NYPD’s Wrongful Use Of Facial Recognition System

Researchers have reported misuse of surveillance technology by New York Police Department. The Department misused the facial recognition technology to edit photos of few suspects and made them look like celebrity resemblances to make it easy for finding people involved in crimes. These findings were gathered from documents used in a two year long legal fight with NYPD. These were used in an inquiry by Georgetown Center. The inquiry was on privacy technology like facial recognition used by police throughout the country.

After the release of the report on May 16th 2019, there was a call for absolute ban on the use of such technology by police since this would increase number of wrongly made arrests. Senior Associate from Center on Privacy and Technology, Clare Garvie said that no matter how exact facial recognitions might come out to be, if the police have been editing photos or feeding wrong information inside the technology. Instead of getting any good lead or valuable information, what they would rather receive is misidentification. Also, it would be a severe violation if they have used it for their purpose and not communicated about it with defense lawyers.

Police, on their defense said that the facial recognition technology is used by them for comparing photos of unknown people to photos of their driver’s license, mugshots and booking photos. They have been using the technology to find solution for cases which would otherwise be left unanswered. They have also said that it is used as a device for general investigation and not for arresting random people.

In the Georgetown report, there was another accusation made for police in general. They permit the submission of criminal’s possible sketches into the facial recognition technology in Florida, Pinellas Country, Maricopa County, Washington County, Arizona and Oregon. Sheriff of Washington County said in defense that sketches have only been used for the purpose of explanations on how the criminal might look and not as evidence to their resemblance in actual case.


China’s iQiyi Launches VR Headset For $300

iQiyi, a China-based video company has stepped into the VR hardware business which is innovative for a media-based platform.

It released Qiyu 2S, a cheaper version of the VR headset launched the previous year, on Thursday.

No sickness or discomfort, light weight and a lack of heft noticed in other VR devices were a few features observed on testing the device. Weighing only 280 grams, it has a 4K resolution, wireless WiFi connectivity and a price of $299 or 1999 yuan. Last year’s VR II headset costs around $100 more. Manufactured by Qiyu, an iQiyi subsidiary, the device utilized chips supplied by Qualcomm.

From a streaming service to a production house for drama series, variety shows, etc, iQiyi has come a long way since its beginning in 2010. It currently has 87 million subscribers and counting. At this week’s conference held in Beijing, it stated AI, VR and AR to be its prime objectives.

An ability to oversee content and hardware can give iQiyi a unique advantage. The VR-based headset is quite a major step for a company that’s primarily focussed on distributing and producing entertainment.

Users can gain a front row seat view during pop concerts by using their devices, a major feature. A completely virtual cinema experience, filled with theatre seats and a hi-res projection screen to watch shows and movies, is available for current users. Gaming platforms like Steam are also supported. The company is currently in an effort to expand in this sector.

Other apps utilizing VR content can also be used via the headset, as per iQiyi. Programs are controlled by use of a remote, which is handheld.

iQiyi’s online portal, JD, and Alibaba’s Tmall are the distributors for this headset, from where customers can buy them. Pre-sales bookings commenced on Friday. The device will get a pro upgrade in October.


Boeing To Use Better Tech To Replace 900 Inspectors

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing which is facing backlash after recent crash of its 737 Max airplanes has announced that it will cut down 900 real time inspectors from its Seattle factories and will replace them with technical arms even as it is witnessing quality issues in its other aircrafts. This announcement has met with strong criticism by workers’ union that has called it a bad decision and stated in its newsletter that the move will eliminate another set of eyes on work packages. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers informed its members that around 451 inspectors are likely to be transferred to other responsibilities this year.

A similar number of inspectors will be transferred next year out of actual count of 3000 inspectors from Boeing’s commercial operations at Seattle. Boeing has confirmed the news but has not disclosed exact number of workers that will be involved in this change and stated that this transformation will help in improving quality of operations. It is still facing the aftermath of the crash of two 737 Max jets that led to death of more than 300 people. This occurred due to malfunction of its automated system that holds down the plane’s nose.

Worldwide 737 Max planes have been grounded as Boeing is attempting to rewrite and improve the software which led to the debacle and estimates that the twin disasters will cost the firm close to $1 billion. This incident and another report by New York Times has affected the airline firm’s reputation very negatively as it brought to light the shoddy work done in its factory at South Carolina which forced US Air Force to halt deliveries of KC-46 refueling tanker based on its 787 jetliner. Boeing announced that this removal of inspection staff will enhance the quality and safety of its planes as electronic equipment can now carry out more thorough scrutiny when compared to humans.


Chinese Apps, Games Gaining Popularity With US Consumers

Applications of mobile developed by China’s biggest firms of technology are catching up with the customers of US in last few years showing us how companies of the second largest economy in the world are growing beyond Asia and domestic market.

As per the data of Sensor Tower in 2019’s first quarter, the applications developed by China or those by companies with mainly Chinese investors got revenue of $674.8 million in US. The research industry of mobile app have only considered top 100 apps by downloads and revenue all across the app store of Apple and Google Play store. The revenue has made up for 22% of the top 100 application’s total sales.  The haul of first-quarter of 2019 marks 67% in revenue from 2018. The technology firms of China have expanded into US in spite of the ongoing trade war between the two countries and the negative sentiments that is exists towards Chinese companies like Huawei.

TikTok comes third when it comes to the most downloaded applications in the first quarter in US which is behind the game – Color Bump 3D and Facebook Messenger. TikTok is created by ByteDance which is the highly priced private firms of technology in China. TikTok is called Douyin in China. Changing the branding and names, Chinese apps have gained popularity among the US customers. A data analyst at Sensor Tower Sanders Tran said that publishers of Chinese apps have become adept when it comes to understanding the US customers whether it is about carving a new niche in social media or capitalizing hot trends amongst gamers in West with titles like PUBG mobile. He added that the publishers have also expanded the understanding of acquisition of user in US market that has let them mount effective campaigns of marketing. These publishers have also backed these with proper spending and often topping the charts of advertisers on Facebook and mobile app networks, he said.


Google Veteran Launches Free App For Patients To Record Doctor’s Notes

A veteran working in technology sector who started his career at Facebook and then at alphabet, David Weekly who initially wasn’t very keen on working in health care sector, until he found out that multiple people of his family were found to have cancer. Having gained a valuable experience from caring for his people, he found multiple lapses in the medical system. Before settling upon solving one of it, from many others he had witnessed.

Weekly is considered to be one amongst the mass of people who are sailing towards the health sector from tech industry giving birth to a massive trend. Many of these individuals are motivated through their personal experiences who found that there was much that could be done to improve the current health care system.

Finding the potential in this recent trend, massive investments of estimated $30 Billion had been made in this sector since 2011. Most of which were made towards hospitals, health plans and other industry stakeholders. Weekly standout in this term as his venture was focused towards the improvement of health care for the consumers.

By his venture the free Medcorder application, which came into the markets on Friday is primarily used by the patients to record their visits to listen and share it with their family later. Weekly had credited his late father for the inspiration of this app, who had passed away due to cancer.

Other examples of tech folks may include George Zachary, a well-known investor in the popular social media app twitter. Zachary had launched a bio fund after a cancer phobia. Google executive Adrian Aoun also jumped into this sector after starting a primary care network when his family member became sick. Similarly, ex-Google executive Stephanie Tilenius left the company to develop a chronic disease management application after spending years being trapped between work and taking care of his sickly father.