IBM Used NYPD Surveillance to Tag People by Skin Color, Ethnicity

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You mean the same Company that sold Hitler and the Nazi party their system to classify and track their concentrations camps and other "inventory" has developed a system for mass control in the modern era with racists undertones?

Nah, get outta here!

But in all seriousness, why wouldn't ethnicity be an interesting piece of information to harvest? Like it or not, data is data. How you interpret it matters, but gathering it is fair game. This might sounds a bit naive, but it is the truth.

Cheers!
 
May 17, 2018
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If an ethnic group is more prone to commit crime, its very natural to give them some priority in surveillance.
 

rinosaur

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You mean like pulling black people over far more often in hopes of finding contraband...
 

NewbieGeek

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“Are there certain activities that are nobody’s business no matter what? Are there "According to The Intercept, in 2012 the NYPD gave IBM “secret access” to its city-wide video surveillance system, which the company used to develop new surveillance features, such as searching camera footage for images of people by hair color, facial hair and even skin tone.

The NYPD said that it only used the skin tone feature for testing purposes and didn’t deploy it to its camera system because it didn’t want the public to think it was racially profiling. The NYPD also said that giving access to IBM to its camera system was required for the collaboration to work.

However, civil liberties advocates argued that New Yorkers should have been made aware that the real-time collection of physical data was being handed over to a private firm. This revelation comes at a time when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD are fighting against a new city council bill that would require more transparency from the NYPD."

You guys try to make this sound surprising. It isn't. It so happens I didn't explicitly know the technology existed (though I'm not surprised) but when useful technology like this IS developed, they would be crazy, frankly, to not use such useful information.
Sucks of course, this invasion of privacy, but who honestly expects better from the government?
 

hotaru251

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except white people are terrorists too.
Pretty sure more white people joined ISIS than colored or others.


Skin color has nothign to do with risk. I have relatives of color and ahispanic gf. I am just as likely to turn to terrorism as they are.
 

Co BIY

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Race (represented by hair and skin color) is probably the simplest identifying feature for a camera based system to track and already listed in the existing government data on every person so it is not surprising that it was heavily used for early experiments in camera tracking.

The usefulness of that single piece of data is very low. But as a stepping stone for a system that will eventually be able to distinguish between and track individuals it makes sense.

"The Supreme Court has already ruled twice that real-time location tracking is unconstitutional." I'm not sure that this is true.

They have ruled that warrant-less real-time tracking using the person's own cell-phone data is unconstitutional in cases where there was not immediate danger to the public. That leaves a lot of other scenarios unclear.
 

grlegters

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That's terrible. If this isn't made illegal, they may also use gender, age, weight, gait, disabilities, facial features, and species to tag people. The traditional version of lady justice was blind, but the modern version is deaf, dumb, and blind.
 

shrapnel_indie

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The NYPD said it “explicitly rejected that product” because of this feature.
However, Rick Kjeldsen, a former IBM researcher who worked on this software, said that NYPD’s statement is misleading because neither IBM nor any other company would have worked on such a feature if the NYPD hadn’t shown interest in it.
Of course its misleading. They don't want people to know that they are indeed doing it... especially if it means they'd have a riot on their hands.

Considering the latest string of Mayors (who outrank the presidents of the Burroughs) of NYC... It could easily be misused as a political weapon... harass 2nd Amendment supporters, those who speak negatively of Bloomers or DeBlasio, etc.

Kjeldsen also told The Intercept that IBM’s development of this surveillance technology for the NYPD without the public’s consent sets a dangerous precedent.
That ship has already sailed with the likes of the Patriot Act and such at the federal level. You can't expect mini-tyrant mayors not to want in on the action.

“Are there certain activities that are nobody’s business no matter what?
YES!

Are there certain places on the boundaries of public spaces that have an expectation of privacy?
Yes.

And then, how do we build tools to enforce that? That’s where we need the conversation. That’s exactly why knowledge of this should become more widely available — so that we can figure that out," he said.
You can't really build tools that enforce that. As a community of law-breaking hackers exists, there are those that are under the control of governments too... they'd find a way to disable the safeguards and implement it if and when a government so insisted.

Just as a side note that follows in the line of the existence of white terrorists... Being Muslim, or Islam, has nothing to do with one's race and everything to do with one's religious beliefs. Although I'm sure some are of the belief to be a true Muslim, you must be of Arabic heritage. (Being Arabic is racial, not Islam or Muslim.) It doesn't mean they should be singled out... There are those Muslims out there that don't practice the full teachings of Mohamed,
 

USAFRet

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Well...if they're looking for a "early 20's, 5' 2"-5'5", 105-115lb white female"...I'd rather they not tag me, a 62 year old, 5' 10", 190lb Black male.

Otherwise, the only thing they be looking for is Human/Not Human.

Don't get me wrong...I fully realize the 8 zillion ways this can and will be abused.
 

Robert Ostrowski

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If you are tracking a criminal that's say, Asian, how is it racial profiling to filter to only Asians? Why would you search white or black if you are not looking for them?
 

shrapnel_indie

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In both of these cases, the assumption is being made that the system is being used as "intended:" find a known bad-guy and track them, It the case of abuse... You haven't broken any laws.... but they don't like you, your race, gender, political views, or whatever... so they keep tabs on you.
 

stdragon

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Color profiling by itself is racist. But profiling people of color with certain parts of Chicago isn't. The difference being one piece of data vs all data calculated within the dataset. That said, there's certain parts of America where I'd avoid white folk too. So, you have to look at the whole picture as it were. Who, what, when, and where.
 
Maybe or maybe not. Understand facial recognition isn't just varied points on a scale. Color differences even for same race varies enough to reduce odds of false positives. Camera's just like our eyes see not only shapes of depth of color. To limit the software to only shape is akin to playing games in wireframe mode.
 

shrikecurse

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The company is racist and it is exactly what IBM customers want! Those who agree and celebrate this are also racist! Those who make excuses for classifying people according to race - are racist! Thats the definition of the word! Good day racists!
 

stdragon

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You were modded down not pointing out the racial components of this technology, but rather your ignorance that it's the only metric that matters. It' not. It's just one component in a suite of metrics used by IBM to profile trends and known identifiers that would pose a security risk.

The correct way of viewing this technology is Orwellian in nature that will leads us all down a dystopian path regardless of race, religion, and creed.
 
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