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China Unveils ‘Super Surveillance Camera’ That Can Link To Its Social Credit System

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Device can identify individual faces out of crowds of tens of thousands; Will take mass surveillance to a new level

A new camera with a resolution five times more detailed than the human eye, able to monitor thousands of people in real time and identify individual faces has been unveiled by Chinese scientists, prompting renewed fears about mass surveillance.

ABC News in Australia reports that the new 500 megapixel cloud camera AI system, dubbed a ‘super camera’, was revealed at China’s International Industry Fair last week.

The camera system, equipped with state of the art facial recognition utilities, was designed by Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The designers claim that the system can detect and identify thousands of human faces or other objects in real time and instantly locate specific targets in environments such as crowded stadiums.

Of course, it would work equally as well at protests.

The designers suggested that police could set up the camera system in the center of Shanghai and monitor the movement of crowds, while cross-checking the images with medical and criminal records.

Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing told the Global Times that the system could “very easily be applied to national defense, military and public security.”

Technology like this in the hands of Communist Chinese authorities, who already operate a citizen social credit system, does not bode well for privacy rights and freedom.

“The Party-state has massive databases of people’s images and the capability to connect them to their identity, so it isn’t inconceivable that technology like this is possible if not now then in the future,” Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute noted.

The social credit system, which rewards ‘good behavior’ with incentives and punishes disobedience by restricting and banning people from buying travel tickets, is currently enforced using a vast network of over 200 million surveillance cameras, as well as other tracking tools.

However, the 500 million pixel ‘super camera’ would take surveillance capabilities to a different level.

Scientists noted that the current crop of cameras are able to monitor thousands of people at once, but each face is in the wide shot can only be represented by a few pixels, meaning “you couldn’t clearly see your targeted person at all”.

The data from the video will be “fed into a pool of data that, combined with AI processing, can generate tools for social control, including tools linked to the Social Credit System” said the ASPI’s Hoffman.

Of course, this kind of thing is all fine because it’s all the way away in China, right?

Wrong.

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Science & Tech

Twitter Says It Will Remove Any Tweets ‘Claiming Victory Before Election Results Have Been Certified’

“Starting next week, we will label or remove false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence.”

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Steve Watson

Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

Twitter further extended its censorship policy Thursday, announcing that it will label as ‘false information’ or remove any posts claiming an election victory before results have been officially certified.

In a blog post, Twitter wrote:

In recognition of the changing circumstances of how people will vote in 2020, and in line with our commitment to protecting the integrity of the election conversation, we’re expanding this existing framework. The goal is to further protect against content that could suppress the vote and help stop the spread of harmful misinformation that could compromise the integrity of an election or other civic process.

The post continued:

Starting next week, we will label or remove false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election or other civic process. This includes but is not limited to:

False or misleading information that causes confusion about the laws and regulations of a civic process, or officials and institutions executing those civic processes.
Disputed claims that could undermine faith in the process itself, e.g. unverified information about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or certification of election results.
Misleading claims about the results or outcome of a civic process which calls for or could lead to interference with the implementation of the results of the process, e.g. claiming victory before election results have been certified, inciting unlawful conduct to prevent a peaceful transfer of power or orderly succession.

The move is seemingly part of the ongoing narrative that Americans will have to wait weeks for the results of the election to be announced, as mail in ballots, which are speculated to be open to corruption, are tallied.

The move also means that any post by President Trump hinting that he has garnered enough votes to secure a second term could be removed by Twitter, which has censored Trump several times over the past few months.

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Why Has Amazon Just Appointed The Former Director of The NSA To Its Board?

“Nothing nefarious about that at all”

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Steve Watson

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Amazon has appointed former NSA head General Keith Alexander to its board of directors, prompting privacy advocates to suggest the move could be connected to Alexander’s previous experience in overseeing mass surveillance operations.

“We’re thrilled to elect a new member to our Board of Directors this month. Welcome, General Keith Alexander!” Amazon announced in a tweet:

Alexander served as NSA director from 2005 until he retired in March 2014. He oversaw the agency’s monolithic program, encompassing illegal mass spying on Americans, which officials lied about.

Under Alexander, the NSA deployed the PRISM tool to sweep up vast amounts of data from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook to name a few.

Edward Snowden, who exposed the NSA activity, had some choice words about Amazon’s appointment:

Amazon hosts a massive amount of web traffic, so it figures:

Glen Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist who reported exclusively on Snowden’s leaks, also chimed in:

Others speculated that Alexander’s hiring has more to do with Amazon going after lucrative Pentagon contracts:

Zero Hedge points out the deep state angle of all this, noting that last week, “Amazon literally accused Trump of unprecedented corruption in a public letter and less than a week later it effectively brings the NSA on board.”

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The New Normal: UNC Develops “Health Greeter Kiosk” To Enforce Mask Wearing

Will also trigger if students fail to comply with social distancing.

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Steve Watson

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In a story that flew under the radar last month, the University of North Carolina unveiled a system that will enforce the wearing of face masks by using facial recognition cameras to track all students entering campus facilities.

CBS News reported that the UNC developed the “Health Greeter Kiosk” to display an alert every time a student passed through without wearing a mask and ask them to comply with the mandate.

Steven King, an associate professor at the UNC School of Media and Journalism told CBS that the university teamed up with Hong Kong-based Lenovo’s artificial intelligence department to develop the system.

The system was also designed to trigger if students fail to comply with social distancing measures.

“It uses computer vision to see if there is a person there, and if that person is wearing a mask or not and if they are outside of six feet of another person,” King said.

King told the Daily Tar Heel that a trial of six kiosks will be placed in different schools and areas on campus.

“There will be a sign in 20 feet in front of each kiosk notifying students of its presence, and the kiosk will be placed in areas where students can take alternate routes to avoid them,” King said.

Campus Reform notes that UNC has since decided to shift exclusively to remote learning for the fall semester, so the Kiosk system is presumably technology to be used at a later time, yet another indication that mask mandates and social distancing rules are here to stay.

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