Whiteonwhite 2 smaBored of the same old movies and TV shows? Flicks programmed by computers are making a debut at prestigious venues like the Sundance film festival, while TV watchers and video artists are turning to unusual processes for making decisions. Can creative formulas make video less, well, formulaic?

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How long before the Occupy line of cosmetics hits Bloomingdales?

This project reminds me of a Heath Bunting proposal to paint anamorphic pictures of people on the ground in front of security cameras to confuse their operators.

“A New York-based designer has created a camouflage technique that makes it much harder for computer based facial recognition. Along with the growth of closed circuit television (CCTV) , this has become quite a concern for many around the world, especially in the UK where being on camera is simply a part of city life. Being recognized automatically by computer is something that hearkens back to 1984 or A Scanner Darkly. As we move further into the 21st century, this futuristic techno-horror fiction is seeming more and more accurate. Never fear though people, CV Dazzle has some styling and makeup ideas that will make you invisible to facial recognition cameras. Why the ‘fabulous’ name? It comes from World War I warship paint that used stark geometric patterning to help break up the obvious outline of the vessel. Apparently it all began as a thesis at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. It addressed the problems with traditional techniques of hiding the face, like masks and sunglasses and looked into more socially and legally acceptable ways of styling that could prevent a computer from recognizing your face. Fans of Assassin’s Creed might feel a bit at home with this, as it’s all about hiding in plain sight.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/01/04/2017215/avoiding-facial-recognition-of-the-future

Meanwhile, for those times when you want to get your face out on your terms, protestors have taken to occupying the sky.

Meet the Occu-Copter. The live-streaming media stars of the Occupy movement are using cheap technology to provide streaming coverage of protest events from the air – challenging the big budgets of mainstream TV news stations.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/lUTUeCDb9O4/

Yet another reason to choose a Facebook photo that’s hotter than you really are.

With Carnegie Mellon’s cloud-centric new mobile app, the process of matching a casual snapshot with a person’s online identity takes less than a minute. Tools like PittPatt and other cloud-based facial recognition services rely on finding publicly available pictures of you online, whether it’s a profile image for social networks like Facebook and Google Plus or from something more official from a company website or a college athletic portrait. In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities. … ‘[C]onceptually, the goal of Experiment 3 was to show that it is possible to start from an anonymous face in the street, and end up with very sensitive information about that person, in a process of data “accretion.” In the context of our experiment, it is this blending of online and offline data — made possible by the convergence of face recognition, social networks, data mining, and cloud computing — that we refer to as augmented reality.’ http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/09/30/1422217/Cloud-Powered-Facial-Recognition-Is-Terrifying

But then again, who really pays attention to dry academic studies? The FBI, for one.

“The FBI by mid-January will activate a nationwide facial recognition service in select states that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects in photos, bureau officials told Nextgov. The federal government is embarking on a multiyear, $1 billion dollar overhaul of the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to more quickly and accurately identify suspects, partly through applying other biometric markers, such as iris scans and voice recordings.” http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/07/2342240/FBI-Plans-Nationwide-Face-Recognition-Trials-In-2012

Governments and vigilantes are using Facebook and other social media to identify and jail protesters–even if they never left their keyboards.

A Chat With Zavilia, a Tool For Identifying Rioters

“Social media isn’t just great for starting ‘social unrest,’ it’s proving to be quite helpful for quashing it too. Not long after the bricks began to fly in London’s latest kerfuffle, locals angry over raging mobs scrambled to assist the police in their attempt to identify street-fighters and free-for-all hooligans … Now with more than 1,000 people charged over the chaos, a few citizen groups continue to provide web-based rioter identification platforms, in hopes of being good subjects, maintaining the country’s pursuit of order, and keeping their neighborhoods safe.”

