Overhype

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
criminal, facial recognition, terrorist

Companies:
faception



Israeli Company Claims Its Software Can Look At Your Face And Determine If You're A Terrorist Or Murderer

from the no-it-can't dept

There is a regular experience I have that I assume is common for anyone that operates within the technology industry: I will often hear non-technical people make claims about a specific kind of technology that are wildly overstated. To clarify, I am technically proficient in the barest sense, mostly meaning that I have enough of an understanding of the underlying process by which things work that I can explain them, but not implement them. To those without even that barest understanding, I can understand how technology can simply seem like magic. That can open the doors for others who know better to try to take advantage of this.

Enter into the conversation Israeli startup company Faception, which claims its facial recognition software can look at your features and then determine if you're a terrorist, pedophile, or criminal.

An Israeli start-up says it can take one look at a person's face and realize character traits that are undetectable to the human eye. Faception said it's already signed a contract with a homeland security agency to help identify terrorists. The company said its technology also can be used to identify everything from great poker players to extroverts, pedophiles, geniuses and white collar-criminals.

"We understand the human much better than other humans understand each other," said Faception chief executive Shai Gilboa. "Our personality is determined by our DNA and reflected in our face. It's a kind of signal."

The practice of trying to figure out human tendencies and traits through facial features isn't new. It's been going on for centuries under the term "physiognomy", and its history is long and dubious. The overwhelming general consensus is that it's nonsense, with anecdotal evidence for its successes being more the result of confirmation bias and self-fulfilling prophecy than anything else. One might remember the man with the mean face who later robbed him at gunpoint, but doesn't think as often about the kind-faced man who bilked him out of his life savings with a confidence scheme. Alternatively, one might decide someone had an untrustworthy face, treat that person badly, and assume confirmation of the original theory when that person reacts negatively to such treatment.

What Faception claims to do is put the job in the hands of software, as though that solves the problem. Except software is both constructed by humans, with all of their biases, and is even programmed in a way to be intelligent like humans, making the whole thing a self-defeating enterprise. Even Gilboa knows that his claims of super-accuracy shouldn't be relied on.

The danger lies in the computer system's imperfections. Because of that, Gilboa envisions governments considering his findings along with other sources to better identify terrorists. Even so, the use of the data is troubling to some.

"The evidence that there is accuracy in these judgments is extremely weak," said Alexander Todorov, a Princeton psychology professor whose research includes facial perception. "Just when we thought that physiognomy ended 100 years ago. Oh, well."

And examples for the methodology of how this type of software will learn to identify traits often leaves much to be desired as well.

There are challenges in trying to use artificial intelligence systems to draw conclusions such as this. A computer that is trained to analyze images will only be as good as the examples it is trained on. If the computer is exposed to a narrow or outdated sample of data, its conclusions will be skewed. Additionally, there's the risk the system will make an accurate prediction, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

Domingos, the University of Washington professor, shared the example of a colleague who trained a computer system to tell the difference between dogs and wolves. Tests proved the system was almost 100 percent accurate. But it turned out the computer was successful because it learned to look for snow in the background of the photos. All of the wolf photos were taken in the snow, whereas the dog pictures weren't.

In that latest example, you see how a particular technology can appear to be almost magical in its accuracy until you get under the hood and see what actually occurred. There's no magic here, just software intelligent enough to separate wolves from dogs in a manner that didn't look at either the wolves or dogs at all. We can't tell if Faception's technology works the same way because, of course, Gilboa's company isn't sharing what's under the hood. Given the history of this practice, however, one feels safe rebutting the company's claim that it can tell if you're a terrorist by looking at your face by simply saying, "No you can't."

And that's not even digging into the question of the ethics of the use of this "technology." Faception claims it has already signed an agreement with an unidentified nation's homeland security organization. Were governments to begin using questionable technology that hasn't been vetted for accuracy and applying law enforcement actions with it, well, then we'd have delved into the kind of PreCrime dystopia typically reserved for bad fiction.

Software isn't magic. It strains the mind to believe that one company could undo centuries of consensus on physiognomy, just like that. Because it almost certainly can't.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 11:53am

    it works perfectly...

    ...to make EVERYONE a terrorist/pedo/whistleblower, thus fulfilling Empire's wish to keep everyone cowed...

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    • identicon
      David, 31 May 2016 @ 12:12pm

      Re: it works perfectly...

      That's an Israeli software company. It probably detects the keffiyeh.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 1:52pm

      Another probable-cause sniffing dog.

      This. If anything, this is another device to bypass protections from illegal search. We have no reason to stop you but my face-scanner says you're a terrorist, so its time to search your person and vehicle.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 11:54am

    Just for the name alone, I wouldn't use or believe such silly software.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      I haven't even seen your face and I can already tell you're a Murdering Pedophiliac Terrorist with a certain Genius for White-Collar Crime. You should be locked up, except you would probably just bluff your way through court, because you're such an awesome Poker Player!

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      • identicon
        Mahatma Muhjesbude, 4 Jun 2016 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re:

        RE, HAHhahahhahah! Thanks, excellent, i needed that...
        But knowing the G, I'm sure one of their alphabet soup agencies bought it. Just to 'try it out' of course. Now that so many departments are arming themselves with 1st person view surveillance drones, that would be a perfect platform for it?

        After all, they train their dogs just to sniff cash out separately from anything else now. Can anybody guess why?

