Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Has The TV Show “Person Of Interest” Just Become All Too Real? It Sure Seems To Be On The Way!

This appeared last week:
  • Updated Oct 4 2017 at 5:16 PM

Facial recognition database pushes us towards Orwellian future

News that state governments plan to acquiesce to a federal government move to provide the facial biometrics of citizens from driving licences for use in a national security database should set off all kinds of alarms in the minds of law-abiding Australians.
The system will work by allowing CCTV cameras everywhere to recognise our faces because of the details taken from our licences. These photographs are used to create a faceprint which, like a fingerprint, can distinguish us based on the unique features that we possess.
Anyone who has had a passport photo taken in the facial recognition era will know that it is still not always an exact science – lighting has to be correct and people have to remove their glasses, but this is so the software can create a perfect map of our faces. The system records things like the distance between your eyes, bone structure, how thick your lips are, what shape your nose is, how big your eyes are and – depending on how detailed they are going – can include retina scans.
Apple is confident enough in the technology that it will use facial recognition technology in place of a fingerprint scan for users to unlock the new iPhone X. However it remains to be seen how great or fallible that is.
Software and technology related to the processing and analysis of images is speeding ahead rapidly; ASX-listed Brainchip for example has developed what it describes as Spiking Neuron Adaptive Processor (SNAP) technology, which it says learns autonomously in the same way as a human brain.
It is being used in software which allows casinos to spot dealer errors on baccarat tables in casinos through their security cameras and is beginning to pick up significant work in the fields of civil surveillance.
At least two European airports, including Bordeaux in France, are using it with their cameras to help identify intrusions, and it is being used by some European police departments to watch people coming through subway stations in order to match faces with lists of wanted suspects.
There can be no doubt that from the perspective of trying to combat terrorist attacks, the ability to identify anyone on a watch list in real-time is potentially valuable, but the amount of privacy and protection against governments that citizens are being forcibly made to give up is horrifying.
Currently the federal government has access to faceprints of everyone that has recently got a new passport: this change would hoover up the vast majority of the rest of us, and remove any notion of a right to expect privacy in our day-to-day lives (and yes, we have no Bill of Rights.)
We are being asked to trust that centralising this identifying data with the federal government of the day is fine, but what about any future government that may take power?
It isn't too much of a sci-fi nightmare leap to see how this could lay the groundwork for a country where you are unable to go anywhere without a record of what you are doing.
We are being asked to trust future governments, who we do not yet know, and who could very feasibly be more authoritarian than the current regime, not to use these new powers to keep everyone under surveillance, restrict their movement and stop public gatherings of anyone they don't like.
The argument that you only need to worry if you are doing something wrong does not fit with the notion most of us have about a free society where you can do things on the quiet if you want.
There are plenty of things that many people do which are legal and unthreatening but which could cause a great degree of embarrassment or personal turmoil if they were exposed publicly. As well as protecting us, we are about to give the current and future governments free reign to collate footage to blackmail or smear anyone they like.
More here:
There is also coverage of the COAG meeting here:

Privacy groups slam COAG over face recognition database

Major privacy organisations in Australia have condemned the decision by the Council of Australian Governments to agree to hand over drivers' licence photos for the creation of a national facial recognition database.
A joint statement from the Australian Privacy Foundation, Digital Rights Watch, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, South Australian Council for Civil Liberties and Electronic Frontiers Australia came down hard on the decision, announced yesterday.
There has been an estimate that setting up such a system would cost hundreds of millions of dollars or even billions.
Australian Privacy Foundation chairman David Vaile said: “This government has proven it is blind and deaf to privacy and personal information security threats. Make no mistake – this database will affect all Australians, even the most conscientious and law-abiding.
"It will likely generate massive ‘false positive’ lists that will flood our very effective police and security services with useless distractions. We’ve already seen calls for ‘scope creep’ to cover welfare enforcement, and there’s every reason to expect this capability will come to be used to identify people with unpaid fines and other minor issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”
More here:
What I find interesting is that an initiative to assist with detecting terror attacks has now morphed (in 24 hours or less) to a system that can be used if you are even suspected of a crime that carries a 3 year jail sentence (Leigh Sales Interview on 7:30). Talk about scope creep!
Frankly I am not so worried by a potential terror attack as to think this is a great idea when the AFP etc. have done a pretty good job without such draconian and horribly expensive tech! At the very least the system should stick to terror!
As for locking 10 year olds up for two weeks if suspected by a terror offence – please, I suspect we have all gone a trifle mad and have become scared of our own infant shadows.
David.

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