In Which the 9th Gets One Right

Facebook’s use of the output of its facial recognition software—imagery of individuals’ faces—without those individuals’ prior permission can be contested in court, according to the Ninth Circuit.  Facebook had demurred when the case was brought.

On Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected Facebook’s efforts to dismiss the ongoing class-action lawsuit, which could potentially require the company to pay billions in compensation.
The lawsuit dates back to 2015 when three Facebook users living in the state [Illinois] claimed the tech giant had violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires companies to obtain consent when collecting their biometric information.

The Dangerous Mr Castro

Congressman Joaquin Castro (D, TX) still pretends he did nothing wrong in telling the world in general and us Americans in particular how to locate 44 of us when he doxed those 44 and called them racists because their politics were not his.  Castro still insists they deserved to be called out; all he was trying to do was identify despicable persons whose “contributions are fueling a campaign of hate.”

Here is a telephone message one of Castro’s minions, who answered his call to arms, left on the phone of one of those whose location information he so carefully, maliciously exposed. Play the recording, ugly as it is, but be careful where you play it; the recording does not contain gentle language.

Red Flag Gun Laws

In which I disagree with Ben Shapiro and others who support red flag gun laws.  There are a number of reasons for my disagreement; here are some, in no particular order. They are, each of them individually, must less collectively, deal breakers.

There’s considerable concern—legitimately so—about going through due process to protect the rights of the individual being “accused” of mental instability or of being dangerous otherwise to folks with whom he might come in contact (home, shopping mall,…). If the man truly is that dangerous, though, the court process cannot act quickly enough to mitigate the situation in the real time during which the danger supposedly exists.

There’s Surveillance

…and there’s surveillance.

The FBI is looking at ways to scan Facebook (and Twitter, et al.) postings with a view to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests.

In late 2016, following an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union into social-media monitoring done by outside developers on behalf of law enforcement, Facebook and Twitter cracked down on those services and explicitly banned the use of their data for surveillance purposes….
Facebook’s ban allowed law-enforcement agencies to look at public profiles manually but not use software designed for large-scale collection and analysis of user data.

Lies of Progressive-Democrats

Here’s another.  Recall Congressman Joaquin Castro’s (D, TX, and brother of Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Julian Castro) doxing of donors to a Trump campaign organization.

[T]he Texas congressman’s original tweet included a list of San Antonio residents who had donated large amounts to the Trump campaign, along with the names of their employers. …
“Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump,” Castro tweeted, along with the Twitter handles of several owners of local businesses who apparently donated to Trump. …
The list—titled “WHO’S FUNDING TRUMP?”—had 44 names of donors and their employers.

Warrant-Proof Encryption

Attorney General William Barr, in front of the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University, said that

“warrant-proof” encryption was “enabling dangerous criminals to cloak their communications and activities behind an essentially impenetrable digital shield.”

Of course.  And the FBI, in the aftermath of a mass-shooting in California a while back, (in)famously said that it needed Apple to crack the lock on one of the murderer’s smartphone so they could read it, insisting they were helpless without Apple’s cracking (and they demanded then, too, that Apple install encryption backdoors on its commercial cell phones).  Then the FBI hired a third party, which cracked the encryption forthwith.

The PRC and Facial Recognition

The People’s Republic of China is moving “beyond” the use of smart phones for making on-the-spot retail payments, starting to supplant that with facial recognition—with personal images tied to personal financial accounts.

Ant Financial Services Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd, rivals that operate, respectively, Alipay and WeChat Pay, China’s two largest mobile-payments networks, are competing for dominance in the next stage of China’s cashless society. Each is racing to install its own branded facial-recognition screens at retail points-of-sale all over the country, marketing the screens as a way to speed up sales and improve efficiency.

Abortion “Rights”

Senator and Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D, CA) wants to further erode Federalism in our nation’s structure and have the central government pass on certain kinds of State laws before those laws can be…permitted…to take effect.  Harris’ position and proposal is well summarized in the sub-headline of the article at the link:

The Democratic presidential hopeful wants the Justice Department to review state laws restricting abortion before they would take effect

Blowing Up Settlements

The one being sabotaged here is between Facebook and the FTC over the FTC’s proposed settlement of Facebook’s “mishandling” of consumer privacy data, including surrendering millions of consumers’ personal information to Cambridge Analytica.

FTC Chairman Joseph Simons has the (Republican) votes he need to impose the settlement, from the FTC’s perspective, on a 3-2 partisan vote.  He’s quite rightly trying to get at least one of the Progressive-Democrats on the board to vote with him, but they’re bleating that a $5 billion fine and other controls don’t go far enough.

This is naked obstruction, though, based on a cynically manufactured beef.

A Misunderstanding

Senator Cory “Spartacus” Booker (D, NJ) has one in spades. The article at the link was centered on Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Robert Francis O’Rourke’s mild disagreement with Booker’s position on gun control, but one of the false premises that inform Booker’s misunderstanding was exposed.

Booker argued that just as a driver’s license demonstrates a person’s eligibility and proficiency to drive a car, “a gun license demonstrates that a person is eligible and can meet certain safety and training standards necessary to own a gun.”