        So first they'd just scan faces to 'see' if they're drug users/dealers and then call in the dogs to see if they have cash on them that the dog could 'hit' on, and this combination of 'reasonable suspicion' by an 'experienced' police officer would be more than enough to get a warrant signed by the judge's assistant (because he's at the golf course) and allow them to SWAT break in with shock and awe and flash bang you out of bed so you or your children will have permanent ear and eye damage for the rest of your life...

        Whether this type of technology works, or not, shouldn't be the issue. The issue should be that something so potentially dangerous to a free society should be criminalized by law to use.

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 12:01pm

    Software that predicts the future! Now they can stop you before you even *think* about committing a crime! Didn't I see this in a movie?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 12:05pm

    A sucker is born every minute

    I bet they could sell it to the governments that bought these:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yoxo_BQ91bY

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 12:14pm

    Expeditious to say the least

    Given how much other 'science' has been proven unreliable or even falsely stated, how much wriggle room with this be given? Some of those other sciences have been incarcerating people for generations and are now not really worth the brain cells needed to consider them. They were fraudulent from the start, but 'proven' until they weren't.

    And when (not if) this is used as 'evidence' the trade secrets act (what do you mean there is no such thing, look at your favorite trade bills) will prevent the court from reviewing the underlying premise and iterate that the machine is always right, so let's dispense with the cost of this trial, fine you the cost of your incarceration and send you off the the local corporate prison, for life, post haste, no appeal.

    Cash only, in advance, please.

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    • icon
      Trails (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Expeditious to say the least

      This isn't even science. Software automates application of theories.

      For example, ballistics software takes theories of ballistic trajectories and wind resistance, factors in information like projectile details and wind velocity, and predicts a landing spot.

      You could achieve the same thing on paper, but it's less reliable over time and much slower. That being said, it's reproducible.

      This software automates what science, exactly? Computers can only do what we can tell them to do (Skynet notwithstanding) so what amazing algorithmics did some podunk company from nowhere come up with to solve problems that have stymied some of the best funded organizations on the planet? (e.g US defense dept)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 11:11pm

        Re: Re: Expeditious to say the least

        The "science" is fairly well established:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_learning

        So are the ways of evaluating how accurate any particular models are.

        But, yes, if this did actually perform well you would expect them to make public some more of the details. Probably safe to consider it snake oil for now.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 7:40am

        Re: Re: Expeditious to say the least

        Why the noble (and forgotten - for good reason) science of Physiognomy. At its heyday in the mid 1880s you could actually be a Professor of Physiognomy.

        They probably trained this using photos of convicts... I mean how else ?
        I suppose this will probably class many Eastern European faces as thieves.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 12:14pm

    This Just In...

    Our new software paradigms can tell the difference between shit and shinola, so long as the shinola is not heaped up on the floor, and the shit is not contained in a little tin.

    Government inquiries are welcomed.

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  • icon
    ArkieGuy (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 12:16pm

    If you train it correctly, they will come....

    I suspect that if you feed the software a series of pictures of middle eastern men all wearing suicide vests as terrorists, it would probably be able to identify middle eastern men wearing suicide vests as potential terrorists (or potentially US doctors).... Seems legit.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 12:18pm

    LOL

    Domingos, the University of Washington professor, shared the example of a colleague who trained a computer system to tell the difference between dogs and wolves. Tests proved the system was almost 100 percent accurate. But it turned out the computer was successful because it learned to look for snow in the background of the photos. All of the wolf photos were taken in the snow, whereas the dog pictures weren't.
    I'm sorry, but kudos to the program! It was way smarter than the people that made it!

    Back to the topic at hand, every puffy jacket will be a terrorist, people in sunglasses are great poker players, people in front of audiences or blackboards are geniuses. People beside little kids? You guessed it! Same for people near blood or simple red stains. Everybody at McDonald's is a murderer because of ketchup!

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  • identicon
    Theoden, 31 May 2016 @ 12:20pm

    What would it show...

    ...if they ran Bibi's face through the program?

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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 12:20pm

    Phrenology! It's back!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 31 May 2016 @ 12:31pm

      Re:

      Israeli wouldn't get historical irony if you hit them in the head with a copy of "Mein Kampf", conveniently no longer locked by copyright.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 12:26pm

    Well, drat! I went to all that expense and trouble to get an MD in Applied Phrenotherapy and here they come up with physiognomy software.

    Well, nothing horrible about Continuing Education. And I won't have to buy new tools, either!

    Nurse, my next patient is suffering from high self esteem with a tendency towards insurgency and agitprop. Could you set up the #3 ball peen and the #7 claw hammer?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 12:28pm

    Pseudo-scientific Claptrap...

    ...of this sort almost always comes wrapped in "new technology" and claims of "scientifically improved" understanding of humans. The wrapper serves to mystify the underlying hogwash, allowing the snake-oil salesman to say, "well of course you can't grasp it - IT'S SCIENCE (subtext: you're certainly too ignorant and possibly too stupid to understand)."

    I can see TSA/DoJ/FBI/LEO-of-all-flavor licking their lips. They're the same guys that still perpetrate the lie of the lie detector.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 12:32pm

    Considering who will be programing it, chances are 100% of Palestinians will be recognized as all three kinds of potential criminals.

    Microsoft learned the hard way.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 10:39pm

      Re:

      they have to justify their land grabs somehow to the international community other than ,we saw their land and wanted it so we forced them off it at the point of a gun.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 12:41pm

    Snake Oil.

    What happens when a person is 'identified' as harboring paedophile and murderous tendencies but the background check determines that they are president of a large country near here. Can we get public results for all members of Congress? Will all results be classified for national security reasons? Plastic surgery banned? Children terminated immediately after birth due to undesirable charactics? Eugenics? Facial burn or dog attack victims all sterilised and imprisoned just in case?

