence software. “Our platform will help you do both.”

In other words, Shipp says, “the same platform that investigators use to identify shoplifters [also] helps retailers figure out which displays are working better, and where the customer traffic is.”

For traditional brick and mortar retailers, this sort of intel has helped level the playing field with online sellers, who routinely track and profile their customers through cookies. But in-store metrics – like dwell times – typically preserve your anonymity. Much of the excitement about facial recognition comes with putting a face to all those aggregated bits of data collected through loyalty programmes, point of sale records and other sources. Make a purchase at a Saks store and the clerk will likely ask for a driver’s license or credit card, presumably to create a customer profile.

In Europe, a number of high-end hotels and retailers are reportedly using facial recognition to help identify VIPs and celebrities for preferred treatment when they enter the front door. In the UK, a 2015 survey of 150 retail executives by the IT services firm Computer Services Corporation suggested that a quarter of all British shops use facial recognition. Fashion retailers have been especially keen: the survey reported that 59% use some form of facial recognition.

If retail brands are already embracing mobile marketing – sending us tailored messages, push notifications and ads to enhance the “customer experience” – then pull on this thread long enough and you arrive at the discomforting scenario depicted in the sci-fi film Minority Report, in which shoppers are identified with optical sensors and bombarded with personalised advertisements. In this creepy version of the future we’ll shop and be shopped, both at the same time.

Worried about how all this looks, big retailers have been careful to avoid any suggestion that they’re matching faces with data – or at least to skip the question. Saks declined to comment on whether they use facial recognition software.

For Geoff White, a privacy specialist with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Ottawa, that’s a problem. Companies using the technologies have an obligation to be more transparent .

“What happens once you’ve stored someone’s data with a profile based on their face?” he says. “How safe is it from hackers? Who has access to that information, and what other types of information is it being correlated with?”

Most valuable to retailers, he adds, “are the predictive analytics that come from tying that one piece of information, your face, to your whereabouts, to your patterns, to the way I move through time and space.”

Discerning our patterns in time and space might be the easiest part of retailers’ profiling efforts – thanks to our smartphones. White points to Apple’s popular iBeacon technology that’s able to connect with a customer’s device through a Bluetooth signal, or the now common practice of stores offering free WiFi. (Saks has been offering free WiFi in all its stores since 2012, making it among the first major US retailers to do so.) In either case, the location-based data on our phones could be accessible over these networks. If you own an iPhone and leave your location services on, dig deep within the settings submenus and you’ll find something called “Frequent Locations” – a highly personal accounting of your movements: where you go, when and for how long.

“People tend to think their location is a random thing,” says White, “but tons of research shows that your location is unlike anyone else’s. My phone knows where my home is even though I never told it. It’s really intimate, and from it you can infer a lot of things.”

“There are a lot of good reasons for a store to offer free WiFi, but it’s a question of what data the customer is giving up to gain that access. In a lot of big shopping malls you log [into WiFi] using your Facebook or Twitter account. A tremendous exchange of data in such a simple log-in.”

A document from 3VR (a leading provider of facial recognition software) on the use of FR by the Canadian Tire chain. Its CEO, Al Shipp, told the Guardian: “The same [facial recognition software] platform that investigators use to identify shoplifters [also] helps retailers figure out which displays are working better, and where the customer traffic is.”

Online, both Facebook and Google have been on the forefront of developing facial recognition algorithms. The first time you uploaded and tagged a party selfie you signed up for the programme. For many consumer and privacy advocates, however, the use of facial recognition and biometric profiling in the physical world is more troubling. You can delete your cookies and your web browser’s cache, and control your social media or phone’s privacy settings. But there are no privacy settings for walking down a city street, or browsing in a mall. And you can’t delete your face.

What’s more, current laws do little to constrain what the private owners of publicly accessible spaces in cities can do with the information they gather from watching you.

Talks convened by the US Commerce Department last summer to devise voluntary guidelines over the commercial use of facial recognition came to an abrupt halt when consumer and privacy advocates walked out.

One of the walkouts was Alvaro Bedoya, a Georgetown law professor and privacy advocate. He says they became convinced that industry simply wasn’t interested in getting a customer’s consent when enrolling them in an facial recognition programme.

“This software is being deployed in a very opaque manner,” he says, “and it could be rife with problems. But we have no legal ability in the US (outside of Texas and Illinois) to look under the hood and figure out what’s going on.”

“The irony in the US is that we think we’re living in this dark era of government surveillance, but in reality there are structures to combat government overreach. To this day you can get a lot of information out of law enforcement on their use of facial recognition by using the Freedom of Information Act. There is no FOIA for tech or facial recognition companies. We don’t have a way to keep tabs on these companies and rely, frankly, on journalists and inside leaks.”

Bedoya even questions the use of facial recognition as a tool for store security and identifying “bad actors”.
“There are various anecdotal cases where the [facial recognition] software has not performed in commercial settings as well on African Americans as it has on white people,” he says.

Citing a 2014 case in which the luxury retailer Barneys agreed to pay $525,000 to settle a racial profiling complaint, he adds: “Already African Americans suffer from profiling in a lot of these stores. So when you’re deploying a software that anecdotally at least has proven not to function as well on precisely the people that are already targeted, that’s a problem.”
In cities anonymity is becoming an increasingly antiquated idea, as more of the environments we spend time in – streets, shops, malls – marry biometrics with big data for the purposes of tracking our habits and tastes. When strolling the local high street or financial district, you can assume there are thousands of security cameras looking at you. Walk into a shop, and you can also assume there are cameras to prevent theft.
According to White, your assumptions should stop there.

“Do you know if you’re also being photographed so that a database can be used to profile you? Do you know the end uses that the information is being put to? I don’t think people are fully aware the extent to which their personal information is being collected.”

Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook and join the discussion

The film Minority Report, in which display advertising is tailored to individuals, was cited approvingly by Saks’ head of asset protection.


Who owns the U.S National Debt

Bush and Gore shake hands in December 2000, after their remarkably orderly contested election was resolved.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 by Rick Simpson under Data & Cyber Security/Hacking, IoT (Internet of Things)

Not too long ago, facial recognition was only seen in science-fiction movies, like Star Trek and the Terminator.
Now, the technology has made its way into everyday life. From medical and government applications to security locks for mobile phones, facial recognition software is on the forefront of technology.
But, what exactly is facial recognition, how is it used and is it secure?

What is Facial Recognition Technology?
Facial recognition is similar to many other forms of biometric technology, like fingerprint scanners or voice identification, in that it uses a computer to recognize certain pieces of data.
With facial recognition, a computer analyzes a photograph by looking for extremely specific markings, like brighter pixels or 3D characteristics. Once a pattern is spotted, then the computer compares it with other photos until it finds a match.

How is Facial Recognition Used?
Have you ever noticed when Facebook asks you if you want to be tagged in certain pictures? And have you ever wondered how it knew it was your face in the picture?
This is an example of facial recognition.
Facebook isn’t the only organization to use facial recognition. The technology dates back to as early as the 1960s when mathematician and computer scientist, Woodrow Bledsoe, developed a system that could classify photos of faces using a RAND tablet.

Since then, government agencies have used facial recognition to track criminals in public places. One of the most well-known applications of the technology was when Apple included this feature in the iPhone X. Instead of swiping or typing a passcode to open the device, users can use facial recognition technology to unlock the iPhone X.

Is Facial Recognition Technology Safe?
Although facial recognition is extremely advanced, not all devices are designed with security in mind.
For example: A Vietnamese security company recently bypassed a cell phone with facial recognition technology using a 3-D printed mask that cost about $150 to make. 
Some researchers found facial recognition technology can be confused with accessories like hats, sunglasses, face paint and scarves.

What Can You Do to Strengthen the Security of Facial Recognition?

Whenever using a newer technology, certain security measures should be taken to ensure your data and privacy is safe. If you use facial recognition technology, consider these cyber security tips:
Always use two-step verification. This means changing the settings of your device to ask for a second security authorization.
Never connect to public Wi-Fi. These connections are unsecure. Disable automatic connections to public networks to keep your device from connecting to an untrustworthy source without your knowledge.
Install proper antivirus software.
Change default passwords. Limit network and system access to authorized users.
Consider a virtual protected network (VPN). VPNs are available for download in app stores and offer a more secure way to connect while on the go.

Lastly, always contact a trusted security provider to ensure your devices are properly protected with the appropriate software.

Top foreign owners of U.S. natonal Debt

 CCTV cameras on the side of a building in central London. Photograph: Clive Gee/PA

4. Thames Path    Public or Private

How Facial Recognition Systems Work

Anyone who has seen the TV show "Las Vegas" has seen facial recognition software in action. In any given episode, the security department at the fictional Montecito Hotel and Casino uses its video surveillance system to pull an image of a card counter, thief or blacklisted individual. It then runs that image through the database to find a match and identify the person. By the end of the hour, all bad guys are escorted from the casino or thrown in jail. But what looks so easy on TV doesn't always translate as well in the real world.

In 2001, the Tampa Police Department installed police cameras equipped with facial recognition technology in their Ybor City nightlife district in an attempt to cut down on crime in the area. The system failed to do the job, and it was scrapped in 2003 due to ineffectiveness. People in the area were seen wearing masks and making obscene gestures, prohibiting the cameras from getting a clear enough shot to identify anyone.
Boston's Logan Airport also ran two separate tests of facial recognition systems at its security checkpoints using volunteers. Over a three month period, the results were disappointing. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the system only had a 61.4 percent accuracy rate, leading airport officials to pursue other security options.
Humans have always had the innate ability to recognize and distinguish between faces, yet computers only recently have shown the same ability. In the mid 1960s, scientists began work on using the computer to recognize human faces. Since then, facial recognition software has come a long way.
In this article, we will look at the history of facial recognition systems, the changes that are being made to enhance their capabilities and how governments and private companies use (or plan to use) them.
Facial Recognition Technology

FaceIt software compares the faceprint with other images in the database.

Identix®, a company based in Minnesota, is one of many developers of facial recognition technology. Its software, FaceIt®, can pick someone's face out of a crowd, extract the face from the rest of the scene and compare it to a database of stored images. In order for this software to work, it has to know how to differentiate between a basic face and the rest of the background. Facial recognition software is based on the ability to recognize a face and then measure the various features of the face.
Every face has numerous, distinguishable landmarks, the different peaks and valleys that make up facial features. FaceIt defines these landmarks as nodal points. Each human face has approximately 80 nodal points. Some of these measured by the software are:
Distance between the eyes
Width of the nose
Depth of the eye sockets
The shape of the cheekbones
The length of the jaw line

These nodal points are measured creating a numerical code, called a faceprint, representing the face in the database.
In the past, facial recognition software has relied on a 2D image to compare or identify another 2D image from the database. To be effective and accurate, the image captured needed to be of a face that was looking almost directly at the camera, with little variance of light or facial expression from the image in the database. This created quite a problem.
In most instances the images were not taken in a controlled environment. Even the smallest changes in light or orientation could reduce the effectiveness of the system, so they couldn't be matched to any face in the database, leading to a high rate of failure. In the next section, we will look at ways to correct the problem.

A Day in the Life Without Government
What would it be like to live without government services?
Posted Jun 26, 2016by Toni Bernhard J.D.
Turning Straw Into Gold 

This piece is a departure from my usual topics. I offer it as food for thought.

Many people are feeling disconnected from government. They see the relationship as one-way: government “takes” in the form of taxes and by imposing rules and regulations on us, but it does not “give.”
 Truth be told, government and “we, the people” are not just connected; we’re utterly dependent on each other. Government depends on us for revenue, and we depend on government for protection and services, from inspecting the safety of the food we eat to saving lives when there’s a human-made or natural disaster.
I’m going to use a hypothetical to illustrate what a day in the life without government would be like. My purpose is to show how government—federal, state, and local—contributes to our quality of life (even saving life at times). Although I have readers from all over the world, I’ve set the hypothetical in the United States because that’s where I live. 

