This Sensor Is a Party Narc

Amid a wave of nightmarish Airbnb incidents, in which hosts have been caught spying on guests without their consent, a company called NoiseAware is getting some attention for its upcoming, internet-connected party-alarm sensors. They don’t record audio or video, but they can surveil guests and fire out an alert if it sounds like someone is throwing a rager. Read More >>

Top European Court Rules UK Mass Surveillance Regime Violates Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled this week that the British government’s surveillance regime violated human rights laws. Read More >>

US Home CCTV Video Shows Woman in Broken Arm Restraints Ringing Doorbell in Dead of Night 

Montgomery County, Texas police are investigating an eerie incident captured on a home surveillance system in which an unknown, partially dressed woman in what appeared to be severed hand restraints rang local residential doorbells late at night. Read More >>

America’s Shady ‘Quiet Skies’ Programme Has Tracked Thousands of Airline Passengers, Yet Produced No Leads

America's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) admitted to surveilling about 5,000 US citizens this year as part of its secretive “Quiet Skies” program, which places travellers on TSA watch lists even if they aren’t suspected of a crime, the Boston Globe reports. In a meeting with members of the US Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee last week, the TSA reportedly declined to specify what exactly gets a person on the list for enhanced monitoring, but made one major admission: after monitoring thousands of people placed on the list, zero leads have been produced. Read More >>

facial recognition
Axon CEO Says Face Recognition Isn’t Accurate Enough for Body Cams Yet

Face recognition is coming to schools, stadiums, and airports, but surprisingly not to body cameras—yet. On an earnings call Tuesday, Rick Smith, CEO of Axon, one of the largest body camera manufacturers in the US, said the reason was simple: In addition to privacy and policy concerns, face recognition isn’t accurate enough. Read More >>

Get Ready for Indoor Surveillance Drones

Surveillance drones are headed indoors.

Who Will Police Police Drones?

The US Police Foundation doesn’t want the police to call drones “drones.” Because of the public’s association with “military-style weapons like the Predator,” the organisation’s 311-page report reads, the term “drone” is “a major obstacle to law enforcement’s ability to convince the public” that police drone programs “could actually increase public safety, not jeopardise it.” Read More >>

Home Office Reveals Plan for a Centralised Biometric Database That Sounds Like an Absolute Nightmare

The Home Office released a report this week announcing plans for a forthcoming centralised biometric database of its citizens, compiling DNA, fingerprint, face, and possibly even voice data for law enforcement to access and share, according to the Telegraph. In addition to helping local police solve crimes, the Home Office report also proposes using the centralised database for vetting migrants at borders and verifying visa applications. Pushback has been swift, as civil rights groups argue that face recognition is faulty, dubiously legal, and often collected without public consent. Read More >>

Bodycam Maker Axon Reportedly Tried to Buy Face Recognition Tech

American body camera manufacturer Axon requested a contract for face recognition software from an artificial intelligence startup, the Wall Street Journal reports, which stands to further fears from privacy advocates about the state of surveillance in America. Read More >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

China to Make RFID Chips Mandatory in Cars So the Government Can Track Citizens on the Road

The Chinese government, in its ongoing pursuit to create the dystopian police state dreamed up in many a science fiction tale, is reportedly readying a new vehicle identification system that will be capable of monitoring the movement of citizens. Read More >>

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, Axon’s proprietary cloud-based data management system. The footage recorded by Axon’s body cameras is handled via the system. Read More >>