Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryData Privacy

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Automotive Engineer Use Virtual Reality Headset for Virtual Electric Car 3D Model Design Analysis and Improvement. 3D Graphics Visualization Shows Fully Developed Vehicle Prototype Analysed Optimized

Why Don’t Some Tech Moguls Like Web3, the New Internet?

Web3 is a decentralized, less controlled version of the internet, as George Gilder predicted in Life After Google

In this week’s podcast, “Web3: The next generation of the internet” (August 4, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews graduate students Adam Goad and Austin Egbert, both in computer engineering at Baylor University, on the coming decentralization of the internet. With developments like the ones they discuss looming, Big Tech may be seeing a waistline trim. This is the Part I of the first of the three discussions. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-198-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript and Additional Resources follow. Dr. Marks began by discussing all the services he gets from Google, confessing that he has not needed to go to a library in over two decades. But… Robert J. Marks: Now, is Google just being nice in giving me all…

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Business, finance, savings money, wages, payroll or accounting concept : Calendar with pink marker circle in word payday for remind

Can Your Social Media Posts Sink Your Credit Rating? Maybe…

With AI tools, your posts or the time of day you apply for a loan might matter. Is that fair to you? Did you even know?

University of Georgia law prof Lindsay Sain Jones and Virginia Tech law prof Janine Hiller offer what should be startling news: What does your SAT score mean for your ability to pay off a car loan? What does your Facebook feed say about your chances of landing a mortgage? And, what does your propensity for snacking on road trips mean for your credit score? The answers: More than you think. Traditional credit scoring is based on a person’s demonstrated ability to take on debt and pay it off. But with the dawn of larger data pools and access to more sophisticated modeling programs, lenders and credit agencies are taking more nonfinancial factors into rating creditworthiness, particularly those without an extensive…

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Search.

Life Beyond Google Search: Try the Other Search Engines

Recently, DuckDuckGo was found to be tracking users sometimes, due to a deal with Microsoft. No matter, there are many search engines now…

Search engine DuckDuckGo — famous for not tracking users — lost some favor recently, after its CEO had to admit that it does sometimes track users: Security researcher Zack Edwards this week revealed that DuckDuckGo’s mobile browsers allow some Microsoft sites to bypass its block on trackers. While the browser blocks Facebook and Google trackers, DuckDuckGo makes an exception for some of Microsoft’s. Edwards found that the browsers allow allows data to be sent to Microsoft’s LinkedIn and Bing domains DuckDuckGo said the exemption was due to a search agreement with Microsoft. Thomas Macaulay, “DuckDuckGo faces widespread backlash over tracking deal with Microsoft” at The NextWebMay 26, 2022 DuckDuckGo’s CEO Gabriel Weinberg pointed out to disappointed users that the company…

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Double exposure of business woman and Big Data concept. Digital neural network.Introduction of artificial intelligence. Cyberspace of future.Science and innovation of technology.city background.

Google’s Most Ambitious Project to Date: Reshaping Your Thinking

Controlling so much communication — and fired up by ideology — it’s in a better position for that than many suppose

In a column yesterday at Spiked, urban studies specialist Joel Kotkin, author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class (2020), provided depressing evidence that the power of Big Tech is beginning to genuinely resemble the power medieval lords had over their serfs. It’s not just an office joke any more. Google, he recounts, was part of an anti-authoritarian high tech culture when it went public in 2004. Its search engine technology, and others, were seen as empowering the little guy. In 2018, for unclear reasons, Google dropped the famous “Don’t be evil” slogan. Since then, in Kotkin’s view, it is “increasingly becoming a force not for good, but for, well, evil.” He musters an impressive…

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3D Rendering of binary tunnel with led leading light. Concept for data mining, big data visualization, machine learning, data discovery technology, customer product analysis.

Deep Web? Dark Web? What’s Dangerous? What’s to Know?

