Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from February 10, 2020 Options

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Options February 10, 2020: Voices in tech 3: facial recognition, anti-competitive Big Tech giants, & a robot

Listen to this show: MP3 - 128K | Pop-up listen Pop‑up player!

Tonight: Voices in tech 3: facial recognition, anti-competitive Big Tech giants, & a robot

City boots creepy ‘coronavirus-detecting’ robot from Bryant Park (NYPost, Feb 6)

Hearing on facial recognition: House Oversight Committee, Jan 15, 2020 - feat. AOC, Meredith Whittaker (AI Now Institute), Daniel Castro (from the IT and Innovation Foundation, funded by Google, IBM, Cisco, and others - and whose board includes execs from Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, Intuit, Oracle, Qualcomm, and Apple), and Jake Parker (Security Industry Association).

Hearing on anti-competitive Big Tech behavior: House Judiciary Committee, Jan 17, 2020 - feat. Rep. David Cicilline and Basecamp cofounder David Heinemeier Hansson. Video here (YouTube, ugh)... and WaPo article here.

Items for today:

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It (by Kashmir Hill in the New York Times, Jan 18, 2020): "Clearview AI devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants."

• ...listen also: The Daily podcast, featuring Kashmir Hill, on the Clearview story (Feb 10, 2020)

• ...see also: Clearview’s Facial Recognition App Is Identifying Child Victims of Abuse (NYT, Feb 7) and Clearview AI is looking to expand globally, report says (CNet, Feb 5): "The facial recognition company reportedly wants to sell its app to law enforcement in 22 more countries." ... and Business Insider: Clearview AI, the controversial company building a searchable database of peoples' faces, is reportedly planning a 'rapid international expansion' that includes countries with documented human rights abuses.

• ...see also: Clearview AI Says Its Facial Recognition Software Identified A Terrorism Suspect. The Cops Say That's Not True. (Jan 23, 2020): "While it’s common for startups to make exaggerated claims, the stakes are much higher for a company building tools used by police to identify criminal suspects. 'There has to be some personal or professional responsibility here,' said Liz O’Sullivan, an artificial intelligence researcher and the technology director at the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. 'The consequences of a false positive is that someone goes to jail.'" [Liz O'Sullivan is a past guest.]

A startup that scraped billions of photos from Facebook and Google to create a facial-recognition database was just sent a cease-and-desist by Google and YouTube (NYT, Feb 5): "Twitter, Google, and YouTube say that [Clearview] violates their terms of service agreements, and all three have sent cease-and- desist letters to the company."

Facial Recognition Moves Into a New Front: Schools (NYT, Feb 6): "In April, Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, a Democrat from Lancaster, introduced a bill that would force Lockport to halt the use of facial recognition for a year while the State Education Department studied the technology. . . . She said school districts could, for instance, take smaller steps like upgrading entrances and exits, hiring school resource officers, and investing in counselors and social workers."

NYPD pushes back against facial recognition ban (NYPost, Feb 2): "A state lawmaker’s call for the ban of police’s use of facial recognition is facing unsurprising public push back from New York City law enforcement... 'That proposal up in Albany is insane,' former police commissioner Bill Bratton said... Being quite frank with you, I don’t think they know much about facial recognition or the current state of it.'"

Convenience Chain Adds Facial Recognition at More Portland Stores (RedTail Media, Jan 27, 2020): "Convenience retail chain Jacksons Food Stores now requires approval by facial recognition to enter two additional stores in Portland, Oregon and has plans to add the technology at another Tacoma, Washington store."

Long reads

Caught in the Spotlight (Chris Gilliard in Urban Omnibus, Jan 9, 2020): "Consider what we might call 'luxury surveillance,' in contrast with 'imposed surveillance.' These categories call attention to who gets to decide how surveillance works for them and who is left little room for choice. Luxury surveillance is expensive, voluntary, and sleek (yet often meant to be noticed). Imposed surveillance is involuntary, overt, clunky, and meant to stand out."