A Day in the Life
Assume it’s an ordinary weekday. You have to get your toddler up, dressed, fed, and to day care so you can get to work (for a private company, of course, since there are no government jobs). Here’s how your day might unfold:

Your alarm goes off. You stretch and take a deep breath. “Eww! What’s that foul smell? Oh yeah. It’s the odor from garbage in the street. The city used to have a contract with a private company for garbage pick-up, but the contract was paid out of local taxes. No taxes; no pick-up.”

You get out of bed, go into the bathroom. You turn on the water to brush your teeth, but then have second thoughts about it: “I can’t be sure the water supply is safe; there’s no government agency checking it for bacteria and toxins. It could even have raw sewage in it since all the government-run sewage treatment plants have been shut down.”

Teeth unbrushed, you return to the bedroom to get dressed, but realize you don’t know how hot or cold it will be outside today since there’s no National Weather Service. Then you reflect on how the government-run early warning systems are no longer functioning either: “I won’t know if severe weather is approaching—such as a hurricane or a tornado.”

With that troubling thought still in your mind, you suddenly hear a shriek coming from your toddler’s bedroom. You rush in only to find that his head is stuck between the bars of the crib. Poor Johnny. You recall Professor Bernhard [that would be me many years ago] giving a lecture on government regulations. She said everyone complains about them, but regulations often set crucial safety standards for consumer goods.

The example she used was a regulation that applied to the manufacturers of baby cribs. The regulation specifies the exact distance a manufacturer must leave between the bars on a crib, so that they’re not too wide for a baby to be able to get out of the crib, but not so close together that a baby might get his or her head stuck. “Hmm. Maybe regulations like that weren’t such a bad idea. I definitely should have paid more attention in her class. Oh well, what’s a few bruises? Time for breakfast.”

You take little Johnny into the kitchen. What might the two of you have for breakfast? You ponder: “Not cereal because I can’t be sure the milk isn’t contaminated—no government inspectors at the dairies anymore. And what if there’s salmonella in the eggs? I’ll take my chances on some toast, hoping that the farmer didn’t use more pesticides on the wheat than the government used to say was within legal limits. At least I canned the jelly myself, although I hope that the berries weren’t over-sprayed with pesticides either. Oh well, this will have to do for breakfast.”

Having dressed yourself and Johnny in layers since you don’t know what weather to expect, you go out to your car. “I’m so glad to be rid of those intrusive laws that insisted on car seats for young children. I’ll just ride with Johnny on my lap. And, how freeing it is not to be required to put on my seatbelt!”

You start the car and are surprised to see that you have barely enough gas to get Johnny to day care and you to work, even though you thought you’d filled the tank the day before: “Hmm. I guess without a Department of Weights and Measures to check the gas pumps and keep the station owners honest, I have no idea if I put in as much gas as the pump indicated I did.”

You back out of the driveway and onto the road—a dirt road. “Darned this dirt road,” you think. “Oh right. It’s the government that used to keep them paved.” You start driving, but keep hitting potholes. One is so deep that Johnny is thrown out of your lap and hits his head on the top of the car. He starts screaming. When he quiets down, you hear your bumper dragging on the road; it was damaged by one of the deeper potholes. You start to curse the road crew, but then remember that they were government workers…working no more.
You arrive at the day care center. When you go inside, you’re confronted with 20 kids running around without supervision and with rotting food all over the floor. In addition, you look out the windows and notice that the yards aren’t fenced. You wonder if this is a safe place for Johnny to spend the day, but you have no choice. “Maybe,” you think, “it wasn’t such a bad idea for state government to license day care centers, so they at least had to comply with basic health and safety standards.” A wave of fear washes over you as you wonder about Johnny’s future after day care since the public school system, including colleges and universities, are a thing of the past.
Leaving Johnny at day care, you enter an intersection, planning to turn left to get to your office. Before you can turn, a car from the cross street rams into your passenger side door because the traffic lights—installed and maintained by local government—are no longer in operation. You’re caught in the middle of a multi-car pile-up and someone appears to be hurt. You start to call 911, but it’s no longer operative because it was run by government. How about a call to the local police? Nope: they were employed by government.
And so, you sit in the middle of this pile-up for two hours until a guy from a local garage arrives and pries the cars apart. Finally, you’re on your way, but only for a few minutes: “What’s that ahead? It looks like a tree has come down and is blocking the road, and there are no government emergency workers to move it out of the way. I’ll have to turn around and take a different route.” By the time you get to work, you’re so late that you’re fired.

As you’re mulling over the fact that there will be no government-dispensed unemployment benefits in your future, day care calls and says that you need to pick up Johnny and have his hacking cough checked out. You call the doctor and get an appointment. You manage to get Johnny to the doctor’s office on time, but now you’re not sure you should go inside: “How do I know whether this doctor is who he says he is? Anyone can hang up a shingle and call him or herself a doctor. There’s no government agency to monitor this.”
Feeling you have no choice but to trust the doctor, you keep the appointment. He tells you that Johnny has bronchitis, and he writes a prescription for an antibiotic. You take a bumpy, pothole-filled drive to the nearest pharmacy, but doubts arise again: “Without the Federal Drug Administration regulating which medications are safe and what the proper dosages are, how do I know this stuff won’t be harmful to Johnny?” As with the doctor, you take your chances and fill the prescription.

Home at last, you’re now jobless and worried about Johnny. You decide that you’d better cancel your plans to take him to the ocean this weekend. “It’s just as well,” you reflect, “because I don’t like leaving the house for longer than necessary. After all, I have to protect my savings.” Your savings are hidden under the mattress because, with no FDIC (federally insured deposits) to protect your money, should your bank go under, you’d lose it all. On the other hand, if someone breaks into your house, that savings could be gone and there’d be no chance of getting it back since there are no police investigators.

To take your mind off your troubles, you settle in for a night of television but have only a few network channels to choose from. You can’t afford cable because price-fixing among the various providers has driven the costs sky high. You recall, “Oh, yeah. The federal government used to have laws against price fixing.”

So, there it is: a partial snapshot of a day in the life without government. At first read, my description of the day may sound far-fetched. But if you think about it, not only is it realistic, but it could be much worse. What if there were a fire at your house? There’d be no fire department to call.
In the Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln said that government is of the people, by the people, for the people. What does “by the people” mean? It means that government and its employees—police officers, firefighters, road workers, safety inspectors, terrorism experts—only protect us if we, the people, are willing to pay for that protection. How do we pay? Through taxes, of course. Maybe we don’t like them, but taxes pay for the services that protect our health, our safety, the quality of our life, and even our life itself at times.
To repeat the theme from the beginning of this piece: government needs us and we need government.

Mannequins in a new Saks Fifth Avenue store in Toronto, Canada. Photograph: Chris Frey for the Guardian

How facial recognition became a routine policing tool in America
The technology is proliferating amid concerns that it is prone to errors and allows the government to expand surveillance without much oversight.

May 11, 2019, 
NBC News  By Jon Schuppe

Police are increasingly using facial recognition to solve low-level crimes and to quickly identify people they see as suspicious.Claire Merchlinsky / for NBC News​

Facial recognition is coming to US schools, starting in New York
Mariella Moon  30/05/2019

The Lockport City School District in New York will start testing a facial and object recognition system called "Aegis" on June 3rd. According to BuzzFeed News, that will make it the first in the US to pilot a facial recognition surveillance system on its students and faculty. The district installed cameras and the software suite back in September, using $1.4 million of the $4.2 million funding it received through the New York Smart Schools Bond Act. Funding provided through the Bond Act is supposed to go towards instructional tech devices, such as iPads and laptops, but the district clearly had other plans.
BuzzFeed News got its hands on a copy of a letter distributed to the students' parents, and it describes Aegis as "an early warning system" that can notify officials of threats. The system, created by Canadian company SN Technologies, can apparently keep track of certain individuals in school grounds. They include level 2 or 3 sex offenders, anyone prohibited from entering the schools and anybody believed to pose a threat based on credible information.
The system can also identify students and staff who've been suspended, but it's unclear if Lockport will use it to monitor those who've been suspended over non-violent offenses. According to the letter, though, Aegis will delete footage after 60 days and it won't record the movements of students, staff and visitors that aren't in the list of individuals to monitor. That said, the system will have to analyze everyone's faces to identify people it has to keep an eye on.

Gallery: US states with the most and fewest school shootings (Reuters)

In addition to being able to recognize certain individuals, the software was designed to recognize 10 types of guns. The letter even talks about the necessity of a facial recognition system in the context of school shootings. Part of the letter says that while "acts of violence in schools continue to occur in our country," parents can "be assured that the Lockport City School District continues to make school security a priority."
As you can guess, the pilot test is a controversial one, seeing as the technology is facing more and more scrutiny now that companies are treating information as currency. Facial recognition systems continue to show gender and racial bias, frequently misidentifying women and persons of color. They're far from perfect: In fact, when New York City tested it to spot terrorists on the road in 2018, it failed to detect a single face.
Stefanie Coyle, education counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union, told BuzzFeed News that the organization asked the New York State Education Department to block the project. After all, San Francisco banned the technology, and it's a city filled with tech companies that understand it best. "Why in the world would we want this to come to New York," she added, "and in a place where there are children?"
State Assembly Member Monica Wallace has also introduced a bill that would prohibit the district from using the technology. But if it fails to pass, then Lockport will be able roll it out to all its schools on September 1st. Before that happens, though, district officials have to make any adjustments needed based on Aegis' performance during the pilot period. They'll figure out the best camera angles and lighting during the testing phase and will also train people on how to use the system.

10. Malaysia Square, Battersea Power Station     Public or Private

How much Government control should there be?
By: Justin Cruz Engl. 1302 Ms. Deezy. Government?  Government is supposed to protect us but who protects us from the government?  How much control should. - Published byTyler Townsend - 

Presentation on theme: "By: Justin Cruz Engl. 1302 Ms. Deezy. Government?

 Government is supposed to protect us but who protects us from the government? How much control should."—

Presentation transcript:
1 By: Justin Cruz Engl. 1302 Ms. Deezy

2 Government?

 Government is supposed to protect us but who protects us from the government?  How much control should the government have?  Technology gives government a lot of control weather we know it or not and maybe more than we want it to have.

3 First the Law

 The 4 th Amendment- The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

4  The 8 th Amendment- The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people  In todays terms this just means that the rights of the people cannot be infringed upon by the government. Even if it is not specified in the constitution.

5 The Technology  Face Recognition  Airport X-Ray machines  “Bugs” or wire taps  Facebook!!!!  The internet

6 How connected are you?  How many of you have a cell phone?  How many have an email address?  How many have a Facebook?  How many have a laptop?  How many have a Debit/Credit card?

7 Big Brother: Does he have your back?  1UjvfU 1UjvfU

8 Its too late…… If you said yes to any of the above the chances are you are very much on the grid and possibly being watched already.

 Most people probably check Facebook at least 50 times a day and sometimes for 10-20 min.

9 How does this relate?

 Government agencies are able to track people by using cell phones with GPS.

 Anyone can track you using Facebook since we constantly update it by saying what we are doing every 5 seconds.

 Anyone can already be a victim of infringed rights and not even know it happened.

10 Has government control gone too far before?

 The truth is that yes government has gone too far before.

 Examples- The Nazi’s and the SS - North Korea - Soviet Russia and the KGB Don’t let it happen again…

11 Works Cited  Smith, Gerry. (2012). Facial Recognition Technology. Facial Recognition Technology Threatens Privacy, Civil Liberties, Experts Warn. Retrieved from technology_n_1684445.html technology_n_1684445.html  McGuire, David. (2002). Technology vs. Civil Liberties? Government’s use of Biometrics Security Technology Worries Some Privacy Activists. Retrieved from dyn/A61559-2002Sep24?language=printer dyn/A61559-2002Sep24?language=printer

12 Bill of Rights. (1992). Retrieved from ights ights  9 th Amendment to the US constitution. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.revolutionary-war-and- http://www.revolutionary-war-and-  Bosker, Biana. (2011). The Average Facebook User. The Average Facebook User: Stats Show How We Use The Site (INFOGRAPHIC) Retrieved from http://www.revolutionary-war-and- http://www.revolutionary-war-and-

13  HuesForAlice (2007, March5) The Big Brother State. Retrieved November 17,2012 from UjvfU UjvfU 
Exploring the Bill of Rights For the 21st Century - Published by Irene Powers

Presentation on theme: "Exploring the Bill of Rights For the 21st Century"— Presentation transcript:
1 Exploring the Bill of Rights For the 21st Century

2 Five Essential Freedoms and Rights
The First AmendmentFive EssentialFreedoms and Rights

3 Freedom of Speech Congress shall make no laws . . .
abridging the freedom of speech

4 Freedom of ReligionCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there of

5 Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the freedom of the
Freedom of the PressCongress shall make no lawabridging the freedom of thepress.”

