Sunday, 22 March 2015

Phillip K Dick foresees facial recognition

This is a mask designed to fool facial recog

It looks surprisingly similar to a full-body
cloak in a movie I've seen which was
based on a Phillip K Dick book.

In the movie of A Scanner Darkly,
the police use a kind of cloaking device to
hide their identity so that they can do
undercover work. It can only work in
a cartoon movie.

This is important because various "forces"
are trying to nail down everything that
moves. One of those is Facebook, the
Face of the Devil.

a gratuitous plug for the out-ro song
from the movie:

As the chorus says "it's fucked up" which is what public
life is becoming when 99.9% of us are not criminals.
Facial recog has just been pushed into Orwellian-level
importance for our freedoms.

There are now various movements directed at helping us not
be (mis)spotted by intelligent facial-recog software. Various paths
from masks, to hoods, to eye slits are being used.

checkit: Kernel
The rise of the anti-facial recognition movement
By Joseph Cox on September 14th, 2014
With Facebook automatically tagging your photos, Google Glass apps being able to pinpoint faces, and police using high-end technology to match digital and physical identities, big brother’s watchful eye is all around us.
While the technology behind facial recognition continues to develop as its presence increases, some artists are trying to give citizens their privacy back the best way they know how—by designing contraptions that help ordinary citizens avoid detection.
You might not know Leo Selvaggio, but there’s a chance you’ve seen him—or someone strikingly identical to him. He’s white, male, and young. To be frank, there is nothing remarkable about his appearance, but that’s precisely the point.
Selvaggio’s the artist behind the URME Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic, a photo-realistic recreation of Selvaggio’s face that allows others to be able to assume his identity to protect their own. The mask is made from a pigmented hard resin using 3D-printing technology that allows for the replication of Selvaggio’s skin tone and hair. It’s detailed enough to fool the technology and inconspicuous enough to avoid drawing attention from people in a crowd.
“What is actually happening is that you’re creating disinformation.” —Leo Selvaggio
“I wanted something practical, that people could actually use,” Selvaggio recalls. He also offers cardboard versions for a cheaper price and a printable, free-to-download file. After raising well beyond his Indiegogo target of $1,000 back in June, Selvaggio has sold seven copies of the prosthetic mask, and over 50 of its low-tech alternative.

Instead of just remaining out of sight, the intention of the project is to flood the system with copies of his face. Not only does that protect whoever is behind the mask, it allows Selvaggio to explore his other interest: the conception of identity.

“What is actually happening is that you’re creating disinformation,” Selvaggio says. “What happens when there’s a hundred Leos walking in public spaces, all from different parts of the country? What is an automated system going to say about me then?”
The state of facial recognition
The inspiration for the URME Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic came in part from personal circumstance. Selvaggio lives in Chicago, the most-spied-on city in the United States. It’s home to Operational Virtual Field, a networked system of 24,000 cameras that can automatically search for a specific individual, pick them out, and bring up any other records that the system has access to. According to an ACLU report, the city’s mayor predicted that by 2016, there will be a camera on “almost every block,” and in June, police officers made their first arrest based off of the technology.

Although this may be an exciting idea for law enforcement, there are myriad problems with the technology that need to be considered.

Researchers in China claimed to have developed a kit that can match faces with up to 99.15 percent accuracy
“While facial recognition systems are billed as cutting-edge and sophisticated, they have been proven to be a problematic technology prone to errors,” says Mike Rispoli from Privacy International. “The angle in which the picture was taken, the lighting in the surrounding areas, the person’s skin tone or clothing, and other variables all have a significant impact on how the faceprint is registered and has been shown to create false matches.”


A 2011 PowerPoint slide by the National Security Agency, leaked by Edward Snowden, showed how easily the technology can create false matches. A facial recognition query for Osama bin Laden, for example, turned up four bearded men bearing only the slightest resemblance to him, according to the New York Times.

Such errors could have serious consequences

“When these systems are deployed by, for instance, law enforcement and border agencies, false matches can lead to wrongful arrests and detainment,” Rispoli warns.

