The West’s retreat is fueling the aggressors

It is the law of the market: When you withdraw from the playing field, your competitors will seize the opportunity to expand and fill the void.

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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Selfies for Uncle Sam

If you use social media or have a smartphone, chances are you’ve encountered facial recognition technology. FRT allows computers to recognize pixel patterns that suggest human faces, allowing selfie-taking cameras to mugshot-filled databases alike to distinguish when they are looking at human faces. Even though it is fairly commonplace, some would rather avoid it, leading to one journalist’s experiment with clownish black-and-white makeup on the streets of D.C.

Robinson Meyer, an associate editor at The Atlantic, tried a camouflage technique called computer-vision dazzle, or “CV dazzle,” which uses face paint and hairstyling to stymie FRT. The makeup deceives FRT by obscuring the eyes, symmetry, and the nose bridge, among other features that characterize the face. “Here was a technology that confounded computers with light and color,” Meyer reflected. But as he learned, CV dazzle is far from a guarantor of privacy. “The very thing that makes you invisible to computers makes you glaringly obvious to other humans.”

Nancy Szokan alarmingly theorized that Meyer’s camouflage experiment is “something a terrorist might want to do”: escaping government surveillance. But in reality, Meyer’s experiment mainly resulted in evading Facebook auto-tagging, a seemingly tame privacy threat. FRT is routinely employed in the private sector beyond social media, from catching cheating gamblers to providing security at large sporting events like the Super Bowl. Now, its capacity to foretell age has stirred interest in insurance companies, while its real-time entrepreneurial applications are being explored by advertisers.

But when it comes to FRT falling into the wrong hands, concerns are generally directed at the authorities rather than vice versa. Though FRT has existed in its most basic form since the 1960s, it has blossomed under the biometrics industry fueled by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the need to identify local populations induced the military development of portable biometrics systems. The government has enthusiastically inserted FRT into more routine use with increasing success: it shows up alongside other biometrics at airports and is now being introduced into police detective use. As Sameer Padania noted at Witness.org, “Law enforcement and security services particularly like FRT, as it does not require consent or knowledge of the subject being processed – unlike finger-printing, iris-scanning or similar biometric technologies, this can be done at a distance.”

It’s not the technology that is a major concern, Padania went on.

What’s new is this: this technology, which used to be accessible only to a few agencies, is now being used voluntarily, and unwittingly by millions of us through our use of social media. Our willingness to tag people in photos, and rapid advances in computer vision and object recognition have accelerated the use of FRT. We share so many images now that Facebook has, as this chart shows, the largest photo collection in history.

This voluntary engagement with FRT, which facilitates its intersection of cloud computing, is where change is beginning to occur. Jared Keller explained that the public’s increasing tech savviness opens the doors …read more

Via: American Conservative

    

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Tech at Night: Your periodic reminder that the FCC is out of control

Tech at Night

It’s been a while since I just said it: The Obama FCC is recklessly grabbing power, out of any statutory or Constitutional controls. It does what it wants, when it wants, with the goal of taking as much power as it can, in order to establish greater state control of the digital economy.

Under FCC, we’re not under the rule of law, we’re under the rule of man.

Specifically, we’re under the rule of one man: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. If he personally decides he doesn’t like something, he gins up the authority to do something about it. If he doesn’t like metering bandwidth, he decides to go after a private company. If he doesn’t like tough negotiations over a baseball cable station, he starts getting active. If he doesn’t like what policy states set on socialized Internet at the local level, he gets involved.

The FCC will take power how it wants, when it wants, and I wouldn’t oppose legislation to limit it. That doesn’t mean we need “comprehensive Communications Act Reform,” but I think we need targeted bills to fix this. It’ll probably have to wait until at least 2015, though.

Freeloader culture knows no shame.

Called it: Remember when I claimed Democrats wouldn’t stop Tom Wheeler’s Net Neutrality plan, despite their hysterical shrieking over “fast lanes?” Whelp, Harry Reid is all in for it.

Data sharing is a key to cybersecurity, not regulation.

I disagree that the Constitution is a ‘loophole’, but I still think passing a way to let states work together on sales taxation, through the Streamlined Sales Tax compact (rather than the overreach that was in the Senate recently), is a good idea.

Iran joins Russia in fighting Tor.

How many hoaxes are added to Wikipedia every day and aren’t detected?

