The surveillance state.

I back up my phone to Google Photos, and it’s starting to freak me out. The first thing it does when you upload your library is, it starts to look for matching faces, then asks you if you want to ID that face and make an album. I did this for my family members and close friends; it makes searching for pictures much easier.

It was a little unnerving that it could tell 4-year-old Kate was the same as 24-year-old Kate (although it couldn’t tell Wendy from Kevin, and they share only modest similarities). But then today, it flagged this photo, a throwaway from Kate’s high-school graduation in 2015. Who’s this guy, it asked:

That’s Kate’s friend Will. I ID’d him as such, and pretty soon it put this pic, from March 2020, in that album:

Man, I’d be hard-pressed to say that was the same kid; his appearance is pretty different there. Like Kate, Will is a musician. His band is the Stools (and they’re great). And Google stuffed these pics, from last summer’s Labor Day festival in Hamtramck, in there:

At least in that one, he looks close to his high-school self. And as for this, I can only assume it figured that since we know he’s White T-Shirt Guy in the pictures taken close to one another at the same location, that’s probably the back of White T-Shirt Guy’s head, too:

I realize this is just an AI thing, but it’s a bit unsettling. Will’s a good kid, but I hate to think we’re all out there somewhere, and Google Knows All.

But that horse has left the barn.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of Kate from Friday night, when her other band, GiGi, played at a local punk/garage fest at a bar nearby. Someone was setting off fireworks nearby, and it made for some nice shots:

Well, it happened: I no sooner announce my exit from journalism than my swim coach pitched me on being a lifeguard at the Grosse Pointe Shores (or any other GP pool) next summer. Not sure if I want to do it, but it could be fun. My career, it takes a turn!

In bloggage, I have only this, which many of you have already seen, but on the tiny chance someone hasn’t, it’s so, so worth a click: A withering takedown of Jared Kushner’s White House memoir:

Every political cliché gets a fresh shampooing. “Even in a starkly divided country, there are always opportunities to build bridges,” Kushner writes. And, quoting the former White House deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell: “Every day here is sand through an hourglass, and we have to make it count.” So true, for these are the days of our lives.

Kushner, poignantly, repeatedly beats his own drum. He recalls every drop of praise he’s ever received; he brings these home and he leaves them on the doorstep. You turn the pages and find, almost at random, colleagues, some of them famous, trying to be kind, uttering things like:

It’s really not fair how the press is beating you up. You made a very positive contribution.

I don’t know how you do this every day on so many topics. That was really hard! You deserve an award for all you’ve done.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say again. This agreement would not have happened if it wasn’t for Jared.

Jared did an amazing job working with Bob Lighthizer on the incredible USMCA trade deal we signed yesterday.

Jared’s a genius. People complain about nepotism — I’m the one who got the steal here.

I’ve been in Washington a long time, and I must say, Jared is one of the best lobbyists I’ve ever seen.

A therapist might call these cries for help.

And then there’s the eye-goo line. But you’ve already seen that in a million places.

OK, time to take on my second-to-last week in journalism. Short-timer! What a feeling.

Posted at 4:47 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

35 responses to “The surveillance state.”

  1. beb said on August 21, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    I used to take pictures of people I knew at a convention I went to, then posted them on Flickr. Along about the time facial recognition got to be a big thing I decided to take then all down. Did not want to contribute to the scrutiny of all Americans. Though it was probably too late. When we got iPhones I decided not to activate the cloud, or hoped that I didn’t because I don;t all that shit being shared behind my back, as it likely is. The Internet has become the cause and the cure for all of life’s problems. Beating out Duff beer.

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  2. Deborah said on August 21, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    The facial recognition stuff is both fascinating and creepy. I’ll have to get used to it because it’s here for good (or bad) probably.

    We got window locks today for when we want to keep our new windows a bit open but still locked and sensor alarms too. We know it’s mostly perception but if it makes you sleep better why not.

    It has been very rainy and cool the last few days so having bare windows totally closed and locked hasn’t been a problem.

    It feels like the beginning of fall already but of course it will heat up again before summer is over.

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  3. basset said on August 22, 2022 at 12:06 am

    Sticker on a truck in Cornelia, Georgia this morning:

    “Trump 2024/The Revenge Tour”

    No surprise, but still.

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  4. beb said on August 22, 2022 at 1:23 am

    Basset, those people are insane. And we have to live with them.

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  5. Dexter Friend said on August 22, 2022 at 1:39 am

    I’m thinking it was halfway through The Donald’s reign that an exposé made a splash. Jared Kushner’s apartment complex was in horrid shape. Black mold abounded , rain damaged ceilings just fell in, thermostats were worn out, sinks dripped, toilets back up disgustingly. Jared was receiving millions in government aid to oversee the maintenance of these government-subsided apartments while collecting outrageous rents. I read one report on this , then the whole story…*poof*…gone. I bet that didn’t make the book.
    Well, I gotta leave in less than 6 hours for my kidney ultrasound. I just showered and shaved because if I try to do all that after I wake up I’ll never make it out of here in time, being a night owl. I’ve only had two ultrasounds , a kidney scan in 1973 and leg scan about 20 years ago. I have a hard time getting to AM appointments.