It should be pointed out that there have been a number of recent success stories around facial recognition technology. In August, the FBI caught a fugitive who had been on the run for over a decade, thanks to a positive match between an old passport photo and a Nepalese visa application. In the same week, researchers in China claimed to have developed a kit that can match faces with up to 99.15 percent accuracy, even when dealing with various camera angles and lighting environments. More recently, another team from China has boasted 99.8 percent accurate results, after working on a database that contains 50 million Chinese faces.

As artists, they feel a certain inherent obligation to both caution and provoke.

But as law enforcement agencies expand their use of the technology, the potential for error will likely increase. That’s especially alarming considering that one of the FBI’s biometric databases will soon store millions of ordinary citizens’ faces.

“There are no meaningful protections in place when it comes to the collection, storage, security, and future use of that data,” Rispoli stresses. “Without strict and clear regulations of the databases that store faceprints, these systems threaten our right to privacy, not only when an initial scan takes place, but also what happens to that data after.”

At the moment, it’s not clear what happens to footage once it’s been collected if it isn’t part of a criminal investigation, and there aren’t any laws specifically crafted for facial biometric data. But there’s an even more fundamental issue that is particular to face-detecting.

“Biometric surveillance systems are problematic,” Rispoli says, “but facial recognition is of a different breed, since faceprints can be taken without our knowledge or consent.”
To caution and provoke

Unlike fingerprints or iris scans, which presumably have to be done either with your participation or by physical force, facial scanning can be done remotely and surreptitiously.

In their own way, independent artists are taking back control from a system that didn’t ask to track their identities.
Adam Harvey, a New York-based artist with a long list of privacy-focused projects, has developed Computer Vision Dazzle (or CV Dazzle), which aims to undermine surveillance algorithms by emphasizing and obscuring certain features on a participants face. His line of fashion products include an “anti-drone” burqa, Hijab, and hoodie.

Unlike fingerprints or iris scans, facial scanning can be done remotely and surreptitiously.

“It turns out that there is a vulnerability in the way 2D face recognition happens that allows someone to block it by creatively using hair, makeup, or other fashion accessories,” he writes via email. “Of course, it’s not an appropriate look for all occasions. But neither is a tuxedo.”
Harvey, who protects his online privacy by using virtual private networks (VPNs) and avoiding Google products, says that his “grand vision is to change the way we think about privacy, and by extension technology. I want to see more discussion and accountability for the technology choices we make.”

Another artist, Zach Blas, an assistant professor at the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo, wants to highlight the structural prejudices in biometric surveillance systems, such as race and gender.

The overall goal, at least according to Selvaggio is “to get people to engage with how fast the technology is moving, and how disproportionate the power is.” He also wants “to have people increase their amount of civil engagement.”

As artists, they feel a certain inherent obligation to both caution and provoke; Selvaggio calls them “the watchdogs of the future,” and those who campaign for changes in the law seem to agree.

“These projects seem like powerful ways to challenge our preconceived notions about privacy in public spaces,” offered Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) via email.
“Artists are right to draw attention to this powerful technology. Now it’s incumbent on lawmakers to give consumers back control over how it is used.”
- See more at:

the natives are restless

I grew up in an Anglophone culture, and I know that
much of Anglo culture is the same around the world
because it's usually propagated by Anglos.

I have come to the decision that there's often something
wrong with Anglos in their behaviour. They're far
too quick to judge people negatively and to fly
off the handle, as a result.

I always thought it was because they had spastic
colons, and emotional/sexual problems,
but there may be another reason.

Now, as I post this, I'm not sure you can paint a
whole nation as having a certain type of gene,
unless this is new epigenetics and a result of
the shitty weather in the UK, but anyway, let's

checkit: Independent
The British are born to be miserable, new research finds
But it could be worse - we could be French
Rose Troup Buchanan Author Biography
Thursday 30 October 2014
“The British do not expect happiness,” claimed
English writer Quentin Crisp – and it appears he
may have been right.
New research from the University of Warwick
has indicated that Britons are genetically programmed
to be grumpy.
The British, French and Americans are all predisposed to be grumpier than nations such as Denmark because they possess a “short form” version of the gene which regulates the amount of serotonin – the chemical which controls happiness – within the brain.
The Danes, who regularly top happiness surveys of nations, enjoy a longer form of the gene, while Britons and Americans, despite equally stable economies and governments, possess a shorter version resulting in a miserable attitude.
However, it could be worse: we could be French.
According to professor Andrew Oswald, who led the research looking at 131 countries, only the French had a shorter form of the gene.
Professor Oswald, who studies applied economics and quantitative social science, claimed many nations’ citizens would still be unhappy were they earning a fortune, living to a ripe old age and basking in the sunshine daily.
“Among the nations we studied, Denmark and the Netherlands appeared to have the lowest percentage of people with the short version of the serotonin gene,” he said to The Times.
He also claimed American individuals descended from Danish or Dutch immigrants were happier as a result of inheriting the longer gene.
The research, for the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Sciences, found that genetics was the most important factor – but not the only one.
Happiness leagues generally use indicators such as educational standards, wealth, health, economic progress and job satisfaction alongside the weather, war and political stability.