Wow, unlike the rest of the Obama administration, USPTO is obeying the courts.

I think people often forget that C-SPAN is not a government entity, but rather is paid for by cable companies. Maybe we should replace C-SPAN with something open to the public, if the cable companies that run C-SPAN are going to close it off.

The post Tech at Night: Your periodic reminder that the FCC is out of control appeared first on RedState.

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Via: Red State Tech

    

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The IRS thinks you’re a terrorist, but Holder still won’t appoint special counsel

This latest revelation of Lois Lerner’s startling bias and hatred for conservatives emerged just as I took the stand to testify before the House Judiciary Committee to once again call on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate IRS misconduct.

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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Scooter Libby & Paul Wolfowitz to Teach Iraq “Decision-Making”

When the below item first came across my inbox, I thought it was a pretty clever bit of satire. After a couple of inquiries, however, it turns out that you really can’t make this stuff up:

Sent: Friday, July 25, 2014
To: Sais Alumni

Subject: Call for Applications — Advanced Institutes in National Security

I work for the Hertog Foundation, an educational philanthropy in New York City. We are offering two seminars this fall in New York City and Jerusalem that I believe might be of interest to SAIS alumni.

  • The first program, a weeklong study of the Iraq War, will be led by Paul Wolfowitz (AEI) and Lewis Libby (Hudson Institute), and will take place from October 27-31, 2014 in NYC.
  • The second will be led by William Kristol (Weekly Standard) in Jerusalem, and will examine the idea of nationalism and its future.

The Advanced Institutes offer promising individuals, from a broad range of academic and professional backgrounds, an opportunity to engage with leading thinkers and practitioners. They are an important part of the Hertog Foundation’s mission to advance serious discussion of issues of public policy and political theory.

Details for the institute and how to apply can be found at hertogfoundation.org. All come with a stipend to cover travel, lodging, and time. The application deadline is August 1, 2014.

I hope you will share this email with outstanding candidates who might be interested. I would be glad to answer any questions you might have.

Hertog Foundation | Tikvah Fund

One has to wonder what lessons will be gleaned from rubbing shoulders with such luminaries as the convicted felon Libby (5 counts) and the brilliant architect of the second Iraq war cum ousted World Bank president Wolfowitz. The promotional material for their weeklong (weeklong!) program tells us:

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 quickly removed the regime that had repeatedly defied America and gave Iraqis a chance to devise their own future. However, the war soon devolved into a messy combination of insurgency and sectarian fighting that brought thousands of U.S. casualties, sapped American will and credibility, and worked to the benefit of America’s other regional nemesis, Iran.

Well, that’s actually a surprisingly forthright assessment considering the source—though it leaves out a few things that came about because of the war, such as the 300,000 or more American veterans who now suffer from brain injuries; the roughly 600,000 dead Iraqis (mainly non-combatants); the estimated 3,500,000 to 5,000,000 Iraqis who became displaced persons; the 4,500,000 children who are now orphans in Iraq; and the $3,000,000,000,000 it cost U.S. taxpayers to accomplish all this.

Prospective participants are then told:

These events occurred not in isolation, but against the backdrop of broader international developments, particularly the ending of the Cold War, the attacks of 9/11/2001, and the on-going U.S. confrontation with radical Islam.

So I guess Libby and Wolfowitz are planning to put the decade-long (and counting!) disaster into to its proper global “context”; they’ll dust off some of the classic IR texts and tell the assembled that, yeah, maybe it didn’t work out the way we …read more

Via: American Conservative

    

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To stop Ebola, let’s end another virus: fear

The Ebola virus has been infecting and killing people in Central Africa since at least 1976, and the current “worst Ebola epidemic in history” has been going on in West Africa since March. But it is only in the past few weeks that a second deadly “virus” has emerged, as the news media has caught on to this story and has broadcast it around the world, infecting everyone with another contagious virus: fear.

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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Obama bombs with Mideast meddling

President Obama found numerous ways to make the United States less relevant in the last six years, but he came up with a new one in his misbegotten foray into the Gaza war: He’s so wrong that even Israel feels it’s safe to ignore him.

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Via: Fox Opines

    

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In quest for healthy profits, a new mantra: suffer, the patients

I’m the underachiever in my family. My parents also produced Harvard Medical School research director Thomas Stossel. Mom called him the one who had “a real job.” …read more

Via: Stossel

    

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