6 Freedom of AssemblyCongress shall make no law Abridging The people to peaceably assemble”

7 Petition the Government
Congress shall make no law Abridging the people. . . to petition the government for a redress of grievances”

8 2nd AmendmentA well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.

9 3rd AmendmentNo Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war

10 4th AmendmentThe right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, ….. particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

11 5th AmendmentNo person shall be held to answer for a … crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jurynor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb[double jeopardy]nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself [self-incrimination]

12 5th Amendmentnor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of lawnor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation [eminent domain]

13 6th Amendment In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy
the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial juryto be informed of the nature and cause of the accusationto be confronted with the witnesses against him;to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favorto have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense

14 7th AmendmentIn Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved….

15 Eighth AmendmentNo excessive bailNo cruel and unusual punishment

16 9th AmendmentThe enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people[other rights may be protected even if not included in the Bill of Rights ex: right to privacy]

17 10th AmendmentThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.[states' rights]
18 Making Connections: The Bill of Rights in Art
26 What right listed in the Bill of Rights do you think is the most important to you as an individual and to American society in general? Defend your answer
27 The Bill of Rights was written in 1791
The Bill of Rights was written in How relevant or significant do you think they are today
28 Identify several examples of what you can do in your everyday life as a person living in the United States that are protected by the Bill of Rights
29 Modified from Youth Leadership Initiative

Jon Schuppe
Jon Schuppe writes about crime, justice and related matters for NBC News. 
Related Stories
Would-be Marine helped disarm gunman during Colorado school shooting 
New Jersey woman pleads guilty in 'feel good' GoFundMe scam

Facial Recognition Tech Is a Blatant Misuse of Police BodycamsAlbert Fox Cahn
October 17, 2019,

When advocates pushed back against the rise of police bodycams over the last five years, all too often the answer was simply “it can’t hurt.” Did we have evidence that bodycams reduced excessive force? No. Did we know if they would prevent police perjury? No. Did we know if they would stop officers from killing innocent, unarmed black men in our streets. Definitely not. 
But in the aftermath of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice’s killings, many Americans cried out for something, anything. To some, bodycams seemed worth a chance.
Five years later and it’s increasingly clear that the cameras we hoped would police the cops are actually becoming law enforcement’s own eyes and ears. Emerging technologies are transforming this one-time hope for police reform into the tool of a dystopian surveillance state, and it’s all powered by facial recognition technology.
That’s why California lawmakers acted last week to ban police from using facial recognition on bodycams. Well, they actually went a lot further than that. AB1215 says that police shall not use “any biometric surveillance system in connection with an officer camera or data collected by an officer camera.” In short, it prevents police from turning the countless millions spent on bodycams into a walking police surveillance net. 
So facial recognition is out, but so are countless other emerging forms of AI-driven surveillance, each one creepier than the next. Gait analysis software seeks to identify us by the way we walk. Even “aggression detection” AI sells the snake-oil elixir of promising to figure out our state of mind from how we walk, our facial expressions, and other biometric data. Of course, it can’t make those determinations—not consistently and in a non-discriminatory fashion. 
For anyone who has been following the AI debate over facial recognition, the concerns will be familiar. The AI tech we use is built off of countless decisions and assumptions that shape the answers we get back. But human beings aren’t just a homogeneous data set. 
This is especially true when tech intersects with programmers’ blind spots. Have an algorithm put together by a bunch of white male programmers and it’s unsurprising that it ends up being pretty good for white guys and pretty terrible at everyone else. From facial recognition AI that falsely claimed that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were criminals to “emotional analysis” AI that mislabels black users aas angry, the AI we birth reflects back the biases we hold.  
It doesn’t take much imagination to see the possibilities in the context of bodycams. Think of a police officer whose smartphone alerts him anytime he passes a person that his system flags as acting “suspiciously.” And of course, AI bias means that many of the same over-policed communities are once again forced to bear the brunt of surveillance. 
And what would we get in return for this man-portable panopticon? Not much. The reality of bodycams has fallen far short of the dream. One issue is that police departments frequently stonewall disclosure of unfavorable recordings. In New York, the NYPD failed to hand over bodycam footage in 40 percent of cases when it was requested by civilian watchdogs. Yet, departments frequently find ways to quickly release or leak the footage they want the public to see. Just as importantly, when early adopters studied if bodycams reduced use of force, civilian complaints, or excessive charges, researchers found no effect.
Of course, biometric surveillance is a far broader discussion than just bodycams. Even after the historic win in California, police departments in much of the state will still be able to use facial recognition on images from CCTV cameras, dashcams, and potentially even drones. But the measure is a huge step towards a broader national consensus on ending the use of biometric surveillance. Already, more than a dozen cities have passed so-called “CCOPS laws”, which require police departments to give civilians oversight of surveillance technology. 
Perhaps the most prominent CCOPS law in recent months is the San Francisco ordinance that not only gave lawmakers power to review all surveillance equipment purchases, but which also banned all government facial recognition systems. Massachusetts is considering a measure that would go further still, banning all government uses of facial recognition state-wide.
No one biometric ban will be the privacy panacea, but the protections are particularly profound in police bodycams. There’s something unbearable about thinking that our country’s largest investment ever in police accountability would be turned into a weapon against the very communities of color that it was supposed to protect. The only question is whether more states will follow California’s lead before the technology takes root nationwide

Facial recognition is here. The iPhone X is just the beginning
Clare Garvie - Opinion - iPhone - Wed 13 Sep 2017​
Wed 13 Sep 2017
Apple’s new smartphone will unlock using face recognition, thanks to infrared and 3D sensors. This technology is spreading – and complacency is not an option
‘Face recognition is already used around the world to examine, investigate, and monitor.’ Photograph: Ian Waldie/Getty Images
I have a confession to make. I’m a privacy lawyer who researches the risks of face recognition technology – and I will be buying the new iPhone.

Apple’s next generation smartphone will use face recognition, thanks to infrared and 3D sensors within its front-facing camera. Reports indicate that the face scan and unlock system will be almost instantaneous and require no buttons to be pressed, being always “on” and ready to read your face. Android users can expect similar face unlock features as well.
Fo the millions of people who will soon depend on face recognition to check their email, send a text, or make a call, it will be quick, easy to use, and, yes, pretty cool. But as we grow accustomed to fast and accurate face recognition, we cannot become complacent to the serious privacy risks it often poses – or think that all its applications are alike.
Face recognition is already used around the world to examine, investigate, and monitor. In China, police use face recognition to identify and publicly shame people for the crime of jaywalking. In Russia, face recognition has been used to identify anti-corruption protesters, exposing them to intimidation or worse.
In the UK, face recognition was used at an annual West Indian cultural festival to identify revelers in real-time. In the United States, more than halfof all American adults are in a face recognition database that can be used for criminal investigations, simply because they have a driver’s license.
Governments are not the only users of face recognition. Retailers use the technology in their stores to identify suspected shoplifters. Social media applications increasingly integrateface recognition into their user experience; one application in Russia allows strangers to find out who you are just by taking your photo.
Different uses of face recognition produce different levels of accuracy, too. The iPhone’s face recognition system may reliably ID us, while also rejecting strangers and nosy friends. We cannot assume the same from other systems.
The more variables in the photo taken – camera distance and angle, lighting, facial pose, photo resolution – the lower the accuracy will be. As a consequence, when used for surveillance, face recognition will perform far less accurately, and make more mistakes, than when used to unlock a smartphone. 
Law enforcement systems compensate for this by lowering the match threshold—how much two people have to look alike to be considered a “match.” At a recent biometrics industry conference, one company demonstrated its real-time face recognition surveillance solution, advertised as being able to pick a suspect out of a crowd, by scanning the face of everyone walking by its cameras. 

Society Without Government
A 20th-century example


Nearly all the economic unrest and human misery today is traceable to more than a hundred sovereign states scattered over the earth. Each state has its own system of government, its own army, its own artificial boundaries and custom barriers, its own currency, its own import and export policy and its own immigration laws. Each state tries to keep out the goods from other states. This leads to conflict and wars. Government interference with trade and the creative activities of individuals cannot lead to economic prosperity and a peaceful social order, free from crime and violence. 
Formal governments have conditioned the minds of the masses through clever propaganda. People are made to believe that a society without policemen, law courts, and jails would lead to violence and anarchy. Many intellectuals today think that mankind can never survive without formal government. To them, this idea is purely utopian.

A number of eminent lawyers have asked me to explain how contractual agreements could be honored in the absence of formal government and a law-enforcement agency. How would private property be protected and property boundaries fixed? How would all sorts of disputes be settled? How would such a free society deal with mob rule, an endless series of private feuds and vendettas, if the retaliatory use of force were left in the hands of individual citizens? How could roads and other facilities of common use be built in the absence of taxes?  

Not very far from where I live are the Pakhtun tribesmen—the principal tribes being the Mohmands, Waziris, Masudis, and Afridis. They live an organized and peaceful life in the absence of formal government. These tribes are geographically sandwiched between countries having formal governments, countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The home of the Pakhtun tribesmen is on the crossroads of Central Asia, and mighty invaders and fortune seekers have marched through this territory to the rich plains of Hindustan in search of gold and treasures. The territory occupied by the Pakhtun is a narrow strip of land, approximately 35,000 square miles. In this area live ten million Pakhtun. In earlier days, none of the invaders dared to attempt to subjugate these people. On the contrary, they paid tribute before crossing the tribal belt. Alexander of Macedonia paid. So did Mahmud of Ghazni, Babur the Mughal, and many others. The British conquered the whole of the Hindustan sub-continent, but left the Pakhtuns alone.
Why did these military adventurers and fortune seekers ignore the land of the Pakhtuns, especially since it is rich in mineral wealth, including fabulous emeralds, rubies, and sapphires? The answer is readily seen. The Pakhtuns believe that political institutions and formal governments are a hoax. They believe that a government's main objective is to gain control over the lives of others for economic exploitation. Hence, any military adventurer would have endless trouble if he attempted to rule over a people who simply refuse to submit to political authority.
The Pakhtuns don't believe in any form of taxation, and don't have any tax records. Imagine the predicament of an invader faced with this situation. The would-be conqueror would find the area a liability, for how could a hold over these people be maintained in the absence of taxes? How would he deal with the Pakhtuns when each man is a born soldier armed to the teeth? Imagine the fate of a tax collector who went to these people from door to door demanding taxes. He would be looked upon either as a lunatic let loose from a mad house, or a daylight robber. The Pakhtuns have never lived under any formal government within historical times.

Although the Pakhtuns have managed to protect themselves against government tyranny, they are, unfortunately, slaves of some outdated and antiquated social customs and traditions which conflict with intellectual liberty. For example, a youth generally doesn't even see the girl he is to marry. Marriages are usually arranged by the parents, sometimes long before the boy or girl has reached puberty. Once married, the Pakhtun has to live with his wife whether he likes her or not. Divorce is frowned upon as something unthinkable and shameful. It is ironic that the world's freest people are the slaves of their own traditions and private practices, and deny themselves freedom of choice in one of the most vital areas of life, sex.
The Pakhtun tribal society is not an ideal society and is not totally free. There are a number of practices in the Pakhtun tribal society which could be seriously questioned. Their major advantage is their individual liberty. They have avoided the tyranny of government.


