Lie Detection Software Learns from Real Court Testimony

Machine learning is one of the hot computing topics of today. With Google releasing its own open source machine learning tools and both IBM and Intel not wanting to be left out of the party with their own offerings. Most of the uses for these platforms right now are almost entirely academic, with researchers frequently coming up with new and useful ways to employ machine learning in the real world. This has led to researchers at the University of Michigan experiment with utilizing it for lie detection.

In order to test out the system, as well as show it’s worth in a high-stakes environment, the researchers used footage of testimony from real court cases as their sample, claiming that the software was able to discern a liar with as much as 75% accuracy. Comparatively, humans could only reliably tell the difference between lies and truth 50% of the time.

The software made use of both the words and gestures of the speaker under analysis, using techniques ranging from simply counting certain words and gestures to where the speaker was looking in regard to the questioner and their vocal fill. The ability to employ these techniques potentially makes computers far better lie detectors than humans, according to professor of computer science and engineering Rada Mihalcea.

“This isn’t the kind of task we’re naturally good at. There are clues that humans give naturally when they are being deceptive, but we’re not paying close enough attention to pick them up. We’re not counting how many times a person says ‘I’ or looks up. We’re focusing on a higher level of communication.”

The team are not planning to stop with this, with plans to tie in the subject’s heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature changes using thermal imaging. As well as this, they plan to let the system analyze and classify human gestures on its own, instead of through input by the researchers.

Gone could be the days of a suspect being hooked up to a polygraph lie detector that simply relies on the body’s physiological responses and draws the iconic graphs seen in many a movies. Criminals who think they can lie their way out of trouble could find themselves far harder pressed to deceive thanks to this.

Cyberbullying Now Illegal In New Zealand

Cyberbullying is a problem a lot of people have faced. The concept of being able to bully without having to directly see the results or the person your bullying has meant that people feel like cyberbullying is almost victimless. The truth is far from this, with people being haunted and hunted both offline and online, often resulting in the desired effect of causing emotional harm to the messages recipient. The problem with cyber bullying is that because the location of the attacker is across the other side of the world and because of the means they use to communicate, it is often hard or impossible to catch up with and charge the culprit.

New Zealand has brought into law a new piece of legislation which prohibits several of the common habits that are considered cyberbullying. The legislation bans any communication which would be considered racist, sexist, against someone’s sexuality or religion or makes a comment about disability. The law also goes on to expand to messages where they are “designed to cause serious emotional distress”, this of course leads to the problem of determining if a person meant hard when they sent a message. If you are found to be guilty of cyber bullying you can face up to two years in jail.

In addition to the cyberbullying act, the legislation also expands on inciting suicide, resulting in three years in jail if you are found to be encouraging the act.

In order to combat the new issues, a new agency has been formed and are investigating and continuing on acts which Twitter and Facebook have reported.  The hope is that companies such as Facebook and Twitter will sign deals with thew new agency, allowing a series of collaborations that will allow all three groups to act quicker and with greater efficiency than before.

Have you ever been cyberbullied? Do you believe it should be regarded as a crime? Should other countries take heed and create their own legislation for dealing with cyber bullying?

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of StopCyberbullying.org

eBay Looking to Place Interactive Mirrors in Changing Rooms

eBay is looking to move themselves into the brick-and-mortar retail world, expressing interest in implementing mirrors into dressing rooms that will offer the customer suggested accessories and product browsing – all available through a touch screen. These screens are being installed as a trial at the Rebecca Minkoff store, seeing them follow a similar path to online retail giant Amazon – who of which are preparing a store opening in New York. eBay is part of a movement to make our retail habits more interactive, providing users with simpler options to pick and chose clothing and accessories, helping them save time and quite possibly helping these stores to turn some extra profits.

eBay’s head of innovation and new ventures, Steve Yankovich, commented: “So physical retail, a showroom, I think will never go away”. This statement regards eBay’s positioning on store-fronts capabilities and viability moving into the future.