The Deep Web hosts information like bank statements and health records so a search on your name won't turn them up

The terms deep and dark sound glamorous and forbidding, maybe criminal. Both terms just mean that we can’t reach a site on that portion of the web via a conventional search engine. The Surface Web, the part that we can reach via a conventional search engine like Google, DuckDuckGo, or Brave, is estimated roughly to be 0.03% of the internet (Britannica). The Deep Web contains email accounts, bank statements, health records, and other services that can only be accessed by passwords. It’s the main reason that our private business can’t be accessed just by searching on our names. Both the Surface Web and the Deep Web are growing as more people go online. Now, about the Dark Web: By comparison,…

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Hacking and malware concept

Largest Data Grab Ever Stole Shanghai’s Mass State Surveillance

The police, dutiful in monitoring everyone, flunked data security. Now it’s all for sale on the Dark Web

Beijing wants to create a centralized database with personal information on everyone living in China. To do that, the government saves massive amounts of data acquired through surveillance technologies such facial and voice recognition and cell phone monitoring. In a previous article, we saw that the Chinese government’s surveillance network is much more extensive than once thought. However, while the Chinese government has prioritized collecting massive amounts of data, it has not prioritized protecting it. Thus, a hacker has acquired police data files on 1 billion Chinese residents (approximately 23 terabytes of data) from the Shanghai National Police database. The files include name, national ID number, cell phone number, birthdate, birthplace, ethnicity, education level, marital status, and delivery records. They…

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Surveillance cameras at Tiananmen square in Beijing, China

China Is Quite Serious About Total Surveillance of Every Citizen

Local governments are buying enough surveillance equipment to constantly watch 1.6 billion people, documents show

The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously… There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment… It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised. – George Orwell, 1984 The New York Times in partnership with ChinaFile has come out with a new report on the extent of China’s surveillance state. It is nothing short of an attempt to achieve total surveillance of its 1.4 billion people:…

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Computing, cyberspace and programming background

Are We Losing the Battle With Online Fraud via Deepfakes?

Now, the FBI warns, faked up “tech employees” are applying for remote work jobs with sensitive corporate data

From Gizmodo this week we learn that the FBI has received a number of complaints about people using “stolen information and deepfaked video and voice to apply to remote tech jobs”: According to the FBI’s announcement, more companies have been reporting people applying to jobs using video, images, or recordings that are manipulated to look and sound like somebody else. These fakers are also using personal identifiable information from other people—stolen identities—to apply to jobs at IT, programming, database, and software firms. The report noted that many of these open positions had access to sensitive customer or employee data, as well as financial and proprietary company info, implying the imposters could have a desire to steal sensitive information as well…

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Photo captured during office hours of a company in Brazil.

A Third of Top US Hospitals Have Sent Patient Data to Facebook

The hospitals do not seem anxious to discuss the matter and it is not clear what Facebook did with the information

The Markup, a non-profit newsroom, published information earlier this month that should concern U.S. hospital patients: A tracking tool installed on many hospitals’ websites has been collecting patients’ sensitive health information—including details about their medical conditions, prescriptions, and doctor’s appointments—and sending it to Facebook. The Markup tested the websites of Newsweek’s top 100 hospitals in America. On 33 of them we found the tracker, called the Meta Pixel, sending Facebook a packet of data whenever a person clicked a button to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The data is connected to an IP address—an identifier that’s like a computer’s mailing address and can generally be linked to a specific individual or household—creating an intimate receipt of the appointment request for Facebook……

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close up man hand type on keyboard laptop to use search engine optimization (SEO) tools for finding customer or promote and advertise about content online for marketing technology and business concept

The Brave Search Engine Survives. So Does Privacy Still Matter?

Despite Google’s overwhelming dominance, Brave clocked 2.5 billion searches since this time last year

Last year, we wrote about the Brave search engine, headed up by Mozilla pioneer Brendan Eich. Brave Search offered the first true alternative to Google since Bing by introducing a third English language index and protecting user privacy. A nice idea, many have thought, but who really cares? So what if Big Tech makes largely unaccountable billions from marketing our information, as long as the social media services it provides remain free? So perhaps surprisingly, Brave is hanging on. Tech maven Jacob Carpenter noted recently at Fortune that, while Google owns 92.5% of the search market business according to StatCounter, that number hasn’t changed much over a decade. And Brave is reporting 2.5 billion searches from its current search engine’s…

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New strong password and weak ones near keyboard.