Compare the life of an average Pakhtun with the life of a fellow human being living under formal government. For convenience, we shall name the Pakhtun living in the tribal area Azad Khan; the other we shall call Ghulam Khan.
Azad Khan (if he so desires) can drink liquor or distil it without any permit or license. He can also smoke marijuana or eat opium; he can cultivate and stockpile these items without obtaining a license from anybody. He can grow any crop; he can set up any business without challenge. He can keep gold; he can maintain a gun without any license. He need fear no policeman, for there are none. He needn't fear jail, for there are no prisons. He can talk about anything. He can write anything. There is no censorship. He doesn't have to bribe any bureaucrat for favors. He controls himself and is responsible for his own actions; he will reap as he sows. If he makes a mistake in business, only he suffers. Others are not required to pay for his folly or miscalculation. He is not subservient to government regulations, ordinances, or statutes, framed by ambitious politicians and bureaucrats. Nobody dares confiscate his property or land. He doesn't have to worry about taxes. There isn't a single tax in his home land. He can do anything he likes except injure another; nor can he obtain a monopoly or enjoy special privileges. These evils arise only under formal governments. Indeed, Azad Khan walks like a lion over the earth, with his shoulders thrown back, unburdened by governmental restrictions and tyranny.


In contrast, Ghulam Khan, living under formal government, is physically, morally, and intellectually a poor specimen. He is born by permission and lives by toleration. He is a coward generally. He is terrorized by the police and prisons. He can't engage in business or organize an industry without a license. He doesn't have the right to pay his labor what he thinks is just, nor can he decide how many hours an employee must work. Bureaucrats make all these decisions.
He can't write what he believes to be true. He has no freedom of speech. His letters are censored. Intelligence operatives follow his every move should they suspect him of being a threat to the engine of tyranny, the government. He isn't allowed to make his financial position secure by saving gold. He must be satisfied with paper money, and its purchasing power diminishes with inflation. He is crushed under a growing burden of taxes; the more those in political power waste it, the more he is required to replenish the state exchequer.
Every year new legislation, ordinances, and statutes are framed, depending on the whims and moods of those in political power. If a politician declares war, Ghulam Khan is required to pay for all the hostilities whether he likes it or not. But he is never consulted before such costly and destructive projects are launched.
Ghulam Khan is even required to pay for his own enslavement. This he does by paying more and more taxes for maintaining a tyrannical police force and army. He dare not keep a gun for his own defense without a license. If he kills another individual, he is imprisoned and treated as a murderer. But if the army, whose equipment Ghulam Khan has financed, kills millions of human beings, each soldier is considered heroic.
Every year Ghulam Khan is required to pay more and more for the protection of his life and property, yet each year he finds life becoming less secure and his property is increasingly threatened by governmental intrusions. Should Ghulam Khan die tomorrow, he would even be taxed after his death—there is an exaction on property called "death duty." Ghulam Khan's life from birth to death is a nightmare.

Pakhtun law is based on local traditions, customs, and the Koran. Disputes are settled through the jirga (a meeting of tribal elders). At the village level there is usually a jirga of four members—two representing each party to the dispute—and a fifth is elected by the four. He is called mashar or senior, and both parties have confidence in his impartiality. He has the right to cast a deciding vote. This arrangement involves no legal expenses, nor do cases drag on for years as in formal courts. No police force is required to enforce the decision of the jirga, for according to tribal custom all parties must respect the decision of those voluntarily chosen to decide disputes. Expulsion or ostracism provides social discipline—and nobody can afford to be expelled from such a social order.
Next, there is the illagai jirga (or district jirga), which decides matters dealing with a whole district. Finally, the loi jirga, or big jirga, handles inter-tribal affairs: representatives of all the tribes participate once a year and decide complicated cases; most of the members are alim-i-deen, or theologians.

In case of murder, the tribal institution of badal (retribution) automatically comes into play, and this acts as a marvelous check on crime. If anyone does murder, he does so for very strong reasons. There is one murder in the tribal belt for every 100 in areas having formal governments. Hindus, Moslems, and Sikhs, for instance, have always lived in peace in tribal society, while they are the deadliest of enemies, butchering one another, under formal governments.
It is generally believed that once a murder occurs in the tribal belt, this would be followed by feuds and vendettas. Endless retaliation occurs among the Pakhtuns living under formal governments, but never among the tribal Pakhtuns. For instance, if Ajab Khan murders Bahadur Khan, then Bahadur's nearest relative avenges his (Bahadur's) murder. Once retributory action has been taken (which, of course, has no formal sanction), both parties are required thereafter to forego a feud or vendetta, failing which they would be asked to pay a heavy penalty to the qaumi khazana or tribal fund; but no Pakhtun would be compelled to make that payment. Anyone who refuses to pay simply forfeits the good will of the tribe and would find that other tribesmen would not come to his defense if he were attacked. If he faced a danger, the tribe would not interfere for they would assume that he had voluntarily refused to pay for what protection he could afford. If payment is made, it is made in cash or in produce. The size of the payment is adjudged as adequate in relation to the means of the individual involved. Those who have no property need not pay at all. No one is ever imprisoned for nonpayment as there are no jails in the tribal belt.
The inter-tribal feud, where fire is exchanged on both sides, is halted through the tribal institution of tiga or truce. Not a shot is fired thereafter—so unlike the cease-fires under formal governments which are violated repeatedly.
Various practical measures are adopted to prevent feuds. One is a ceremony called kana. The elders of the tribe bury a stone (kana) and thereafter no one will dare to commit a murder nor indulge in a blood feud so long as the stone remains buried. The tribesmen have great respect for this custom, which appeals to the conscience of each individual.

How secure is private property in Pakhtun society? For centuries the Pakhtuns have been land owners. Nobody dares grab another's land in Pakhtun society, for everybody knows his land boundaries; and if he forgets, his neighbors know. Disputes, if any, are quickly settled through the tribal institution of jirga (meeting of tribal elders). Such a society is only possible if there is complete respect for one another's property, and no insult is greater to a Pakhtun than being deprived of his land, gun, or wife.
Life, honor, and property are more safe in the tribal area than anywhere else on earth. Property isn't safe even in the USA, for every year the government seizes an average of 1.7 million acres of land from private individuals under one pretext or another. In most countries, governments have been confiscating private lands under the cover of "land reforms." But take an inch of land from a Pakhtun and see what happens. The Pakhtuns believe that human freedom is interlinked with property ownership.

Hospitality is a major factor in Pakhtun life and the customs relating to it are universally supported. Anyone coming into the area, even if he is fleeing powerful enemies, will be treated like an honored guest if he manages to be invited into a home. The rule of hospitality is carried to such an extreme that if a murderer enters the home of the very man he has murdered, he is treated as an honored guest so long as he remains under that roof.
In the recent past the Pakhtuns have been accused of maintaining a "lawless society," of kidnapping school children and demanding ransom from the parents, of stealing scooters and automobiles and then fleeing into their territory, thus escaping "the long arm of the law."

Pakhtuns are accused of being against progress because they will not allow government men to build roads, schools, or hospitals. They fear these actions by government, believing they will lead to political intrigue. At one time, and in violation of the wishes of the tribespeople, the British used this territory for training military men and generals. The result was a continuous conflict. In order to deal with the problem, the British appointed bureaucrats known as "political agents" whose task was to bribe the chiefs of the various tribes, or to play one off against the other, in order to cause them to seek protection from formal government. This practice is continuing to date.
The more nearly one comes to the center of the Pakhtun strip, the more peaceful life becomes. Nearly all of the conflicts arise in the areas next to formally maintained political boundaries. One of the reasons for this relates to an unwritten tribal custom. Any person fleeing government from either direction is given full tribal hospitality and will not be surrendered to the political authorities. This leads to constant friction in the border areas, and to considerable contentment as one moves away from the borders.

Some politicians are now demanding that the Pakhtun tribal areas be merged with existing states under formal government control in order to put an end to this "lawless society." It doesn't occur to them that kidnapping, theft, and robbery are carried on by criminals living under formal governments and in connivance with the local police. The criminals within the organized states perform their crimes and then seek refuge in the tribal belt.

If Pakhtun society without formal government is good, then why are the Pakhtuns economically backward? Obviously, because they are encircled by a tight ring of custom barriers, check posts, and armed guards. The only way a Pakhtun can carry his goods to markets where they are in demand is through smuggling. If government restrictions at the borders were removed, it would be reasonable to predict a rise in the standard of living. By western standards, the lot of the Pakhtun is poor, but nonetheless his standards are higher than those of neighboring people.
How do the Pakhtuns deal with matters of common interest such as road building and irrigation in the absence of formal government? The answer is simple: through voluntary contributions to the qaumi khazana or tribal fund.

A great part of mankind is still superstitious. Many believe the myth that formal government is the best agency to protect individual rights and provide security. I have often wondered what people mean by "security," for during the past 5,000 years of human history, formal governments have been responsible for at least 1,500 wars—that is to say, an average of almost one war every three years! During the First World War some 20,000,000 human beings were killed; during the Second World War, some 50,000,000. Today, governments can wipe out more than 300,000,000 people on three continents within less than sixty minutes. According to a 1962 report, governments spend $117,000,000,000 on armaments every year. This is the amount government spends to defend men from other men. This amount is extracted by force from peaceful citizens in the name of taxation. Do these figures justify the existence of governments? Do these figures make it plain enough why the Pakhtuns hate taxation? Do these figures explain why the Pakhtuns hate formal government?

Some political theorists downgrade monarchy and dictatorship and maintain that the answer is found in a democratic or republican form of government. Others talk about one-world government to insure freedom and peace.
I have lived under every conceivable form of government. I have lived under a maharajah. I have lived under a dictator. I have lived under a republican form of government as well as a democracy. I have even lived under a theocracy, but one thread runs through them all. It is the denial of freedom through the economic exploitation of the individual. How right philosopher Voltaire was when he said: "What difference does it make to a poor man whether he is devoured by a lion or by a hundred rats."
Aslam Effendi is an advertising consultant, polemicist and publicist living in Pakistan. He writes for a broad spectrum of journals and newspapers. A student of Robert LeFevre, his peace campaigns have been praised by philosopher Bertrand Russell and Nobel Prize Winner Sir Norman Angell. His great great grandfather is generally considered by historians as the second greatest hero in Pakhtun history after Emperor Ahmad Shah Durrani.

London's public and private spaces – can you spot the difference? Quiz
Just because it has benches and fountains doesn’t mean it’s public space. As land in the UK capital is transferred into private hands, can you tell which is which?
Bradley L Garrett on the privatisation of our cities’ public spaces
Cities is supported by
The RockeFeller Foundation

Fri 11 May 2018 13.13 BST

In August 2017, a woman contacted the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado with what seemed like a simple case: After a date at a bowling alley, she’d discovered $400 missing from her purse and asked the manager to review the surveillance footage, which showed her companion snatching the cash while she bowled a frame.
But despite the clear evidence, the search for the bowling companion floundered. The woman knew only his first name. He’d removed his profile from the dating site on which they’d met. His number, now disconnected, was linked to a hard-to-trace “burner” phone. Security video captured his car in the parking lot, but not its license plate
The investigator, Tara Young, set the case aside to work on others. It sat on a shelf until early 2018, when she ran into a colleague who was testing out the department’s new facial recognition system.
Young gave the officer a picture of the bowling companion taken from the victim’s cellphone. He plugged it into the software and up popped a mugshot of a man who looked a lot like the date thief.
It was Young’s first experience with facial recognition, one of the most powerful and controversial technological innovations of the 21st century. It gave her dormant case new life, and showed her its potential to transform policing.
Her investigation “would have been at a dead end without the facial recognition,” Young said. “It’s huge.”

