Predicting Household Demographics Based on Image Data

Our friends (?) at Facebook have submitted a patent application for technology that claims it can predict who your family and other household members are, based on images and captions posted to Facebook, as well as your device information, like shared IP addresses.

The application, titled Predicting household demographics based on image data, was originally filed May 10, 2017, but made public this week. The system Facebook proposes in its patent application would use facial recognition and learning models trained to understand text to help Facebook better understand whom you live with and interact with most. The technology described in the patent looks for clues in your profile pictures on Facebook and Instagram, as well as photos of you that you or your friends post.

Continue reading

Facebook Is a Normal Sleazy Company Now

Interesting reading: excepts from an article by Siva Vaidhyanathan in the Slate web site at http://bit.ly/2PWUQa6:

“The leaders of Facebook can no longer pretend they are special people running a special company. Facebook is now just another normal sleazy American company run by normal sleazy executives, engaged in normal sleazy lobbying and corporate propaganda.”

Later in the article:

“All of the scandals and crises the company has facilitated in recent years are examples of Facebook working as it was supposed to.

Continue reading

Ads Will Soon Appear in WhatsApp

Bad news: Advertisements are coming to WhatsApp. Like we need more advertising on the Internet?

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. WhatsApp once was a successful freeware and cross-platform encrypted messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) product that treated its customers like real human beings. Then the company was bought out by Facebook for approximately US$19.3 billion. Since then, the encrypted service has been abused by various groups. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WhatsApp#Reception_and_criticism for the details.

Continue reading

A New Report Claims Internet Freedom Continues to Decline Around the World

Governments are reining in liberty for the eighth consecutive year, Freedom House reports.

Digital authoritarianism is on the rise, according to a new report from a group that monitors internet freedoms. Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, said today that governments are seeking more control over users’ data while also using laws nominally intended to address “fake news” to suppress dissent. It marked the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world.

Details may be found in an article by Casey Newton in The Verge web site at: https://tinyurl.com/yc8r5mpo.

Thousands of Swedes Are Inserting Microchips Under Their Skin

In Sweden, a country rich with technological advancement, thousands have had microchips inserted into their hands. The chips are designed to speed up users’ daily routines and make their lives more convenient — accessing their homes, offices and gyms is as easy as swiping their hands against digital readers. They also can be used to store emergency contact details, social media profiles or e-tickets for events and rail journeys within Sweden. Proponents of the tiny chips say they’re safe and largely protected from hacking, but one scientist is raising privacy concerns around the kind of personal health data that might be stored on the devices.

I think I would be more concerned about the tiny chips being used to track my every movement, recording where I have been, and even recording the people I probably talked with (if they also have embedded microchips so that two or more microchips in one location simultaneously can be considered to be a meeting).

Details about this scary technology may be found on the NPR web site at: https://n.pr/2yA0XXS.