When hourly employees arrive at Greathouse Screen Printing in San Diego, instead of punching a time clock they smile into a biometric facial recognition device that sits on a counter at the front of the shop. In a matter of seconds, the device identifies them, automatically punches them in, and sends the data to a cloud-based time-and-attendance software program.
The company’s owner, Shawn Greathouse, implemented the biometric clock from Processing Point Inc. a year ago to streamline his time-management process and to ensure that he was only paying employees for the hours they worked.
“Buddy punching was definitely part of the decision,” Greathouse says. “It was never an out-of-hand problem, but it did happen.”
Buddy punching—the practice of punching another employee in or out when they aren’t there—is one of many forms of time theft.
A 2009 study conducted by Harris Interactive Inc. showed that 21 percent of hourly employees admit to stealing company time. While only 5 percent participated in buddy punching, 69 percent said they punch in and Read more…
Matt Lease, a computer scientist at the University of Texas, is working on ways to literally record all human conversations no matter where they take place. But his research is being funded by the Department of Defense, raising the question of how such a technology might be used in the hands of the government.
Lease’s plan is to utilize crowdsourcing, voice recognition software and everyday devices like smartphones to gather human speech, whether in a business meeting or on the street, and store it somewhere so people could access what they said anytime.
He told Wired’s Danger Room that he saw the work as both a “need and opportunity to really make conversational speech more accessible, more part of our permanent record instead of being so ephemeral, and really trying to imagine what this world would look like if we really could capture all these conversations and make use of them effectively going forward.”
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) liked Lease’s idea so much it gave him a $300,000 grant to support his efforts.
If successful, this new system could raise “some thorny legal and social questions about privacy,” wrote Robert Beckhusen at Wired.
One example cited by Lease involves “respecting the privacy rights of multiple people involved,” and how to gain permission of everyone talking before capturing and storing a conversation. In the hands of spy agencies, this is not expected to be an issue.
Federal safety regulators want all new cars installed with so-called “black boxes,” similar to those on airplanes, to help the government and auto manufacturers learn valuable lessons from accidents on the road. But the idea has stirred concerns among consumer groups and civil libertarians who fear the data in the black boxes might be used inappropriately unless legal safeguards are established.
Under a new rule (pdf) proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), carmakers would be required to equip all new vehicles with “event data recorders” (EDRs) starting in September 2014. Some new automobiles already have a black box, although their owners may not be aware of it. Automakers began installing them in the early 1990s, but they weren’t required to disclose their existence in the car owner’s manual.
SEC. 31406. VEHICLE EVENT DATA RECORDERS.
(a) Mandatory Event Data Recorders-
(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part…
(d) Revised Requirements for Event Data Recorders- Based on the findings of the Read more…
ALICANTE–The cyborg facial recognition of Robocop becomes a reality as Spain’s Ex-Sight technology equips police officers with the ability to scan 100,000 faces per second. They can then cross these images with whose in a database and, in moments, identify suspects.
The first widespread implementation of this technology is with the Brazilian police getting ready for the next World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. ”The military police have a database of suspicious people they connect with our software, and our software runs inside the control center in every stadium,” says Elazar Lozano Vidal, of Ex-Sight Spain. There are cameras at each entrance of the sports stadiums. “The police have also cameras in the glasses, one of the lens is a screen and (the other) has a camera in the glass.”
Lozano says these Ex-Eye facial recognition glasses are used to scan every person that goes in front of these cameras, up to 100,000 faces a second, and that one well-situated police officer is enough to detect a crowd on a street.
The officer “moves his face and with the glasses detects a lot of people, and Read more…
East Orange, New Jersey to beam suspects of future criminal activity with flashy, hi-tech police surveillance equipment
In a glowing review of the rising prevalence of high-tech big brother surveillance gadgets in police force use, the Associated Press reports that East Orange, New Jersey plans to cut crime by highlighting suspects with a red-beamed spotlight– before any crime is committed– a “pre-crime” deterrent to be mounted on nearby street lights or other fixtures.
According to the report, police officers monitor hundreds of video feeds from across the city and opt to Read more…
Big Brother is joining the battle of the bulge.
A group of Long Island students will soon be wearing controversial electronic monitors that allow school officials to track their physical activity around the clock.
The athletics chair for the Bay Shore schools ordered 10 Polar Active monitors, at $90 a pop, for use starting this spring. The wristwatchlike devices count heartbeats, detect motion and even track students’ sleeping habits in a bid to combat obesity.
The information is displayed on a color-coded screen and gets transmitted to a password-protected Web site that students and educators can access.
The devices are already in use in school districts in St. Louis and South Orange, NJ — and have raised privacy concerns among some parents and observers.
But Ted Nagengast, the Bay Shore athletics chair, said, “It’s a great reinforcement in fighting the obesity epidemic. It tells kids, in real time, ‘Am I active? Am I not active?’ We want to give kids the opportunity to become active.”
The monitors are distributed by Polar Electro, of Lake Success, LI, the US division of a Finland firm.
In the South Orange-Maplewood School District, where earlier versions of the devices have been used for two years, upper-grade students’ marks in Read more…
America’s controversial use of its drones in Asia may have caused overwhelming anger, but now it’s threatening to do the same at home. Washington’s key spying weapon in overseas operations is becoming a common tool for U.S. police, stirring up privacy concerns among more and more Americans.
Is it cutting-edge, or just downright creepy? Surveillance technology is increasingly being implemented in municipalities across the country. But while such gadgets aim to curtail crime and decrease traffic accidents, some people are wondering about the costs to both town budgets and privacy.
“Overall, we wonder if the costs will outweigh the benefits,” said Jay Stanley, a Washington, D.C.-based senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Policy and Technology Project.
Such technology, which includes everything from neighborhood video cameras, red-light cameras and, most recently, parking-space sensors, is popping up faster than mushrooms in a shady forest.
“Over the last several years, traffic-centric surveillance applications Read more…