Capitalism and the Soixante-huitards

I'm developing a theory about how France
morphed from a '68 (year of big youth riots)
society into a cynical Sarkozy-type Gallic
rip-off of Germany, with bankers taking
centre stage.

It seems that the '68 Rebels are as responsible
as anybody else, because they're now in charge.

I'll weave in sources as broad as Private Eye
(the Gods of alt-media) and the Guardian
to explain how this came about, and it
weaves in the Charlie Hebdo debacle, and
this movie from Costa Gavras.

In this scene (sorry for the espagnol) is
where the soixante-huitards get their
comeupance from the banker, at the dinner

more later

Varoufakis as the Euro-killer

Coming soon
a full cultural analysis of this Varoufakis video,
from Germany,
the second by my count after a Dutch one (moron
that later)

Star Trek: Prophets of Bankocracy

As a middling fan of Star Trek,
(meaning I never got dressed up like Trekkies
or said "live long and prosper")
I've read about how Gene Rodenberry, despite
fits and starts and last-minute changes,
produced shows which reframed the
human dynamic, in the most Shakespearean
of theatrical displays.

You have to really look to find the deeper significance
of a given story.
I just finished some research and so I study
everything to death, including my belly-button

Anyway, one recent show that I saw was called
The Gamesters of Triskelion had this basic scene:

(Firstly, Kirk gets the green chick, as usual)

Unseen (until later) higher beings seek to
capture slaves, training them to compete against
each other (under threat of death) so that the "brains"
could gamble on the result.

higher beings that gamble

[at 39:10 Kirk meets "the bankers", in Davos, one assumes]

That has precisely described the Bankocracy
that we find ourselves in. The government, armies
and police exist to control us, and not control the bankers who
can do whatever they please.
Strangely, the bankers have neutralised the people's
weapons, which I can assume represents this "democracy"
bone that is usually thrown in our direction
every 5 years.

enforced by governments, is designed to have us
compete to the death (okay, it's a stretch- today,
but there is regular warfare)
while all the while, the bankers gamble on
everything we do, and everything we produce.
Isn't that why banks are stealing pensions, manipulating
every market from oil to macadamia nuts, creating
dark pools, and derivatives? Isn't that why EU banks
are bankrupt?
They gambled, with derivatives, on the shaky debt
that they created out of thin air
-banks create £ through computer printing (CTRL-P) -
to serve the purposes of Germany and France (mainly),
under the guise of the "unifying" Euro, so as
to subjugate the periphery, in more ways than one.

The most brilliant symbolism is saved (perhaps
by serendipity, or accident) for the Enforcer
with the shiny eyes. His name is Galt, the same
as the protagonist of Aynus Rand's book
Atlas Shrugged. Is Rodenbery trying to tell us
that Rand's Galt is actually a rent-seeker and
leach, rather than an industrialist?
I f%^&king sure as hell think so. I know it rings

Now, a brave crew has sprung up in Greece, and
another is getting their wings in Spain (Podemos)
and they will return Earth to the path of

The Star Trek team has morphed into the
Greek government that will boldly go where
no lackey politician has dared go.
Up Merkel and Schauble's fat buttholes.
I think the iron backsides of the FinMin may
cause a problem, however.

In the final analysis, it will be Spock's wise
words, in the guise of Yianis Varoufakis,
the Greek FinMin that will force the
hypnotised peoples of Europe to see that
the Euro is a tool of subjugation and that
we are in a sort of Fourth Reich. If he
does that successfully, then the Euro
confidence game will collapse, without a