A disputed tool goes mainstream
The technology-driven revolution in policing is unfolding in big cities and small communities around the country, as more police departments purchase facial recognition software. The government “facial biometrics” market — which includes federal, state and local law enforcement — is expected to soar from $136.9 million in 2018 to $375 million by 2025, according to an estimate by market research firm Grand View Research. Driven by artificial intelligence, facial recognition allows officers to submit images of people’s faces, taken in the field or lifted from photos or video, and instantaneously compare them to photos in government databases — mugshots, jail booking records, driver’s licenses.
Unlike DNA evidence, which is costly and can take a laboratory days to produce, facial recognition requires little overhead once a system is installed. The relative ease of operation allows officers to make the technology part of their daily work. Rather than reserve it for serious
or high-profile cases, they are using it to solve routine crimes and to quickly identify people they see as suspicious.
But these systems are proliferating amid growing concern that facial recognition remains prone to errors — artificial-intelligence and privacy researchers have found that algorithms behind some systems incorrectly identify women and people with dark skin more frequently than white men — and allows the government to expand surveillance of the public without much oversight. While some agencies have policies on how facial recognition is used, there are few laws or regulations governing what databases the systems can tap into, who is included in those databases, the circumstances in which police can scan people’s photos, how accurate the systems are, and how much the government should share with the public about its use of the technology.

Police praise the technology’s power to improve investigations, but many agencies also try to keep their methods secret. In New York, the police department has resisted attempts by defense attorneys and privacy advocates to reveal how its facial recognition system operates. In Jacksonville, Florida, authorities have refused to share details of their facial recognition searches with a man fighting his conviction for selling $50 of crack. Sometimes people arrested with the help of facial recognition aren’t aware that it was used against them.
Because police don’t treat facial recognition as evidence for presentation in court, the technique does not often turn up in public documents and has not been the subject of many judicial rulings. Its use, and spread, are difficult to track.
The companies that build the technology are also grappling with the implications of its use. Amazon has given its facial recognition system to police departments to try out, sparking protests from employees, shareholders and artificial intelligence researchers. Microsoft says it has resisted requests to sell its products to police, and has called for government regulation. Axon, the largest maker of body cameras in the United States, has taken out patents for facial recognition applications but says it is not pursuing them as it consults with an artificial-intelligence ethics board.
At the same time, companies are creating even more advanced systems that will allow police to identify people from live video footage, such as body cameras, rather than just still images. It is only a matter of time before such technology is available for police to buy.

Officials ID Virginia Beach gunman as city employee
BEN FINLEYJun 1st 2019

Related: Virginia Beach shooting leaves at least 12 dead
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The gunman who killed 12 people in a Virginia Beach municipal building was identified by police Saturday as a 15-year city employee who had served in the military and was described by neighbors as quiet and rarely smiling.
Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock, who was employed as an engineer with the city's public utilities department. Cervera declined to comment on a motive for Friday's rampage that ended with Craddock dying in a gun battle with police. .
Authorities used a Saturday morning news conference to focus on the victims, saying 11 of them worked for the city. Another victim was a contractor trying to get a permit. They projected photos on a screen and gave each victim's name along with biographical details.
"They leave a void that we will never be able to fill," said City Manager Dave Hansen.
Hansen said that chaplains and family assistance workers worked overnight to notify family members of the dead, which he described as "the most difficult task anyone will ever have to do."
The 11 city employees who died were identified as Laquita C. Brown of Chesapeake, Tara Welch Gallager of Virginia Beach, Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach, Alexander Mikhail Gusev of Virginia Beach, Katherine A. Nixon of Virginia Beach, Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk, Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan, Ryan Keith Cox of Virginia Beach, Joshua A. Hardy of Virginia Beach, Michelle "Missy" Langer of Virginia Beach and Robert "Bobby" Williams of Chesapeake. The 12th victim, Herbert "Bert" Snelling of Virginia Beach, was a contractor filling a permit.
ave said the gunman opened fire with a handgun in the municipal building Friday afternoon, killing 12 people on three floors and sending terrified co-workers scrambling for cover before police shot and killed him following a "long gun battle." Four other people were wounded in Friday's shooting, including a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life, police have said.
Police have said the suspect was armed with a .45-caliber handgun. Cervera said Saturday that more weapons were found at the scene and at his home, but declined to elaborate.
Dewayne Antonio Craddock, 40, was a professional engineer who had graduated from Denbigh High School in nearby Newport News in 1996 and joined the Army National Guard, according to a newspaper clip from the time. He received basic military training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He later graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Before going to work in Virginia Beach, he worked for a private engineering firm in Hampton Roads.

Craddock appears to have had no felony record, which would have made him eligible to purchase firearms.

People who live near Craddock said police swarmed the small neighborhood of modest townhomes in Virginia Beach on Friday where some said he had lived for at least 10 years.
Several neighbors said Craddock was clean cut, a member of the neighborhood association board and spent time lots of time at the gym. But they also said he mostly kept to himself, especially after his wife left him some number of years ago.
Angela Scarborough, who lives in the neighborhood, said "he was very quiet . he would just wave."
She said she knew his wife, but she left some time ago. "She just left," Scarborough said. "Didn't let us know or anything."
"I'm very saddened because this is a great neighborhood," Scarborough said. "It's very sad to know that that's the way he decided to resolve the situation. It's just something I can't believe."
She added: "I would speak to him and he would speak back, but conversation-wise, I never had a conversation with him."

Cassetty Howerin, 23, who lived under Craddock, was visibly shaken upon learning from reporters that police said he was behind the shooting.
"That could have easily been me," she said.
Howerin said Craddock had cameras at his home monitoring two nice cars parked out front, including what appeared to be a Mustang. But she said she never saw him bring anyone over. She never saw him come home with groceries.
"He never really cracked a smile," she said.
She said he seemed to be up at all hours of the night, walking around his apartment and sometimes dropping heavy things on the floor above her apartment. She also said that he was "jacked" from spending a lot of time at the gym.
Associated Press writers Regina Garcia Cano in Washington, D.C.; Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia; and Tom Foreman Jr. in Charlotte, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

12 killed in Virginia Beach shooting; suspect dead 
136 dogs seized from multimillion-dollar California home 
Tennessee man sentenced to 10 months in jail for urinating on cereal conveyor belt
12 killed in Virginia Beach shooting; suspect dead

BEN FINLEY-  May 31st 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A longtime city employee opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach on Friday, killing 12 people and sending terrified co-workers scrambling for cover before police shot and killed him, authorities said.
Four other people were wounded in the shooting, including a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life, said Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera. The city's visibly shaken mayor, Bobby Dyer, called it "the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach."
The shooting happened shortly after 4 p.m. when the veteran employee of the Public Utilities Department entered a building in the city's Municipal Center, and "immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all of the victims," Cervera said. He did not release the suspect's name.
Police entered the building and got out as many employees as they could, then exchanged fire with the suspect, who was killed, the chief said.
Police initially said the gunman shot and killed 11 people. Cervera later said one more died on the way to the hospital.
The shooting sent shock waves through Virginia Beach, the state's largest city and a popular vacation spot in southeastern Virginia. The building where the attack took place is in a suburban complex miles away from the high-rise hotels along the beach and the downtown business area.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement he was devastated by the "unspeakable, senseless violence," and is offering the state's full support to survivors and relatives of the victims.
"That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy," the governor said during a Friday night news conference.
The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed and was monitoring the situation.

Megan Banton, an administrative assistant who works in the building where the shooting happened, said she heard gunshots, called 911 and barricaded herself and about 20 colleagues inside an office, pushing a desk against a door.
"We tried to do everything we could to keep everybody safe," she said. "We were all just terrified. It felt like it wasn't real, like we were in a dream. You are just terrified because all you can hear is the gunshots."
She texted her mom, telling her that there was an active shooter in the building and she and others were waiting for police.
"Thank God my baby is OK," Banton's mother, Dana Showers, said.
Five of the injured were being treated at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and a sixth was being transferred to the Trauma Center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Healthcare tweeted.
At a nearby middle school, friends and relatives were reuniting with loved ones who were in the building when the shooting happened. They included Paul Swain, 50, who said he saw his fiancee from across the parking lot, clearly in an agitated state.
"I think she knew some of the people," he said.
Outside the school, Cheryl Benn, 65, waited while her husband, David, a traffic engineer with the city who was in the building where the shooting happened, gave a written statement to detectives.
She said her husband initially called her from a barricaded room and said it sounded as if someone had been working with a nail gun. Then he saw the bodies.
"This is unbelievable for Virginia Beach," Cheryl Benn said. "By and large, it's a pretty calm and peaceful place to live."

Poor lighting can make it more difficult for facial recognition software to verify or identify someone.

Facial Recognition Systems Uses

In the past, the primary users of facial recognition software have been law enforcement agencies, who used the system to capture random faces in crowds. Some government agencies have also been using the systems for security and to eliminate voter fraud. The U.S. government has recently begun a program called US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology), aimed at foreign travelers gaining entry to the United States. When a foreign traveler receives his visa, he will submit fingerprints and have his photograph taken. The fingerprints and photograph are checked against a database of known criminals and suspected terrorists. When the traveler arrives in the United States at the port of entry, those same fingerprints and photographs will be used to verify that the person who received the visa is the same person attempting to gain entry.

However, there are now many more situations where the software is becoming popular. As the systems become less expensive, making their use more widespread. They are now compatible with cameras and computers that are already in use by banks and airports. The TSA is currently working on and testing out its Registered Traveler program. The program will provide speedy security screening for passengers who volunteer information and complete a security threat assessment. At the airport there will be specific lines for the Registered Traveler to go through that will move more quickly, verifying the traveler by their facial features.


Other potential applications include ATM and check-cashing security. The software is able to quickly verify a customer's face. After a customer consents, the ATM or check-cashing kiosk captures a digital image of him. The FaceIt software then generates a faceprint of the photograph to protect customers against identity theft and fraudulent transactions. By using the facial recognition software, there's no need for a picture ID, bankcard or personal identification number (PIN) to verify a customer's identity. This way businesses can prevent fraud from occurring.

While all the examples above work with the permission of the individual, not all systems are used with your knowledge. In the first section we mentioned that systems were used during the Super Bowl by the Tampa Police, and in Ybor City. These systems were taking pictures of all visitors without their knowledge or their permission. Opponents of the systems note that while they do provide security in some instances, it is not enough to override a sense of liberty and freedom. Many feel that privacy infringement is too great with the use of these systems, but their concerns don't end there. They also point out the risk involved with identity theft. Even facial recognition corporations admit that the more use the technology gets, the higher the likelihood of identity theft or fraud.

As with many developing technologies, the incredible potential of facial recognition comes with some drawbacks, but manufacturers are striving to enhance the usability and accuracy of the systems.
For more information on facial recognition technology and related topics, check out the links below.


A4Vision, a creator of facial recognition software, is currently marketing a system that will keep track of employees' time and attendance. Their Web site states that it will prohibit "buddy punching," which will cut down on security risks and decreased productivity.

Related Articles
Do police cameras reduce crime?
How Workplace Surveillance Works
How Carnivore Worked
How Location Tracking Will Work
How Red-light Cameras Work
How Encryption Works
How Biometrics Works
How Fingerprint Scanners Work
How Identity Theft Works
How Digital Cameras Work
How Police Interrogation Works
How Police Academies Work
Why do we have eyebrows?

More Great Links
EPIC: Face Recognition
FACEngine ID
RAND: Biometrics, A Look at Facial Recognition - PDF

ACLU. "Q & A on Face-Recognition." September 2, 2003.
Beach, Cindie. "The Face of Security." Military Information Technology. December 22, 2005.
Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Face Recognition." January 19, 2006.
Gupta, A. "Biometrics: Eyes Don't Lie." DataQuest. October 14, 2006. /2006/106101402.asp
Identix. "FaceIt® G6 Frequently Asked Technical Questions"
Kimmel, Ron and Guillermo Sapiro. "The Mathematics of Face Recognition." SIAM. April 30, 2003.
Moyer, Paula. "New Technology Targets Skin as Valid Biometric Identification, Security." Dermatology Times. June 1, 2004.
The University of York, Department of Computer Science. "Biometrics: Face Recognition."
Woodward, John D, et al. "Biometrics: A Look at Facial Recognition." RAND Public Safety and Justice. 2003.