    "Our personality is determined by our DNA and reflected in our face"

    Glad to see a final solution for the nature vs nurture debate at last.

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  • icon
    Chris-Mouse (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 12:45pm

    given the current state of facial recognition software, and the lack of any provable science behind what they are claiming. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict they will have an error rate approaching that of a coin flip.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      That won't matter. For people with the right amount of money or the right amount of influence (the only people who will ever be able to use such a service), I assume that it would confirm their prejudice 99.99% of times.
      That way they will be able to discredit, jail, murder their opponent without feeling bad and with less bad reputation, because science says so.

      Of course the whole thing is bogus. Even if such a thing could be read from a face, how do you meassure a persons willingness to deviate from his roots? A pedophile who gets help with his urges and never actually touches a child or do anything illigal is NOT a child molester.
      How about a person who come from a family line of killers? His DNA might say that he too should be a killer since he has his forefathers face.
      What about people who have served their time in jail? We already judge those far after they supposedly are done serving their time, but imagine always being judged just by your face.
      Such a technology is nothing I would ever want to see in any form. Face reading is not possible but a technology such as this could be possible in the form of DNA tests in the far future. It would simply not be worth it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 12:49pm

    Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

    I could get a system that would have a remarkable level of accuracy. Just simply have it claim everyone it sees to be a non-terrorist. Assuming that you have 1 terrorist in ten thousand, that would immediately give me 99.99% accurate. More than good enough to get lots of $$$ from fools. But if they insist on reporting something other than "everyone is OK", then I could randomly select one scapegoat per ten thousand and reduce my accuracy to 99.98%. Still a quite acceptable level of performance.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 1:36pm

      Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

      Depends on who you consider to be terrorists. For me there are a grand total of zero terrorists as I see them all as common criminals that are given too much attention by the media. Or it can be whole portions of the population that disagrees with the establishment.

      The most terrifying thing about terrorism (pardon me) is that it can be defined to be whatever fits the interests.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 11:32pm

        Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

        "For me there are a grand total of zero terrorists as I see them all as common criminals that are given too much attention by the media."

        There are most certainly terrorists, and the word does have a specific meaning no matter how it's misused. The differentiation is that a criminal usually does things for personal gain or through mental illness, while a terrorist is specifically trying to cause fear in order to exact political change.

        But, you were in more danger of dying last time you were in a car than you were at the hands of terrorists, and I don't recall you being asked to sacrifice your civil liberties to avoid car crashes.

        "The most terrifying thing about terrorism (pardon me) is that it can be defined to be whatever fits the interests."

        One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. It just depends on where you sit.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 12:07am

          Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

          a criminal usually does things for personal gain or through mental illness, while a terrorist is specifically trying to cause fear in order to exact political change.

          So...terrorism is a thought crime?

          I would argue that those driven to political violence are just as desperate as those who are driven to common criminal violence. I think the incident involving Ahmed Mohamed (the student electronics enthusiast) explains terrorism pretty well: Crimes committed by brown-skinned Muslims are terrorism whereas crimes committed by anyone else are just crime.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 1:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

            "So...terrorism is a thought crime?"

            No, terrorism requires someone to commit an actual crime, it's a definition not a new crime in and of itself. It's classified differently because of different motivations. Just as racially motivated crime is classed differently - sure, you stabbed that guy, but there's a difference between you doing it because you got into a fight and things got out of hand, and you deciding a black guy needed to die that day.

            "I would argue that those driven to political violence are just as desperate as those who are driven to common criminal violence"

            The individuals may be desperate, but the political motivation goes way beyond the individual. That's the problem. Trying to deal with the actions of the IRA and ETA in the same way as that of a common criminal would never get to the bottom of the actual problem. They have completely different motivations.

            "Crimes committed by brown-skinned Muslims are terrorism whereas crimes committed by anyone else are just crime."

            Well, that's a combination of ignorance and media spin. There's terrorist acts committed by white, middle class, even "Christian" Americans, and pre-9/11, many Americans were happy to support the likes of the IRA. McVeigh didn't manage to get people scared of a specific group, but 9/11 managed to get them assuming that 1+ billion people worldwide were active terrorists. It's stupid, and does need to be stopped.

            But, the spin made by some biased media outlets doesn't change the actual definition of the term.

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            • icon
              Ninja (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 3:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

              Still a crime and the perpetrators still criminals. Once you realize that, they lose a whole lot of their 'fear factor'.

              Trying to deal with the actions of the IRA and ETA in the same way as that of a common criminal would never get to the bottom of the actual problem.

              Same with different types of crimes. They are just organized in a different way. And sometimes they have legitimate reasons to carry such crimes. Maybe review our societal structure to correct the wrongs that leaded to some of the "terrorist" groups out there would be a better solution than fighting them directly.

              But to make it simple, they are criminals. Terrorism is just a term to twist such crimes into something that can be used to stomp all sorts of rights nowadays.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 4:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                "Still a crime and the perpetrators still criminals"

                I never said otherwise.

                "Once you realize that, they lose a whole lot of their 'fear factor'."

                Not really. I'm not generally scared of terrorists because they're so rare in reality. But, I'm more concerned about a guy who wants to shoot up an area because he's trying to get abortion banned or someone who believes that killing random people will allow his country to than I am of a common criminal. It gets more complicated with organised crime, of course, but the words aren't the things that make the difference.

                I don't spend a lot of time worrying about either in my daily life, you understand, but the different terms exist for a reason.

