Monday, June 03, 2019

Online identification is getting more and more intrusive

The TPB’s new chief exec, Michael O’Neill, will be familiar with Gould’s work because as assistant tax commissioner, O’Neill headed the mammoth Project Wickenby investigation. It was Wickenby’s Operation Rubix that targeted Gould and clients, including former Sunland Group chairman John Leaver and colourful investor Joe Ross

Curtains for Vanda Gould’s $383m tax panto

Neil Chenoweth

Tax fugitive tracked down and sentenced to 3 years and 3 months jail Mirage News

US company selling Australians' personal data for just $US60, and you could be one of them

  • Information from dating profiles of more than 2,000 Australians is sold to the ABC for approximately $86.55
  • Between 2,500 and 4,000 companies in the United States buy, sell and share personal data
  • Services like Paypal, now used by more than 7 million Australians, shares its user data with over 600 different third parties

Our personal data isn't staying with the companies that collect it — it is being bought, sold and shared in ways most of have no idea about.


Where Everybody Knows Your Name: The Art Of The Regular Patron

“No matter the establishment — cafe, trattoria, dive bar, coffeehouse, doughnut shop, pharmacy, even — those who make themselves permanent fixtures almost all say the same thing about what makes a regular. When they walk in, the people behind the counter know who they are.” – The New York Times

“In 2018, Freedom in the World recorded the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The reversal has spanned a variety of countries in every region, from long-standing democracies like the United States to consolidated authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous. Democracy is in retreat. In states that were already authoritarian, earning Not Free designations from Freedom House, governments have increasingly shed the thin façade of democratic practice that they established in previous decades, when international incentives and pressure for reform were stronger. More authoritarian powers are now banning opposition groups or jailing their leaders, dispensing with term limits, and tightening the screws on any independent media that remain. Meanwhile, many countries that democratized after the end of the Cold War have regressed in the face of rampant corruption, antiliberal populist movements, and breakdowns in the rule of law. Most troublingly, even long-standing democracies have been shaken by populist political forces that reject basic principles like the separation of powers and target minorities for discriminatory treatment…”

'Holy Spirit' swoops in to save speeding driver in Germany, police say
Samsung deepfake AI could fabricate a video clip of you from a single photo
c/net: “Imagine someone creating a deepfake video of you simply by stealing your Facebook profile pic. Luckily, the bad guys don’t have their hands on that tech yet.  ButSamsung has figured out how to make it happen.  Software for creating deepfakes — fabricated clips that make people appear to do or say things they never did — usually requires big data sets of images in order to create a realistic forgery. Now Samsung has developed a new artificial intelligence system that can generate a fake clip by feeding it a little as one photo…In [a] paper, Samsung’s AI lab dubbed its creations “realistic neural talking heads.” 

…Here’s the downside: These kinds of techniques and their rapid development also create risks of misinformation, election tampering and fraud, according to Hany Farid, a Dartmouth researcher who specializes in media forensics to root out deepfakes…”

People accessing the internet at McDonald’s and Westfield in Australia could be targeted for surveillance by police under new encryption legislation, according to the home affairs department.
A briefing by the department, obtained under freedom of information, reveals that police can use new powers to compel a broad range of companies including social media giants, device manufacturers, telcos, retailers and providers of free wifi to provide information on users.
The Telecommunications Access and Assistance Act, which passed parliament in December, prompted warnings of legislative overreach, particularly due to the large number of offences with a prison sentence of three years, which bring suspects within reach of the new powers.
Spies with that? Police can snoop on McDonald's and Westfield wifi customers

The Economist [paywall] – Phones can now tell who is carrying them from their users’ gaits
“…LexisNexis Risk Solutions, an American analytics firm, has catalogued more than 4 billion phones, tablets and other computers in this way for banks and other clients. Roughly 7% of them have been used for shenanigans of some sort. But device fingerprinting is becoming less useful.  
Apple, Google and other makers of equipment and operating systems have been steadily restricting the range of attributes that can be observed remotely. That is why a new approach, behavioral biometrics, is gaining ground. It relies on the wealth of measurements made by today’s devices. These include data from accelerometers and gyroscopic sensors, that reveal how people hold their phones when using them, how they carry them and even the way they walk. Touchscreens, keyboards and mice can be monitored to show the distinctive ways in which someone’s fingers and hands move. Sensors can detect whether a phone has been set down on a hard surface such as a table or dropped lightly on a soft one such as a bed. If the hour is appropriate, this action could be used to assume when a user has retired for the night. These traits can then be used to determine whether someone attempting to make a transaction is likely to be the device’s habitual user…”

Chaos, hope, change: stories from 70 years of the People's Republic of China  

New ranking reveals corporate tax havens behind breakdown of global corporate tax system; toll of UK’s tax war exposed

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