Could the FBI See Your Selfies?

Court case may enable FBI to request more photos for new facial recognition database.

Investigative Database - FBI Can See Your Selfies?

Investigative Database – FBI Can See Your Selfies?

The FBI could have 52 million face images on file by 2015, according to new research.

Article Courtesy of:  U.S News – By 

U.S. News & World Report

The FBI is preparing to launch a facial recognition database this summer that includes photos of people without criminal records- and a court case in New York may expand the ability of the government to request data from Facebook to help.

The bureau’s database, called the Next Generation Identification system, or NGI, builds upon the government’s fingerprint database and is slated to be operational this summer, according to the FBI.

This database will contain photos of anybody who sends images as part of an application for a job that requires fingerprinting or a background check – even if that person has no criminal record – according to research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy advocacy organization. The FBI is slated to have 52 million face images by 2015, according to the EFF.

Facebook, by comparison, processes more than 350 million new images each day from its 1.28 billion monthly active users. The social network’s friends lists and group pages also make it easier for the company to narrow down possible results when helping customers tag photos using facial recognition.

Facebook’s DeepFace facial recognition system has a 97 percent level of efficiency, which any government surveillance network would envy.

That’s even better than the FBI’s new system, which so far promises an 85 percent chance of identifying a suspect from a photo, according to the EFF.

The social network is appealing a court case from 2013 that might allow the FBI the chance to request some of the facial recognition information as it uses biometrics to follow targets.

Last year a New York judge ordered Facebook to turn over nearly all of the social network’s account data on 381 people, including pages they liked, their messages – and perhaps most dangerously – their photos. Facebook is arguing this broad use of warrants for data requests violates the Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable searches by the government. The warrants led to 62 charges in a disability fraud case but the government may keep the seized data indefinitely.

“Facebook says its face recognition system uses…”

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Cyber Security – “The Virtual Battlefield”

War Drums Beat Louder For ‘World War C’

Cyber Security

Article Courtesy of: Kenneth Rapoza | Forbes

Forbes

A report by cyber security firm FireEye says cyber warfare expanding. The U.S. leads the charge in this virtual battlefield.

If the lingo of cyber security experts, zombie warfare might that be that far fetched after all.

Call it “World War C”, and it playing right now at a nation near you. It is quiet, mostly invisible and oddly as safe as it is dangerous.

The ‘C’ in this war zone stands for cyberspace, and industry experts have been warning about it for the last five years.  The war drums are beating louder. Once limited to cybercrime stealing credit card numbers, cyber attacks are becoming a key weapon for governments seeking to defend national sovereignty, project national power or spy on both friend and foe alike, as was brought to light by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed.  The United States uses its soft cyber powers to tap into the computer systems of friendly nations in the E.U. and Brazil.

From strategic cyber espionage campaigns, such as Moonlight Maze and Titan Rain, to the destructive, such as military cyber strikes on Georgia and Iran, human and international conflicts are entering a new phase in their long histories. In this shadowy battlefield, victories are fought with bits instead of bullets, malware instead of militias, and botnets instead of bombs.

“Cyber warfare isn’t necessarily part of a wider war. Sometimes it is just to collect data that is not easily accomplished by a military drone,” said Eugene Kaspersky, head of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky said the war drums are beating louder.

“A cyber attacks are being used more and more for military purposes,” he said.  Kaspersky became famous for being part of the team that discovered the Stuxnet worm in 2010.  The worm targeted Siemens industrial control systems used at Iran nuclear power plants and is believed to have been the brainchild of the U.S. and Israeli defense departments.

A cyber attack is best understood not as an end in itself, but as a potentially powerful means to a wide variety of political, military, and economic goals.

“Serious cyber attacks are unlikely to be motiveless,” Martin Libicki, Senior Scientist at RAND Corp. said in a report released this month by cyber security firm FireEye. “Countries carry them out to achieve certain ends, which tend to reflect their broader strategic goals. The relationship between the means chosen and their goals will look rational and reasonable to them if not necessarily to us.”

Just as each country has a unique political system, state-sponsored attacks also have distinctive characteristics, which include everything from motivation to target to type of attack.

World War C is a FireEye creation.  They noted in their 22 page report that their out-of-this-world war scenario is hard to fully describe. There are very little physical casualties involved. For the general public, collateral damage is unheard of so far.

Cyber war has been compared to special operations forces, submarine warfare, targeted missile strikes, and assassins.

But some say it could be as bad as a nuclear weapons, Pearl Harbor, 9/11 or a natural disaster.

FireEye’s zombie analogy is not new. Often, any compromised computer, if it is actively under the surreptitious control of a cybercriminal, is called a zombie, and botnets are sometimes called zombie armies. Also, compared to stockpiling tanks and artillery, writing cyber attack code, and compromising thousands if not millions of computers, is easy. Moreover, malware often spreads with the exponential growth of an infectious disease.

The analytical waters surrounding cyber warfare are inherently murky, write FireEye analysts in their report. At the strategic level, governments desire to have a degree of plausible deniability. At the tactical level, military and intelligence organizations envelop such operations in layers of classification and secrecy. To be effective, information operations rely on deception—and the Internet offers an ideal venue for a spy’s smoke and mirrors.

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