In the last few days, several reports have emerged outlining steps the United States Federal Government is taking in realm of (personal) technology. These accounts are in line with what I recently told you in a post about Smart Speakers. When it comes to technology, privacy/security trumps EVERYTHING and the three (3) reports below are proof that the contentious convergence of government and technology is here to stay.
Here’s what you need to know:
Amazon, Google, Microsoft… Selling face-snooping tech to the Feds (The Register)
- Why should you care? More than 85 advocacy groups focused on a diverse set of social issues, including racial justice, religious liberty, civil rights, human rights, and immigrant rights have raised concerns about this practice, including the ACLU.
- You can read the full text of their letter here.
“History has clearly taught us that the government will exploit technologies like face surveillance to target communities of color, religious minorities, and immigrants.”
Feds Can’t Force You To Unlock Your iPhone…. With Finger Or Face (Forbes)
- Why should you care? The judge says all logins are equal. In the past, they couldn’t force you to give up your pass code, now fingerprints, facial recognition (or other future innovations… i.e. voice) are also included. Forcing you to do this could be the equivalent of forcing you to self incriminate.
“If a person cannot be compelled to provide a pass code because it is a testimonial communication, a person cannot be compelled to provide one’s finger, thumb, iris, face, or other biometric feature to unlock that same device,” the judge wrote.
Feds to allow drones to to fly over crowds at night… and make routine night flights (ABC)
- Why should you care? Rogue drones have been used to carry bombs on battlefields, to deliver contraband to prisoners, to interfere with firefighters and, last month, to cripple the operations of a major airport.
- Last year, Congress approved a measure that will let the government develop a system to identify and hack or shoot down drones that authorities deem threatening.
- Do these statements make you feel safe?
“Drones can collect massive amounts of sensitive data from people and can be equipped with facial recognition technology as well as license plate reading software”
Suzette Kemp is the Federal Government’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) appointed by President Donald Trump. The federal CIO is charged with driving government wide technology policy, leading the federal CIO Council and often putting out unexpected IT fires. She has recently said her office is crafting legislation to provide the government with “guardrails” for how to incorporate the technologies and ensure they don’t possess bias that runs counter to the mission of agencies (FedScoop).
I love it when two companies I love parter together to create innovative products! I actually think there is not enough collaborations from major brands and we will see MUCH MORE of this in the future. Amazon’s Alexa, think digital personal assistant, has been a hit for some time. So much so that you can barely get your hands on it. But instead of a black box to house the Siri-like technology, Amazon has partnered with General Electric to put Alexa in a lighting unit. 🙋🏽 #fan
It includes always-on microphones listening for commands and questions, and when it hears one, it’ll react or speak out a response through its built-in speakers. The Verge
But that’s not all. Amazon is inserting Alexa into everything: speakers, TV’s, lamps, cars, robots, you name it! Google and Amazon are both competing in this space. Who will win? I honestly don’t care! It’s a great example of innovation and competition is good for consumers! Check out the GE lamp powered by Alexa below. It’s supposed to be available in the 2nd quarter of this year. #engineering #computerscience #technology #manufacturing #stem
Welcome to the World of The Jetsons. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve already arrived.
DuoSkin is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional devices that can be attached directly on their skin. It is created using gold metal leaf, a material that is cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear. DuoSkin draws from the aesthetics found in metallic jewelry-like temporary tattoos to create on-skin devices which resemble jewelry, enabling users to control their mobile devices, display information, and store information on their skin while serving as a statement of personal style. MIT Media Lab
Did you get that? Someone has basically developed a (temporary) tattoo – yes, the kind you wear on your skin – to control your mobile phone and other devices! Think of it as a skin bracelet that can serve three purposes:
- input: turns your skin into a trackpad so you can adjust your music player, etc.
- output: changes color based on your mood/emotion 😳
- communication: reads data off off your skin, sort of like YOU as a QR code 😳😳
Definitely wearable tech on steriods! Watch the new technology in action below or you can read the full paper here, it’s only 8 pages 🙂
Yesterday President Barack Obama issued a memorandum, Promoting Smart Gun Technology. It’s easy to listen to everyone else’s summary of what the memorandum entails – even better is to READ THE MEMO FOR YOURSELF. Let me share a few important takeaways from this memo:
- As with most federal issues, there was a “team” established 3 years ago to look at gun violence in general and make recommendations.