This whole experience will be utilized through an app installed on the user’s phone, meaning that these screens will be able to utilize the persons purchasing history and further help them to choose their garments. Clothes in these stores will be connected to RFID tags, allowing these interactive mirrors to recognize not only the customer, but the clothes that they are sampling for purchase. This system will allow shoppers to attach their purchases and test fittings to their personal profile, allowing them to track their favorite styling and brands as they see fit.

Here’s hoping they install some kind of strong security system as there’s a seemingly large possibility of hackers utilizing the cameras installed in these mirrors for personal benefit in criminal fashion.

Image courtesy of  Bloomberg Businessweek

In-Game Thieves Should Be Treated Like Real Criminals, According to UK Politician

Mike Weatherly, Conservative MP in the UK, is said to have brought up a new initiative. He wants to prosecute in-game thieves like real criminals, which is really disturbing news.

The UK Politician is said to be a World of Warcraft player himself and ‘understands’ that in-game items can be traded for substantial amounts of real world money. Therefore, he as called upon the parliament to consider prosecuting account hackers and in-game scammers like real world criminals.

It is said that the initiative is not outside the ‘realm’ of possibility, having game hackers being arrested and jailed in other countries before. Last year, a group of Chinese World of Warcraft account hackers were prosecuted and jailed and there is world that last week, a League of Legends hacker has been jailed for hacking in to Riot servers and stealing premium services, earning him around $1000 a day.

The Conservative MP has requested that the UK Justice Department consider establishing the law urgently to give gamers the same amount of legal protection over digital items as they already have in the real world. Weatherly added that only serious or repeated offenders should be targeted rather than just anyone found guilty of committing a minor felony.

Digital items are now considered to be in the grey area, but the fact still remains that some of them might be worth a lot of money and can take a long time to acquire. However, the law can also backfire and have gamers under surveillance and booked for just ‘having fun’. What the outcome from the above mentioned law will be is everyone’s guess.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of KitGuru

UK Police Trials The World’s Fastest Face Recognition System

Britain is dubbed the most watched country in the world, with over 6 million CCTV cameras watching everything that moves. This is why the London police aims to further improve its CCTV network use by adding body-worn cameras to help identify ‘criminal activities’ faster.

The new technology is said to still undergo some trials in London, having Leicestershire police already confirming that it has become the first police force in the UK to test NEC’s NeoFace face recognition software in hopes that it will “transform the way criminals are tracked down”. NeoFace aims to identify faces by analysing “dozens” of facial figures from digital images captured by the CCTV system or body cameras and comparing them to the 90,000 photos stored in the Leicestershire Police database.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfFl6w3vRTw[/youtube]

NeoFace is said to have its strength present in processing power, being able to analyse the figures in a matter of seconds compared to manually searching for possible matches (which is said to take hours to do). While the new tech is just debuting in the UK, it is said to have proven invaluable in the US. Chicago Police Department has stated that the system helped them sort through 4.5 million booking photos in order to find evidence and convict a suspected armed robber.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

FBI Warns Autonomous Cars Could Be Used As Bombs

Self driving cars are a thing for the future and most people are looking forward to them. Even the United Kingdom stated that it will introduce some sort of taxi pods a while back, having them operational by 2017. However, are autonomous vehicles really that safe? The Federal Bureau of Investigation tends to disagree.

The FBI has apparently given a warning that criminals could use these driverless vehicles in a variety of ways, from evading law enforcement officers, to shooting cops from the back of the vehicle. An internal report obtained by The Guardian states that in a section by the name of “multitasking”, autonomous vehicles fall in the description of ‘tools’ which can be used to “conduct tasks that require use of both hands or taking one’s eyes off the road which would be impossible today”.

In addition to the above, driverless vehicles can also be used as a ‘bomb on wheels’, being able to program it to drive itself to the target. All in all, it seems that although self driving vehicles are a great futuristic way of transportation, they can also pose a great risk for safety and security.

