Surveillance

The big picture

How AI, surveillance and biometrics could converge in a tech arms race

Historian Yuval Harari warns about the threat of simultaneous developments in advanced tech.

Jan 25, 2020
China's move on face-recognition standards

China will likely use technical standards to claim a UN seal of approval for its use of its products.

Dec 5, 2019
Deep Dive: The end of anonymity

Data that might once have gone unnoticed can now be detected, analyzed and logged in real time.

Sep 7, 2019
The steady erosion of privacy at home

IoT devices can pick up your voice, interests, habits, TV preferences, meals and all sorts of other sensitive data.

Jun 24, 2019
AI is "awakening" surveillance cameras

New technology can constantly watch for "anomalies" in live feeds.

Jun 14, 2019
How U.S. tech powers China's surveillance state

It's another complication of doing business in China.

Updated Jul 27, 2018

All Surveillance stories

Border Patrol recalls drone from Minneapolis protests

Police and State Patrol officers in Minnesota, Minneapolis on May 29. Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Customs and Border Protection sent a drone into Minneapolis on Friday to take live footage of protestors at the request of federal law enforcement, a CBP spokesperson told Axios.

What's happening: Demonstrations have surged in the city for three days as people protest and mourn the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after at least one police officer knelt on his neck on Monday. Protestors set fire to a Minneapolis police station on Thursday night.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."

Palantir CEO reflects on work with ICE

Palantir CEO Alex Karp told "Axios on HBO" that there have "absolutely" been moments he wished the company hadn't taken a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • "Did I suffer? ... I've had some of my favorite employees leave," Karp told "Axios on HBO."
May 13, 2020 - Technology

The brave new world of digital coronavirus screening

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Employers emerging from lockdown are looking to new COVID-19 screening tools to help workers get back on the job.

Why it matters: Neither employees nor customers are likely to return to businesses if they fear infection, so there needs to be some way to separate the sick from the well. But many new screening services are untested, and could open the door to intrusive health surveillance.

Mar 25, 2020 - Technology

Why the U.S. won't deploy high-tech coronavirus trackers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Governments around the world have turned to high-tech solutions like smartphone tracking and Bluetooth bracelets to slow the novel coronavirus' spread. For both practical and cultural reasons, however, the U.S. is unlikely to try such methods.

The big picture: The U.S. plainly needs more tools for slowing the spread of COVID-19. But a lack of testing supplies, the absence of nationwide strategies and policies, an individualistic culture, and concerns over civil liberties all stand in the way of adopting these techniques.

FCC to propose fining wireless carriers for location sharing

FCC commissioners, with chairman Ajit Pai at left, testify before a House committee in Dec. 2019. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The FCC plans to propose fines against wireless carriers totaling roughly $200 million for improperly sharing customers' location information with outside parties, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Lawmakers and others have been calling for agency action for over a year after revelations that location data from AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint made its way to a resale market used by bounty hunters.

NYPD aims to ease process of removing DNA from city's database

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The New York Police Department plans to limit DNA collection from juveniles and ease restrictions on removing samples from the city's digital database, New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told the Wall Street Journal this week.

The big picture: U.S. law enforcement has access to DNA in databases outside of the criminal justice system. Through genealogy websites with millions of users like FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch — the latter of which automatically opts users out of law enforcement collection — police can use DNA to identify suspects, the New York Times reports.

Cybersecurity is a government game

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Forget lone hackers and gangs of digital outlaws: Governments, acting for good and ill, have become the prime movers in the cybersecurity world.

What's happening: Three big stories this week drove home government's central role in a myriad of major breaches, hacks and scams.

Feb 12, 2020 - World

Podcast: The intelligence coup of the century

A bombshell Washington Post report revealed that a communications tech company used by dozens of countries was secretly owned by the CIA, thus allowing the U.S. to spy on conversations with both allies and enemies. Dan digs in with Washington Post reporter Greg Miller.

Go deeper: Huawei equipment has secret "back doors," U.S. officials claim

Tech giants hammer facial recognition startup

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Venmo and LinkedIn have sent Clearview AI cease-and-desist letters in the wake of a blockbuster report that the facial recognition startup has scraped billions of people's faces from their websites, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Clearview's app is used to identify suspected criminals by over 600 law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, per the Times.

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