Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Monday, July 8, 2019!
1. FBI, ICE, and your face
A short, scary report to start your day: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are said to be using photos from state driver’s licenses to create surveillance infrastructure, according to a report in the Washington Post, later backed up by additional report in the New York Times.
- Without consent from drivers, state Department of Motor Vehicle registries have been mined for facial data.
- This includes up to 641 million photos in 21 states,
- From a Government Accountability Office report: “Since 2011, the FBI has logged more than 390,000 facial-recognition searches of federal and local databases, including state DMV databases.”
- According to the reports, this has been done without Congress or state legislation okaying it.
A giant database of faces:
- “No individual signed off on that when they renewed their driver’s license, got their driver’s licenses,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, to the Washington Post.
- “They didn’t sign any waiver saying, ‘Oh, it’s okay to turn my information, my photo, over to the FBI.’ No elected officials voted for that to happen.”
- But it is happening, even while facial recognition methods come under pressure for inaccuracies (ACLU), and the UK’s systems admit to an 81 percent failure rate (The Guardian).
- Saying that this unprecedented use of a giant database of facial images is a danger to democracy is, sadly, not an overstatement.
2. Key analyst says Apple will introduce a totally new keyboard in 2019 MacBook Air and 2020 MacBook Pro, may abandon problematic current butterfly keyboard (9to5mac.com).
3. Deal: Get Samsung 256GB microSD card for historic low price of $36.99 (Android Authority). (I’ve never seen these this cheap!)
4. Google Pixel 4 XL renders show dual selfie shooters (and triple rear cameras?) (AA)
5. Is a 16MP telephoto rear camera coming to Google Pixel 4? (AA).
6.The future of Bluetooth audio: Major changes coming later this year (AA).
7. Sony Xperia 1 review: The main takeaway is to pre-order for a really nice combo deal, otherwise, this is a nice if not expensive device. (AA).
8. Guide: Disable/Uninstall/Remove Bixby from Samsung phones (darpandodiya.com).
10. Google is testing a Play/Pause button for audio and video on the Chrome Toolbar (Gizmodo).
11. Warning: free hotel wifi is a hacker’s dream (The Guardian).
12. Formula E’s electric off-road SUV is an absolute unit – it’s a Warthog, but for racing (The Verge).
13.“How does a fish know what kind of fish it is?” (r/askscience).
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