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/08/19/0248220/A-Chat-With-Zavilia-a-Tool-For-Identifying-Rioters

In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media

Government officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=bc98f459d24fe76a1cb358676020620b

UK Men Get 4 Years For Trying to Incite Riots Via Facebook

“In addition to the 12 arrests from last week, a judge has sentenced 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan to four years in prison for their failed attempts to use Facebook to incite riots in the UK. The judge said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent. The two men were convicted for using Facebook to encourage violent disorder in their hometowns in northwest England.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/18/0224214/UK-Men-Get-4-Years-For-Trying-to-Incite-Riots-Via-Facebook

Slashdot / Soulskill nonprofiteer writes “A bunch of vigilantes are organizing a Google Group dedicated to using recently revealed facial recognition tools to identify looters in the London riots. While Vancouver discussed doing something similar after the Stanley Cup riots, the city never actually moved forward on it. Ring of Steel London, though, is far more likely to incorporate FRT into its investigative work.” A related article points out how development of face-recognition technology has been kept under wraps by some organizations, but we’re getting to the point where it’ll soon be ubiquitous.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/10/062225/The-London-Riots-and-Facial-Recognition-Technology

When police and vigilantes fail, there’s always PayPal.

PayPal Joins London Police Effort

“PayPal has joined a music copyright association and the City of London police department’s bid to financially starve websites deemed ‘illegal.’ When presented with sufficient evidence of unlicensed downloading from a site, the United Kingdom’s PayPal branch ‘will require the retailer to submit proof of licensing for the music offered by the retailer,’ said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s latest press release.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/2345217/PayPal-Joins-London-Police-Effort

Meanwhile, Egyptian activists are getting in trouble for what they post on Facebook.

Egyptian Charged For Threatening Facebook Post

“The Egyptian Military Prosecution has charged 26-year-old activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz for allegedly defaming the country’s ruling generals and calling for armed operations against the military and the judiciary. Mahfouz, a prominent activist, was accused of using Facebook to call for the assassinations of Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) members and certain judges.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/15/0156222/Egyptian-Charged-For-Threatening-Facebook-Post

The Pirate Party of Canada has threatened to unleash its anti-surveillance software on its own government, promising to let Canadian citizens browse safely under a Virtual Private Network.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/04/23/0534222/Pirate-Party-of-Canada-Promises-VPN-For-Freedom?utm_source=rss1.0&utm_medium=feed via Byline

“The Pirate Party of Canada has announced that it will extend a VPN originally set up to allow people in Tunisia to browse freely while internet censorship was imposed there. Canada may soon be added to that list since the ruling Conservative Party has vowed to introduce a bill that would provide unprecedented systematic interception and monitoring of Canadians’ personal communications. So the Pirate Party of Canada has announced it will extend that service to Canadians.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Meanwhile, back in north Africa…

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/04/13/1326255/Engineers-Hijack-Libyan-Phone-Network-For-Rebels?utm_source=rss1.0&utm_medium=feed via Byline

“A team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive has helped rebels hijack Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s cellphone network and re-establish their own communications. The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gadhafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.”

Deutsche Telekom tracking graphicIf Big Brother comes for you, you’ve got seven minutes to make yourself scarce after tossing your cell phone in a nearby dumpster. That’s what a German politician learned when he took his telephone carrier to court to find out how often they tracked his position–and learned Deutsche Telekom tracked him 35,000 times in 6 months, even though he never explicitly chose to share his location.

The results make for a compelling interactive graphic, but also seem to vindicate free software guru Richard Stallman’s choice never to carry a cell phone.

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Kinect eye-viewFacebook quietly rolled out face recognition in its photo service earlier this year, prompting some to speculate that Facebook users might soon get ads correlated to what they look like or where their pictures appear. But Facebook may not be the only one targeting ads according to what the lens sees. Last month Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer for interactive entertainment let slip that Kinect’s camera feed offered his company “a bunch of new business opportunities.”

What sort of business opportunities? Well, once their system is trained on actual faces thanks to tags from its own users, Microsoft or Facebook could sell Haar classifiers to other companies for ad targeting (think X-box ads for acne cream) or the government for surveillance (think a “Total Information Awareness” database of every person ever caught on a security camera).

