Daily Archives: May 4, 2017

Taser Will Use Police Body Camera Videos “to Anticipate Criminal Activity”

WHEN CIVIL LIBERTIES advocates discuss the dangers of new policing technologies, they often point to sci-fi films like “RoboCop” and “Minority Report” as cautionary tales. In “RoboCop,” a massive corporation purchases Detroit’s entire police department. After one of its officers gets fatally shot on duty, the company sees an opportunity to save on labor costs by reanimating the officer’s body with sleek weapons, predictive analytics, facial recognition, and the ability to record and transmit live video.Although intended as a grim allegory of the pitfalls of relying on untested, proprietary algorithms to make lethal force decisions, “RoboCop” has long been taken by corporations as a roadmap. And no company has been better poised than Taser International, the world’s largest police body camera vendor, to turn the film’s ironic vision into an earnest reality.In 2010, Taser’s longtime vice president Steve Tuttle “proudly predicted” to GQ that once police can search a crowd for outstanding warrants using real-time face recognition, “every cop will be RoboCop.” Now Taser has announced that it will provide any police department in the nation with free body cameras, along with a year of free “data storage, training, and support.” The company’s goal is not just to corner the camera market, but to dramatically increase the video streaming into its servers.

Source: Taser Will Use Police Body Camera Videos “to Anticipate Criminal Activity”

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Cryogenically Frozen Brains to Be Transplanted into Donors Within 3 Yrs. 

Italian surgeon Professor Sergio Canavero has claimed that brains that have been cryogenically frozen could be “woken up” and transplanted into donor bodies within the next three years.The Telegraph reports that Professor Sergio Canavero, the director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, plans to carry out the first human head transplant within the next ten months and will then focus his attention on brain transplants. Canavero believes that if his research is successful, frozen brains could be thawed and placed within a donor body, bringing them back to consciousness.Hundreds of people have been cryogenically frozen in the hopes of being woken at a later date, many of them suffering from illnesses which they hope will be cured by the time they are thawed. Many experts don’t believe that organs such as the brain can be thawed without damage, but Canavero believes the first frozen head could soon be brought back to life.In an interview with the German magazine Ooom, Canavero said that he plans to bring back some of the patients frozen by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation which is based in Arizona.

Source: Surgeon: Cryogenically Frozen Brains to Be Transplanted into Donor Bodies Within Three Years – Breitbart

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Modern Hieroglyphs: Binary Logic Behind the Universal “Power Symbol” – 99% Invisible

High beams, lower battery, on, off, play, pause, risk of electric shock and fragile: handle with care — what do these have in common? Most of the symbols you see on appliances, automobiles and other gadgets made since the mid-1970s can be traced back to a single document.Screenshot via the ISO OBPPublished by the International Electrotechnical Commission, ISO 7000 / IEC 60417 (aka “graphical symbols for use on equipment”) appears at a glance to be as dense and technical as it sounds. Yet icons featured in the collection are designed to be simple and universal — a modern hieroglyphic system for the whole world. These standardized graphics were made to be understood across languages and cultures. Some (like play, pause and stop) predate the set and were simply gathered into it while others were designed specifically for inclusion.

Source: Modern Hieroglyphs: Binary Logic Behind the Universal “Power Symbol” – 99% Invisible

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Brown University ‘Rape List’ Shuts Down After Falsely Accusing Student of Rape | Heat Street

Brown Survivors Speak, an anonymous anti-rape activist group at Brown University that publishes the names of men accused of rape has quietly disappeared after it was revealed that the group had published the name of at least one innocent man falsely accused of rape.The group, which was also accused of targeting minority men, posted an apology admitting its mistake. But the group absolved themselves of any responsibility and blamed a “rape apologist” for submitting a false report. The group published the name of an innocent man, declaring him a rapist, without any supporting evidence.Brown Survivors Speak was founded three years ago to name and shame male students accused of rape and sexual assault. The group has taken efforts to call on Brown administrators to take action against the supposed rape crisis on campus.According to the Brown Daily Herald (via College Fix), the group was inspired by a “rape list” published at Brown in 1990, and encouraged women to write the names the men they accused of sexual violence in women’s bathroom stalls in the basement of the Rockefeller Library as a warning to other women. The group has since grown from scrawling names in bathrooms to a full-blown Google Form, linked to on its Facebook page run by “Marie Turner,” a pen name.Activists at other colleges have since been inspired to create similar lists, including at Columbia University, which was covered by various media following the publication of fliers containing the names of students accused of rape.Last month, Brown Survivors Speak put out a statement saying it was “made aware” that a man named as a rapist by the group on March 9 “could not have committed sexual violence on campus.” Refusing to take the blame, the anonymous group claims that his name was falsely submitted on the “sexual outing form” by a “rape apologist.”Brown Survivors Speak then proposed a new method of verifying submission claims by asking survivors to provide a non-Brown email so they could do follow-ups with them to confirm details. This would “strongly discourage rape apologists from trying to discredit or falsely accuse people through the form.”Curiously, the student whom Brown Survivors Speak says was falsely named as a rapist defends the group’s efforts. “Survivor support is my utmost priority,” said the student in an interview with the Herald.Critics of the anonymous group, some of whom are on the list, told the student newspaper that the group tends to target ethnic minorities and people of low-income backgrounds who do not have the means to pursue defamation suits against it. One of the students named by the group says being placed on the list is a “moral stain” on his reputation, even if the claims against him are proven to have no substance.Following this incident, the group’s Facebook page has since been deactivated. It’s unclear if it’ll be revived any time soon.