- Within 90 days FROM TODAY (March 30, 2015), the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall prepare jointly a report outlining a research and development strategy designed to expedite the real-world deployment of such technology for use in practice.
- Department Consideration of New Technology. In today’s press conference, President Obama made a great comparison to technology most Americans already use today: If we can push a button to find our iPhones, why can’t we push a button to find our guns.
That very last statement is the most powerful statement I have heard to date about gun control. This idea is not revolutionary, as noted by The Blaze back in 2011. “Smart guns theoretically offer a way for a firearm to be personalized so it will only work for an “authorized person.” Engineers working on smart guns have already tried things like radio-frequency identification (RFID), fingerprint-recognition systems, and magnetic rings to keep an unauthorized person from firing a gun.” There was even a book written in 2014 called, “The Future of Guns”.
I don’t own a gun, never even touched one. (If I did it would be pink). I have no idea how much they cost. One thing I can comprehend is THE potential COST ASSOCIATED WITH THE A LOSS OF A GUN VS. THE COST OF LOSING AN IPHONE. If you consider it that way, this IS A LIFE AND DEATH SITUATION, regardless of the who or the what.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: DISMISSING THE IDEA THAT SOME ACTION, WHILE SURELY NOT A PANACEA, THAT AIMS TO PREVENT SOME GUN VIOLENCE MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE A FOOL WHEN YOU HAVE NO SOLUTIONS OF YOUR OWN TO OFFER. No one with any sense takes you seriously. #solutionsplease #nopoundingthetable
Technology innovation solves tough problems. Now surely, there are traditional “gun companies” that will undoubtedly try to get in on the action when a Request for Proposal (RFP)) is issued. But I would LOVE to see the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and others – major tech companies – BAN together to HELP the federal government sort through this issue. Think this is too far off? Well, what about Microsoft and Apple’s recently advertised, “Let there Be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me” commercial? Controlling gun violence supports peace on earth, no? Doesn’t sound too far off if you ask me!!! #techrules
You can watch President Obama’s the full speech from today below (save yourself some time and skip to 12:57). and the Microsoft/Apple commercial I referenced here.
Science-fiction movies have a strange way of predicting the future. In case you don’t believe me, let me just name a few recent science fiction movies that will hopefully jog your memory:
- Movie: Minority Report (2002)
Technology: Gesture-based user interface
- Movie: Total Recall (1990)
Technology: Driverless car
- Movie: Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Technology: Wearable tech
- Movie: Short Circuit (1986)
Technology: Military robot
- Movie: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Technology: Mobile phone
Just a few days ago I linked a popular movie, Enemy of the State, to the national security debate, pitting the tech community vs. governments everywhere. Click HERE if you missed that. Today I’m linking “Kingsman: The Secret Service” to the free WiFi service being installed as we speak in New York City.
If you haven’t seen The Kingsman, it’s about a spy organization recruiting an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. With a little help from IMDB and AceOfGeeks:
The global threat is the release a of new sim card that gives free wifi and calls to everyone around the globe. The sim cards are weapons, a neural augmentation device that triggers hyper aggression in people when broadcasting on a specific frequency controlled by Valentine. The controller of the sim cards can basically use it it out wipe out (i.e. kill) people who are not “on their side”.
So what’s the link to New York City? Just this week, workers began installing the first LinkNYC access points in New York. The hubs are designed as an update to the standard phone booth, using upgraded infrastructure to provide gigabit Wi-Fi access points. The full network will install more than 7,500 public hubs throughout the city, each replacing a pre-existing phone booth. (New York is finally installing its promised public gigabit Wi-Fi, The Verge)
Whether the service is free or paid, you better believe there will be some sort of “agreement” you must sign/acknowledge if you use this service, sort of like the ones required by Apple for your iTunes account – the ones that no one reads…. While this may not be a way to WIPE out a certain class or generation of people, like in The Kingsman, you can bet your last dollar the NSA (or some other like-minded government agency) will be
spying paying very close attention and tracking everything you do whenever you are on this network. #youdecide
You can watch the official trailer for The Kingsman on YouTube. It’s actually a pretty good movie!