Total information surveillance society

Law enforcement agencies are now using systems, even mobile devices, that automatically and quickly perform facial recognition of subjects. This data is being stored into databases to create dossiers that could eventually track all of us as we go about our daily lives.

Without restrictive limits in place, it could be relatively easy for the government and private companies to build databases of images of the vast majority of people living in the United States and use those databases to identify and track people in real time as they move from place to place throughout their daily lives. As researchers at Georgetown posited in 2016, one out of two Americans is already in a face recognition database accessible to law enforcement.

Source: Face Off: Law Enforcement Use of Face Recognition Technology | Electronic Frontier Foundation

The tech industry arrogantly believes everything in life is a tech problem that can be solved with the application of more tech. Systems like this, however, will always be plagued with significant false results. At some point, you will hear the tech promoters say something along the lines of “that is the price we must pay to be safe”. Watch and see.


Autonomous self driving cars’ sensor arrays may be used for intensive public surveillance

Autonomous self-driving cars are continuously surveying their surroundings using an array of sensors and recording this to memory.

In the event of an accident of malfunction, this data can be retrieved for analysis.

However, this data could also be retrieved as surveillance data – even when the vehicle itself has not been in an crash.

Consider, a bike versus human driven car crash at an intersection. Two other vehicles at the intersection are autonomous vehicles and they have recorded the entire scenario, in detail, including subject and object positions and travel speeds.

All of this data is available to the police. Police agencies that today operate their own license plate readers and intersection surveillance cameras might choose to contract with autonomous vehicle companies for use as public data collection systems. When your autonomous vehicle is connected to your EV charging station, it might communicate over WiFi to upload collected data to a master database.

This is not particularly difficult or far fetched and police may already have the legal authority to pursue this collection.

Source: Why cops won’t need a warrant to pull the data off your autonomous car | Ars Technica

Vayyer’s 3D Sensors for home applications, sensors that see through walls

Sensors could also be utilized for advanced security and safety features in case of fire or intruder. AlertTracks the real-time movement of individuals inside the home and pinpoints and locates people in a structural fire or if home security has been breached.

Source: 3D Sensors To Make Your Home Smarter And Safer (Image of IC, above, is from the Vayyar web site.)

Their web site does not  yet reveal much about what their technology is about. Presumably their technology uses low power wireless signals with powerful software to interpret reflections. This would enable them to provide a “3D sensor” that sees through walls, providing position information. Perhaps like Kinect but using wireless RF signals.

If my interpretation is correct, this technology could have many useful applications in construction, repair and perhaps even imaging of humans.

Update: A separate tech article from a year ago, describing a product that uses Vayyar technology, suggests the above is exactly what this is about. Basically, this is a low power radar imaging system technology.

The Internet of Things is all about sensors, data collection, data analysis, and actuators/stepper motors and what not. The Vayyar technology adds a new capability to sensing by seeing through surfaces in 3D.

Hacking embedded systems: Camera hacking the Canon PowerShots

Source: CHDK Wiki | Fandom powered by Wikia

If you have a Canon PowerShot camera, a great and fun software hack is available – for free – called the Canon Hack Development Kit or just CHDK.

CHDK is software that runs on your Canon PowerShot camera to add additional features and capabilities; which features are supported depends on which PowerShot camera is used.

When I had a Canon PowerShot SX1, I used CHDK especially for its motion detection feature. This hack added a feature to detect motion in a scene and then fire the shutter – which was perfect for photographing lightning. Yes, its detection is so fast that you could use it to photograph lightning bolts.

In addition to a set of features added by CHDK to the PowerShot cameras, CHDK also adds “scripting”. This is a feature that let’s you write a set of commands (similar to writing a program) to use and operate various camera features.

The hack is installed by copying files to a specially prepared mini SD card. When the camera is turned on, the hack software is pre-loaded, together with the camera’s own, original software.

I sold my SX1 (a great camera for macro shots due to its macro feature and small sensor size). Since then, I have missed being able to play with CHDK. I am thinking about buying a used Powershot with a larger 1/1.7″ sensor so I can play with CHDK again 🙂

How to save your Instagram photos and then delete your account

In light of Instagram’s new policy to license out user’s photos for ads, without specific permission or compensation, users are canceling their Instagram accounts in droves: Oh My Tech!: How to delete your Instagram account | The Salt Lake Tribune.

Many are switching to the, which now includes an iPhone photo sharing app.

Update: Instagram co-founder wrote a blog post suggesting they messed up their new terms of service and will make unspecified changes.

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