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  6. Jeff Gill said on August 22, 2022 at 7:05 am

    “The Revenge Tour” banners are all over my swath of countryside between central Ohio & central Indiana, and it’s quite a theme for a political campaign.

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  7. Alan Stamm said on August 22, 2022 at 8:19 am

    NYT today has a more troublesome example of AI photo flagging:

    A Dad Took Photos of His Naked Toddler for the Doctor. Google Flagged Him as a Criminal.

    Child advocates say the [tech giants’] cooperation is essential to combat the rampant online spread of sexual abuse imagery. But it can entail peering into private archives, such as digital photo albums — an intrusion users may not expect — that has cast innocent behavior in a sinister light in at least two cases The Times has unearthed.”

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  8. Icarus said on August 22, 2022 at 10:26 am

    If I told you the direction AI is going, you’d probably lose sleep or beg for the sweet kiss of death to come sooner than later. The good news is that most people on this site will be dead before AI reaches its full potential. The bad news is my kids, and many of your grandkids will experience it firsthand.

    Based on posts here, I’m sure most of you aren’t Sci-fi geeks but you do know what an android is. They will look increasingly human and with a MindFile, they will resemble your ex-wife, long-dead brother, or even that person you had a crush on in college.

    Just like the Internet grew while laws lagged behind, so will the ethical treatment of AI and androids. What a time to be alive.

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  9. JodiP said on August 22, 2022 at 11:31 am

    Re: tracking. I am sure you all have heard of the case of using FB data to prosecute the woman and daughter charged with violating Nebraska’s new abortion law. In looking at this, the actions took place BEFORE the law went into effect, so not clear how procesution will go.

    China is way ahead of us and it’s really frightening how they are using facial recognition and tracking to control the people.

    Icarus, I am huge sci-fi fan. Alistair Reynolds has several books in which people’s personas have been downloaded so they can kinda sorta continue to interact after death. I’ve written about his work here previously, as he features a lot of speculation on up and coming technology.

    On a tangent, have you read The Shattered Earth series by N.K. Jemison? I did in the last month and it’s wild. Highly recommend.

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  10. Icarus said on August 22, 2022 at 11:57 am

    JodiP, you’d think as an unemployed person, I’d read more but I don’t. I have heard about N.K. Jemison (mostly from my doppelgänger John Scalzi) but I haven’t read her yet. I should remedy that.

    from the last post, the one benefit of LinkedIn is I learned how to describe my job by cribbing (stealing) from colleagues in the same industry.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on August 22, 2022 at 12:14 pm

    I don’t believe most of the tRumpanzees will have any desire to actually go to war against their fellow citizens, but I do believe we’ll see events like the one in the suburbs of Moscow yesterday, which took out the rabidly nationalist daughter of an even more rabidly nationalist philosopher. It’s gonna be tougher to be a federal employee or a politician with all those violent, heavily armed yahoos out there.

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  12. Mark P said on August 22, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Maybe all those gun-toting Trumpers will take each other out. Some doofus who was carrying in a Georgia Walmart managed to fumble his pistol and shot himself and three others in the legs. F’ing dumbasses.

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  13. Jeff Borden said on August 22, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    Mark P.,
    They all think they’re gonna be Jason Bourne but they have more in common with Barney Fife.

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  14. tajalli said on August 22, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    JodiP, haven’t read the Broken Earth trilogy but started on the Inheritance trilogy a while back, and more recently read The City We Became, which draws its characters as the embodiment of each of the NYC boroughs. The World We Make is the followup for the latter and will probably deal with whatever happens with Staten Island, the quintessence of scared white society. Jemison’s terrific.

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  15. brian stouder said on August 22, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    Jeff Borden – Indeed! Except even Barney only got one bullet, and he was s’posed to keep that in his pocket!

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  16. basset said on August 22, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    I occasionally wear a “Taylor/Fife 2024” t-shirt, design looks a lot like a Trump shirt till you read it and it gets some funny looks… even had someone stop me on the street this past Saturday and ask who Taylor was. It’s a joke, guy, and you didn’t get it… he was nice about it, though, which went a little way toward counterbalancing the flow of anger and what Southerners call “hatefulness” coming off the tv and roadside signs. Hadn’t seen a campaign sign with an AR rifle on it, that was a first for us.

    We were in north Georgia at the time, in the mountains beimg tourists for the weekend. Couple of nights at a state park lodge, tour of a gold mine, that kind of stuff and really enjoyed it. If we hadn’t had GPS, though, we’d probably still be up there.

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  17. Sherri said on August 22, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    Like JodiP, I highly recommend Jemison’s trilogy, though it’s actually the Broken Earth rather than the Shattered Earth. All three books of the trilogy won the Hugo Award, despite a reactionary backlash that organized against her (similar to Gamergate, prompting a change to the voting structure for the Hugo’s to prevent such attacks).

