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How many of you have ever heard someone say
privacy is dead?
Raise your hand.
How many of you have heard someone say
they don't care about their privacy because they don't have anything to hide?
Go on.
(Laughter)
Now, how many of you use any kind of encryption software?
Raise your hand.
Or a password to protect an online account?
Or curtains or blinds on your windows at home?
(Laughter)
OK, so that's everyone, I think.
(Laughter)
So why do you do these things?
My guess is,
it's because you care about your privacy.
The idea that privacy is dead is a myth.
The idea that people don't care about their privacy
because "they have nothing to hide"
or they've done nothing wrong
is also a myth.
I'm guessing that you would not want to publicly share on the internet,
for the world to see,
all of your medical records.
Or your search histories from your phone or your computer.
And I bet
that if the government wanted to put a chip in your brain
to transmit every one of your thoughts to a centralized government computer,
you would balk at that.
(Laughter)
That's because you care about your privacy,
like every human being.
So, our world has changed fast.
And today, there is understandably a lot of confusion
about what privacy is and why it matters.
Privacy is not secrecy.
It's control.
I share information with my doctor about my body and my health,
expecting that she is not going to turn around
and share that information with my parents,
or my boss or my kids.
That information is private, not secret.
I'm in control over how that information is shared.
You've probably heard people say that there's a fundamental tension
between privacy on the one hand
and safety on the other.
But the technologies that advance our privacy
also advance our safety.
Think about fences, door locks,
curtains on our windows, passwords,
encryption software.
All of these technologies
simultaneously protect our privacy and our safety.
Dragnet surveillance, on the other hand, protects neither.
In recent years,
the federal government tasked a group of experts
called The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
with examining post-9/11 government surveillance programs,
dragnet surveillance programs.
Those experts could not find a single example
of that dragnet surveillance advancing any safety --
didn't identify or stop a single terrorist attack.
You know what that information was useful for, though?
Helping NSA employees spy on their romantic interests.
(Laughter)
(Audience: Wow.)
Another example is closer to home.
So millions of people across the United States and the world
are adopting so-called "smart home" devices,
like internet-connected surveillance cameras.
But we know that any technology connected to the internet
can be hacked.
And so if a hacker
gets into your internet-connected surveillance camera at home,
they can watch you and your family coming and going,
finding just the right time to strike.
You know what can't be hacked remotely?
Curtains.
(Laughter)
Fences.
Door locks.
(Laughter)
Privacy is not the enemy of safety.
It is its guarantor.
Nonetheless, we daily face a propaganda onslaught
telling us that we have to give up some privacy in exchange for safety
through surveillance programs.
Face surveillance is the most dangerous of these technologies.
There are two primary ways today governments use technologies like this.
One is face recognition.
That's to identify someone in an image.
The second is face surveillance,
which can be used in concert
with surveillance-camera networks and databases
to create records of all people's public movements,
habits and associations,
effectively creating a digital panopticon.
This is a panopticon.
It's a prison designed to allow a few guards in the center
to monitor everything happening in the cells around the perimeter.
The people in those prison cells can't see inside the guard tower,
but the guards can see into every inch of those cells.
The idea here
is that if the people in those prison cells
know they're being watched all the time,
or could be,
they'll behave accordingly.
Similarly, face surveillance enables a centralized authority --
in this case, the state --
to monitor the totality of human movement and association
in public space.
And here's what it looks like
in real life.
In this case, it's not a guard in a tower,
but rather a police analyst in a spy center.
The prison expands beyond its walls,
encompassing everyone,
everywhere, all the time.
In a free society,
this should terrify us all.
For decades now, we've watched cop shows
that push a narrative that says
technologies like face surveillance ultimately serve the public good.
But real life is not a cop drama.
The bad guy didn't always do it,
the cops definitely aren't always the good guys
and the technology doesn't always work.
Take the case of Steve Talley,
a financial analyst from Colorado.
In 2015, Talley was arrested, and he was charged with bank robbery
on the basis of an error in a facial recognition system.
Talley fought that case
and he eventually was cleared of those charges,
but while he was being persecuted by the state,
he lost his house, his job and his kids.
Steve Talley's case is an example
of what can happen when the technology fails.
But face surveillance is just as dangerous when it works as advertized.
