amazon
Amazon Shareholders Call for Jeff Bezos to Stop Selling Facial Recognition to Police

On Friday, 20 groups of Amazon shareholders sent CEO Jeff Bezos a letter pressuring him to stop selling the company’s face recognition software to American law enforcement, CNN reports. Called Rekognition, the software came under greater scrutiny last month when the ACLU published revealing internal documents related to its use by police. Numerous civil rights organisations co-signed a letter demanding Amazon stop assisting government surveillance, and several members of the US Congress have expressed concerns about the partnerships. Read More >>

privacy
The Dangers of Tech’s Privacy Promises

Where do you go to tell a secret? Probably depends on the secret. What you’d feel comfortable murmuring to a friend in a private meeting is likely not what you’d say loudly to a coworker while your boss is in earshot. Online, we not only communicate, we calculate—based on who we’re speaking to, or what platform we’re using, we gauge whether the information we divulge will remain solely with the people we’ve chosen to share it with. As leaks, breaches, and data collection scandals grab headlines, it’s clear that we’re often wrong. And as it turns out, it’s our very trust in technology that promises privacy and anonymity that often makes that violation worse. Read More >>

surveillance
Researchers Develop Tech That Lets Surveillance Cameras Text to Say Hello 

Researchers at Purdue University in America have found a new way to get surveillance cameras to “talk” to the people they see. The system is called PHADE, which stands for “private human addressing,” and it enables cameras to send messages to people’s devices when they’ve entered a specific area without collecting their personal data. Read More >>

surveillance
Australia Scraps Plans for National Biometric Crime Database

The Australian government is ending its plans for a national biometric database meant to help police departments track suspects and other persons of interest, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission announced Friday. Surveillance and security company NEC was awarded the contract in 2016, but after a third-party audit found the project had nearly doubled its budget, ACIC terminated the contact. Read More >>

snapchat
Snap Begins Mission to Infiltrate Other Apps, Swears It Won’t Screw Up With Your Data Like Facebook Did

Snap Inc. announced today that it’s releasing a new developer kit that embeds Snapchat’s signature features like bitmoji and stickers into other apps. Reports of Snap Kit leaked last month, but this is the official confirmation. Read More >>

apple
Apple Will Punish Apps That Misuse Your Address Book Data

Apple quietly rolled out a new set of rules for developers last week, adding restrictions for apps that suck up the address books of iPhone users, Bloomberg reports. Developers could, for example, sell the databases filled with your friends’ contact information to boost their bottom lines. No more. Read More >>

drones
DJI and Taser Maker Axon Are Teaming up to Make Police Drones

Last week, Axon announced it is partnering with drone-maker DJI to sell surveillance drones to U.S. police departments through a program dubbed “Axon Air.” The Taser and body camera manufacturer will work with DJI to offer drones linked to Evidence.com, Axon’s proprietary cloud-based data management system. The footage recorded by Axon’s body cameras is handled via the Evidence.com system. Read More >>

facebook
Facebook Says a ‘Bug’ Changed Millions of Users’ Default Privacy Settings to Public

For ten days in May, a Facebook “bug” changed the default privacy settings of new posts for as many as 14 million users, Recode reports. As a result, posts meant to be shared privately may have instead been shared publicly. Read More >>

internet
Mozilla Puts Up £168,000 to Explore How AI Threatens a ‘Healthy Internet’

Mozilla announced today that it’s offering five-figure grants to researchers and creatives studying the impact of artificial intelligence on society. This latest round of the annual Mozilla awards will net lucky winners up to $50,000 (£37,000) for producing AI-awareness content: videos, browser extensions, or interactive data visualisations. Read More >>

surveillance
Indian College Puts Surveillance Cameras in Men’s Toilets to Deter Cheating

Law students in India were horrified to learn CCTV surveillance cameras had been installed in men’s bathrooms at Dharam Samaj Degree College. The college installed them in men’s toilets nearest the classrooms conducting entrance exams for law and business degrees. Read More >>

facebook
Facebook Kills Trending Topics

Facebook announced today that it is killing off its controversial Trending news section next week. “From research, we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful,” Facebook’s Head of News Products said. Read More >>

grindr
Grindr May Add a Way for Users to Notify Past Hookups of STI Risk

Popular hookup app Grindr is reportedly considering a new feature that would alert users if may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection. Read More >>

dna testing
23AndMe Accuses Ancestry.Com of Patent Infringement and False Advertising

DNA testing site 23andMe is suing its biggest rival, Ancestry.com. In the suit, filed earlier this month in a California federal district court, 23andme accuses Ancestry.com of patent infringement and false advertising. Interestingly, 23andme is also pushing back against Ancestry.com’s trademark of the word “Ancestry.” It argues the term is too generic to qualify for trademark protection. Read More >>

surveillance
Amazon’s Plan to Scan Your Face Even Has Police Worried It’s Too Creepy, New Emails Show

Across the country, law enforcement agencies are teaming up with data firms to bring facial recognition to public spaces, including airports, schools, and even protests. Most of these efforts remain clouded in secrecy, but newly released documents from Oregon officials using Amazon’s facial recognition offer our clearest look yet into how cops and their tech partners are massaging the ugly truths of facial recognition, including frequent mismatches, its use on people not suspected of crimes, and how to sell the public on something so obviously creepy — a task even police aren’t sure they’re up to. Read More >>

ai
Chinese School Piloting Face-Recognition Software to Make Sure Students Pay Attention in Class

At least one school in China is trying out face recognition software that scans students’ faces to check if they’re paying attention in class, Epoch Times reports. Read More >>