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  18. David C said on August 22, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    I think Jeff is right about the tRumpers not going to war. In a place where most people can’t come up with $400 for an emergency, they can’t afford it. Their civil war fantasies aren’t any different than their girlfriend in Canada fantasies. I’m sure there will be random acts of violence which any of us could be caught up in. At the low end, it’ll Baader-Meinhof stuff at the high end Northern Ireland.

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  19. FDChief said on August 22, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    The dead of Bosnia would like a word about how letting rapacious and ambitious politicians stir up hatred amongst violent, armed chucklefucks can, indeed, produce civil war where none was expected.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on August 22, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    Tomorrow is primary day here, and I’m so glad. First, the political ads will stop for a little while, and second, I’ll have an election under my belt and can stop fretting. Last night I had a nightmare where I was there but completely unprepared, and had forgotten my instruction book. I am the queen of overpreparation, but my anxieties got the better of me.

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  21. MarkH said on August 22, 2022 at 11:37 pm

    Kushner must have been auditing the self-praise course taught by Mitch Albom.

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  22. beb said on August 23, 2022 at 1:32 am

    That Nebraska case JodiP mentions is not a good example. The pregnancy was 23 weeks along, which made it marginally viable. It’s a toss-up between an abortion and infanticide. However the accessing Facebook for evidence seems invasive and ought to require a search warrant.

    While the majority of Trumper probably won;t go to war, it only takes a handful of the really committed kind to give up one mass shooting a day.

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  23. Roy Edroso said on August 23, 2022 at 9:47 am

    Be a lifeguard! Or at least claim the job and wait and see — maybe the Secret Project will take off by then.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on August 23, 2022 at 9:59 am

    I’m mildly enthusiastic that efforts to preserve our democracy are No. 1 in voter concerns with cost of living being No. 2. But then that enthusiasm is bruised by news some low-key right-wing gazillionaire is pledging billions to help the QOP in the midterms. Thanks, Citizens United!

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  25. Dorothy said on August 23, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    Sliding in quickly in the comments to say the biopsy results are back for my husband’s lymph nodes sample – all negative!! Happy early birthday to me!

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  26. David C said on August 23, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Great news Dorothy. So no chemo then?

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  27. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    Yay, Dorothy!

    Just a brief lull in a very steady stream of voters today. It’s been a great day!

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  28. Dorothy said on August 23, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    No chemo, but even if it had been positive for cancer, the doc had already said he’d do immunotherapy instead of chemo therapy. I’m glad he doesn’t have to find out why the doc prefers one over the other.

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  29. Deborah said on August 23, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    Dorothy, We have two friends with cancer and they both are getting immunotherapy instead of chemo. I haven’t asked why because it’s none of my business, but I still wonder.

    We have been trying to put our window blinds back up after window replacement and are having the darnedest time getting the brackets back in, For some reason the screws don’t want to go back into the existing holes?? I’m finally going to have to hire a handyman to do it if I can find someone available. LB and I put them up to begin with and don’t remember it being such a royal pain. I ordered them online about 6 or 7 years ago, they’re not great but they were cost effective and serviceable.

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  30. susan said on August 23, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    A friend of mine has blood lymphoma (lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma), and she will be having both chemo and immuno-therapy infusions—chemo one day, immuno the next day; once a month. The latter is a six-hour ordeal. Ugh. Every cancer is different, and treatments sure do vary.

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  31. Colleen said on August 23, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    Great news, Dorothy!

    Immunotherapy is really the future of cancer treatment. Where chemo just attacks all (or most) fast growing cells, the immunotherapy is much more targeted…it can focus on and “switch off” the cancer cells. Remember when Jimmy Carter had metastatic melanoma? They didn’t even know where the primary tumor was, only that it was melanoma and it was in his liver. Or brain, I can’t remember which. He was treated with immunotherapy and the metastatic lesions disappeared. And this was years ago. Immunotherapy has been a huge advancement in melanoma treatment. Also for lung cancer.
    I am not a doctor, but I spend all day with cancer data and patient treatment plans, so I have a modicum of knowledge of different treatments.

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  32. Deborah said on August 23, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Dorothy, I meant to also say good news about your husband’s prognosis in my last comment. How relieving it must be to hear that.

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  33. David C said on August 23, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    It metastasized to both his brain and liver, Colleen. I only know this because my cousin received the same treatment and Jimmy and that’s where his metastases were. Bill is also doing well years after treatment.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    And I have a niece doing proton therapy at the nuclear place up near Chicago. They hope she won’t need chemo.

    We had 560 voters come through, absolutely slammed the last 90 minutes. I’m exhausted but heartened by the voter enthusiasm. More tomorrow.

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  35. Deborah said on August 23, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    LB’s friend who was working in Beverly Hills as a contracted med tech did Proton therapy, she now lives in Key West and does it there. We have no idea what that is.

    Julie, what do you think about the Crist win? I’m kinda glad because I think he’s the moderate who might have a chance to beat DeSantis but I’m not very up to speed on Florida politics, except for Val Demings. DeSantis is such a creep and his latest ad pretending to be a fighter pilot is cringe inducing.

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