Source: Brown University ‘Rape List’ Shuts Down After Falsely Accusing Student of Rape | Heat Street

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“Radioactive Boy Scout” regularly visited by FBI for a decade, father says

David Charles Hahn, who was nicknamed the “Radioactive Boy Scout,” received regular visits from the FBI for nearly a decade from 2005 through 2015, Ars has learned.Hahn, who was profiled by Harper’s Magazine in 1998 for his attempts to build a homemade breeder nuclear reactor in his mother’s backyard shed, passed away late last year in Michigan at the age of 39. Last month, Ars reported that Hahn did not die as a result of radiation poisoning.Upon his death, we filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests with various federal agencies, including the FBI. Amongst the documents we received were three FBI reports dating between 2007 and 2010. They detail three separate instances when people reported to law enforcement that they believed that Hahn may be trying to restart his nuclear activities. When local and federal authorities investigated, they found no such evidence.With these reports, Ars contacted Kenneth Hahn, David’s father. He said he had never seen these documents before.However, the elder Hahn told Ars that, upon his son’s return from military service in 2005, David would receive regular, unannounced visits from the FBI at least annually. The FBI would interview David and search for any evidence of nuclear material.“Each time they were really hoping to find something,” Kenneth Hahn told Ars, adding that the searches took two to three hours.

Source: “Radioactive Boy Scout” regularly visited by FBI for a decade, father says | Ars Technica

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The best new Android feature might finally launch soon

When Google demoed Android Nougat for the first time almost a year ago at Google I/O 2016, Instant Apps was one of the features that stood out, as a trick the iPhone didn’t have at the time and still doesn’t have now. But as hot as it may be, the feature wasn’t ready for public consumption when Google released the final Nougat build last year. However, things might change soon, as Google is apparently getting ready to enable it on devices running Android 7 as well as phones and tablets running older Android versions.

Instant Apps will let users enjoy instant app experiences on their smartphones without actually downloading a particular app for. Assuming it works as described, the feature will solve a bunch of problems.

First of all, it’ll help save storage on the phone, as you won’t have to keep an app installed just because you might have to use it every now and then. Secondly, you won’t have to buy an app to try it since developers will be able to offer a portion of an app to test for free. Finally, the Instant Apps features will work on most Android devices out there, not just Nougat-based ones, as it’s built on Google Play Services.

Looking at the code in the latest version of Google Play Store, 9to5Google discovered that Google might be getting ready to roll out Instant Apps. The code reveals that users will be able to enable or disable the feature and choose which Google account to use with an app.

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How to Use BitTorrent with a VPN 

The official BitTorrent client is the go-to for most people because it’s official, so we assume it must be good. That’s not always the case, but thankfully in this case that facile statement applies. Here’s how to enforce your VPN on it.Switch on your VPN, then go to Google and type “whats my IP” to instantly bring up your public IP address. Highlight this number and copy it to the clipboard.Open BitTorrent, click “Options -> Preferences” then Advanced in the pane on the left side.In the Filter box type net.bind, then in the Value box type the IP address you copied over from Google and click Set.Next, type net.outgoing_ip in the Filter box, select it, paste your IP into its “Value” box, and click Set. Click OK to confirm the changes, restart BiTorrent, and you’re good to go!

Source: How to Use BitTorrent with a VPN – Make Tech Easier

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Meet Babel Street, the Powerful Social Media Surveillance Used by Police, Secret Service, and Sports Stadiums 

Newly released records from the Seattle Police Dept. illustrate the formidable capabilities of Babel Street’s software and offers a look into who is using it.After Geofeedia’s highly publicized PR disaster, in which Chicago Police were found to have used the social media surveillance platform to track racial justice protests and gatherings, the social media monitoring company saw Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram cut off its data streams. Arguably the three most valuable API streams for social media sites, it would make sense for law enforcement to try and find an alternative software. A company called Babel Street, hailing from Reston, Virginia, might just be the answer.Newly released records from the Seattle Police Department indicate that in March of 2016, the agency acquired a two month trial run of Babel Street’s Babel X software and Open Source Intelligence training. The purchase ran the department $6,500. The price of a one year Babel X subscription is $18,500, per a quote for the Army National Guard, which for some reason wound up in this SPD release. That price is notably lower than what Geofeedia charged for a year long contract, $26,000.

Source: Meet Babel Street, the Powerful Social Media Surveillance Used by Police, Secret Service, and Sports Stadiums – Motherboard

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Meet CRISPR: Our Genetic Superweapon

Our genes aren’t quite our destiny, but they can definitely feel like it. After all, they determine what species of creature we are, what shade our eyes can be, and whether we inherit any number of genetic diseases and risk factors. When we think of genetic damage or mutation, our minds either jump to pulp heroes like Bruce Banner or grotesque, deformed creatures.

Perceptions aside, genes, like any other part of our body, are just part of a larger machine. The problem with DNA, though, is that the parts we’re working with are so tiny that they’re almost impossible to fix. But that’s changing. Really freaking fast. And it’s all thanks to CRISPR — a genetic superweapon.

Now… when I say “weapon,” I’m thinking more along the lines of vaccines or MRIs — exceptionally powerful tools that could fundamentally upend how we think about medicine. CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is, essentially, a genetic scalpel that allows us to slice parts of the DNA in living cells. That sounds scary — and it definitely is. If used poorly, we could well be talking about a very different kind of superweapon. And that’s exactly why it’s essential for us to understand as much as we can — both as voting members of the public and as curious, geeky minds.

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