Louise Matsakis
Louise Matsakis
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China is home to a growing market for dubious “emotion recognition”

China is home to a growing market for dubious “emotion recognition”

By andShare this storyEvery second, the surveillance cameras installed in each classroom at Niulanshan First Secondary School in Beijing snap a photo. The images are then fed into the Classroom Care System, an “emotion recognition” program developed by Hanwang Technology. It identifies each student’s face and analyzes their behavior: a student rifling through their desk might be labeled “distracted,” while another looking at the board would be labeled “focused.” Other behavioral categories include answering questions, interacting with other students, writing, and sleeping. Teachers and...

Jan 25
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The Subtle Tricks Shopping Sites Use to Make You Spend More

The Subtle Tricks Shopping Sites Use to Make You Spend More

when much of the United States was still , Amazon made an extraordinary decision. As the company struggled to fulfill a in orders related to the pandemic, it subtly tweaked its website to encourage consumers to buy less, not more.In addition to modifying shipping timelines and inventory, Amazon disabled a recommendation feature that displays items frequently bought together, like batteries to go with the toy already in your cart, reported. The changes underscored, in a roundabout way, the extent to which digital retailers carefully calibrate their websites to maximize the amount that...

August 6, 2020
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A Hidden Risk for Domestic Violence Victims: Family Phone Plans

A Hidden Risk for Domestic Violence Victims: Family Phone Plans

joint are a convenient way to consolidate the cost of staying connected. Carriers because they prevent customers from easily switching to another competitor. But for survivors of intimate partner violence, getting locked into a family phone plan can be dangerous. The person who controls the account, oftentimes their abuser, can access a survivor’s call records and even the precise location of their device—information that can then be used to harass, intimidate, or carry out violence. And unlike a that can be deleted, survivors can’t always abandon their phone and number, which may be their...

July 23, 2020
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Does TikTok Really Pose a Risk to US National Security?

Does TikTok Really Pose a Risk to US National Security?

few weeks, as relations between the US and China sank to , the social media app TikTok has emerged as a new target for the Trump administration. Both secretary of state Mike Pompeo and White House adviser Peter Navarro warned on Fox News that the US was considering outlawing Chinese apps, of which TikTok is the most popular, over security concerns. Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows Wednesday that there are “a number of administration officials who are looking at the national security risk as it relates to TikTok and other apps,” adding that action may come within weeks, not...

July 17, 2020
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Hong Kong's Security Law Puts Big Tech at a Crossroads

Hong Kong's Security Law Puts Big Tech at a Crossroads

has turned Hong Kong into a battleground for the United States and China's escalating war over control of the global internet. Whether Hong Kong eventually falls behind China’s Great Firewall will depend on how strictly Beijing enforces the regulation, and how willing are to stand up in the face of —particularly when their business interests are at stake. Some tech giants like Google and Facebook have already paused accepting requests for data from Hong Kong authorities. Others, like Chinese-owned TikTok, have decided to pull out of the region altogether.The was imposed by the Chinese...

July 8, 2020
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Body Cameras Haven't Stopped Police Brutality. Here's Why

Body Cameras Haven't Stopped Police Brutality. Here's Why

was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, igniting the national , everyone from then president to members of embraced a relatively new solution for reform: Equip officers with body cameras. If police knew their every action was being recorded, the reasoning went, they would more likely be on their best behavior. If not, the cameras would at least capture any misconduct, making law enforcement more transparent and accountable.Six years later, body cameras are now used by nearly every major police department in the US, but they’ve failed to prevent more police violence. Technology...

June 17, 2020
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What Happens If Russia Cuts Itself Off From the Internet

What Happens If Russia Cuts Itself Off From the Internet

infrastructure has no central authority. To keep it working, everyone needs to rely on everyone else. As a result, the global patchwork of , , and other technologies that connect the world often ignores the national borders on a map. To stay online, many countries must rely on equipment outside their own confines and control.Nation-states periodically attempt to exert greater authority over their own portions of the internet, which can lead to . Last month, for example, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo its internet during a highly contested . Now Russia, too, wants to test...

February 13, 2019
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Ring Camera Surveillance Is Transforming Suburban Life

Ring Camera Surveillance Is Transforming Suburban Life

Across the US, consumers are canvassing their communities with a new type of device that’s changing civic life. Camera-equipped doorbells and other home surveillance devices, made by companies like Ring, are documenting facets of suburban existence that once went unnoticed. For years, citizens have used smartphones to monitor their neighborhoods, especially instances of police misconduct or abuse. But pointing a smartphone at authorities is an active choice. Homeowners use cameras and their ilk to passively monitor their neighborhoods and each other. Instead of capturing the moments...

September 27, 2019
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Facebook’s Ad System Might Be Hard-Coded for Discrimination

Facebook’s Ad System Might Be Hard-Coded for Discrimination

lawmakers, and journalists have long warned Facebook about discrimination on its advertising platform. But their concerns, as well as Facebook’s responses, have focused primarily on ad targeting, the way businesses choose what kind of people they want to see their ads. A new from researchers at Northeastern University, the University of Southern California, and the nonprofit Upturn finds ad delivery—the Facebook algorithms that decide exactly which users see those ads—may be just as important.Even when companies choose to show their ads to inclusive audiences, the researchers wrote,...

April 6, 2019
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9 Amazon Workers Describe the Daily Risks They Face in the Pandemic

9 Amazon Workers Describe the Daily Risks They Face in the Pandemic

coronavirus sweeps the globe, an otherwise marginalized class of workers is suddenly in the spotlight. Often undervalued and poorly paid, they are grocery store clerks, sanitation workers, medical professionals, and other employees who can’t stay home—even when the nation is on lockdown. In the United States, of these so-called essential workers are employed by or contract for Amazon, whose delivery network has emerged as a for millions of Americans their homes.WIRED spoke with nine people working for Amazon during the Covid-19 crisis over the past two weeks and is publishing their accounts...

April 10, 2020
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