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Chicago Police Are Using a Facial Recognition Program That Scans Billions of Facebook Photos

The end of privacy as we know it?



Chicago Police Facial Recognition Billions Photos Facebook
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(TMU) — Manhattan-based Clearview AI is collecting data from unsuspecting social media users and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is using the controversial facial recognition tool to pinpoint the identity of unknown suspects, reads a report from the Chicago Sun-Times.

And according to a bombshell New York Times report, it is also being used by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

The software’s creator, Hoan Ton-That, maintains that it is purely “an after-the-fact research tool for law enforcement, not a surveillance system or a consumer application.” However, privacy advocates are saying this technology is so intrusive and ripe for abuse its use should be immediately halted. And earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed in federal court seeking to do just that.

Chicago attorney Scott Drury who filed the lawsuit describes CPD’s signing of a two-year, $49,875 contract with Illinois tech firm CDW Government to use Clearview AI’s software as “frightening.”

Conversely, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi explains:

Our obligation is to find those individuals that hurt other people and bring them to justice. And we want to be able to use every tool available to be able to perform that function, but we want to be able to do so responsibly.”

According to police, some CPD officials at the Crime Prevention and Information Center used the software for two months on a trial basis prior to the signing of the contract in January.

Despite the two month trial and the contract having been signed for approximately one month, CPD spokesman Howard Ludwig has declined to explain if and when Clearview AI has been used by the department thus far. Ludgwig explained:

“Any information about ongoing investigations can only come from cases that have been thoroughly adjudicated. We haven’t had Clearview long enough for any of the cases to have gone through the courts.”

Clearview AI’s database includes three billion photos taken from social media and network platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The software searches its massive database for matches after users, including CPD, upload a photo of a suspect. The user is then provided with links for each image returned in the search that the company once told Green Bay police to “run wild” with in a marketing email.

Ton-That told the Sun-Times, “Our software links to publicly available web pages, not any private data.” It is clear he doesn’t seem to think the software poses any problems. But just this month, New Jersey’s attorney general Gurbir Grewal put a moratorium on Clearview AI’s chilling, unregulated facial recognition software.”

The ACLU of New Jersey responded to the move in a tweet last Friday:

“Technology like this opens a Pandora’s Box for constant warrantless searches, pretty much of anyone with a photo and name online.

It’s a tool that could make an already-unequal criminal justice system truly dystopian.

New Jersey is right to slam this Pandora’s Box shut.”

The ACLU also rightfully pointed out that tendency of facial recognition technology to have a bias against “people of color, women, and non-binary people.” In fact, as TMU has previously reported, self-driving cars are less likely to detect black people and artificial intelligence (AI) is sending the wrong people to jail.

Critics of Clearview AI and facial recognition software extend far beyond those involved in the lawsuit mentioned above and the ACLU of New Jersey. In what is the one of the biggest efforts to date in the battle against the use of facial recognition technologies, 40 organizations signed a letter to the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board calling for the banning of the U.S. government’s use of such technology “pending further review.” The letter notes that this technology could be exploited and used to “control minority populations and limit dissent.”

However, as Fast Company points out, not everyone feels the same. In fact, some view actions like the letter mentioned above “an overreaction.”

Jon Gacek, head of government, legal, and compliance for Veritone—a company that provides technology like Clearview AI for law enforcement in both Europe and the U.S.—says all the software does is use “technology to do what police already do, except far faster and at less cost.”

Twitter responded to the bombshell NYT report by sending a letter to Clearview AI last week. In a follow-up report, the NYT explained:

“Twitter sent a letter this week to the small start-up company, Clearview AI, demanding that it stop taking photos and any other data from the social media website “for any reason” and delete any data that it previously collected, a Twitter spokeswoman said. The cease-and-desist letter, sent on Tuesday, accused Clearview of violating Twitter’s policies.”