                "Maybe review our societal structure to correct the wrongs that leaded to some of the "terrorist" groups out there would be a better solution than fighting them directly."

                It's not a binary choice, you can deal with both things at the same time. But whining about using an accurate term to describe them won't make any difference. The best thing that can be done is to stop the fearmongers from twisting things and driving a narrative targeting one population, but there's no reason why you can't deal with everything at the same time.

                "Terrorism is just a term to twist such crimes into something that can be used to stomp all sorts of rights nowadays."

                Nowadays, or at least since the US started pissing their pants the first time they were the target of a major attack from outside. The rest of the world were dealing with it without doing such things for a long time before that.

                The term is perfectly valid, even if the media seem to think it only applies to Muslims. The term existed for a lot longer than that, though, and its actual meaning has not changed.

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                • icon
                  Ninja (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 8:15am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                  I see your point but I still think the term is not needed. The anti-abortion guy shooting people is just a criminal. I do agree that there is some psychological component to the modus operandi of people you and I would agree that could be called terrorists and that the term has its uses much like you have differences between robbing and stealing. But in the end it is a crime.

                  I will apologize for not making it clear earlier but when I say there are zero terrorists it's exactly because the meaning has been so twisted that we need to remember they are just criminals in the end. The John Doe protesting is not a criminal so he/she cannot be a terrorist. But then again you can twist the meaning of criminal so in the end our discussion is moot. The point is, what the original comment said is awesome until you see you can twist the meanings to make virtually anyone fit the word "terrorist".

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 11:45pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                    "The anti-abortion guy shooting people is just a criminal"

                    Except, he's doing it for a political reason. He may also be a garden variety psycho who happens to spend a bit too much time in the more obsessive right-wing echo chambers, but the reason is to exact political change through fear and violence, thus a terrorist. That's more than a simple criminal, who will be doing things for personal gain or due to psychological or drug issues.

                    "when I say there are zero terrorists it's exactly because the meaning has been so twisted that we need to remember they are just criminals in the end"

                    Yes, but the term exists, terrorists exist whether you like it or not. It's not as easy as "just a criminal" because there are other factors at play.

                    That's my point - no matter how twisted some people have made the word, it's a real term and it's valid to apply to some people. Rejecting the term entirely because some people misuse it is not the right reaction.

                    I don't think we're going to agree here, but terrorists existed before 9/11 and they will exist after right-wing morons have stopped trying to paint entire continents with the term. Yes, they're criminals, but they are something else on top of that. A serial killer is also a murderer, but you don't address any kind of truth by pretending that "serial killer" is a pointless term because it's overused, so insist on using the term "murderer" instead..

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                    • identicon
                      Dingledore the Flabberghaster, 7 Jun 2016 @ 2:29am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                      Absolutely have to agree with PaulT. The ultimate point of terrorism is to literally force change.

                      If your common criminal stole from people in order to ensure they they installed burglar alarms, they'd be out of business (although they could move into insurance).

                      If your criminal targets people who work at abortion clinics, they're not doing it just to say "I don't like what you do", they're saying "I don't like what you do, and I want you to be scared enough to stop". That's an act of terrorism - to instill terror, to make people scared.

                      The way you fight terrorism is therefore significantly different. You fight a spate of burglaries in your area by installing an alarm and hefty locks. Conceptually, you'd fight a spate of terrorist burglaries by determinedly not installing big locks, not installing an alarm, and celebrating your open house (whilst joining a neighbourhood watch and installing CCTV).

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 4:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

            I think the incident involving Ahmed Mohamed (the student electronics enthusiast) explains terrorism pretty well: Crimes committed by brown-skinned Muslims are terrorism whereas crimes committed by anyone else are just crime.

            Actually it explains political correctness very well.

            A small overreaction by the authorities to something involving a brown skinned muslim is racism whereas if anyone else had been involved it is just a mistake!

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 5:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

              "A small overreaction by the authorities"

              Really, that's what it was?

              But then, I grew up at a time when no authorities would have been involved at all, let alone to the extent they were in that case. So anything other than saying to the teacher "it's a clock, you moron" seems like a major overreaction.

              But hey, it's just political correctness to point out the cases where minorities are treated differently to everyone else, can't offend the bigots by pointing out their bigotry.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 11:07am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                it's just political correctness to point out the cases where minorities are treated differently to everyone else,
                I don't believe that he was treated differently from anyone else. WHat was different was the reaction of people like you.

                In any case the level of "different treatment" he got is dwarfed by what happens daily to minorities in Islamic countries consider Asia Bibi for example - and yet they have the barefaced cheek to complain about it.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 11:53pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                  "I don't believe that he was treated differently from anyone else"

                  Well, according to the facts I've seen, they freaked out because a clock was taken out of its case and started beeping, and police were called despite there being no explosive material and both the kid and the science teacher he'd taken it to show to had confirmed it was a clock. The kid was then questioned without counsel or parents present because they didn't believe it was a clock.

                  I don't believe the same reaction would have occurred if this was a white Christian kid. The interviews I've read suggest that there was at least one teacher who was convinced it was a bomb for no other reason than it was the Muslim kid who brought it in.

                  Now, show me where I'm wrong here, but it seems clear that anti-Islamic hysteria managed to put a kid through a traumatic experience for doing something completely innocent, and I see no reason why a kid of a different race/religion would have seen the same treatment.

                  Prove me wrong, or accept that this appears to be bigotry, and point out assholes like that is not "political correctness". It's reality.

                  "WHat was different was the reaction of people like you."

                  My reaction was "what a bunch of morons". I tend to have that reaction when faced by morons.

