Category Archives: Surveillance

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The LAPD will use drones—and people are pissed

Forget 2049. Los Angeles’ Blade Runner-esque future of a world watched by robots is here. 

On Tuesday, a civilian oversight panel gave the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) the OK to begin a year-long drone trial, primarily for reconnaissance in “tactical missions” conducted by SWAT.

The decision came after a contentious meeting and protest by privacy advocates who oppose the use of drones by law enforcement.

SEE ALSO: Only in Dubai—police now have hovercrafts

As the third largest police force in the nation behind New York and Chicago, the trial makes the LAPD the largest police force in the nation to use drones. The Chicago PD and New York PD confirmed in official statements to Mashable that neither police force deploys drones.  Read more…

More about Privacy, Drones, Police, Surveillance, and Los Angeles

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Ginormous Piccadilly screen will send targeted ads based on the colour of your car

The billboard lights at Piccadilly Circus in London are getting a makeover which will take it into the 21st century and beyond, making it the largest of its kind in Europe. 

SEE ALSO: Nighttime at Piccadilly Circus, the shining neon heart of London

The new screen will basically be a ginormous Smart TV —  even better than-4K and larger than a tennis court (790 sq. m). 

Landsec — the company which has owned Piccadilly Lights since the 1970s — is renovating the historic six screens that were bought by six advertisers, and offering Wi-Fi and millions of pixels at jaw-dropping resolution. 

While the six-section structure will be preserved — Coca-Cola, Samsung, Hyundai, and L’Oréal will definitely be there — a single manufacturer can temporarily take over the full-screen for a Blade Runner-like ad.  Read more…

More about Cars, Surveillance, Facial Recognition, Piccadilly Circus, and Piccadilly Lights

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The latest surveillance robot is designed to patrol rough terrain (and fight crime)


Knightscope, the robot security company famous for the R2-D2-like machine that recently drowned itself in a mall’s pool, has just unveiled an off-roading robot. 

The Silicon Valley company calls this model the K7. With its four wheels and high clearance, the K7 — which measures in at more than five feet tall and nearly seven feet long — is intended for diverse terrain and uneven topography. It’s a machine customers can deploy in varied outdoor environments. 

SEE ALSO: A security robot just drowned itself, so score one for mankind

Like Knightscope’s earlier models, the K7 is fitted with sound, video, and other sensors. The robot will be rented out to places like malls, stores, and movie sets to deter crime or generally shady behavior. The company currently has 44 machines contracted out to 32 clients in eight different states. They hope to increase this to 100 machines by the end of 2017. Read more…

More about Tech, Security, Robots, Surveillance, and Robot

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China forces its Muslim minority to install spyware on their phones


China has ramped up surveillance measures in Xinjiang, home to much of its Muslim minority population, according to reports from Radio Free Asia.

Authorities sent out a notice over a week ago instructing citizens to install a “surveillance app” on their phones, and are conducting spot checks in the region to ensure that residents have it.

— Delinda Tien (@TienDelinda) July 14, 2017

The notice, written in Uyghur and Chinese, was sent by WeChat to residents in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital. 

SEE ALSO: Here’s why breaking WhatsApp and iMessage encryption is such a dangerous idea Read more…

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Twitter is better than police at predicting riots, and it’s unsettling


If you always kind of thought that Twitter is faster than authorities in accurately identifying threats, you’re not that far from the truth. 

SEE ALSO: Twitter cuts ties with another social media surveillance company

New research from Cardiff University, which analysed 1.6 million tweets from the London 2011 riots, has noticed that the micro-blogging platform can be used to detect dangerous situations up to an hour faster than police reports. 

To do so, researchers created event detection algorithms that use various features of Twitter data — like sentiment, frequency of tweets containing certain words, and geolocation and timing of the tweets — to cluster “similar” content and produce interpretable summaries.  Read more…

More about Twitter, Surveillance, Riots, Geofeedia, and Prediction

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UK company sold spy tools to the repressive governments battling the ‘Arab Spring’


A UK company sold surveillance tools to authoritarian governments that could be used to stamp out signs of dissent.  

BAE Systems, according to an investigation conducted by the BBC and the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information, began shopping surveillance tools to governments in the Middle East after they bought a Danish company called ETI, which built a surveillance system known as “Evident.” 

That purchase happened in January 2011, around the same time of popular uprisings in several Middle Eastern nations that came to be collectively known as the “Arab Spring.” 

SEE ALSO: The NSA’s massive surveillance operation is now just a little less massive Read more…

More about Privacy, Newsy, Surveillance, Arab Spring, and World

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Engineers genetically modified a dragonfly to carry a tiny solar-powered backpack


Researchers at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute have created a tiny insect drone.

A dragonfly was genetically modified so that that it can be piloted remotely through pulses in its nerve cord. It carries a small backpack with electronics and a solar panel that powers it.

But this isn’t the first animal cyborg. Read more…

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Oculus founder plots tech startup to help Trump build border wall


If you thought the pioneering founder of virtual reality company Oculus, Palmer Luckey, was just going to fade into the shadows with his Facebook money, think again. 

While recent reports indicated that his second act might be a gaming company, it turns out that he’s also working on a security company that has an ominously familiar mission: policing immigration border walls. 

SEE ALSO: Oculus founder thinks this wild anime film is the likely future of AR

Details about Luckey’s new startup were revealed on Sunday night in a report from the New York Times that cites at least three “people familiar” with the VR expert’s plans.  Read more…

More about Surveillance, Donald Trump, Trump, Oculus, and Peter Thiel

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