Mitnick In The News
Taser Building Surveillance Like Robocop
Mar 2, 2017 - Craig Peterson, by Craig Peterson
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 03/02/2017
Craig Peterson: You know the guys at Taser, right? The company that makes those things that they shoot at people and it stuns them. The stun guns. I’ve been hit by a taser. In fact one of the lines of fire I had it arranged was to be hit by a 50000 volt taser. Well they are now branching out a little bit further here in law enforcement. And kind of think RoboCop. And that’s what we’re gonna be talking about today. A little TechSanity check. Craig Peterson here. Stick around coz here we go.
Alright. Well just last week, Taser made some announcements. They have been in the acquisition mode. They bought two different artificial intelligence focused-firms. The bought Dextro out of New York and also Misfit. Now both of these companies have been involved in what’s called kind of computer vision. The ability for computers, for automated systems to be able to look at footage and, you know, do analysis. Now, this is the same sort of problem that has happened and is happening right now with our autonomous vehicles. Now, autonomous vehicles, of course, the cars, the trucks, etcetera. They’d have to figure out what’s going on the road. Who’s a pedestrian? And which exit are they going? There’s trees in the way. Whatever it might be. So there’s a lot of use for computer vision. Now, Taser, we wonder, you know, why did they buy these guys? There a stun gun companies as I mentioned before. I’ve been hit with tasers before. If you’re going to use them, if you’re going to go through police training, you have to be hit with a taser. You have to know what it’s like. And it’s annoying as heck. It’s not terribly incapacitating. Frankly lot of it has to do with the psychological aspect but it depends on where it hits you and a number of different factors.
But at any rate they’re a stun gun company. You may not be aware this but Taser has recently become an industry leader in body cams. Police departments all over the world, certainly across the US, have been buying body cams to kinda counter this whole movement, the Black Lives Matter, etcetera, where they’re saying the police are behaving inappropriately. How did President Obama put it, the police acting stupidly, right? That’s how President Obama put it. So the police are out there. They have body cameras more and more. And it protects both sides, right? If they are doing something illegal. If they are trampling on someone’s rights, we’re going to know. And then on the other side, if the suspect is really the one that’s at fault we can usually see that. Now, of course, they’re not a Panacea. We don’t know everything just because we have one view angle from a camera with a microphone. Or even if there’s a few view angles, you don’t know everything, right? You just can’t.
So what’s Taser doing now? Why did they buy these artificial intelligence-focused companies? Well it looks like they’re going to be using them to provide police officers with the ultimate in surveillance tools. These cameras, if the technology is applied the way we kind of think it will be based on what those companies are doing, that technology is going to be used by police offices on the street as they’re walking about. But it isn’t just going to be recording what’s going on so you can look at it after the fact. Kind of like, you know, security camera footage. What they’re doing is identifying everything in real time on the street. And that’s where RoboCop comes in. Remember RoboCop? Now, of course, he was kind of the bionic man, right? He had all of these supplements that were machines and computers. But one of the things they did was it identified threats. Remember that in his heads up display? That something’s a threat. That it’s a person. It brought the attention of RoboCop to who he should be paying attention to, right? So Murphy’s in the suit. It pops up that warns him that’s Warren to me about something behind them beside him or in front of him and he handles it.
Now, Dextro, one of these two companies that they bought, already has programs that can scan video footage and look for specific things. So it can look for guns for instance. It can recognize events like the police foot chase. It can recognize it as a traffic stop going on and I’m looking at some video right now from the Dextro demonstration showing the real time classification of people and objects in a video. Now it’s pretty basic right now. It says car and it has a little box on the car and person and has a box around the person. But as we go forward, it’s going to be doing facial recognition technology, looking people up. And it’s going to be recording all of that. It’s going to be streaming all of that. It’s all going to be live real time because there are no laws right now. Nationwide laws. Nothing federal and most states haven’t adopted anything. No laws preventing police from trawling through databases to track people en masse. So there’s something we need to talk to our legislators about in each of our states. I don’t know if this is a federal matter. Certainly I don’t think it is. I think it’s really a state matter. But because Taser’s expressed interest before in putting face recognition into its body cams and since the police are using those body cams and now we know that Taser has just bought a couple of AI companies that are specializing in identifying things in the of the view of the camera, it really makes you wonder ultimately where this is going.
Now there’s pros, there’s cons to all of this, right? Using artificial intelligence ultimately here to really look at this footage. Get deep into it. It makes it a logical next step here for Taser, right? It’s really position itself to become kind of a one-stop-shop for some of this technology for police. You know, the non-lethal stuff basically. We’ll see how this goes. It’s also interesting to notice that the Axon body camera platform apparently can handle more than 5 petabytes of storage. Isn’t that amazing? And they are hosting all that online in the Cloud Locker is what they’re calling it over at: http://evidence.com.
So, interesting. It’ll be good from two different sides obviously to help the police defend themselves. To help the people on the streets be able to help keep the cops in check, right? Because obviously there’s some bad cops out there and it’s going to ultimately be kind of a negative for us because of our privacy. We’re seeing the less and less of this. We have police cars that are driving around, not where I live, but I’ve seen them down in New Jersey when I was driving down there. Police cars that have cameras on them. All 4 corners, scanning license plates as you drive by. And Kevin Mitnick do you know who he is? Kevin Mitnick is a big-time hacker who he was caught and arrested, went to prison. It’s kind of like Catch Me If You Can. I had him on my radio show before. But Kevin Mitnick did it on the computer side as opposed to Frank Abagnale that did it in the physical world, right? With checks and IDs and things. But Kevin Mitnick has written there new book out that’s kind of interesting. I just grabbed a copy. I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. But in that book he is talking about how to keep yourself safe, protected. How to keep your identity safe online. And it’s a very, very complex subject. And it’s something maybe we should spend little time going through.
Now I want to remind everybody, Cloudflare. Oh my gosh. We’ve got the huge problem right now in the internet. Can’t stress it enough. Go to my website. You can see it on the home page. If you are looking, if you’re listening to this right away. If not, go ahead and just do a search for passwords. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. This is a huge, huge bug. They’re calling it Cloudbleed. Pretty much every website in the world could have been infected or affected by this. Which certainly mean that Cloudflare was affected and they handle the internet traffic for thousands, probably, web sites out there including some very major ones. So right now you have to change all your passwords and since you’re changing your passwords anyways, go online. Get either LastPass or 1Password. Download those. Have them generate a unique randomized password for every website that you use and have it store them for you. This is so important. I can’t stress it enough. I’m going to be doing that myself here today. I’ve already started changing some passwords. I’ve been using 1Password. Which is what I want to recommend the most for a very long time. But you can find all that info on my website: http://CraigPeterson.com Just do a search for password and it will come up with some recommendations. There’s two basic ones and as well as some links to some articles out on the internet about Cloudbleed and what that’s all about. This is kind of putting the Heartbleed Bug to shame. It’s crazy it was so bad that not only did it leak your personal information like usernames, passwords, keys, cookies that are used for authentication. It was so bad the web crawlers, like Google uses to find information on the web, were able to pick up your account information. So smart bad guys about out there doing searches to find your personal information. Unfortunately they may well have found it. So make sure you change your password. Keep an eye on your credit reports on your bills. Oh my. Another day, right? Another dollar.
Well have a great day. This has been another TechSanity check. And we will be back on the morrow as we do every weekday. Talk about the latest in the news and put a little bit of protectionist spin on it to help you understand what’s going on. Take care. Thanks for listening. Bye bye.
Read this cool transcript and other interesting ones at the source.