Forget Your Password? Apple Wants To End Them for Good But…

Do you want to give Apple your face- and fingerprints, maybe other “biometrics” down the road…?

We’ve all heard the tales of woe about people whose password was “password” or “123456” or “BertJones”. Currently, Big Tech, tired of the flak and the fallout, is trying to end passwords. Here’s Apple’s approach: When Apple’s latest software updates for iPhones, iPads and Macs arrive this fall, they will include a way for users to log into various online accounts without entering passwords or relying on password managers to save and fill in credentials. The technology generates unique passkeys for each app or browser-based service in the place of characters. Those passkeys, a new type of identity authentication, prompt a scan of your face or fingerprints to log you in… Passkeys, like those from Apple, are made up of…

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Engineers Meeting in Robotic Research Laboratory: Engineers, Scientists and Developers Gathered Around Illuminated Conference Table, Talking, Using Tablet and Analysing Design of Industrial Robot Arm

At Salon, Funk and Smith Take On “Stealth AI Research”

All we know for sure about the claims about Google AI’s LaMDA showing human-like understanding is that, since 2020, three researchers who expressed doubt/concerns were fired

Yesterday at Salon, Jeffrey Funk and Gary N. Smith took a critical look at “stealth research” in artificial intelligence. Stealth research? They explain, A lot of stealth research today involves artificial intelligence (AI), which Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s CEO, has compared to mankind’s harnessing of fire and electricity — a comparison that itself attests to overhyped atmosphere that surrounds AI research. For many companies, press releases are more important than peer review. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, the head of Google’s AI group in Seattle, recently reported that LaMDA, Google’s state-of-the-art large language model (LLM), generated this text, which is remarkably similar to human conversation: Blaise: How do you know if a thing loves you back? LaMDA: There isn’t an easy answer…

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Smart technologies in your smartphone, collection and analysis of big data

Is Your Data About Yourself Too Complex for You to Manage?

That’s the argument human data collectors (HDCs) make for why they should be allowed to collect and own your data

Veteran software developer David A. Kruger offered some thoughts on computer security recently at Expensivity and we appreciate the opportunity to republish them here as a series. On Tuesday, we looked at how the current system punishes small businesses for data breaches that they could not have prevented. Today, we look at the claim that human data collectors should own your data because it is too complex for you to manage. The Easy Button The most common objection to data ownership is that self-management of owned data is overly complex. That view is based on the complexity of so-called “privacy controls” offered by big tech HDCs, controls which have every appearance of being deliberately obtuse. As a software developer and…

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Bottom view close-up of four white surveillance cameras

People Don’t Need a “Reason” to Want Privacy

We naturally don’t want either government or Big Tech following us around

In 2014, award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald presented a compelling case for privacy at a TED Conference, dismantling the idea that “only people who are doing something wrong have a reason to hide.” Why did Greenwald feel that message was important? Two years earlier, in 2012, American intelligence contractor Edward Snowmen reached out to Greenwald, offering top secret National Security Agencvy (NSA) documents that its secret mass surveillance network. In 2013, Greenwald’s stories at The Guardian sparked an international conversation on national security versus privacy. The opening sentence of his first article reads, “The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret order…

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Female scans face using facial recognition system on smartphone for biometric identification. Future digital high tech technology and face id

IRS Backs Off on Facial Recognition Demand

Starting this summer, the IRS would have required all online users to submit a facial recognition scan. Now, they've changed their mind

The IRS is abandoning a new security program that would have required all online users to submit facial recognition scans in order to access its online services. Last November, the IRS announced that in summer 2022, it would begin requiring all online patrons to verify their accounts via facial recognition. The program was to be operated by ID.me, a private, third-party partner of the IRS. ID.me also contracts with a select few other federal entities, as well as 27 U.S. states. Facial recognition technology is a controversial new form of security. It’s been widely embraced by the Chinese Communist Party in its effort to maintain social control over a large population, and it has begun to creep into some jurisdictions in Western…

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Identification Documents

A French-Based Company Wants to Make Your IDs Digital

What kinds of security concerns should be addressed before we consent to their vision of convenience?

