Last month came word that Ohio's sneaky Attorney General Mike DeWine had quietly integrated facial recognition software into the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, a state database that includes driver's license photos. Caught, the AG promised to create a commission to develop protocols for using the technology, tacitly admitting that no safeguards were in place on a system that turned every Ohio driver into a participant in a police line-up—if the system were used as intended—and a potential stalking target by any whack job with a badge. Now comes news that the ranks of potential whack jobs with access to the database are large, indeed—larger than in any other state, at least.
Ohio’s new facial recognition system has fewer restrictions for its use than similar systems in any other state in the U.S., an Enquirer/Gannett Ohio investigation has found.
No other such system in the nation allows 30,000 police officers and court employees to search driver’s license images, without audits or oversight.
By contrast, Kentucky allows 34 people the ability to run facial recognition searches. Twelve states don't have the technology, with Maine law forbidding its use by state agancies. Several states that do possess facial recognition technology for checking driver's licenses don't allow law enforcement to use it at all.
But Ohio has no such restrictions. "Ohio’s 30,000 users include local and state police, sheriffs, civilian employees of police departments, court employees – even out-of-state and federal law enforcement agencies,."
Beyond the obvious flaws in a system that compares everybody's driver's license photo to crime-scene snapshots of iffy quality and looks for matches via technology of unknown reliability, is the very real danger of unofficial use. Government databases have a history of such abuse. Minnesota cops cyberstalked a attorney, among others, inappropriately pulling up her driver's license data 700 times. Florida police were caught hate-stalking a colleague who arrested a fellow officer. They also trawled the database for potential dates and other petty (but creepy) purposes...
Well, that didn’t last long. Less than 48 hours after Apple began selling its new iPhone 5s with the Touch ID fingerprint security system, someone’s managed to find a way around it.
A member of the German hacker organization Chaos Computer Club posted a video to YouTube Sunday showing one of the new iPhones being hacked with a lifted fingerprint.
Despite Apple’s claims about the advanced security of the Touch ID, the CCC says Apple’s sensor is just a high-res version of existing technology and can be cracked with a sharp photo of the fingerprint and a laser printer.
A spokesman for the organization says the speedy hack illustrates the inherent risks of using fingerprints as a security measure and urges Apple customers to return to numeric passcodes to protect their phones.
“We hope that this finally puts to rest the illusions people have about fingerprint biometrics. It is plain stupid to use something that you can’t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token...”
Hockey fans in Washington state will have more to worry about this weekend than avoiding a puck to the face: the Department of Homeland Security will be testing out a new facial recognition system at an arena this Saturday.
The 6,000 seat Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington will be the site on Saturday for more than just the Tri-City American’s season opener. In addition to hosting a junior ice hockey game, the arena will also facilitate the testing of a DHS program that’s raising concerns among privacy advocates.
Homeland Security will have a presence at Saturday’s game, but won’t be conducting any pat-downs on patrons or even rooting for the home team. Instead, DHS will utilize a sophisticated system of cameras to collect pictures of attendees in real-time from as far away as 100 meters and then match them up with images of faces stored on a database.
The exercise will mark the latest drill for the DHS’ Biometric Optical Surveillance System, or BOSS, and when it’s fully operational it could be used to identify a person of interest among a massive crowd in the span of only seconds.
With assistance from researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, DHS will attempt to quickly compare faces caught on camera with the biometric information of 20 volunteers. The other faces in the crowd — potentially 5,980 hockey fans — will exist as background noise to see how accurate BOSS is when it comes down to locating a person of interest...
Don't go to this fucking game. Send a message to these fuckers.
The latest top-secret documents leaked to the media by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden reveal that United States and British spy agencies have invested billions of dollars towards efforts to make online privacy obsolete.
The New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica all reported on Thursday that newly released Snowden documents expose the great lengths that the National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, have gone to in order to eavesdrop on encrypted Internet communications.
According to the latest Snowden leak, the NSA and its British counterpart have circumvented the encryption methods used to secure emails, chats and essentially most Internet traffic that was previously thought to be protected from prying eyes.
The price tag for such an endeavor, the Guardian reported, is around a quarter-of-a-billion dollars each year for just the US, and involves not just intricate code-breaking, but maintaining partnerships with the tech companies that provide seemingly secure online communication outlets.
“The files show that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have broadly compromised the guarantees that Internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments,” James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald reported for the Guardian...