                  "In any case the level of "different treatment" he got is dwarfed by what happens daily to minorities in Islamic countries"

                  Oh yeah, the old "every despicable act we do is OK because I know there's somewhere worse". You don't just fail to hold a higher moral standard, you accept abuses because you're not the bottom of the barrel. Yet.

                  Sorry if it's "politically correct" to want the Western world to remain more than one rung above the worst places you can think of, because that's not good enough for me..

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2016 @ 3:01pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                    I don't believe the same reaction would have occurred if this was a white Christian kid.
                    Well I'm not convinced about that - look at what happened to the white guy who tweeted about blowing up Robin Hood Airport.

                    The interviews I've read suggest that there was at least one teacher who was convinced it was a bomb for no other reason than it was the Muslim kid who brought it in.

                    Well that wouldn't have happened 25 years ago and it is the actions of Muslims around the world that have created that perception. (25000+ attacks worldwide since 2001).

                    Sorry if it's "politically correct" to want the Western world to remain more than one rung above the worst places you can think of, because that's not good enough for me..

                    I would agree but I would have thought that actively opposing the practices of those worse places would be more important than agonising about relatively minor misunderstandings that happen on our own patch. Especially when those misunderstandings get fixed quickly.
                    Instead we allowed islamist advocates to exploit this case to create an impression of muslim victimhood - when in reality Islam is the least persecuted religion on the planet (at least it is if you ignore muslims being persecuted by other muslims).

                    How come we tolerated Saudi Arabia having a leading role on the UN human rights council?

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 2 Jun 2016 @ 11:43pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                      "Well I'm not convinced about that - look at what happened to the white guy who tweeted about blowing up Robin Hood Airport."

                      That guy made a specific threat, even if you don't think it was serious. That would have been investigated no matter what, and indeed people may not have known his race before investigating.

                      The Muslim kid did nothing wrong, made no threats, and was targeted because paranoid morons assumed he was doing some thing wrong because he was Muslim.

                      Do you honestly not notice the massive difference?

                      "Well that wouldn't have happened 25 years ago and it is the actions of Muslims around the world that have created that perception"

                      Exactly the frigging point. He did nothing wrong but was targeted because of his race and religion. A schoolchild has absolutely sod all to do with political battles happening in your country or in the Middle East. His only crime was being the wrong colour and wrong religion.

                      "How come we tolerated Saudi Arabia having a leading role on the UN human rights council?"

                      Ask your elected leaders.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2016 @ 6:18am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                        Do you honestly not notice the massive difference?

                        Actually NO I don't .

                        The kid took a clock out of its case and mounted it in a suitcase where it looked exactly like the kind of "bomb" that you see on TV (Although almost certainly unlike a real bomb). This was then presented to an untrained "person in petty authority" who freaked out. You can't be certain that the same reaction wouldn't have happened regardless of the identity of the child.

                        Bearing in mind the rise of the use of children by terrorist groups

                        https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2015-02-09/rise-child-terrorist

                        unfortunately this kind of thing has to be taken seriously.


                        The Robin Hood airport incident on the other hand was obviously a joke. Can you seriously imagine a real terrorist announcing his intentions on twitter beforehand?

                        Having said all that however I do agree that the initial treatment of the child was heavy handed - and actually not a particularly sensible if the threat had been real.

                        My problem is the way that pro-islamic groups were permitted to milk the situation afterwards to bolster the impression of Muslim victimhood.

                        http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/cair-names-clock-boy-ahmed-american-muslim-year

                        The fact is that a small child was subjected to short period of psychological distress - whilst regrettable and stupid (not least because it allowed the narrative that I take issue with to develop) it is hardly a big deal compared to what Christian children in Egypt, Pakistan etc etc have to put up with.

                        Also I would point out that our systems in the west succeeded in correcting the error. That is about as good as it can ever be since individual "people in petty authority" will always make mistakes from time to time (and by the way they sometimes make them on behalf of muslims http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2770621/Couple-singing-Peppa-Pig-theme-tune-toddler-daughter -thrown-bus-passenger-accused-racist.html)

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 3 Jun 2016 @ 6:56am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                          "The kid took a clock out of its case and mounted it in a suitcase"

                          No he didn't. He placed it inside a pencil case, albeit one that looks similar to a metal briefcase. The most common photo circulating deliberately confuses the scale, but it's pretty obviously not a full size case (look at the empty battery holder for scale). The case in question is quite a common purchase for school kids. If you bother to look for facts, they're there to read.

                          Sorry, but if you can't even get the simplest facts correct, your conclusions are worthless.

                          "Bearing in mind the rise of the use of children by terrorist groups"

                          ...in war-torn areas in the Middle East, not American cities. Is there any evidence this is even close to happening in the west?

                          "The Robin Hood airport incident on the other hand was obviously a joke"

                          Yes it was, and I disagree with the actions taken. But it's so different from the situation being discussed is similarly laughable you even trying to compare the two. It's telling that this is the counter-example you chose.

                          "it is hardly a big deal compared to what Christian children in Egypt, Pakistan etc etc have to put up with."

                          Again, who gives a shit what's happening in other countries? Are you going to say instances of sexual assault in the West are not that bad because African villagers do worse? Are you happy being where you are just because it's a bit better than the worst hellhole you can think of? I prefer to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

                          "Also I would point out that our systems in the west succeeded in correcting the error"

                          But, people like you still trot the myths out and whine that people correctly identify bigotry. Nothing's been corrected so long as the lies continue.

                          "http://www.dailymail.co..."