6, Elephant Park, Elephant and Castle  Public or Private

Party Polarization 1879-2012

How face recognition works

Facial recognition is the process of identifying or verifying the identity of a person using their face. It captures, analyzes and compares patterns based on the person's facial details.
The face detection process is an essential step as it detects and locates human faces in images and videos.
 The face capture process transforms an analog information (a face) into a set of digital information (data) based on the person's facial features.
The face match process verifies if two faces belong to the same person.
Today it's considered to be the most natural of all biometric measurements. 
And for good reason – we recognize ourselves not by looking at our fingerprints or irises, for example, but by looking at our faces. 

​Gemalto has specialized in the sensitive field of biometric technologies for almost 30 years. The company has always collaborated with the best technical and institutional players when it comes to research, ethics and biometric applications.

Face recognition data to identify and verify
Biometrics are used to identify and authenticate a person using a set of recognizable and verifiable data unique and specific to that person.
For more on biometrics definition visit our web dossier on biometrics.

Identification answers the question: "Who are you?"
Authentication answers the question: "Are you really who you say you are?".
Stay with us, here are some examples : 
In the case of facial biometrics, a 2D or 3D sensor "captures" a face. It then transforms it into digital data by applying an algorithm, before comparing the image captured to those held in a database.
These automated systems can be used to identify or check the identity of individuals in just a few seconds based on their facial features: spacing of the eyes, bridge of the nose, contour of the lips, ears, chin, etc.
They can even do this in the middle of a crowd and within dynamic and unstable environments. Proof of this can be seen in the performance achieved by Gemalto's Live Face Identification System (LFIS), an advanced solution resulting from our long-standing expertise in biometrics.  
Owners of the iPhone X have already been introduced to facial recognition technology. However, the Face ID biometric solution developed by Apple was heavily criticized in China in late 2017 because of its inability to differentiate between certain Chinese faces. 
Of course, other signatures via the human body also exist such as fingerprints, iris scans, voice recognition, digitization of veins in the palm and behavioral measurements.

I was recently sent a link to a YouTube video entitled We Too, in which a trespasser sneaks into the under-construction, 34-storey Lexicon skyscraper near the Silicon Roundabout in London, and pitches a tent on the top floor.
In the video, after a good night’s sleep, the interloper unzips the front flap of the shelter and steps into the early-morning air. The city unfolds before him in a stunning vista, suggesting the view that future occupants of the skyscraper will enjoy – or, more likely in London, the view that international investors will use as a selling point when they put the flat back on the market after a few years of not living in it.
Later that day, I received another link to Craigslist where the Lexicon lurker, as I came to call him, had placed an ad for a “highly affordable luxury penthouse in Islington”, illustrated with a crisp photo of his tent overlooking the city. The punchline of this performance – that “we too sleep in penthouses” – was a playful way of reframing the most pressing concern in the neoliberal city: who is it actually for?
In the video We Too, posted anonymously, a trespasser sneaks into an under-construction skyscraper in London
The geographer David Harvey once wrote that “the freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is … one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights”. Generations of urban theorists, from Lewis Mumford to Jane Jacobs to Doreen Massey, have suggested that the place where cities get “remade” is in the public rather than private sphere. Part of the problem, then, with privately owned public spaces (“Pops”) – open-air squares, gardens and parks that look public but are not – is that the rights of the citizens using them are severely hemmed in. Although this issue might be academic while we’re eating our lunch on a private park bench, the consequences of multiplying and expanding Pops affects everything from our personal psyche to our ability to protest.
Let me offer two examples from other cities. I am originally from Los Angeles and recently went back to visit. When I asked an old friend where you could find the public space in LA, his response was: “What, to buy?” This sounds like sarcasm, but Los Angeles is a city infamous for slaying public space and public transportation. My friend clarified his genuine confusion later when he sent me a Los Angeles Times article about how the city had begun to sell slivers of pavement on the private market intended for crafty entrepreneurs looking for ad space.
So there’s one model – and here’s another. A few years back, I was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and I asked a colleague if we could go somewhere photogenic. I was taken to Vann Molyvann’s 1964 National Stadium, a Brutalist behemoth built in anticipation of the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games in 1963. 
When we arrived, the place was filled with hundreds of people, none that I could see in any sort of official capacity. Some were conducting open-air aerobics classes, others were selling barbecued corn from rolling carts, a few people were air-drying laundry and many were just milling about on foot or scooters. I even met a child taking a bath in a bucket, who tried to douse me. Nothing was locked. I went in and out of areas at will, including the vast indoor stadium, which was unoccupied except for a few kids smoking a joint. There was an intense energy in the air that came from a little sprinkling of chaos – a feeling that anything could happen here.

 ‘The place was filled with people, none in any kind of official capacity’ ... Phnom Penh’s National Stadium offers a different model of public space. Photograph: Bradley L Garre
It was then I realised that one problem with Pops is they lack that kind of energy. They feel too monitored, too controlled, to allow this communal activity to simply unfold. London, and many other cities, are failing miserably to enable diversity in people’s engagement with such spaces.
In 2012, the Guardian ran a campaign to crowdsource data about Pops in Britain. The project, though incomplete, suggested a clear pattern. Having begun to be built in the 1980s (unsurprisingly), Pops around the country increased steadily in number through the 2000s, and also grew in size. This includes the estate of More London, a 13-acre expanse stretching down the Thames’s Southbank. It was completed in 2003 and sold off in 2013 to Kuwaiti property company St Martins for £1.7bn, in one of the largest commercial property deals in British history.

In the process, the transformation of the areas outside City Hall into a Pops means it is no longer possible to protest outside the headquarters of the mayor and the Greater London Authority (GLA). Or to take photos, apparently: when I was filming with Channel 4 there last year, we were swiftly removed from the property. This is nothing new. In 2010, during aLondon Assembly planning and housing committee meeting, Jenny Jones, from the Green party, said: “It has taken us eight years to negotiate with More London so that we politicians can do a TV interview outside our own building.”
Despite multiple objections from politicians and notwithstanding Boris Johnson’s 2011 Manifesto for Public Space, the construction of Pops such as More London is continuing to escalate and expand, including nine acres planned in Tower Hamlets, a vast patch outside the Battersea Power Station development, and open space and parks at Woodberry Down near Manor House, where I was chased around for taking photos a few months ago. Given how all these developments seem to contradict stated city authority goals to increase public space that is actually publicly owned, one could be forgiven for thinking that the GLA is not actually in control of development in London.
So what is it we expect to happen in public space? In 2008, geographer Ash Amin wrote that “public spaces marked by the unfettered circulation of bodies [produce] new rhythms from the many relational possibilities”. I experienced elements of this in the Phnom Penh National Stadium. But, when space is controlled, and especially when the public is unclear about what the legal or acceptable boundaries of activity are, we tend to police ourselves, to monitor our behaviour and to limit our interactions, especially after embarrassing confrontations with security.
Property owners are perfectly aware of this and prey on those sensibilities. The new King’s Cross development at Granary Square is one of the largest open-air spaces in Europe – about the same size as Trafalgar Square. Unlike Trafalgar Square, it is also a Pops. Photographer Nicholas Goodden set up a tripod there recently to take a photo, and was immediately asked by security whether he had a permit to do so. When he said he did not, he was ordered to move across the canal to get his image. In other words, he was kicked out of “public” space. This would not have happened to a photojournalist in Trafalgar Square, which is owned by the Crown and managed by the Greater London Authority.
Moreover, an encounter with security like this may make you wary and cause you to confine your behaviour to a narrow range so as to avoid confrontation. The psychological effects of this sort of self-policing were written about by Michel Foucault: “He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection.”
Geographer Don Mitchell suggests that what public space provides in a city under surveillance are small islands of freedom surrounded by Foucault’s “carceral archipelago” – the surveilled city. Herein lies a crucial question: what happens when our small islands of freedom become indistinguishable from the rest of the city? Sociologist Richard Sennett suggests that private public spaces are “dead public spaces” because the essence of conviviality, spontaneity, encounter and yes, that little sprinkle of chaos, have been stripped out. The spaces are not rendered dead because they aren’t enjoyable – I myself enjoy lounging on the steps near the canal at Granary Square – but dead because the potential range of spatial engagement here can fit in a coffee cup.
“By claiming space in public, by creating public spaces, social groups themselves become public,” Mitchell writes. “Only in public spaces can the homeless, for example, represent themselves as a legitimate part of ‘the public’.” I’m sure we can all imagine how Granary Square security might respond to a homeless Londoner making their woes public on their private AstroTurf.
The power for corporate entities to not only impede certain activities but to bar the public access to “public” space was upheld during the Occupy protest court proceedings. On 14 October 2011, an injunction passed “preventing ‘persons unknown’ entering or remaining in or trespassing on [Paternoster Square]”. While Occupy may seem like ancient history, these proceedings were important because they set a precedent: protest would not be tolerated in open-air private space.
It is no coincidence that the aforementioned Lexicon lurker deployed a tent in his bogus ad. The tent has become a powerful totem: from Brian Haw to Occupy, it symbolises the bringing of the domestic sphere into the public, and has become so feared by authorities that Westminster City Council passed bylaws in 2012 “to regulate tents and other structures and sleeping equipment”. So much for urban camping.

2. Granary Square      Public or Private

1. Paternoster Square       Public or  Private

 Facial recognition is not just useless. In police hands, it is dangerous
Martha Spurrier -  Opinion -  Facial recognition
Wed 16 May 2018 
In one trial by the Met, the results were 98% inaccurate. People must be protected from being falsely identified as criminals 
UK police use of facial recognition technology a failure, says report
Wed 16 May 2018 10.00 BST Last modified on Wed 16 May 2018 13.04 BST

 ‘Facial recognition exists in a regulatory vacuum.’ Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Science fiction is often a precursor to science fact. Some of the best dystopian novels and films are set in a nightmarish world where the state can follow you everywhere you go, as your face flashes up a match on a population-level database.
Now facial recognition is here for real. The police are scanning thousands of our faces – at protests, football matches, music festivals and even Remembrance Day commemorations – and comparing them against secret databases.
The only difference is that in the books and the films it always worked. Yesterday, Big Brother Watch published the results of its investigation into police use of facial recognition software. It revealed that the Met’s technology is 98% inaccurate.
This hasn’t come as a big surprise to us at Liberty. When we were invited to witness the Met’s trial of the technology at Notting Hill carnival last summer, we saw a young woman being matched with a balding man on the police database. Across the Atlantic, the FBI’s facial recognition algorithm regularly misidentifies women and people of colour. This technology heralds a grave risk of injustice by misidentification, and puts each and every one of us in a perpetual police lineup.
Facial recognition exists in a regulatory vacuum. It doesn’t come under the same regulatory framework as camera surveillance and other biometric data such as fingerprints and DNA. Parliament hasn’t ever debated it.
And automated facial recognition technology isn’t passive, like CCTV. It loads surveillance cameras with biometric software to create maps of people’s unique facial characteristics in real time. These are then measured and matched to images stored elsewhere.
Although it is talked up as being needed to keep us safe from crime, the database against which thousands of people’s faces were compared at Remembrance Day commemorations at the Cenotaph last November was compiled of people who had shown obsessive behaviour towards particular public figures – none of whom were wanted for arrest, and all of whom were engaging in lawful behaviour.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what can happen when invasive technology exists with no law governing it and no oversight of its use. It’s policing without constraint, not policing by consent.
The police say Tony Porter, the surveillance camera commissioner, is tasked with keeping an eye on them – but he’s not. In fact, the commissioner has just said that Home Office delays in setting out a strategy for facial recognition have left the police to their own devices.
With no legislation, guidance, policy or oversight, facial recognition technology should have no place on our streets. It has chilling implications for our freedom. Every single person who walks by these cameras will have their face – their most identifiable feature – scanned and stored on a police database.
There is no escaping it – especially when you don’t know it’s happening. And if you are one of the unlucky ones who is falsely identified as a match, you might be forced to prove your identity to the police – or be arrested for a crime you didn’t commit.
It’s not hard to imagine the chilling effect its unrestricted use will have. Constant surveillance leads to people self-censoring lawful behaviour. Stealthily, these measures curb our right to protest, speak freely and dissent. They shape our behaviours in ways that corrode the heart of our democratic freedoms.
And even more perniciously, this technology is most dangerous for the people who need it the most. Technology that misidentifies women and people from ethnic minority communities disenfranchises people who already face inequality. If the history of the civil rights movement teaches us anything, it’s that protest can bring about social change. The people most likely to be wronged by the facial recognition technology being rolled out in our public spaces are the people who need public protest the most.
The government’s defence is that the technology is “evolving”. But that doesn’t wash when it is having a real and unjust impact on people in the here and now. There is an increasing pattern of British police “trialling” new tools and tech – such as fingerprint scanning and spit hoods – that suddenly become the norm without so much as a robust assessment of the trial or a public debate.
This must stop now. On Monday the information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said that if the Home Office and the police forces do not address her concerns about the use of facial recognition technology, she will consider taking legal action to ensure the public is protected. Liberty will be right behind her.

