Los Angeles Times: Despite past denials, LAPD has used facial recognition software 30,000 times in last decade, records show

Los Angeles Times: Despite past denials, LAPD has used facial recognition software 30,000 times in last decade, records show. “The Los Angeles Police Department has used facial recognition software nearly 30,000 times since 2009, with hundreds of officers running images of suspects from surveillance cameras and other sources against a massive database of mug shots taken by law enforcement. The new figures, released to The Times, reveal for the first time how commonly facial recognition is used in the department, which for years has provided vague and contradictory information about how and whether it uses the technology.”

9to5Google: WhatsApp beta preps fingerprint authentication for web companion app

9to5Google: WhatsApp beta preps fingerprint authentication for web companion app. “The latest WhatsApp beta update for Android shows signs the messaging application is tightening security when using the companion web app with fingerprint authentication. Code digger WABetaInfo found evidence of this enhanced security for the companion app in the 2.20200.10 build of the latest WhatsApp beta.”

Techdirt: Clearview Hires Prominent First Amendment Lawyer To Argue For Its Right To Sell Scraped Data To Cops

Techdirt: Clearview Hires Prominent First Amendment Lawyer To Argue For Its Right To Sell Scraped Data To Cops. “Clearview — the facial recognition company selling law enforcement agencies (and others) access to billions of photos and personal info scraped from the web — is facing lawsuits over its business model, which appears to violate some states’ data privacy laws. It’s also been hit with cease-and-desist requests from a number of companies whose data has been scraped…. Now, the company appears to be going on the offensive.”

Techdirt: Las Vegas Police Are Running Lots Of Low Quality Images Through Their Facial Recognition System

Techdirt: Las Vegas Police Are Running Lots Of Low Quality Images Through Their Facial Recognition System. “Even when facial recognition software works well, it still performs pretty poorly. When algorithms aren’t generating false positives, they’re acting on the biases programmed into them, making it far more likely for minorities to be misidentified by the software. The better the image quality, the better the search results. The use of a low-quality image pulled from a store security camera resulted in the arrest of the wrong person in Detroit, Michigan. The use of another image with the same software — one that didn’t show the distinctive arm tattoos of the non-perp hauled in by Detroit police — resulted in another bogus arrest by the same department.”

OneZero: The Era of DNA Database Hacks Is Here

OneZero: The Era of DNA Database Hacks Is Here. “On the morning of July 19, hackers accessed the online DNA database GEDmatch and temporarily allowed police to search the profiles of more than 1 million users that were previously not accessible to law enforcement. GEDmatch is a genealogy tool that allows users to upload their DNA profiles generated from genetic testing services like 23andMe, Ancestry, and MyHeritage and search for relatives. It took three hours until GEDmatch became aware of the breach and pulled the site offline completely. Users have to give permission for their profiles to be included in police searches, but the breach overrode privacy settings and made user profiles on the site visible to all other users, including law enforcement officials who use the site.”

CPO Magazine: Illinois Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Facial Recognition Databases Violate Biometric Privacy Law, Could Cost Tech Giants $5,000 Per Incident

CPO Magazine: Illinois Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Facial Recognition Databases Violate Biometric Privacy Law, Could Cost Tech Giants $5,000 Per Incident. “The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) made national news recently when it drove Clearview AI out of the state, due to a pending lawsuit over the company’s scraping of social media pictures and videos for its facial recognition database. It may now be a problem for some of tech’s biggest names as well. A new biometric privacy lawsuit has emerged that names Amazon, Google parent company Alphabet and Microsoft as violators of the state law as well.”

Special Report: Rite Aid deployed facial recognition systems in hundreds of U.S. stores (WTVB)

WTVB: Special Report: Rite Aid deployed facial recognition systems in hundreds of U.S. stores. “Over about eight years, the American drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp quietly added facial recognition systems to 200 stores across the United States, in one of the largest rollouts of such technology among retailers in the country, a Reuters investigation found. In the hearts of New York and metro Los Angeles, Rite Aid deployed the technology in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods, according to a Reuters analysis. And for more than a year, the retailer used state-of-the-art facial recognition technology from a company with links to China and its authoritarian government.”