Imagine all of your information and documents – all of it – stored on your phone. We’ve grown accustomed to carrying around our banking and payment systems, address and phone books, and our social media apps on our phones, but now imagine even your passport and your driver’s license taking the form of a personal QR code. Imagine being asked to verify your identity not with a physical ID, but with the phone in your pocket. Thales Group, a French-based technology company, is asking you to imagine just such a reality. In October 2020, Thales posted a video to YouTube, showcasing their digital ID wallet and boasting of its many convenient qualities: The idea of storing your information in one…

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Thank You

Search Engines: Closing the Gap for Minority Languages

Thousands of the world’s languages are spoken by fewer than 100,000 people. At COSM 2021, Phil Parker outlined a plan for giving them access to information

We’ve all consulted “Dr. Google” for a health ailment or to find a recipe or learn how to fix something perhaps. Sometimes helpful, sometimes not. But what if you asked Google something — and it didn’t even recognize your language? Phil Parker, speaking at COSM 2021, told the story of a woman in Ethiopia searching for “lump in breast,” using one of the over 80 languages or dialects spoken in the region. Her language was one of thousands spoken by only a comparatively small population. The search engine did not recognize her input and returned no hits. She tried her query in Swahili, but there was nothing she found informative about “breast lumps” in Swahili. She finally tried her search…

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Composite image of hacker holding laptop and credir card

Physicality Of Data: The Road To Inherently Safer Authentication

Even though the world is arguably far more at risk from uncontrolled data than from uncontrolled HHCs, there are no hordes of people demanding solutions — yet

“The Physicality Of Data And The Road To Inherently Safer Authentication” was originally published by Forbes, (October 8, 2021) David Kruger is Co-Founder and VP of Strategy for Absio Corporation and a co-inventor of Absio’s Software-defined Distributed Key Cryptography (SDKC). Two different classes of identifiers must be tested to reliably authenticate things and people: assigned identifiers, such as names, addresses and social security numbers, and some number of physical characteristics. For example, driver’s licenses list assigned identifiers (name, address and driver’s license number) and physical characteristics (picture, age, height, eye and hair color and digitized fingerprints). Authentication requires examining both the license and the person to verify the match. Identical things are distinguished by unique assigned identities such as a…

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industry metallurgical plant dawn smoke smog emissions bad ecology aerial photography

Physicality Of Data And The Road To Inherently Safer Computing

The software industry today is precisely where the chemical industry was in 1978; hazard control is a mere afterthought

“The Physicality Of Data And The Road To Inherently Safer Computing” was originally published by Forbes, August 24, 2021. David Kruger is Co-Founder and VP of Strategy for Absio Corporation and a co-inventor of Absio’s Software-defined Distributed Key Cryptography (SDKC). Our current concept of cybersecurity is to defend against attacks and remedy failure by erecting more and better defenses. That’s a fundamental mistake in thinking that guarantees failure. Why? Because it’s mathematically impossible for a defensive strategy to fully succeed, as explained in the previous installment of this article series. Another even more fundamental mistake in thinking is that cyberattackers are the cause of our woes. They aren’t. They’re the effect. A hazard is a potential source of harm. Cyberattackers target certain…

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Beautiful water waves -  Splashed water wave in clean blue water, clean filtered water ready for drinking

Why AI Can’t Really Filter Out “Hate News”

As Robert J. Marks explains, the No Free Lunch theorem establishes that computer programs without bias are like ice cubes without cold

In Define information before you talk about it, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor interviewed engineering prof Robert J. Marks on the way information, not matter, shapes our world (October 28, 2021). In the first portion, Egnor and Marks discussed questions like: Why do two identical snowflakes seem more meaningful than one snowflake. Then they turned to the relationship between information and creativity. Is creativity a function of more information? Or is there more to it? And human intervention make any difference? Does Mount Rushmore have no more information than Mount Fuji? Does human intervention make a measurable difference? That’s specified complexity. Putting the idea of specified complexity to work, how do we measure meaningful information? How do we know Lincoln contained more…