While those concerned with privacy are typically focused on their photos and data being used by social media companies for profit, the situation with Clearview AI is an excellent reminder that what we post online generally can and will be used in ways we do not consent to despite our best efforts to keep up with Terms of Service updates and checking as many “opt-out” boxes as possible.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons |

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Turns Out Schrödinger, the Father of Quantum Physics, Was a Shameless Pedophile



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Long hailed as one of the fathers of quantum physics, celebrated physicist Erwin Schrödinger is now being reevaluated after damning evidence was published that shows that the scientist was a pedophile and serial “sexual predator.”

Schrödinger, a Nobel Prize-winning Austrian-Irish scientist remembered for his 1935 thought experiment “Schrödinger’s Cat,” was exposed as a pedophile by The Irish Times in a December report detailing his unapologetic record as a serial abuser of young girls and women.

Since the report’s publication, academics and faculties across the globe have been distancing themselves from the physicist and launching petitions to remove his name from their facilities.

The physicist made foundational contributions to quantum theory and is largely responsible for the current craze for quantum computing, but his extracurricular activities have been exposed as being fundamentally exploitative and abusive toward girls and women.

According to 2012 biography Erwin Schrödinger and the Quantum Revolution by John Gribbin, which the Irish Times cited, the physicist became preoccupied with, and groomed, a 14-year-old girl named Itha Junger after becoming her math tutor. Schrödinger, who was middle-aged at the time, impregnated her when she was 17.

That year, Junger became pregnant and resorted to a horrific abortion that left her sterile, leaving the relationship in tatters.

The physicist also kept a record of his sexual exploits, which included being “infatuated” with a 12-year-old girl named Barbara. He only relented from pursuing the child after her family members protested. He later wrote in his diaries that the child was “among the unrequited loves of his life”.

Schrödinger, Life and Thought author Walter Moore noted that the physicist’s scummy attitude towards women “was essentially that of a male supremacist.”

Students and lecturers are now rejecting the scientist. In his adopted country, Ireland, a petition has been launched to change the title of a facility at Dublin’s Trinity University that’s named after him.

 “It seems in bad taste that a modern college such as Trinity – one that holds lectures to both men and women, one that (hopefully) rejects the abuse of women, of young girls or, indeed, of anyone – would honour this man with an entire building,” the petition reads.

“We can acknowledge the great mark Schrodinger has left on science through our study, and this petition does not wish to diminish the impact his lectures or ideas had in physics.”

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Queen Strips Prince Andrew of All Royal Titles as Child Sex Abuse Trial Looms



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Britain’s Prince Andrew has been unceremoniously stripped of his military and royal titles, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday, just one day after a Manhattan judge gave the green light to a sexual abuse lawsuit against the disgraced son of the Queen.

Andrew, 61, is now unable to use the title “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity and his other roles as the Duke of York will be distributed among the other members of the House of Buckingham.

“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” the royal family said in an official statement, reports CNN. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

Prince Andrew faces a civil lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre Roberts, 38, who alleges that she was forced by late financier Jeffrey Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell to have “disgusting” sex with the duke in London when she 17, a minor under U.S. law. Giuffre claims that Andrew knew at the time that she was underage.

According to her lawsuit, she feared disobeying Epstein and Maxwell due to “their powerful connections, wealth and authority.” Andrew, however, vociferously denies the claim.

The ongoing drama surrounding Andrew has already led to the Queen stripping her middle son of performing royal tasks following his humiliating 2019 interview with the BBC where he attempted to justify his friendship with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently found guilty of sex trafficking.

At the time, the prince – a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who flew missions in the 1982 Malvinas War – was allowed to retain his military titles, which included vice admiral of the Royal Navy and colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

However, Buckingham Palace had faced strong pressure from military groups to strip the Duke of York of those titles.

“We understand that he is your son, but … please do not leave it any longer,” a group of 150 veterans wrote in an open letter to the monarch.

“All of us have served our country and are proud to have done so. For that reason, we are particularly upset and angry that Prince Andrew remains a member of the armed forces and continues to hold military titles,” the veterans added.

“Officers of the British armed forces must adhere to the very highest standards of probity, honesty and honorable conduct. These are standards which Prince Andrew has fallen well short of,” the letter said.

Andrew is likely to face a trial in Manhattan federal court later this year following the court’s Wednesday ruling.

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