                          If that notoriously lying, bigoted rag is your source for this kind of thing, no wonder your viewpoint is so skewed.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2016 @ 7:21am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                          ...it is hardly a big deal compared to what Christian children in Egypt, Pakistan etc etc have to put up with.

                          Ah, so it's some sort of justified religious retribution, eh? Nice.

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                          • icon
                            PaulT (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:01am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                            Like I said, race to the bottom. Some people are happy with abuses of anything jsn't so long as they feel they aren't personally affected and can point to someone worse. They don't seem to understand that there's a higher standard that they should be aspiring to.

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            • identicon
              Dingledore the Flabberghaster, 7 Jun 2016 @ 2:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

              Political Correctness is very easy to define.

              It's the freedom to tell people who say stupid and insulting things that they're stupid and insulting.

              People who complain about political correctness typically are the ones who say stupid and insulting things. No one is telling them they must stop, just that they have to accept that freedom of speech goes both ways.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 9:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

            Think about how the DHS is teaching people that their country was founded on terrorism not a fight for freedom and that the founding fathers were terrorists that should be hated. As well as anyone that believes in their constitutional rights should be suspect as a potential domestic terrorist.

            In my opinion this is a great example of how terrorism is defined by those in charge.

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        • icon
          Richard (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 3:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

          I don't recall you being asked to sacrifice your civil liberties to avoid car crashes.

          How about those pesky things called speed limits?

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 3:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

            In terms of civil liberties, the ability to drive at whatever ridiculous speed you wish is hardly on the same scale as those that have been removed or threatened in the name of combating terrorism.

            But, fine, your liberties to drive like a maniac, drunk or unlicensed have been removed.

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            • icon
              Richard (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 5:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

              your liberties to drive like a maniac, drunk or unlicensed have been removed

              Actually speed limits are rather more restrictive than that - and often quite a bit more restrictive than they need to be to achieve the stated purpose.

              It follows exactly the same pattern.

              I see those in authority behaving in exactly the same way in both cases.

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              • identicon
                Dingledore the Flabberghaster, 7 Jun 2016 @ 2:51am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

                The primary reason for speed limits is to reduce congestion.

                Standard speed limits applied statewide to reduce administration costs and prevent people from claiming ignorance. Therefore, some roads have speed limits that appear unneccessary.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 10:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

          ... a criminal usually does things for personal gain or through mental illness, while a terrorist is specifically trying to cause fear in order to exact political change.

          So, a criminal does it for personal gain, but a terrorist does it to make the world a better place (in their opinion)? Now wonder governments see terrorists as being so much worse than other criminals.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 9:11am

      Re: Given the rather low percentages of terrorists out there

      You and I should start a startup company. We'll be rich I tell you, rich!!!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 2:01pm

    Franz Joseph Gall, is that you buddy?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 2:01pm

    Figuring out someone being a criminal from their features...

    Is it just me, or it sounds really nazi?

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 4:34pm

      It sounds Nazi because we associate bad early 20th century science with the Nazis.

      Eugenics works. It's just selective breeding applied to humans. We apply to plants and livestock all the time.

      Phrenology is determining the traits of a person by their head bumps. It's totally silly, but at the time, we thought it was as sensible as vaccinations.

      Neither of these are particularly Nazi, but fascism does allow for a nation to set up a Eugenics program with some rapidity without all that pesky controversy about the traits targeted for breeding. (The Germans also combined Eugenics with Thulian dogma suggesting that blonde Scandinavians were descendants of the Wotanic Aesir and could sing really good opera.)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 3:58am

        Re: It sounds Nazi because we associate bad early 20th century science with the Nazis.

        Nah, I brought the nazi part because it always irks those israeli people that think that they are holier than the rest, when they are as SOBs as the rest.

        You'd think that they would have learned something from the Holocaust, but doesn't seem to be the case...

        Actually, even "democratic" countries where quite into eugenics and characterization of other people based on their traits:
        - In UK, Winston Churchill was a supporter of that idea.
        - In the US, remember that "negroes" where thought as inferior to white people (in many cases, based on their looks), not even allowing them to serve on the army on the same terms as white people (there is a movie about this, Red Tails, go and leech in your favourite torrent site).

        Though, truth to be told, fascist regimes, like Germany, Italy and Spain where the most open with these things, or rather, they sure were in a hurry to start working on that.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 2:15pm

    When accuracy doesn't matter

    Much like it doesn't matter how accurate drug dogs are since they're only there as portable 'probable cause' machines, I can absolutely see governments or government agencies not caring one bit how accurate the software is because it doesn't matter.

    If they're only using it as justification for something that they wouldn't be able to do otherwise('Well, looks like the software identified you as a terrorist, we'll be searching your home now') then the more hits the better, and false positives aren't a bug but a feature.

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  • icon
    Doug (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 2:23pm

    Confirmation Bias

    As @Uriel-238 and @ThatOneGuy already mentioned, this is just another smokescreen for "we wanted to search you". But it's so egregious it gives lie to the phrase "false positive". Seems like what they want here is "all positive" so that when all the results are kept secret, they can just trot out the positive results they like and say, see, it worked; this guy was a terrorist and our fancy software also said so.

    It's just a plausibly-enough technical-sounding solution that politicians can plausibly pretend that it works because most people won't be able to evaluate why it doesn't.

    As a last resort, we can "have a discussion" over it's efficacy.

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  • identicon
    Shilling, 31 May 2016 @ 2:45pm

    So instead of calling it witch-hunts (lovely Christian tradition a few centuries ago) we now call it terrorist-hunts.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 4:39pm

      Nobody expects...

