WeeklyTech #25

Facial Recognition Technology and Our Souls

Last week the New York Times ran an article chronicling yet another authoritarian abuse of technology to oppress a minority people group in China. At times, it feels like the Chinese regime relishes these types of revelations because it gives them more reason to flaunt their power over the weak and remind the world of how they define morality and liberty down. Nearly every story of human rights abuses contains comments from a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) member spouting off the fact China cares for its citizens in ways nations like the United States can only dream.

This time is no different as they justify the coercive methods to collect DNA samples—often without basic consent or knowledge—from people groups like the Uighur Muslims, who are being detained the Xinjiang region in western China. These free health checks are said to be another way the government cares for its citizens, but recent revelations like this New York Times story show that health checks are nothing more than a convenient cover-up of these travesties against other human beings. These perverse collection methods are then used to create facial maps for facial recognition systems. This sounds sort of sci-fi creepy, and it is.

Interesting technology stories

The world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood now has its first houses – Fast Company

In a rural area on the outskirts of a town in Southern Mexico, a giant, 33-foot-long 3D printer recently built the walls of the first homes in the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood. The 500-square-foot houses were finished with roofs, windows, and interiors last week.

Toys “R” Us Is Back—Now With More Surveillance!Wired

After filing for bankruptcy and closing more than 800 stores last year, Toys “R” Us is back. The iconic retailer has opened two new mall outposts, one in Texas and another in New Jersey, just in time for the holidays. 

Jack Dorsey Proposes Decentralized Social Media ProtocolsMorning Brew

On Wednesday, CEO Jack Dorsey said Twitter will hire up to five people to create an open and decentralized standard for social media…likely blockchain-based. Dorsey cited Techdirt editor Mike Masnick’s article arguing for a “protocols, not platforms” approach. 

She installed a Ring camera in her children’s room for ‘peace of mind.’ A hacker accessed it and harassed her 8-year-old daughter.The Washington Post

When Alyssa LeMay heard the strange music and sounds coming from her bedroom, she walked in expecting to find one of her sisters. But the room was empty. Then, as the 8-year-old wandered around her room alone, the mysterious song abruptly stopped.

When 6th graders can access rape porn on their smartphones, school becomes toxicThe Dallas Morning News

Since my younger daughter is only 11, I didn’t expect the weight of the letter she brought me that night around 11 p.m., hours after I’d put her to bed.