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11/03/2020 18:57:28  

Law enforcement agencies in India used facial recognition to identify more than 1,100 individuals who took part in communal violence in the national capital last month, a top minister said in the lower house of the parliament on Wednesday. From a report: In what is the first admission of its kind in the country, Amit Shah, India's home minister, said the law enforcement agencies deployed a facial recognition system, and fed it with images from government-issued identity cards, including 12-digit Aadhaar that has been issued to more than a billion Indians and driving licenses, "among other databases," to identify alleged culprits in the communal violence in northeast Delhi on February 25 and 26. "This is a software. It does not see faith. It does not see clothes. It only sees the face and through the face the person is caught," said Shah, responding to an individual who had urged New Delhi to not drag innocent people into the facial surveillance. The admission further demonstrates how the Indian government has rushed to deploy facial recognition technology in the absence of regulation overseeing its usage. Critics have urged the government to hold consultations and formulate a law before deploying the technology.

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20/02/2020 09:55:02  

The remarkable history of how a Jewish survivor hid in plain sight at the heart of the Third Reich is uncovered by his daughter

Getting to know your parents can take a lifetime, especially if they are secretive about their past. That her father, Hans, was more than a philanthropic, art-collecting Venezuelan businessman was something Ariana Neumann dimly grasped from childhood, after hearing him cry out in a strange language while asleep and finding a photo of him on the identity card of someone called Jan Šebesta. Being told, as a student, that she must be Jewish, was another clue: with her Catholic upbringing, it had never occurred to her. Over the years there were further revelations: hearing her father sob by an old railway station on a trip to Czechoslovakia (“This is where we said goodbye”); and finding his name among the 77,297 Nazi victims listed on a memorial in Prague (though with a question mark instead of the date of his death). There was even talk of him writing a memoir and of her helping with it. But it wasn’t until after his death that she began to understand what he’d been through during the war. And it’s only now, nearly 20 years later, that she has put together the pieces to tell his extraordinary story.

“A mosaic of assembled reminiscences”, she calls it, created from interviews, diaries, photos, letters, phone calls, emails and the dogged pursuit of leads and contacts across the world. What happened to Hans’s family is part of the Holocaust story. But the horrible familiarity is no less compelling. And Hans is a fascinating figure in his own right: resourceful, charismatic, courageous and ultimately saved (as he put it) by others’ lack of imagination.

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11/02/2020 01:07:23  

A software flaw exposed the personal data of every eligible voter in Israel -- including full names, addresses and identity card numbers for 6.5 million people -- raising concerns about identity theft and electoral manipulation, three weeks before the country's national election. The New York Times reports: The security lapse was tied to a mobile app used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party to communicate with voters, offering news and information about the March 2 election. Until it was fixed, the flaw made it possible, without advanced technical skills, to view and download the government's entire voter registry, though it was unclear how many people did so. How the breach occurred remains uncertain, but Israel's Privacy Protection Authority, a unit of the Justice Ministry, said it was looking into the matter -- though it stopped short of announcing a full-fledged investigation. The app's maker, in a statement, played down the potential consequences, describing the leak as a "one-off incident that was immediately dealt with" and saying it had since bolstered the site's security. "Ran Bar-Zik, the programmer who revealed the breach, explained that visitors to the Elector app's website could right-click to 'view source,' an action that reveals the code behind a web page," the report adds. "That page of code included the user names and passwords of site administrators with access to the voter registry, and using those credentials would allow anyone to view and download the information. Mr. Bar-Zik, a software developer for Verizon Media who wrote the Sunday article in Haaretz, said he chose the name and password of the Likud party administrator and logged in." The flaw was first reported on Sunday by the newspaper Haaretz.

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