Amazon, a leading researcher in big data analysis, has sold their facial recognition service, Amazon Web Services Rekognition, to U.S. law enforcement agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
While it is not clear whether Amazon’s infrastructure is deployed at the Mexican border family separation sites, it is being used to aid the agency. Amazon employees are protesting internally, and wrote a collective letter to CEO Jeff Bezos demanding an end to Amazon’s ICE contract:
This will be another powerful tool for the surveillance state, and ultimately serve to harm the most marginalized
We’re busy working on the next Eyes release, aiming to have it more feature packed and faster than ever. Had to take this break to share an article contributed by one of you, though!
WikiHow has a piece on 3 Ways to Blind a Surveillance Camera, with some pretty humorous imagery. Their suggestions focus on using lasers and flashlights to overwhelm cameras as you pass, so they are unable to gather details about your face. Keep in mind that jamming cameras with malicious intent is likely illegal in your country, as is causing any permanent damage.
As an alternative, consider taking steps to fool facial-recognition software, or even prevent facial identification altogether. There are several lists of clothing and technology that can help reduce the chance of being identified by cameras.
Of course, the best defense from surveillance is to avoid surveillance technology altogether. Keep your head down, your face obscured, and follow the map.
Some updated statistics:
That’s 60 new users and over a hundred new cameras in under a month!
There is a new release today for all platforms! It includes many UI improvements and bug fixes, and new map themes for iOS and Android. Counter-surveillance has never looked this good.
We are already hard at work on the next release, which will be more feature-filled, including improvements to the GPS-inaccuracy problem that didn’t quite make it in to today’s release.
For those of you in the United States, happy Fourth of July! This is our contribution to patriotism and freedom.
We’ve received some new propaganda from an anonymous benefactor, and have built a new image gallery on the media page to accommodate it. Woohoo!
At the same time we updated the website code on GitHub, which was missing the last update or two.
We would love more artwork and propaganda from all of you! If you have anything you’d like to share, please send it to email@example.com and tell us whether you would prefer to remain anonymous.
Today we’ve released an update for Android and iOS, fixing several longstanding bugs and adding translations for two new languages. Chief among these bugs, the Android client will no longer poll for location data while in the background (saving considerable battery life), and the iOS client no longer throws away all camera data when a network connection is interrupted. The update also includes an assortment of UI improvements and minor bug fixes.
It may take some time for the update to propagate through the App, Play, and F-Droid stores, but it should be available to everyone in the next day or two.
An update on the map growth:
We’re thrilled with the progress everyone is making, and hope to contribute more regular updates to the software soon. We believe Where are the Eyes is more important now than ever, and our highest software priority remains integrating with OpenStreetMap to unify with other surveillance activism groups.
Hello to all our Spanish and Japanese-speaking users!
Development of Where are the Eyes has slowed recently for a number of reasons, including releasing our second Daylighting Society project. The community, however, is as active as ever.
The map has grown to a tremendous 2331 cameras, which is an incredible feat for our roughly hundred users.
In the coming weeks we plan on more closely integrating Where are the Eyes and OpenStreetMap, sharing our data to support other surveillance maps. With this out of the way we can join forces and promote our projects simultanously, usurping the new world order!
Greetings to all our privacy-minded Android users! As of today, we are proud to announce Where are the Eyes is available on the F-Droid store!
For those of you unfamiliar, F-Droid is an alternative to the Google Play store that accepts only open-source applications that don’t do evil things. We are happy to accommodate our security focused friends.
Today we are proud to release version 1.2 for our Android and iOS Where are the Eyes clients.
Users can remove any cameras they have marked, allowing anyone to “undo” their mistakes
Haptic feedback to make it obvious when the app is processing a newly marked camera
Satellite map (can be toggled in settings)
Significant UI improvements (Primarily on Android)
Made it much easier to disable Mapbox Metrics
Preferences work correctly now (iOS)
Fixed an Android crash bug related to removing resources on a background thread
The map has grown to encompass 961 cameras across five continents, all in only a couple of weeks. We are very excited to grow further, and work more closely both with OpenStreetMap and other surveillance activist groups.
We’ve had an excellent first two days! Good discussions on Reddit, lots of valuable questions by email and on GitHub, and some unexpected coverage on Hacker News. We now have 121 registered users, who have marked 256 cameras.
This is a good moment to clarify some things:
Can I download the raw map data?
Yes. It is available at /rawdata, and is linked to near the top of the site.
Is the database proprietary?
Absolutely not. This is public information, and we have released it under the Creative Commons CC0 Universal license, making it as close to public domain as we can legally get.
Is the data stored in OpenStreetMap?
No. We use OpenStreetMap to get all of our geographic information, but we do not store our camera data as part of OSM. This is to protect the integrity of OpenStreetMap: If someone scripts interaction with Where are the Eyes and posts cameras everywhere we don’t want to blanket OSM in incorrect data. It is much easier to roll back malicious changes while the camera data is under our direct control.
Will you be sharing your camera data with OpenStreetMap?
Of course! We would be thrilled to get the existing cameras from OSM added to Where are the Eyes, and to add our camera data to their map. OpenStreetMap is a fantastic project, and we hope both can grow from each other. We are only concerned with fully integrating the two maps, and are happy to synchronize the data between them periodically.
Thank you all for your support. The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive. If you are asking “how can I help?” then please tell others about this project! The more people that use Where are the Eyes, the better a tool it becomes.
Today we are proud to announce that Where are the Eyes is available on the App Store and Play Store internationally! In the ideals of transparency and community we have also published the code for the world to see. We hope this will be the start of a new chapter in fighting blanket surveillance.
To all our new visitors, welcome! Please download the app and help us spread awareness of the surveillance state we live in.
Do you have any feedback about our project? Write to us!
The beholder, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney, has a lot of eyes. His department boasts they have access to more than 1200 cameras across the city that they are using to monitor demonstration activity. The “demonstration” is a protest of the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott. Police claim Scott was armed with a gun, but refuse to release their video footage of the shooting for verification. Protestors hold that Scott was holding a book, and was no threat to the officers.
North Carolina has declared a state of emergency. Since the start of the protest police have enforced a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew, called in the National Guard, and engaged the protestors with rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, and flash-bang grenades. Protestors have retaliated by throwing rocks and debris in some instances.
Street mounted cameras aren’t the only means of physical surveillance. The Baltimore Police have employed a private company to record a 32-mile radius chunk of the city by plane. Its creator describes it as “Google Earth with TiVo capacity.”
The program is similar to NSA data collection in that a vast amount of information is gathered, but they promise not to look unless they get a suspect later.
We are proud to announce that Where are the Eyes has launched on the Google Play Store!
We hope this is one step in a growing trend against mass surveillance. Last month marked the first time evidence has been thrown out for warrantless use of a stingray. As the Internet of Things grows so does our awareness of potential for physical security attacks, and with Where are the Eyes we broaden focus to include physical surveillance.
Let’s get started.