Just consider how trivial it would be
for a government agency to put a surveillance camera
outside a building where people meet for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
They could connect that camera
to a face-surveillance algorithm and a database,
press a button and sit back and collect
a record of every person receiving treatment for alcoholism.
It would be just as easy for a government agency
to use this technology to automatically identify
every person who attended the Women's March
or a Black Lives Matter protest.
Even the technology industry is aware of the gravity of this problem.
Microsoft's president Brad Smith has called on Congress to intervene.
Google, for its part,
has publicly declined to ship a face surveillance product,
in part because of these grave human and civil rights concerns.
And that's a good thing.
Because ultimately,
protecting our open society is much more important
than corporate profit.
The ACLU's nationwide campaign
to get the government to pump the brakes
on the adoption of this dangerous technology
has prompted reasonable questions from thoughtful people.
What makes this technology in particular so dangerous?
Why can't we just regulate it?
In short, why the alarm?
Face surveillance is uniquely dangerous for two related reasons.
One is the nature of the technology itself.
And the second is that our system
fundamentally lacks the oversight and accountability mechanisms
that would be necessary
to ensure it would not be abused in the government's hands.
First, face surveillance enables a totalizing form of surveillance
never before possible.
Every single person's every visit to a friend's house,
a government office,
a house of worship,
a Planned Parenthood,
a cannabis shop,
a strip club;
every single person's public movements, habits and associations
documented and catalogued,
not on one day, but on every day,
merely with the push of a button.
This kind of totalizing mass surveillance
fundamentally threatens what it means to live in a free society.
Our freedom of speech, freedom of association,
freedom of religion,
freedom of the press,
our privacy,
our right to be left alone.
You may be thinking,
"OK, come on, but there are tons of ways the government can spy on us."
And yes, it's true,
the government can track us through our cell phones,
but if I want to go to get an abortion,
or attend a political meeting,
or even just call in sick and play hooky and go to the beach ...
(Laughter)
I can leave my phone at home.
I cannot leave my face at home.
And that brings me to my second primary concern:
How we might meaningfully regulate this technology.
Today, if the government wants to know where I was last week,
they can't just hop into a time machine and go back in time and follow me.
And they also, the local police right now,
don't maintain any centralized system of tracking,
where they're cataloging every person's public movements all the time,
just in case that information some day becomes useful.
Today, if the government wants to know where I was last week,
or last month or last year,
they have to go to a judge, get a warrant
and then serve that warrant on my phone company,
which by the way, has a financial interest in protecting my privacy.
With face surveillance,
no such limitations exist.
This is technology that is 100 percent controlled by the government itself.
So how would a warrant requirement work in this context?
Is the government going to go to a judge
and get a warrant,
and then serve the warrant on themselves?
That would be like me giving you my diary,
and saying, "Here, you can hold on to this forever,
but you can't read it until I say it's OK."
So what can we do?
The only answer to the threat
posed by the government's use of face surveillance
is to deny the government the capacity to violate the public's trust,
by denying the government the ability
to build these in-house face-surveillance networks.
And that's exactly what we're doing.
The ACLU is part of a nationwide campaign
to pump the brakes on the government's use of this dangerous technology.
We've already been successful,
from San Francisco to Somerville, Massachusetts,
we have passed municipal bans
on the government's use of this technology.
And plenty of other communities here in Massachusetts
and across the country
are debating similar measures.
Some people have told me that this movement is bound to fail.
That ultimately,
merely because the technology exists,
it will be deployed in every context
by every government everywhere.
Privacy is dead, right?
So the narrative goes.
Well, I refuse to accept that narrative.
And you should, too.
We can't allow Jeff Bezos or the FBI
to determine the boundaries of our freedoms in the 21st century.
If we live in a democracy,
we are in the driver's seat,
shaping our collective future.
We are at a fork in the road right now.
We can either continue with business as usual,
allowing governments to adopt and deploy these technologies unchecked,
in our communities, our streets and our schools,
or we can take bold action now
to press pause on the government's use of face surveillance,
protect our privacy
and to build a safer, freer future
for all of us.
Thank you.
(Applause and cheers)
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What you need to know about face surveillance | Kade Crockford

26 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on July 3, 2020
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