CNET: Face masks are thwarting even the best facial recognition algorithms, study finds

CNET: Face masks are thwarting even the best facial recognition algorithms, study finds. “It turns out face masks aren’t just effective at preventing the spread of airborne diseases like COVID-19 — they’re also successful at blocking facial recognition algorithms, researchers say. In a report published Monday, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology found that face masks were thwarting even the most advanced facial recognition algorithms. Error rates varied from 5% to 50%, depending on an algorithm’s capabilities.”

TechCrunch: New York legislature votes to halt facial recognition tech in schools for two years

TechCrunch: New York legislature votes to halt facial recognition tech in schools for two years. “The state of New York voted this week to pause for two years any implementation of facial recognition technology in schools. The moratorium, approved by the New York Assembly and Senate Wednesday, comes after an upstate school district adopted the technology earlier this year, prompting a lawsuit in June from the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of parents. If New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the legislation into law, the moratorium would freeze the use of any facial recognition in school systems in the state until July 1, 2022.”

The Next Web: This AI uses emoji to protect BLM protestors from facial recognition

The Next Web: This AI uses emoji to protect BLM protestors from facial recognition. “If you’ve attended any of the recent Black Lives Matter protests, there’s a good chance you’ve been caught on camera. And if your image has been shared on social media, it could end up in a facial recognition database used by police…. These concerns led Stanford Machine Learning researchers to develop a new anonymization tool: the BLMPrivacyBot.”

ZDNet: Fawkes protects your identity from facial recognition systems, pixel by pixel

ZDNet: Fawkes protects your identity from facial recognition systems, pixel by pixel. “In a paper (.PDF) due to be presented at the USENIX Security 2020 symposium, researchers Shawn Shan, Emily Wenger, Jiayun Zhang, Huiying Li, Haitao Zheng, and Ben Zhao introduce ‘Fawkes,’ software designed to ‘help individuals inoculate their images against unauthorized facial recognition models.’ In what could be considered the introduction of garbage code and data to images we share online, Fawkes works at the pixel level to introduce imperceptible ‘cloaks’ to photos before they are uploaded to the Internet.”

CNET: Sens. Sanders, Warren, Wyden back national facial recognition ban bill

CNET: Sens. Sanders, Warren, Wyden back national facial recognition ban bill. “The bill was introduced in June by Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Pramila Jayapal and Sens. Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley. It calls for a complete ban on facial recognition use by law enforcement until Congress passes legislation to lift the moratorium. The US has seen a growing call from privacy and other groups to ban facial recognition across its cities, as well as concern about human rights issues from companies that provide the technology.”

The Guardian: Did you protest recently? Your face might be in a database

The Guardian: Did you protest recently? Your face might be in a database. “In recent weeks, millions have taken to the streets to oppose police violence and proudly say: ‘Black Lives Matter.’ These protests will no doubt be featured in history books for many generations to come. But, as privacy researchers, we fear a darker legacy, too. We know that hundreds of thousands of photos and videos of protesters have been recorded and uploaded online. They could remain there indefinitely, only to be dredged up decades later. It is for this reason that we must ask whether those photos could end up in a facial recognition database.”

Techdirt: Boston The Latest City To Ban Facial Recognition Use By Government Agencies

Techdirt: Boston The Latest City To Ban Facial Recognition Use By Government Agencies. “San Francisco led the way. Then the entire state of California followed suit. And on the other side of the country, a few smaller cities in Massachusetts did the same thing: banned facial recognition. It just makes sense. The tech that’s out there is as dangerous as it is unproven. Mostly known for its false positive rates, facial recognition software has shown it’s capable of amplifying existing biases into actionable ‘intel’ with the power to severely disrupt people’s lives.”