      It's building up speed now that the hunters can seize for themselves the property of found terrorists.

      Now all they need to work out is how to force witnesses to confess their neighbors as collaborators.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 4:45pm

        Minor, but very important typo:

        It's building up speed now that the hunters can seize for themselves the property of accused terrorists.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 9:07pm

          Re: Minor, but very important typo:

          I'd say alleged, but yes, you're right.

          Though for now we don't really need to accuse them of anything to seize their property. We seem to be able to decide that the property is terror-associated itself.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 3:42am

      Re:

      witch-hunts (lovely Christian tradition a few centuries ago)
      Not a Christian tradition at all - at most a relatively recent Roman Catholic idea surprisingly adopted later by Protestants and almost never practised by Eastern Christians.
      see http://departments.kings.edu/womens_history/witch/werror.html

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 10:25am

        "Witch hunts weren't Christian"

        Witch hunts were tied to the scare of Satanic influence and the process of hunting down its victims used the same means and channels previously used to persecute heretics. For the Vatican that was the Holy Inquisition, or the CDF if it makes you feel better.

        Satan doesn't figure very largely outside of Christianity.

        If it makes you feel better, Richard that we've persecuted communists, terrorists and drug-war victims in identical ways makes it less of a Christian problem and more of a human problem, but it is one Christianity has failed to prevent, and to which hierarchical structures like the Roman Catholic Church are particularly susceptible.

        Same with the US Government.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2016 @ 12:15am

          Re: "Witch hunts weren't Christian"

          Witch hunts were tied to the scare of Satanic influence and the process of hunting down its victims used the same means and channels previously used to persecute heretics.
          Witch hunts were tied to the profitable business of taking away the property of and/or destroying people you did not like. Many, if not all, witch hunters were people who were not Christian (even if they portrayed themselves as such). Similarly, with the heretics. This was a simple power control and wealth control by certain groups who portrayed themselves to be Christian and were not in any meaningful way.

          There are many who describe themselves as Christian and have no concept of what that means. Many who call themselves Christian would drop the term if they understood what it truly meant for themselves and how they are to interact with society in general.

          It would be very good if all who called themselves Christian actually were. We would see profound effects in and on society. But today is, in reality, no different to the first and second century Roman society or Greek society. We have a different set of technological toys to play with, but in many essential ways, society as whole still wants its circuses and bread and really couldn't give a stuff about those who are abused or disadvantaged or persecuted.

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          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Jun 2016 @ 2:51am

            Re: Re: "Witch hunts weren't Christian"

            ^This. It is indeed a human problem and is not confined to one individual group. Describing it using different names is just a distraction.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Jun 2016 @ 11:02am

            What is "Christian"

            The term Christian like Feminist or Conservative or even atheist or Muslim, each embody too large a group to be able to effectively define what is or isn't one. Those who believe themselves to be Christian, yet focus on issues such as gays and abortion access or warring against Islam are no less worthy of the identity as those who take Jesus' messages of peace, mercy and compassion.

            A Christian is someone who identifies themselves as one, no more, no less, and no-one has the right to decide whether they are worth of that identity.

            Even within a single congregation or church, parishioners continue to attend and identify with that church or denomination, yet disagree with their ministers or anyone else that claims to represent them, hence how we have 95% birth control use by Catholic women in the US. Christianity or Christendom as a united front is only convenient for those who want to enjoy their silent concurrence, or speak against them.

            It's an easy habit to get into, that we generalize those groups we don't like to disparage them if they were venomous snakes, yet for our favorite groups, we prefer to regard them with nuance and demand the rest of the world does as well.

            It's also a tendency for groups to disassociate themselves with their darker pasts, or those of their related organizations, which is a good way to ensure that the mistakes and atrocities committed before can be repeated again. Case in point, the revisionism and apologetics teeming from the Roman Catholic Church: The Holy See does like to pretend out of all the cruel authoritarian hierarchies in history, its has been kinder and gentler than the rest, while simultaneously continuing to deny human rights to those groups it detests.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 3:28pm

    I was in Columbia for a while, several years, about 10 years back when they were having some of their more profound social issues.

    It is no trick at all to ascertain that some one is a very unsavory character. That is obvious. The really bad one have it written all over them.

    What is difficult is to ascertain that some innocent looking person is not an unsavory character. It is difficult and next to impossible to ascertain that some mild mannered sweet looking individual is not one's worst nightmare in disguise; a mass murder with no moral bounds at all.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 3:31pm

    man, i look forward to our having that capability. our operatives can go around eliminating terrorists and murderers before they can do their awful deeds.

    sure beats the weighing them against a duck that we presently use.

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 4:18pm

    The program says the glove doesn't fit! He couldn't have done it!

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  • identicon
    Vic, 31 May 2016 @ 5:45pm

    Nobody's perfect!

    The SW will be a resounding success in the US where, as we all know, everybody is a felon (at least three times a day).

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  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 31 May 2016 @ 7:04pm

    Phrenology 101

    Israeli Company Claims Its Software Can Look At Your Face And Determine If You're A Terrorist Or Murderer

    How wonderful the return of phrenology.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrenology

    Instead of a pseudoscientist posing as a doctor and running their fingers across or optically examining a persons skull in order to determine their psychological attributes the 21st century version has been updated to include a digital camera, CPU and algorithm used to scan a persons face to determine their personality.

    Slightly different examinations with results that are exactly the same sophistry.

    Faception is another in a long and ever growing list of boondoggles at the Department of Homeland Security (US government). Perhaps they can repurpose Faception and use it to scan the faces of all persons employed by the US government to help find all of the worthless tax feeding nincompoops wallowing at the public trough.