Of course, as new media artist and innovator Mark Daggett pointed out to me, this face-harvesting could have productive applications, such as an iPhone app that scans a crowd and displays each person’s Facebook profile above their heads. Then again, it could have detrimental applications, such as an iPhone app that scans a crowd and displays each person’s Facebook profile above their heads.

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High-tech engineering for those who want more privacy for their privates. Will Victoria’s Secret come out with a Kevlar-lined bra in time for the holidays?

http://idle.slashdot.org/story/10/11/23/150207/Underwear-Invention-Protects-Privacy-At-Airport

Thanks to Jeff Buske you don’t have to be embarrassed while going through the full body scanners at the airport. Buske has invented radiation shielding underwear for the shy traveler. From the article: “Jeff Buske says his invention uses a powdered metal that protects people’s privacy when undergoing medical or security screenings. Buske of Las Vegas, Nev.-Rocky Flats Gear says the underwear’s inserts are thin and conform to the body’s contours, making it difficult to hide anything beneath them. The mix of tungsten and other metals do not set off metal detectors.”

New in the “They Can Do That?” Department: Your Facebook friends can add you to groups without your approval, and the only way to make sure that never happens is to *have no friends*. Oh, and the FBI can bug your car without a warrant. While it’s in your driveway.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/10/08/1358232/Lighthearted-Facebook-Friends-Could-Make-You-Join-NAMBLA-Group?from=rss via Byline mykos writes “The Facebook groups feature is causing bit of a stir with its users. TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington was allegedly added to a group about NAMBLA, and in turn, he added Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It’s all in good (albeit tasteless) fun, except when a harmless joke goes awry and you find yourself being detained by customs when a friend decided to drag you into a mock terrorist group. Facebook representatives are aware of the matter, but are dismissive of it. A Facebook spokeswoman said, ‘If you have a friend that is adding you to Groups you do not want to belong to, or they are behaving in a way that bothers you, you can tell them to stop doing it, block them or remove them as a friend — and they will no longer EVER have the ability to add you to any Group.’ In somewhat related news, guillotines ensure you won’t have dandruff on your shoulders anymore.”

Did I mention the guy with his car bugged was a college student? The FBI was pretty keen to get it back, too.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/10/08/1413240/College-Student-Finds-GPS-On-Car-FBI-Retrieve?from=rss via Byline mngdih writes with this excerpt from Wired: “A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do. It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted their expensive device back … His discovery comes in the wake of a recent ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals saying it’s legal for law enforcement to secretly place a tracking device on a suspect’s car without getting a warrant, even if the car is parked in a private driveway. … ‘We have all the information we needed,’ they told him. ‘You don’t need to call your lawyer. Don’t worry, you’re boring.’”

Do RFID tags in clothes for preschoolers make them more or less safe? Check out the ACLU’s timeline of cracked RFID schemes.

http://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty/dont-let-schools-chip-your-kids

“On Tuesday, preschoolers in Richmond, California showed up for school and were handed jerseys embedded with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags are tiny computer chips that are frequently used to track everything from cattle to commercial products moving through warehouses. Now the school district is apparently hoping to use these chips to replace manual attendance records, track the children’s movements at school and during field trips, and collect other data like whether the child has eaten or not.

“While school officials and parents may have been sold on these tags as a “cost-saving measure,” we are concerned that the real price of insecure RFID technology is the privacy and safety of small children. RFID has been billed as a “proven technology,” but what’s actually been proven time and again (PDF) since the ACLU first looked at this issue in 2005 is just how insecure RFID chips can be:

“RFID chips in US passport cards were cracked and copied from a distance of 30-feet using $250 in parts bought from eBay (2009).

“RFID chips used in building access cards across the country were cracked and copied with a handheld device the size of a standard cell phone that was built using spare parts costing $20 (2007).

“California State Capitol RFID-based identification cards were cracked and copied and access was gained to member-only, secure entrances (2006).

“RFID chips implanted in humans were cracked and copied (PDF) (2006).

“The RFID chips used in the Dutch and British e-passport were cracked (PDF) (2006).

“Without real security, RFID chips could actually make preschoolers more vulnerable to tracking, stalking, and kidnapping….”

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