I'm currently watching Aibo, Sony's robo-dog, scuttle around the office. Its mechanical joints make slow, noisy work of it on the concrete floor, but I can't help but be mildly heart-warmed. I'd rather have a real dog here, but there's something charming about Aibo. The $2,900 pup is a companion robot, one Sony claims "learns its environment and develops relationships with people." Aibo even enlists a camera in its nose to scan faces and determine who's who so it can react to them differently.Because of our office pet's face-detecting capabilities, Sony doesn't sell Aibo in Illinois. The state's Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) regulates the collection of biometric data, including face scans.So Aibo's out in the land of Lincoln, but the story doesn't stop with Sony's quirky robot. Illinois also limits access to facial recognition in home security cameras, a feature that's becoming increasingly prevalent in the consumer security market. Let's take a closer look … [Read more...] about What Sony’s robot dog teaches us about biometric data privacy
There's a bipartisan call for a US data-privacy law, but there's a divide when it comes to balancing federal legislation with state rules.On Tuesday the House Energy and Commerce Committee held its first hearing on data privacy, with a Senate hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Once just a blip on the political radar, data privacy has now set off a roaring alarm, as tech scandals have surfaced regularly over the last few years. Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, issues with Google and data surveillance, and breaches affecting the majority of Americans have brought privacy awareness to an all-time high, and Congress is set to act. The hearing comes as lawmakers prepare to pass a federal privacy law. Multiple Congress members have proposed bills with varying degrees of severity. That includes Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, who proposed a data-privacy law that could jail CEOs for lying about their practices. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, introduced his own bill … [Read more...] about At hearing on federal data-privacy law, debate flares over state rules
Fingerprint scanners are a popular type of biometric system. See more computer accessory pictures. Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Thinkstock We've all seen movies in which a character has a retinal scan to prove his or her identity before walking into a top-secret installation. That's an example of a biometric system. In general, biometrics is a collection of measures of human physiology and behavior. A biometric system could scan a person's fingerprint or analyze the way he or she types on a keyboard. The purpose of most biometric systems is to authenticate a person's claimed identity. Biometrics tend to be more convenient than other methods of identity authentication. You might forget your ID at home when you head out the door, but you'll still be able to use biometric devices. Imagine verifying your identity while at the store by swiping your finger across a sensor. But along with convenience and security comes a concern for privacy. For biometrics to work, there needs to be a … [Read more...] about How will biometrics affect our privacy?
Giz Asks In this Gizmodo series, we ask questions about everything from space to butts and get answers from a variety of experts. The widespread use of facial recognition technology is almost upon us. A new iPhone is on the horizon, and it might not even have a fingerprint reader—instead, you could be unlocking your phone with your face. Facial recognition is not new. It’s been a sci-fi staple for decades, and its practical roots are in the 1960s with Palo Alto researchers on RAND Tablets manually mapping out people’s features. Even back then we could give a computer enough data to be able to match a person to a their photograph. The group, led by Woodrow William Bledsoe even managed to calculate a compensation for any tilt, lean, rotation and scale of the head in a photograph. Data inputs stayed pretty rudimentary, with manual input of details being replaced by the Eigenfaces in the ‘80s and ‘90s. This would be the start of computer vision systems … [Read more...] about What’s the Worst That Could Happen With Huge Databases of Facial Biometric Data?
For the last decade, Illinois has had the nation’s most rigorous law protecting citizens’ biometric privacy information. It’s also a heavily litigated piece of legislation that’s pulled high-profile companies like Google and Facebook into class action lawsuits. Now, Six Flags is contesting a suit that threatens to totally defang the statute. The Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), passed by Illinois lawmakers in 2008, stipulates that a company doing business in the state must obtain explicit written consent from an individual before collecting their biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints. Penalties are set at a $1,000 fine per violation, and $5,000 per violation if an offending company is found to be violating the statute either intentionally or recklessly. The problem is, the state doesn’t prosecute BIPA violations, it only grants individuals the right to sue. Six Flags is trying to make that very difficult. The case revolves around the … [Read more...] about Six Flags Biometric Case Could Turn One of the Toughest Privacy Laws in the U.S. Upside Down