Category Archives: Science And Technology

French Politicians Looking to Embrace Facial Recognition Technology

French politicians are looking at how to best utilise facial recognition technologies.  Over the summer French the interior ministry unveiled a new app, Alicem, allowing individuals with a biometric passport or electronic residence permit to identify themselves over the internet using the app.

Macron’s government are also planning to “supervise and assess” how else to use the technology.

However critics warn that Alicem is a step closer to a Chinese-style surveillance program, with questions asked as to how the data will be collected and used.

French authorities also want to harness the technology in the fight against terrorism and crime.

However the technology is still not perfect, and in a recent incident in London facial recognition technology resulted in the arrest of an innocent man.

Experts also warn about the threat hackers pose to huge data bases which contain the biomimetic data of individuals. They argue terrorists could hack such a database and remove information for a wanted criminal replacing it with that of an innocent individual. Pointing out that we are unable to maintain the security of peoples personal financial data; how can we expect to protect a persons facial identity?

Read More: France 24

How Trustworthy is Science?

Any student of science knows that the first lesson is in scientific method. That this enables us to put our trust in science. Scientific method leads on the idea  of reproducibility. This means that an idea or theory can only be accepted as true if it is proven through experimental means, and those results have to be reproducible, i.e. someone repeating your experiment will get the same result. However a study found that only 25% of papers were reproducible. Why is this the case? And what does it mean for science?

Leading Pioneer in Gender Theory Admits Aspects of His Work “Made Up”

Christopher Dummitt a pioneer in gender theory has come out to say he was wrong about much of his work in gender theory and sex, saying that a lot of what he proposed as truth was “made up”.

He admits that as a young, newly graduated scientist he was “angry and assertive” about his ideas regarding gender theory, and was hiding the fact he had no proof to back up his opinions.

However, his work and others have now been taken to lay the foundation of gender theory. Dummitt says, “[it is] so disappointing to see that the viewpoints I used to argue for so fervently — and so baselessly — have now been accepted by so many in the wider society”.

Indeed, his “flawed reasoning, and other scholarship using the same defective thinking” is now being used by “activists and governments to legislate a new moral code of conduct”.

Dummitt is now arguing for more research into sex and gender from a different ideological background and for the peer review process to be more thorough.

Read More: Christian Institute

Will Trump Hold His Nerve With China Over Huawei?

Trump’s policy on dealing with  Xi Jinping ’s China has seen Chinese tech firms placed on an “entry list”. This has stopped US firms doing business with these Chinese firms, and thus hampering their ability to advance Chinese development of AI and machine learning.

However, Trump is keen to strike a trade deal before the next election. This could see him remove Huawei from the entry list, as part of a future deal. This could prove disastrous to the US economy long term.

The next fight is over who controls 5G technology. If Trump holds his nerve US companies have the technology to control the market. However is Huawei accesses US technology they could control the market.

Read More: George Soros

Period Tracking Apps Sharing a Ton of Data with Facebook

Many women use various period tracking apps to help them  monster their monthly cycles. These apps record  highly intimate information about these women, not merely when their period is due, but information about their sex lives, whether or not they want to have a baby, their moods, if they have unprotected sex, and about their general health.

Many of these apps  integrate Facebook’s Software Developer Kit (SDK) which allows Facebook to harvest this data and then pass it on to their extensive advertising network and third party analytics network.

Read More: Mashable

Hackers Can Access iPhone Via Text

Google  Project Zero researcher Natalie Silvanovich has said that hackers can access an iPhone via iMessanger through an interaction-less bug in the text.

“These can be turned into the sort of bugs that will execute code and be able to eventually be used for weaponized things like accessing your data,” said Silvanovich at a security conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, according to a report by Wired.

Silvanovich became interested in researching interaction-less bugs when studying a similar vulnerability in What’s App.

Read More: Breitbart

U.S. Senator Seeks Probe into Russian “FaceApp” Due to Security Concerns

FaceApp is currently the most popular app in Google Plays store. The app allows users to edit their photos to make themselves appear older or younger. There are more than 100 million users after celebrities posted pictures, which used the app, on social media went viral.  However the app has raised concerns over user privacy.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the FBI and the FTC, the US consumer protection body, to “look into the national security & privacy risks” The Russian developed app uploads users photos to their own servers raising questions as to the use the company could make to the vast amounts of data they are amassing.

“FaceApp’s location in Russia raises questions regarding how and when the company provides access to the data of U.S. citizens to third parties, including potentially foreign governments,” the New York senator said in a letter to the FBI.

“It would be deeply troubling if the sensitive personal information of US citizens was provided to a hostile foreign power actively engaged in cyber hostilities against the United States,” he added.

Read More: France 24

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Reveals Plans For Implant to Read Your Thoughts

Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s start up Neuralink has been working on a “brain-machine interface” . This week the secretive start-up revealed it has been testing brain implants on animals, and that it has successfully placed an implant in a monkey brain allowing it to control a computer.

Musk hopes that the implant will be used initially on patients with serious brain injuries of diseases allowing them to communicate their thoughts. He plans to seek FDA approval to begin clinical trials as early as 2020.

Neuralink works by inserting thin strands into the brain, via a tiny robot controlled by a neurosurgeon. The stands then interface with the electrical activity of the brain.

Musk’s worry about the current threat AI poses to humanity is well know. And he hopes his new technology will allow humans and machines to work together in “symbiosis”, so humans will not be left behind in the AI revolution.

Read More: The Guardian 

Banned Chinese Security Camera’s Almost Impossible to Remove

Federal Agencies have five weeks to remove Chinese security cameras in order to comply with the ban imposed by Congress on such devices.

A complex supply chain and a failure to know if cameras were made in China or have Chinese components which would violate the new laws have meant it is almost impossible to find and remove all Chinese security devices before the ban.

The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA,  Included an amendment that would ban the purchase and use of Chinese security devices this fiscal year. The amendment singles out Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. and Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., both of which have raised security concerns with the government and surveillance agencies.

The Chinese government has a 42% stake in Hangzhou Hikvision. And Dahua devises were found in 2017 to have a hidden back doors that unauthorised persons could tap into and send data back to China.

Read More: Bloomberg

25 Million Android Phones Infected with Malware Hiding in What’s App

It is thought as many as 25 million Android phones have been infected with Malware dubbed Agent Smith. The malware replaces installed apps like What’s App with evil versions that bombard users with adverts.

Most of the infected phones have been in India, however a surprising number have been in the US and UK. The malware has spread via a third party app store, which is owner by China’s Alibaba.

Read More: Forbes