Daily Digest (8/12)

Police Monitor BLM Protests with Doorbell Data, Drones; 7M Facebook Posts Removed Due to Fake Coronavirus Information; US Authorities, TikTok Linked, Leaked Data Shows; UK Court Rules Breached Privacy Rights in Facial-Recognition Case. Click “Continue reading” below.

Police Monitor BLM Protests with Doorbell Data, Drones 

Across the U.S., law enforcement is monitoring communities and Black Lives Matter protests with drones, Amazon’s Ring doorbell cameras, and other surveillance technologies.  

According to Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) new database, Atlas of Surveillance, Amazon Ring has video-sharing partnerships with more than 1,300 law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., Newsweek reports. 

The partnership allows departments “special access” to Amazon Ring’s “Neighbors” app, which provides users with crime and safety alerts.

Lawrence Valliere, police chief of Westfield, Mass., told MassLive that drones could be used to monitor all kinds of events, and they were “invaluable” in helping police in recent demonstrations, according to Newsweek. 

EFF, a nonprofit digital-rights group based in San Francisco, launched the database last month describing it as the “largest-ever repository” of law-enforcement surveillance technologies. 

Sources (all external links):

7M Facebook Posts Removed Due to Fake Coronavirus Information

Facebook said Tuesday that it removed 7 million posts for sharing false information about COVID-19, including content with false preventative measures and exaggerated cures.

As part of its sixth “Community Standards Enforcement Report,” Facebook introduced data with stricter decorum rules in response to backlash over its previous policy regarding content, Reuters reports. 

Beginning this week, Facebook said it would invite proposals from experts to audit the report’s metrics next year.

In the second quarter of this year, 22.5 million posts containing hate speech where removed, up from 9.6 million in the first quarter, attributing the jump to detection-technology improvements. 

Because of COVID, Facebook said it relied heavily on automation for reviewing content as it had fewer reviewers at its offices, according to Reuters. 

However, Civil rights groups said Facebook’s reports on removal were less meaningful, as the company does not disclose changes in the prevalence of hateful content.  


US Authorities, TikTok Linked, Leaked Data Shows

President Donald Trump’s executive order banning Americans from using TikTok is driven by Chinese authorities potentially obtaining U.S. information from its Chinese owner, ByteDance, The Intercept reports.

Recently hacked police documents disclosed TikTok’s relationship with U.S. law-enforcement agencies, according to the report.

ByteDance is headquartered in Beijing, where social-media content is censored, but what TikTok does in the U.S. underscores that data-privacy issues go beyond China.

An anonymous hacker published the documents on BlueLeaks, showing how information was shared between TikTok and U.S. law enforcement in dozens of cases. 

Experts say that the information TikTok hands over isn’t that different from what Amazon, Facebook and Google provide, according to The Intercept. 


UK Court Rules Breached Privacy Rights in Facial-Recognition Case

In the U.K., the Court of Appeal ruled that use of facial recognition by South Wales police broke equality laws and breached privacy rights. 

Ed Bridges, civil liberties campaigner, brought the case, arguing that capturing thousands of faces by the Welsh force was “indiscriminate and disproportionate,” The Guardian reports.  

On two counts, the court found that Bridges’ privacy rights had been breached. 

It also determined that the Welsh force failed to properly investigate whether the software exhibited race or gender bias, according to The Guardian.

The human-rights advocacy group, Liberty, supported Bridges and called on the force to immediately stop facial recognition.

“The implications of this ruling stretch further than Wales, sending a clear message to other forces using this tech that should be unlawful and must stop,” said Liberty’s lawyer, Louise Whitfield.


— By DPN Staff