• Martha Spurrier is a British barrister and human rights campaigner and the director of Liberty

Psycho-Electronic Weapn Effects - Government Accidentally Releases Documents on "Psycho-Electric" Weapons

The Granary Square ‘Pops’ in London’s King’s Cross is one of the largest open-air spaces in Europe.

Photograph: John Sturrock for the Guardian

9. Brockwell Park, Streatham Common, London Fields        Public or Private

Apple’s new smartphone will unlock using face recognition, thanks to infrared and 3D sensors. This technology is spreading – and complacency is not an option
‘Face recognition is already used around the world to examine, investigate, and monitor.’ Photograph: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

 A CCTV camera in front of a poster in central London. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Bio Electomagnetic Spectrum:

Emission or wave propagation (Electonic Signal). To make communication, to identify any object emitting frequency. The Human Body emits very low Electronic Signals as temperature/heat.  (Brain/Wave- Delta, Thets, Alpha, Beta, Gamma etc).

Bio Electronic signal frequency ID of each object.

Radar Electornic signal detect the object (Himan Body) for modulation human braon wave.

 Human Brain Wave

Delta is the frequency range up to 4 HZ.

Theta is the frequency range from 4 HZ to 7 HZ.

Beta is the frequency range from 12 Hz to about 30 Hz.

Gamma is the frequency range approximately 30-100 HZ.

Mu ranges from 8-13 HZ.

Provided by

Pupatik Saka

(Software And Electonic Comm.Engg.)

What happens when you ask to see CCTV footage?

Nate Berg Tue 22 Sep 2015

Cities is supported by
The Rockefeller Foundation

Nate Berg Tue 22 Sep 2015
In Britain and other EU countries, people have the right to see footage of themselves recorded on CCTV cameras. Yet when one university researcher set out to test this, many operators were less than forthcoming

 Graffiti outside the Hubb Arts Centre in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian
For Spiller, his underwhelming results are indicative

“Sometimes the responses given were just to kind of hope I would go away”..Keith Spiller

“Technology is rapidly de-anonymising public spaces, and the law hasn’t yet caught up”… Scott Roehm

One day in late 2013, Keith Spiller went for a walk around a city in the south of England. Over the course of about an hour and a half, he walked past the town hall, a train station, a stadium, a few banks, a few shopping areas, a museum and a handful of other public places. And, like countless others walking around UK cities and cities around the world, in each of the places he passed he was recorded on CCTV surveillance cameras.

After his walk, however, he did what very few others do: he asked for the footage.
The UK’s Data Protection Act of 1998 entitles the public to access this kind of personal data, and Spiller, a researcher at the Open University in Milton Keynes, wanted to see how well CCTV operators complied with the law. He found the contact information for the operators of the cameras in each of the 17 locations he visited, and began submitting subject access requests to see what the cameras had recorded. He recently published his research in the journal Urban Studies.

“What I asked them to do is relatively unusual,” Spiller says. “[With] most members of the public, the chance of them asking for their images is limited. I think on average most people only look for it when something has happened to them or something’s gone wrong. And even then, I’m not so sure people are aware they have a right to look at their own information.”

They do have the right, technically. But in practice, actually getting the footage is not as straightforward as the law might make it seem.

Following the protocol laid out in the Data Protection Act, Spiller made formal written requests to the operators of each of the 17 CCTV cameras that recorded him, using a template letter from the UK Information Commissioners’ Office. According to the ICO, 94,358 organisations across the UK have registered as users of CCTV. Operators are compelled to provide requested data within 40 days, and are allowed to ask a £10 fee from the requester. In some cases, Spiller received quick mailed responses seeking the £10 fee – and one requesting a £20 fee, plus VAT. In others, his requests went unanswered.

He then made follow-up calls, some of which went unreturned while others revealed that his original letters were either lost or never received. In one back-and-forth with the operator of a shopping mall’s CCTV system, the correspondence lasted so long that by the time the operator figured out how to get Spiller what he requested, the system’s 30-day automatic data overwrite had already deleted his footage.

“The data controllers tasked with actually giving information back to the person who’s caught on CCTV, because they don’t do it that often, quite often aren’t too sure what they have to do,” he says. “Sometimes the responses that were given were just to kind of hope that I would go away.”

In total, Spiller wrote 37 letters, made 31 phone calls, and spent £60 making requests. Of the 17 CCTV operators he contacted, only six provided him with his footage.

He had about the same success rate as The Get Out Clause, a Manchester band that performed in front of the city’s surveillance cameras in 2008, requested the footage from about 80 cameras and used the roughly 20 clips they received to make a music video.




 Graffiti outside the Hubb Arts Centre in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

For Spiller, his underwhelming results are indicative of a lack of oversight in the extensive CCTV surveillance system operating in private and public spaces across the UK. Though the rules are clearly outlined in the Data Protection Act, they’re not well observed, and Spiller worries that the organisations collecting this data aren’t being adequately scrutinised. “In this day and age, it’s an extremely pressing issue as to how our data is managed by third parties,” he says. “This is one of the big debates for the future.”

And it’s an issue of growing global concern, with new surveillance technologies being deployed on a large scale in cities around the world. Spiller’s research was conducted as part of a 10-university, EU-wide examination of surveillance that found widespread limitations on the public’s ability to access data collected by these systems, despite rules such as the UK Data Protection Act and the EU’s Data Protection Directive.

In the United States, where citywide surveillance systems, police car-mounted automated license plate readers and body-worn cameras are being adopted across the country, many are concerned about the lack of regulations controlling how this data is being collected, stored and made available, especially when the collection is happening in public spaces.

“It’s always been true that people routinely engage in activities in public spaces that they nonetheless consider to be private. And not that long ago, the government encroaching on that expectation of privacy wasn’t really an issue, because it didn’t have the capability to do so. It does now,” says Scott Roehm, vice-president of programmes and policy at the Constitution Project, a Washington DC thinktank. “Technology, including what’s doable with a public video surveillance system, is rapidly de-anonymising public spaces, and the law hasn’t yet caught up.”

Unlike the UK and EU, the US doesn’t have nationwide policies governing surveillance systems and their accessibility – aside from general protections against unreasonable searches in the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Some cities with citywide CCTV and surveillance systems – such as New York, Washington DC and Chicago – do have some policies governing how these systems are used, but many others don’t.

At the state level, the default policy has been each state’s version of freedom of information or public records laws, says Nancy La Vigne, director of the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, a research group focused on urban issues. How and whether footage can be disseminated varies from state to state. “That leads to some states being really forthcoming with the footage, and other states less so,” she says.

“Technology is rapidly de-anonymising public spaces, and the law hasn’t yet caught up”… Scott Roehm

The lack of clarity creates the potential for abuse, according to Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. The pace at which cities and police departments are adopting new technologies, such as body-worn cameras and facial recognition technology, has tended to be much faster than the development of clear regulations to govern how these new technologies are used.

“We are seeing the creeping introduction of government-run cameras, and generally there aren’t really policies in place on most of them,” Stanley says. “There’s a lag between when people lose their privacy and when they feel like they’ve lost their privacy. We’re in that lag period now.”

Groups like the ACLU and the Constitution Project have called for more specific policies, and each has developed model legislation that municipalities can use to put more safeguards in place as they roll out these new technologies. Roehm of the Constitution Project says that developing regulations and standards at the outset is key to protecting the public’s constitutional rights and civil liberties once the cameras are rolling.

“There are ways to build a system that would make it more protective, allow for more transparency, solve some of the problems that exist now – but it requires doing all that work at the front end and then following through,” he says.

In the UK, the system is in place – but, as Spiller’s research shows, there’s room to improve on the follow-through. He argues that the reason CCTV operators can have such a poor record of complying with requests is that they aren’t held accountable as often as they should be.

If people want a more transparent system, he says, they should be making their own requests for CCTV footage.

Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook and join the discussion

Since you're here...

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting our independent, investigative reporting than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.

The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

Every contribution we receive from readers like you, big or small, goes directly into funding our journalism. This support enables us to keep working as we do – but we must maintain and build on it for every year to come. 

Support The Guardian from as little as €1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

The Pops Profiler, by Casa student Oliver Dawkins, shows privately owned public space in London’s Square Mile

How Far is Too Far: The Government vs Alfie Evans 
April 26, 2018 - Stephanie Malcolm 

Alfie Evan’s and His StoryHave you been keeping up on the situation over in England regarding the baby that is not allowed to leave the hospital?  If you are on social media such as Twitter or Facebook, it would be very difficult to miss this story happening right now in the UK.  It is all over the television and is on a continuous news cycle being reported live any new updates pertaining to the case.
The parents of a little boy, named Alfie Evans have been denied the right to seek proper medical treatment for their son.  He has been held captive at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and not allowed to leave with his parents to get necessary medical treatment in another country. 
 Alfie has (potentially) a degenerative neurological condition, which has not been officially diagnosed.  It has been reported that Alfie is a semi-vegatitive state which leaves him largely unresponsive to external stimuli.
However, according to his parents, he has shown some responses to cuddling and being held. His parents have not given up hope for their little boy, for whom they want the best for. And even the Italian government has granted the child Italian citizenship and lined up a transportation plan that could quickly bring the sick 23-month-old boy to a Vatican hospital. But Alfie’s doctors say he cannot be healed and shouldn’t make the trip at all.  

Parents PerspectiveIt has been an emotional week for the parents and I cannot even begin to imagine what they must be feeling. (Alfie has been in the hospital since 2016)
The hopelessness, anger, and frustration as they watch their son not be able to receive the medical care needed.
To sit there and know that you are not allowed to give your child the chance to receive necessary treatment that could sustain his life or offer an improvement for his condition; would crush the spirit.
As a mother who has been in the hospital with severely ill children, I know how lonely, depressing, and overwhelming it can be.
I have seen my second born spend the first year of her life in and out of the hospital being treated for a potentially life-threatening genetic condition, and at one point we were told that she may die and there was nothing they could do.
I have been there when my son had a seizure had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital.
I have been there when my youngest daughter was air-lifted to a children’s hospital with a potentially life-threatening condition.
I have been there in the hospital when my sixth child, a son, died in our arms. I saw him take his last breath. I remember the struggle of watching his little body lose the fight to live. And I remember the life leaving him, his body turning blue, and his body eventually turning stone cold.
My son had a genetic disorder that was deemed incompatible with life. We knew that without kidneys and a bladder that David would not survive. We knew the time we had was precious.
However, if there had been an inkling of hope for our son to live that we would have advocated for his right-to-life.

How Far is Too Far?

The government nor health professionals have absolutely no right to determine that a child’s life is over. Essentially, they are saying that a child does not deserve to live. My heart and prayers go out to this family.

As a parent,

I already feel that the government is too controlling and too interfering, but for the government to essentially take the place of the parent has gone too far. Last year about this time, my family had its own run-in with the type of governmental control over our own health care. The government feels that my 12 and 13-year-old (daughters at the time) knew what was best for themselves and my husband and I were removed from having access to their medical records.