The Rise Of Smart Camera Networks, And Why We Should Ban Them (The Intercept, Jan 27)

From last week

...carried over from last week...

Google Maps Hacks by Simon Weckert, 2020. Simon writes (Feb 1): "99 smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps. Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route!" (And past Techtonic guest Roger McNamee writes: "Google Maps uses load balancing to keep traffic moving smoothly, which means you may be sent on an inferior route so it moves smoothly for most people. People are fighting back with hacks, creating virtual traffic jams.")

Here Are the Most Common Airbnb Scams Worldwide (Jan 31): "Nearly 1,000 people flooded our inbox with their stories. We found some patterns." Bait and switch, plumbing scams, money scams, fake damages, running out the clock until refund window expires, and on and on and on.

- - -

Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Voices in tech - on facial recognition, anti-competitive behavior from Big Tech giants, and one creepy robot.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
  Mark's intro  
0:00:04 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Hearings on Big Tech facerec/monopolies  
0:13:53 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your comments  
0:51:19 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Pink Tiles  Internet   Options
0:57:06 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Techtonasites!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Handy Haversack:

The tech gin is poured, and I'm eager for mixers! Hi, Mark and all Techyon particles!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Techtovirus! Catch it!
  6:02pm queems:

hello mark & all!
  6:02pm John from Florham park:

Hello fellow technoids
Avatar 6:02pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark! All!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm Granny Spicy Tuna (e/em):

howdy! let's talk!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Phillippe Bastille:

Hey Technoids. I see y'all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Face wreck sounds about right.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm ultradamno:

Ick! Those people need to stop saying that!
  6:04pm John from Florham park:

&GST howdy
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Folsom:

The only problem with the NYT article, Kashmir Hill should have really hammered Hoan Ton-That when he said that there was a bug when searching on her pic.
  6:05pm Listener Robert:

How is a wagon full of jewel cases a Google maps hack?
  Swag For Life Member 6:06pm spodiodi:

aloha Mark. nice topic
  6:07pm chresti at work:

Hello humans and robots!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Mr. Pumpy:

Hello Mark and Techtonoids! Looking forward to this show.
  6:07pm JakeGould:

Robot says… “Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash!”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Mr. Pumpy:

Mark...you provide so much supplemental material. Thank you.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm ultradamno:

Did it have an opinion on vaccinations?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Handy Haversack:

If you have any way to answer, Mark, and you might not:

There are two new bldgs. in my neighborhood (there are LOTS -- these two are on my walk to work) that are FESTOONED with cameras. I have questions. Are they even live, or are they just there to make the yuppie children moving to NYC feel safe? If they are live, what happens with the data? Is Face Wreck sponsoring developers to do this kind of thing? Are they buying the footage? Are the developers doing in on spec? Or is it all half-assed and unplanned and only to be used if Law and Order needs to film a scene?

Just wondering if you had heard anything about what these developers are doing with such an *extreme* level of camerage.

I am thinking of an art project that puts umbrellas, shawls, and the like at either end of the bldgs. with a sign that says something like "Privacy Screens: Avoid Surveillance Capitalism."

So far, I just pull my hood up when I walk by ...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm ultradamno:

If it were an anti-vaxxer robot, that would be the perfect story
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Ken From Hyde Park:

The video to that adventure should have soundtrack "99 Luftballons."
  Swag For Life Member 6:10pm spodiodi:

the number of apps that get deleted every time this show airs: ____
Avatar 6:10pm Bas NL:

We just had a governmental system SyRI that profiled citizens by combing digital information deemed to be illegal in court! With the little connotation that it was because the working methods were not specified.
  Swag For Life Member 6:12pm spodiodi:

i noticed new tracking cameras on one of the richer buildings near me recently -- so the staionary one detects you then the moving one follows you after swinging around quickly to lock on you first -- very nice feeling. the future is bright
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Phillippe Bastille:

I think Chicago is paying for a pilot with these guys.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm listener james from westwood:

Been cooking since the jump but that's what kitchen radios are for! Hey Mark and all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:18pm Webhamster Henry:

Hi Mark and friends!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Fuzzy:

Krylon is your friend.
Avatar 6:19pm geezerette:

We are already in a dystopia. Like climate change,too late to stop. Can we slow them down? Ameliorate them? Can we not?
Are we up to the task.?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Carmichael:

Back in the good old days, all we had to worry about was Happy Fun Ball.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm Handy Haversack:

@geezerette: exactly. Dystopia is already here. It's just still unevenly distributed.
Avatar 6:23pm geezerette:

Handy H., right, like everything else.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Mr. Pumpy:

@Carmichael...and Kabangers...and maybe Bass-o-Matic.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Fuzzy:

Listen to this fucking robot -- sounds like a Zuckerbot model to me.
  6:25pm Ike:

I always trust “consensus-based multi-stakeholder guidelines”! ROTFL.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Mr. Pumpy:

Did someone say something about a fucking robot?!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm queems:

oh hell no
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm ultradamno:

No, it was a diagnosing robot, there was not lewd behavior involved.

Well, some dancing.
Avatar 6:26pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

They have those. They can get hacked & kill people.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm tim from champaign (now washington):

I saw that too when I flew Delta over the weekend at the Minneapolis/St Paul airport.
  6:26pm Sam:

Sure, I’ll give away all my privacy so stores can catch shoplifters more easily. Totally reasonable.
Avatar 6:27pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

All for Law Und Order.
  6:27pm melinda:

Right? Scanning paper just takes too long, gotta scan faces.
Avatar 6:27pm geezerette:

It's too sad. When you have conversations with kids and try to give them hope and encouragement they just look at you balefully like Greta Thunberg.
  Swag For Life Member 6:28pm spodiodi:

they need LIFO enforcement officers for deplaning
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Phillippe Bastille:

There has to be a funhouse mirror hack for this
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm queems:

delta can kiss my fat ass
  Swag For Life Member 6:28pm spodiodi:

place your face on the filthy glass, please
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm Carmichael:

I don't understand how Delta is still in business.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm Mr. Pumpy:

I really dug those baggage cramming sound effects!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm Handy Haversack:

And when Delta lets the people willing to be scanned go first, how many people will then be willing to do it? -- and Delta would do that in a heartbeat if Google or someone paid them to.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Mr. Pumpy:

@Revolution...that's gotta be a bad way to go!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Carmichael:

Delta is ALL about money. They charge per ice cube.
  Swag For Life Member 6:30pm spodiodi:

" The horror of horrors for germophobes is the touch-screen of that self-check-in kiosk at the airport, which was found to have an average germ presence of 253,857 CFUs per square inch – or about 12 times as many as your dirty kitchen sink."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Ken From Hyde Park:

When you arrive and hop into your renty car, Hertz will scan your face to get you on the road a tad sooner.
  6:31pm melinda:

I hope there’s something about face scanning that finally trips the switch in people’s minds telling them that it’s a step too far in terms of data collection.
  6:31pm Sam:

What if someday YOU have to shoplift, because you can’t afford your medically necessary medication? At least give yourself a fighting chance to get away with it.
Avatar 6:31pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Need a Bill of Digital Rights.
Because Digital is the new World we're in.
Implies a Revolution 1st...
  6:33pm Sam:

Melinda, I thought the chips in people’s fingers would be the tipping point, but I guess it wasn’t.
Avatar 6:33pm geezerette:

RevRab, ha! Solidarity, buddy!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm Fuzzy:

Rocked by Rape -- time for us to bug out.
  6:34pm Sam:

This argument is equivalent to “Mussolini made the trains on time.”
  6:34pm Cabbage:

There are finger chips? Where are we?!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm Phillippe Bastille:

Can't wait for the "If you haven't done anything wrong, why are your worried about sharing your face?" argument.
  Swag For Life Member 6:34pm spodiodi:

"i have nothing to hide! what do i care?" -- hopefully the tipping point exists
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Carmichael:

Avatar 6:35pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

You need a Warrant to access Physical space.
There is no transparency - no accountability
...& he says those words as I type them...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Mr. Pumpy:

@spodiodi...we have a fingerprint scanner at work and I have joked with workmates that if you dipped your finger in a petri dish afterwards you would come up with some mind-boggling results. Or if you haven't had lunch you could just suck on that finger later...probably has all kinds of organic unknowns. It's a soup of sorts!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm coelacanth∅:

so, he left 2 rice cookers on the subway? THAT'S TERRIFYING!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Phillippe Bastille:

@cabbage they came out not long after finger sandwiches
  Swag For Life Member 6:36pm spodiodi:

fingerprint soup sounds delicious, mr. pumpy
Avatar 6:36pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Toilets get cleaned
...not the devices we use on them...
  6:37pm Cabbage:

Coleacantho I know RICE COOKERS??
  6:37pm P-90:

A New Yorker’s WORST nightmare: unattended rice cookers on the subway
  Swag For Life Member 6:37pm spodiodi:

Rev Rabbit knows. i avoid touching OPP (other people's phones), even very close people
  6:38pm Cabbage:

Phillipe, it took me a minute to get the joke !
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm ultradamno:

Unless the movie Greta lied to me, New Yorkers just grab unattended bags off the subway without a second thought.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm coelacanth∅:

th -there was...b-b- BROWN RICE IN THEM!!
  6:39pm Cabbage:

"The bad guys"
  Swag For Life Member 6:39pm spodiodi:

how tech is failing to help contain the coronavirus
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm chris:

i sometimes do events where i am using people's phones to take pictures of their encounter with a famous person.... ewwww! i can't wait to be done each time and run to wash my hands.
Avatar 6:40pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

To our ParaMilitarized Police
...let's add Robots & Drones & AI & everything else
...what could possibly...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm Mr. Pumpy:

As deadly as it is tasty, spodiodi!
  Swag For Life Member 6:40pm spodiodi:

may as well go out doing what i love
  6:40pm JakeGould:

@coelacanth∅: There are ways to make them improvised explosive devices. Also, he was homeless and deliberately placed them at a few stations. This is not someone who left someone behind ro misplaced it. Additionally a few years back there actually were two rice cooker bombs left in NYC. One on 23rd Street near 6th Avenue blew up.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Ken From Hyde Park:

If they implement blockchain with the repository, then no malfeaseant parties will be able to access them.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm chris:

great point, Mark. not just the good guys will have access to the network of cameras or the software.

if law enforcement wants this stuff, there needs to be a third-party fully transparent logging/auditing body for each use (by who, what reason0
  Swag For Life Member 6:41pm spodiodi:

i wonder if a regular pot with rice in it would raise the same hysteria today
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm coelacanth∅:

Jake i figured it was something along those lines
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Mr. Pumpy:

or a regular pot full of finger soup
  6:42pm Cabbage:

All right, Techtonic. After listening to yr show twice, you've won me over. Tomorrow I will remove myself from all the stuff (google and FB... What else? I don't have a smart phone.) <3
  Swag For Life Member 6:42pm spodiodi:

only people with super-high security clearances will ever acess them (hehe)
  Swag For Life Member 6:43pm spodiodi:

a pot of finger soup will land you in a supermax
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Scan your face to buy smokes and beer? Hell no!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Carmichael:

There are no good guys or bad guys. Just humans who want your information.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm coelacanth∅:

- or just raw fingers, waiting for some sage and onion and celery...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Handy Haversack:

RR11/63: Sounds like a plan!
  6:44pm Zydeco Phil:

Preach it!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm ultradamno:

...and suddenly you're getting AA and anti-smoking literature.
  6:44pm JakeGould:

FWIW, after school let out near me a few years ago some kid clearly left a book bag on a bench. Some transit cop told me to go to the orther end of the platform because it was a “suspicious package.” I blew him off and just walked past that book bag. Nothing blew up expect maybe this kid when he realized he lost his bag.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Mr. Pumpy:

A cauldron of finger soup is 3-10 death penalties...no questions asked.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm coelacanth∅:

well we don't want to create more jobs do we?
  Swag For Life Member 6:44pm spodiodi:

more filthy finger tartar, sir?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Mr. Pumpy:

@coelacanth∅...now you're cooking with fire!
  Swag For Life Member 6:46pm spodiodi:

i'm amazed by the throngs of young people still smoking cigarettes these days
  6:46pm P-90:

I foresee a future in which stores compete for customers by advertising a guarantee of no facial rec surveillance on the premises.
Avatar 6:46pm Fredericks:

Avatar 6:46pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...meanwhile - some white nationalist shoots up yer local place of worship / theater / school w/ impunity....ho hum...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm Mr. Pumpy:

more fingah a-tah tahr, for the misses?!
Avatar 6:47pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...thanx for the improved safety...
  6:47pm JakeGould:

@RevRabbit: This just happened this weekend in Washington D.C.; masked Neo-Nazis marching. www.wusa9.com...
  6:47pm JakeGould:

I guess facial recognition won’t work for them!!!
  6:48pm Cabbage:

"We have intense competition from sleep."
  Swag For Life Member 6:48pm spodiodi:

"some very fine people on both sides"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm coelacanth∅:

  6:48pm Sam:

I used to use Lycos.
Avatar 6:49pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...since Hate clicks are good for the bottom line...
  6:49pm Skip:

Great show. Surveillance in public schools is outta control. They added $100,000 worth of cameras in our High School. FUBAR! I left a pair of glasses in a bathroom - they couldn't figure out who took 'em. So much for cameras.
  Swag For Life Member 6:50pm spodiodi:

skip, that stinks. i'd be tempted to quit (i think)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm Webhamster Henry:

The app reviewers have various levels of cluelessness.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Mr. Pumpy:

Skip...there are camera's up the wazoo at the school I work at, but they are mostly useless...which is fine by me save for the financial waste. Now we have about eight guards carrying guns as well. Fucking bummer...truly.
  6:54pm P-90:

“hegemonic forces” -exactly
  6:54pm Sam:

Love ya Mark. What you’re doing is so important.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Mr. Pumpy:

Mark...mention finger soup sandwiches!!! It's a real problem.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Aitch:

In and out of Thailand recently (from Australia) immigration take your fingerprints. Not very happy about that.
  6:55pm Sam:

I prefer getting on the plane last anyway. The less time sitting in that seat the better.
Avatar 6:55pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

They've added survelilance cameras to the local free transit buses.
Never felt any threat whatsoever. (This is small-town New England.)
  6:56pm Skip:

@spodiodi - If only I worked at the school - the art & music teachers pull down $130k!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm Handy Haversack:

Thanks for another great and necessary show, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Mr. Pumpy:

Yo...going to the Malfeasant Parties gig at the Gaslight on Saturday? They are playing with the Malevolent Sheep...
  6:58pm Sean d:

So yeah something is up with gravity!!!
  Swag For Life Member 6:58pm spodiodi:

thanks, Mark. love your show
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Mr. Pumpy:

  6:58pm P-90:

This is the “free enterprise/open market competition” solution: if companies can attract business by guaranteeing limits on surveillance, and the market responds by giving them their business preferentially...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark!
  6:59pm Skip:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Granny Spicy Tuna (e/em):

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm chris:

great stuff, Mark. cheers!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Mr. Pumpy:

  7:00pm P-90:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Appreciate you joining in.
Avatar 7:02pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
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