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  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 31 May 2016 @ 7:09pm

    How Will They Tell One Semite From Another?

    How will something that detects Arabs not pick up Jews as well? They’re all genetically related.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 7:12pm

    It detects every US soldier? Cool.

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  • identicon
    CharlieBrown, 31 May 2016 @ 9:02pm

    You forgot the obligatory xkcd

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 9:25pm

    Is that the same as saying your neighbour is a witch so you can take all their stuff after they have been burned at the stake?

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 12:34am

      Re:

      Sorta, but with the more modern witch/terrorist hunt you get to steal their stuff first, keeping it even if they are found to weigh more than a duck unless they feel like going through a painful and deliberately difficult legal process to reclaim it.

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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 31 May 2016 @ 9:57pm

    Racial characteristics

    Here's betting what it does is identify Muslim racial characteristics.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 1:37am

    The WashPo article quotes the vendor as saying their product is correct about 80% of the time. Even if this number meant what they are pretending it does, that's a lot of error.

    But if you scratch the surface on this sort of tech you will see that in evaluating performance you need to look at "specificity" and "sensitivity", that is, how many true positives and true negatives are able to be accurately identified.

    As others have pointed out, if the actual % of true cases is 1% then a model can be said to be 99% accurate if it just classifies everyone as a false. In practice this is exactly what the main algorithms tend to do, especially when they are fed poor quality predictors (which face metrics likely are).

    You also have to consider the relative value of a true positive and a true negative. For example, correctly identifying the presence of cancer is more important that correctly identifying an absence of cancer.

    It is possible that there is something in this. But if there is it probably isn't much.

    I suspect all of the other data governments are stockpiling on their citizens (location, association, financial, web browsing, education, corrections, courts, health, police, welfare, and the 1000s of other data sources) would make for better predictive models, for whatever they are currently looking for.

    It's what they might decide they want to look for at some point that is the problem (Jews, gays, "dissidents"...).

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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 1 Jun 2016 @ 4:20am

    Facepalm.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 5:17am

    Didn't there used to be a country that claimed it could do that based on religion?

    I can see it now. A typical afternoon at the DMV: -bleep bloop bleep-, terrorist. bloop-bloop-blonk- normal.

    Yeah. That will end well. /sarc

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 5:59am

    Easy if you sell it to the right people

    Just write an image filter that matches persons looking kinda more Arab than a good Israeli should. Lieberman will buy it...

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  • identicon
    vastrightwing, 1 Jun 2016 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    Exactly. Just like all the snake oil salesman. Make the technology sound plausible and when you want to question someone, Poof! Similar to sniffer dogs. Give the dog a reason to respond in a positive way and he will.

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  • identicon
    Just Askin, 1 Jun 2016 @ 6:52am

    Who, you?

    Feed the program, first, with photos of politicos and other authority figures (cops, etc.).

    Interesting results, I would wager.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 7:54am

    You can't tell these things from a face's "negative" features. A good counter-example: Ted Bundy.

    People are already prejudiced against sunken, angled or droopy facial features (like the nose, eyelids / eyes, lips, chin) and tend to classify such people as either evil or developmentally challenged without even bothering to find out more.

    Some of these features can indeed be associated in something like 40% of the cases. But that's still 6 in 10 presumed guilty or insane because of how their eyes look.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 8:05am

    Let's assume their stats 9 out of 11 terrorists... Wait a minute... 9/11... CONSPIRACY!!! /s

    Yeah... let's assume an 82% accuracy rate.
    That's 18 falsely accused out of 100. Is it OK to jail 18 innocents to catch 82 terrorists ? Maybe... maybe not... I'm definitely not qualified enough to answer such a question.

    But I can tell this test was not very scientific.
    The test involved 11 photos of known terrorists and the software failed to identify 2 of them.
    A proper test should have also used photos of innocent people (known not to be terrorists) mixed in.

    A software so important should report its false positive rate instead of its false negative one to earn trust.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2016 @ 11:20pm

      Re:

      That's 18 falsely accused out of 100. Is it OK to jail 18 innocents to catch 82 terrorists ? Maybe... maybe not... I'm definitely not qualified enough to answer such a question.
      You are NO less qualified to answer the question than anyone else. As am I or anyone who has a desire to answer the question.

      This is NOT a question that should ever be left to those who perform governmental activities. This is a question that all of society has a function in answering. I include the street people, prisoners, blue collar worker, white collar workers, professionals, children, elderly. Everyone who is involved in day to day living has a responsibility to consider this question and answer it with reasons.

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  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Jun 2016 @ 2:42am

    Remember when phrenology was a thing?

    The idea behind phrenology was to study the lumps and bumps on the head to determine personality traits. It was every bit as bogus as physiognomy. I was tickled to read Terry Pratchett (RIP) rip the ever-living crap out of it by suggesting such a thing as "retro-phrenology," in which your noggin could be bashed into the required shape to produce the desired effects in your character.

    Assume this is possible. If you're an evil pervert or whatever, surely to goodness a spot of plastic surgery would sort that out, wouldn't it?

    Someone needs to tap Emperor Gilboa on the shoulder and offer him a pair of pants to cover his bare bum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2016 @ 3:49am

    I don't need a program...

    I can tell just by looking at someone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2016 @ 5:16pm

    Wonder which nation sign up

    My guess is that it was the nanny state no other than the UK.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2016 @ 4:38pm

    Dowsing rods...

    are also great. Of course, the good ones aren't cheap. You get what you pay for.

    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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