(Read our story here: My Body, My Choice…….)
Mamas and wivesYou, along with your husband know what is best for your children.  Nobody knows your family like you do.  We are slowly losing our rights as parents in many ways, and health care is one area that the government should have no control over. The choice alone should be ours.
Ultimately, the governing authority lies in the hands of our Lord. May He be our source of strength, peace, and hope in times like this.

Scripture for Hope in Times of Trouble
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 

2 Corinthians 4:8, 16-17
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

 Matthew 11:28-30
“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
“God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. “Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too.”

Matthew 5:4, 10-12
 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. 

Psalm 126:5
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” 

Isaiah 41:10

“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” 
Stephanie, Training Keepers of the Home

These developments have triggered attempts to curb police use of facial recognition. The cities of Somerville, Massachusetts, and San Francisco and Oakland, California, are considering banning it. So is the state of Massachusetts.
Civil rights advocates, privacy researchers and criminal defense lawyers warn that the ubiquity of police-run facial recognition systems could cause officers to become overly reliant on a flawed technology and risk wrongful convictions. They say it could trigger an explosion in arrests for petty crimes, exacerbate the criminal justice system’s disproportionate impact on the poor and minorities, and lead to even more routine uses ─ already deployed in China ─ such as exposing jaywalkers and people who take toilet paper from public restrooms.
“It could have a panopticon effect where you’re worried that the government is always watching out,” said Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit that investigates the federal government.

‘We try to use it as much as we can’
As these debates unfold, police are continuing to adopt the facial recognition technology, a trend that began two decades ago, when Pinellas County, Florida, won a series of federal grants that allowed it to become a testing ground for the emerging technology. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the technology has changed policing almost entirely for the better, allowing his investigators to identify bank robbers, missing persons, even people who’ve been killed in car crashes. “We solve crimes we otherwise wouldn’t have solved,” Gualtieri said.
The technology has since crept across the country, to Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago and New York, as well as hundreds of state and local law enforcement agencies.
Because there is no easy way to measure how many police departments have adopted facial recognition, any effort to do so provides only a glimpse. The most comprehensive assessment was conducted by the Georgetown Center on Privacy and Technology, which found in 2016 that at least one in four police agencies could run facial recognition searches, either through a system they’d purchased themselves or one owned by another agency. (For example, Pinellas County’s system, which includes millions of Florida driver’s licenses and law enforcement photos, is available to nearly 300 other law enforcement agencies.) The technology has surely spread since then.
In Colorado, local investigators have foiled credit-card fraudsters, power-tool bandits and home-garage burglars and identified suspects in a shooting and a road-rage incident. In San Diego, officers snap pictures of suspicious people in the field who refuse to identify themselves. The technology has led to the capture of a serial robber in Indiana, a rapist in Pennsylvania, a car thief in Maine, robbery suspects in South Carolina, a sock thief in New York City and shoplifters in Washington County, Oregon.
In southwestern Ohio, officers are dumping images from Crime Stoppers alerts into their newly acquired facial recognition system and solving all sorts of property crimes.
“We try to use it as much as we can,” said Jim Stroud, a police detective in Springfield Township, a Cincinnati suburb.
In Lakewood, Colorado, Det. Mark Gaffney patrols with a cellphone equipped with an app that allows him during traffic stops and other roadside encounters to take pictures of people whose name he can’t confirm and run them through a facial recognition system. Nearly instantaneously, the program gives a list of potential matches loaded with information that can help him confirm the identity of the people he’s stopped ─ and whether they have any outstanding warrants. Previously, he’d have to let the person go or bring them in to be fingerprinted.
“When I don’t know who a person is, I have more options available to me if they don’t want to tell me,” Gaffney said.

Inside one department’s operation

Few local law enforcement agencies talk openly about how they use facial recognition. Among the exceptions is the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, which allowed investigators to describe how the technology has fit into their routine casework.
The agency’s use of facial recognition is typical among law enforcement, with a group of specially trained investigators acting as liaisons to the rest of the department. Every day, they sit at computer screens at the agency’s headquarters in Centennial, Colorado, plugging images into their year-old facial recognition system. The photos come from their own case files, Crime Stoppers bulletins and big-box retailers such as Home Depot and Target hit by serial shoplifters. They also take requests from detectives at other police agencies.

The amount of material is massive, particularly for property crimes, because, generally speaking, if there’s a place with something worth taking — a city street, a shop, a house — there is probably also a surveillance camera or a phone-wielding witness.
The images are uploaded into software called Lumen, sold by Numerica Corp., a defense and law enforcement contractor. An algorithm compares them to a database of mugshots and booking photos shared by law enforcement agencies across the Denver region.

Within seconds, dozens of possible matches flash onto the screen, ranked by how similar the algorithm thinks they are. The investigators scroll through the list, looking for a potential match, adding filters such as gender, race and the color of the subject’s eyes and hair. The algorithm’s confidence in the match never hits 100 percent. If the subject’s photo is grainy or captures their face from the side, or if they are wearing a hood or sunglasses, there may not be any worthwhile results. Sometimes investigators find a promising hit near the top of the rankings; other times the actual suspect turns up far down the list, ranked at perhaps 75 percent.

Any apparent connections then have to be verified. The investigator gets to work, running the potential match through criminal databases for more clues. The investigator might also set up a photo array, including the potential match and photos of similar looking people, to show a witness.
“The facial recognition identification is just an investigative lead. It doesn’t establish probable cause to make an arrest,” said Rick Sheets, an Arapahoe County investigator who specializes in property crimes.
Arapahoe investigators who have been trained on Lumen encourage their colleagues not to shelve cases before trying it. That is what happened in March 2018, when Investigator Jim Hills told Young about the system, which had been installed a few weeks earlier.

Young thought of the woman who’d been robbed of $400 during the date at the bowling alley seven months earlier.

“This might be a good one to try,” she said.

A mystery solved
Young gave Hills a close-up cellphone picture of the date thief. The victim, Debbie Mallick, had shared it early in the investigation, along with screenshots of text messages in which he’d admitted to stealing her $400, just before he shut down his phone.

Hills entered the snapshot into Lumen. Near the top of the results was an old booking photo of a man with dozens of prior arrests, including convictions for assault, car theft and violating restraining orders. He looked remarkably similar. His first name was Antonio, the same as the thief’s.
Young arranged for a colleague to show Mallick a photo array. Mallick picked him out immediately. Young filed an arrest warrant charging the man, Antonio Blackbear, with misdemeanor theft.

Another two months passed before Young got an alert from police in Denver, who said they’d taken Blackbear into custody. In June 2018, he pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 25 days in jail and was ordered to pay back Mallick.
Blackbear, 40, could not be reached for comment.

Mallick, 47, said she still hasn’t gotten her money back, which was all she wanted in the first place. The experience hurt her deeply, and made her less trusting of people. But the mother of two said she was grateful the investigators didn’t give up.
She had no idea how police identified Blackbear.
In arrest reports and court documents detailing the case, there is no mention of facial recognition.

The Flaws and Dangers of Facial Recognition
The best way to prevent your facial identity from being stolen is to limit it to airport and border security use cases
By Martin Zizi Mar 01, 2019

When dealing with airport and border security, we need databases, we need to share information and we need law enforcement. However, for day-to-day authentication use cases like IoT, we should resort to physiologic biometrics that rely on unique live signals. Such live signals allow for effective authentication while at the same time protecting privacy and democracy.

Problem: Facial Recognition Can be Spoofed and Hacked
By 2020 it is expected that more than one billion smartphones will feature facial recognition solutions (Counterpoint Research). In 2017, when Apple announced Face ID would be one of the newest features incorporated into the iPhone X model, it was not long before mobile phone companies followed suit. Users merely look at their smartphone screen and it unlocks, creating the most contactless mobile authentication to date. It quickly surpassed the coveted fingerprint authentication. However, it did not come without flaws.
Quickly becoming ubiquitous, study after study exposed vulnerabilities in facial recognition. Researchers from the University of Toronto were able to use adversarial learning to beat a neural net using another neural net. According to the study, by adjusting only a few pixels at the corner of a person’s eye or mouth would be unrecognizable to the facial recognition technology. Apple has set the highest standard for facial recognition with Face ID, developing a second camera called the “True Depth Camera,” which maps your face and takes special 3D pictures that are used to authenticate you with an infrared camera, flood illuminator and dot projector. However, not every device can withstand extensive tests. Dutch organization Consumentenbond found that 42 out of 110 devices tested were unlocked by using a picture of the device’s owner. Lenovo/Motorola, LG, Nokia, Samsung, and BlackBerry were all compromised.
Not only has facial recognition been spoofed and hacked, but the use of databases has added vulnerabilities, including widespread breaches. In 2018, there were many soon-to-be historic data breaches— how can we trust our facial identity is protected in this climate? Another important question: what’s stopping big companies from selling this information to the highest bidder? Nothing. In fact, Amazon offers Face Rekognition, which allows clients to build their own facial recognition system. According to Amazon’s blog post, Washington’s sheriff office has been using Amazon Rekognition since 2016 to “reduce the identification time of reported suspects from two to three days down to minutes and had apprehended their first suspect within a week by using their new system.”
Facial recognition databases can compromise democracy or be used for big data—or far worse—they can be wrong. According to a study done by the ACLU, Amazon’s Face Rekognition software incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress, identifying them as people previously arrested for a crime. Out of the 28 members of Congress wrongly identified, 40 percent of them were people of color.

Solution: Resort to Physiologic Biometrics for Everyday Use Cases to Protect Facial Identity

Facial recognition has the potential to be dangerous. In practice, we see that it can be hacked or spoofed, databases can be breached or sold, and sometimes it’s just not effective; as such, we should restrict facial recognition to viable use cases like airport and border security. In the example of airport and border security, we need facial recognition technology to use databases to make sure someone boarding a plane is not on a no-fly list. This will uphold a level of security we expect when traveling. Security and safety are not synonymous. As a society, we need to define which biometric solution will be the most successful for each given use case.
When we talk about biometric authentication for the IoT, we need to act safely, as all connected devices are susceptible to online threats. We cannot rely on facial recognition that is easily compromised by a mere picture of the device’s owner or tricked by an adversarial neural net. And, further, what is to happen if someone steals your facial identity? You can’t simply “cancel” your face like you would a stolen credit card.
We turn to the brain for answers. According to an article in Fast Company, researchers from Binghamton University used a combination of how the human brain reacts to stimuli along with the unique brain structure to create a “brain password,” a biometric solution relying on the brain’s “inexhaustible source of secure passwords.” Still in its infancy, this technology is contingent on 32 electrical sensors placed on one’s head; in the future these sensors can be put in a headset to compute accurate readings. However, there are other, less invasive ways to obtain this neural information. We can capture neuro-muscular data with high sensitivity kinetic sensors using Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) present in standard mobile devices. Extracting this information can yield a stable and unique neural signature with the potential to act as our key to the IoT.
At Aerendir we believe the future of biometrics should be as frictionless as facial recognition, but as strong as “brain passwords;” with this in mind, NeuroPrint was born. While our NeuroPrint technology can extract a unique neural signal from any muscle in the body, we started with the hands due to their connection to mobile devices. We are currently focused on adding sensors and microcontrollers into the seat of a car—the possibilities are endless.
The body can truly become our own personal password, our digital identity. Our brain provides a solution that authenticates, while at the same time shielding us from preying actors. Because if our neural signal is equivalent to a one million character-long password, we can safely encrypt all of our activities and communications if we were to decide to do so.
Of course, there are other physiological biometrics that could be used, including heartbeat and voice, but using the physiological signals of the body seems to be the most promising and SAFE way to avoid the associated dangers.
Safety is not security. The IoT needs safety. Safety is, by definition, something we as users should control. The IoT has to be usercentric to be the powerful tool it is bound to be; it should never become the door of a prison, which it could potentially become if we allow facial recognition to enter every facet of our lives.

This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Security Today.
About the Author
Martin Zizi is the founder and CEO of Aerendir Mobile.