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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.
Today: Surveillance roundup
Welcome to (binary) episode number 100000000.
• Madison Square Garden Uses Facial Recognition to Ban Its Owner’s Enemies (by Kashmir Hill and Corey Kilgannon, NYT, Dec 22, 2022): Kelly Conlon accompanied her “daughter’s Girl Scout troop on a trip into Manhattan to see the ‘Christmas Spectacular’ at Radio City Music Hall. . . Before she could even glimpse the Rockettes, however, security guards pulled Ms. Conlon aside and her New York jaunt took an Orwellian turn.”
But one town said no...
• This N.J. town just said ‘no’ to facial recognition cameras on its streets (NJ.com, Jan 3, 2023): “South Orange will not install facial recognition software when it upgrades its street security cameras after questions were raised about whether the technology is unreliable and prone toward misidentifying people of color, local officials said.”
Meantime, Amazon's home surveillance grows...
• A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook? (by Eileen Guo, Technology Review, Dec 19, 2022): “From the start, iRobot went all in on computer vision, and its first device with such capabilities, the Roomba 980, debuted in 2015. It was also the first of iRobot’s Wi-Fi-enabled devices, as well as its first that could map a home, adjust its cleaning strategy on the basis of room size, and identify basic obstacles to avoid.”
Amazon now owns Roomba’s maker, iRobot, which claims the images were only due to special “special development robots” sent to gig workers in Venezuela. “People using development devices agree to allow iRobot to collect data, including video streams, as the devices are running, often in exchange for ‘incentives for participation,’ according to a statement from iRobot.”
Open the website of WorkIt Health, and the path to treatment starts with a simple intake form: Are you in danger of harming yourself or others? If not, what’s your current opioid and alcohol use? How much methadone do you use?Facebook’s response is reminiscent of Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri when asked about preteens using Instagram...
. . . But what patients probably don’t know is that WorkIt was sending their delicate, even intimate, answers about drug use and self-harm to Facebook.
A joint investigation by STAT and The Markup of 50 direct-to-consumer telehealth companies like WorkIt found that quick, online access to medications often comes with a hidden cost for patients: Virtual care websites were leaking sensitive medical information they collect to the world’s largest advertising platforms.
. . . “I thought I was at this point hard to shock,” said Ari Friedman, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Pennsylvania who researches digital health privacy. “And I find this particularly shocking.”
“Advertisers should not send sensitive information about people through our Business Tools,” Dale Hogan, a spokesperson for Meta, wrote in an email.
. . . “It’s a pure monetization play,” said Eric Perakslis, chief science and digital officer at the Duke Clinical Research Institute. “And yes, everybody else is doing it, it’s the way the internet works. . . . But I think that it’s out of step with medical ethics, clearly.” Eexperts worry that health data could be used to target patients in need with ads for services and therapies that are unnecessary or even harmful.
|Artist||Track||Images||Approx. start time|
|Surveillance roundup: you're being spied on by vacuums, toilets, and more.|
|Tomaš Dvořák||Game Boy Tune|
|The Dictaphone||Transmission Clause||0:56:07 (MP3 | Pop-up)|