Amazon’s Ring wanted to use 911 calls to activate its video doorbells

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Ring wanted 911 calls to activate its doorbells.

 The company worked with police and cities to build in this real-time feature, emails showed.

Ring considered building a tool that would use calls to the 911 emergency number to automatically activate the video cameras on its smart doorbells, according to emails obtained by CNET. The Amazon-owned company isn’t currently working on the project, but it told a California police department in August 2018 that the function could be introduced in the “not-so-distant future.”

In the emails, Ring described a system in which a 911 call would trigger the cameras on Ring doorbells near the site of the call. The cameras would start recording and streaming video that police could then use to investigate an incident. Owners of the Ring devices would have to opt in to the system, the emails said.

“Currently, our cameras record based on motion alerts,” Steve Sebestyen, vice president of business development for Ring, said in an email that CNET obtained through a public records request. “However, we are working with interested agencies and cities to expand the device owners controls to allow for situations where a CFS [call-for-service] event triggers recording within the proximity of an event.”

It’s unclear how long Ring had contemplated this idea and how many cities it proposed this plan to, but the project is no longer being pursued.

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The fashion line designed to trick surveillance cameras

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Adversarial Fashion garments are covered in license plates, aimed at bamboozling a device’s databases

An Adversarial Fashion dress, modeled by the designer, Kate Rose.

Automatic license plate readers, which use networked surveillance cameras and simple image recognition to track the movements of cars around a city, may have met their match, in the form of a T-shirt. Or a dress. Or a hoodie.

The anti-surveillance garments were revealed at the DefCon cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas on Saturday by the hacker and fashion designer Kate Rose, who presented the inaugural collection of her Adversarial Fashion line.

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Amazon wants to sell “surveillance as a service”

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In case Amazon’s surveillance capabilities weren’t extensive enough with its Echo, Ring, and Key products, not to mention all the data Amazon routinely collects on its customers, the company recently received a US patent to provide “surveillance as a service.”

The patent is for an “unmanned aerial vehicle”—the technical term for a drone—that “may perform a surveillance action at a property of an authorized party” and could “image the property to generate surveillance images.” Amazon suggests in its patent, filed June 12, 2015, and granted June 4 of this year, that drone-based surveillance would be superior to traditional video-camera installations that have limited range, are liable to miss things, and can be manipulated or damaged by an intruder.

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Eye in the sky: Drones are being taught to spot violence in crowds

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Researchers are developing a real-time drone survelliance system to identify violence in crowds before it occurs.

Imagine your every move being watched and analysed by drones designed to predict – and stop – violent behaviour.

It sounds like a scene from Black Mirror, but researchers are trialling a drone surveillance system that does just that – and it could come to a festival near you.

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China is using robotic bird drones with cameras to monitor its citizens

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When you gaze into the sky, what do you see? If you happen to live in China, the answer might be surveillance drones disguised as birds, according to a new report from the South China Morning Post. The new report alleges that Chinese military and government agencies have been using undercover drones to spy on segments of the population, especially in an area of Western China that borders Russia, Mongolia, and Pakistan, among other countries.

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A single police drone has seriously impacted crime in a Mexican city

Drones are finding a place in so many industries lately that it’s not much of a surprise that police departments have also been testing the technology for crime-fighting operations.

The city of Ensenada in Mexico, for example, has recently achieved positive results using just a single quadcopter, Wired reported this week. The flying machine has helped to cut overall crime in the city by as much as 10 percent, including a 30-percent drop in burglaries.

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The next frontier of police surveillance is drones

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A major drone company and a major police-camera company are teaming up, and the possibilities are frightening.

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

A company that makes stun guns and body cameras is teaming up with a company that makes drones to sell drones to police departments, and that might not even be the most worrisome part. The line of drones from Axon and DJI is called the Axon Air, and the devices will be linked to Axon’s cloud-based database for law enforcement, Evidence.com, which is used to process body-camera data too. And it could open a vast new frontier for police surveillance.

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Beijing police are using facial-recognition glasses to identify car passengers and number plates

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A promotion video shows an actor wearing LLVision facial recognition smart glasses during a demonstration at the company’s office in Beijing, China February 28, 2018.

Beijing police began testing facial-recognition glasses last week.

They appear to be similar to those first used by police in a Henan railway station last month.

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The World Wide Web’s inventor warns it’s in peril on 28th anniversary

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, now wants to save it.

The computer scientist who wrote the blueprint for what would become the World Wide Web 28 years ago today is alarmed at what has happened to it in the past year.

“Over the past 12 months, I’ve become increasingly worried about three new trends, which I believe we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool which serves all of humanity,” he said in a statement issued from London. He cited compromised personal data; fake news that he says has “spread like wildfire”; and the lack of regulation in political advertising, which he says threatens democracy.

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The Data-Driven Transformation of Intelligence

When “little green men” invaded Crimea in early 2014, they left a data trail that went largely unnoticed by the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).  Distracted by a large Russian exercise to the west, the IC did not connect the digital dots that indicated the impending invasion.  In the Information Age, the “dots” are more plentiful and glaring as everyone now leaves a data trail.  Given that, how can intelligence analysts better gather, share, organize, and view data to reveal intent, more accurately predict behavior, and make better decisions with limited resources?

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