All Your Face

I didn't post about this when I first read the article because I just didn't have the energy to point out all the ways that the Washington Post's reporting sucked. But thankfully, Violet is on the case:

The TSA wants to go hogwild and buckwild with facial recognition AI in airports across the US, and I promise that every terrible detail of what WaPo discovered in its investigation will make you scream. It continues to blow me away that no decision makers know a red flag factory when they see one. I can't wait to see which slimy startup got the fat contract cash, how fast they get popped, how racist their AI is, how long they lie about getting popped, and who our data will be "rented" to (not sold, of course, not even Facebook sells our data).

Not that this is a great article. It's unquestioning copypasta of TSA statements that quite literally contradict the "good news" this reporter claims, like that there's a way to "opt out."

"But the TSA hasn't actually released hard data about how often its system falsely identifies people, through incorrect positive or negative matches... The TSA says it doesn't use facial recognition for law-enforcement purposes. It also says it minimizes holding on to our face data... But the TSA did acknowledge there are cases in which it holds on to the data for up to 24 months so its science and technology office can evaluate the system's effectiveness...

Those who do not feel comfortable will still have to present their ID but they can tell the officer that they do not want their photo taken, and the officer will turn off the live camera. There are also supposed to be signs around informing you of your rights."

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14 Responses:

  1. Brian Van says:

    In kindergarten they should really drop the whole bit about George Washington and the cherry tree and instead teach "There is not one single case in the history of local or national government in the United States where 'this does not work' or 'this will ruin the lives of many people' has gotten in the way of a fat contract or the resulting kickbacks/political favors"

    • Dave says:

      When the Washington Post and NY Post can both agree a new program is a really bad idea, you have to know there was some money changing hands somewhere.

  2. Netluser says:

    [...] they can tell the officer that they do not want their photo taken, and the officer will turn off the camera and tell them "come with me", leading the troublemaker to the back room where a corrective group beating will promptly occur. There are also supposed to be signs around informing you of your rights, but they frequently go missing.

  3. Elusis says:

    I not only had to take a photo of my driver's license in order to log into my personal account with the company used to pay me (Gusto) but then also had to allow multi-angle photos of my face to be matched with my license.... which didn't work the first two times.

    • jwz says:

      Have you considered simply not having a face?

    • Elusis says:

      Also I wrote them today. Because they're MY PAYROLL COMPANY for my non-profit and I didn't get any notice they'd be using this "service," never mind forcing my employees to use it.

      I was alarmed when I recently signed into my personal Gusto account (distinct from my admin account) and was required to not only submit a photo of my driver's license, but also have my face photographed from multiple angles. There did not seem to be a way to opt out of this facial recognition. I did NOT consent to this as part of using Gusto's software, either as an administrator or an employee. I am NOT comfortable imposing this on my employees but did not receive any notification that this would be taking place, or information about how employees can opt out.  There are many privacy, security, and bias issues with facial recognition services and I do not want to participate in them, nor force my employees to participate in them.

      • Elusis says:

        And their extremely stupid reply:

        Regarding your question, due to Gusto handling sensitive information, we require all users to enable 2-Step verification as an extra layer of security to prevent Account Take Over attacks or unauthorized users get access to your information. In case a user lose access to the device they use to access their account, Gusto requires to upload a picture of a drivers license to make sure the information matches with what we have on file in order to grant access.

        Our goal in Gusto is always empower our customers to run their businesses without any hiccups. Therefore, we are now requiring 2FA because we believe it is the right thing to do to keep our customers safe and their businesses running smoothly.

        Hope I was able to clarify the situation.

        • Carlos says:

          Ho-lee-oh-fuck, that's some wizard high-test distilled stupidity.  I'm not sure they could have crammed more into 3 sentences.

          "Photo of my drivers' license" == "I'm really me" is bad enough, but to call it 2FA takes the cake.



        • CSL3 says:

          I've actually been getting similar responses from Bill[dot]com over the past few days. I had MFA on my account, but it was tied to my old phone, so now they're demanding I send my ID to confirm who I am.... which I wouldn't do for ID[iot]Me (leaving me unable to update my vax QR code), so I won't do it for Bill.

          • Elusis says:

            Oh seriously?  Hell that's what I use to get paid for consulting.

            For financial companies to do this RIGHT BEFORE TAX SEASON is particularly galling.

            The more I think about this, the angrier I get, because I am the consumer here, since I as the employer pay for their service, and I did not give them permission to force-opt my employees into this bullshit, nor did they even give me any WARNING that this would be happening as of X date so I could choose to go elsewhere. (Like I have the time to change my payroll system right before the holidays.)

  4. nooj says:

    Police officers (customs?) are already doing this for citizens entering the country at airports.  There was no indication of an ability to opt out.  Just signs that said disingenuous, punny things like "Go through customs in a flash!"

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