The report is said to be made by the Strategic Issues Group within the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence and it does not describe only negative points of view about the new technology. It is said that driverless vehicles could be used to as a surveillance tool, keeping a lock on targets while remaining undetected. Though it is unfortunate to see advances in consumer technology becoming a benefit for criminals, impeding further advancements due to the fear of it being used as a weapon.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Verge

GoZeuS Returns a Month after Authorities Take Measures Against the Malware

Though authorities had taken action against the GoZeuS and CryptoLocker malware which stole hundreds of thousands of banking logins from users and blackmail them for millions of pounds, it seems that the malwares are back. A month after the campaign, online criminals seem to have tried to rebuild the sophisticated software named GameOver ZeuS, having researchers warn that new threats using much of the same code are aimed at UK users.

Reports say that the ‘original strain’ of the malware targeted by authorities around the world, including the NSA and the FBI, has been in a decline since the campaign started. However, it appears that criminals are now re-establishing the GameOver botnets by taking the original code and reworking it to avoid detection, much like a biological virus modifies its genetic code in order to survive medicine administered against it.

A security company by the name of Malcovery has stated that the new trojan based on the GameOver Zeus binary is spreading through spam emails, claiming to be from the NatWest bank, coming with an attached statement in the content. Anyone who opens the ‘statement’ are said to risk infection, since traditional anti-virus software cannot detect the malicious software. Also, the CEO of Heimdal Security, Morten Kjærsgaard, states that the heads of the original GoZeuS will try to use lesser-known strains in order to avoid law enforcement agencies detecting it.

“Until we start to see a more clear movement pattern of these new Zeus variants, which are starting to surface, we can’t say anything definitive about their extent,” said Kjærsgaard. “There is no doubt though, that many small malware variants could pose the same financial problem for end users as one big nasty piece of malware.” he added.

While the GameOver Zeus botnet earned more than $100 million for its creators, more infections are likely to take place given the new strains. In June however, US authorities are said to have named Evgeniy Bogachev, a Russian national, as the main suspect behind the original malware.

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Guardian

Google is Forced to Censor Negative Information through ‘Right to be Forgotten’

The law given by the European Union, forcing Google to remove links to information people wish to no longer have available on the Internet, is apparently working like a charm. It is so perfect that even criminals, higher-ups and even ordinary people can remove negative information about them, having corrupt politicians, pedophiles, murderers and others come out with a clean sheet.

One such example is a link to a BBC article about Stan O’Neal, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, who led the bank in mid 2000, a time when the mortgage crisis was at its peak. When it finally hit, Merrill suffered huge losses, having the bank sold to Bank of America. O’Neal lost his job as a result, having him exit the banking market with an estimated $161.5 million. The article in question has nothing wrongly written, but it does describe O’Neal’s incompetence during that period in time, having him selling the company without discussing the sale with the board of directors. And as history will remain history, having it removed will no longer be an example to avoid for young investment bankers.

Another notable example is about a former politician who wanted to remove links to a news article regarding his behavior when previously in office. By removing the article, he would have had a clean sheet, securing him a new position to run for. The news article in question is about the politician in question possessing child sexual abuse imagery. Yes, these are people representing nations, having one of the most important functions in a state and also, thanks to the ‘Right to be forgotten’ law, they can even stay ‘clean’ now.

Business insider was told by Forget.me, a company filing these types of request to Google, that they are currently filing around 250 requests per day, having the number of request and type of data to be ‘covered’ displayed below:

If this is not terrifying enough, then maybe the fact that the entire process is so non-transparent that the consequence for the individual is even worse than what the courts intended is. People who have done grave things in the past and we don’t know of just yet may well be our neighbors in the future. The EU law is indeed necessary for some cases, but the extreme cases in which the information could help avoid the same actions in the future, that is not meant to be erased. And yes, this should be terrifying for everyone.

Thank you Business Insider for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Business Insider

Criminals Can Recover Personal Details From Used Phones, Even After Factory Reset

A recent Channel 4 investigation into the used phone trade in the UK has exposed some worrying privacy concerns. An investigation into two of the largest pawn brokers that are selling second-hand phones, CEX and Cash Converters, revealed that many phones still have recoverable details on them once sold. Some of the data that is left behind on the devices, or is recoverable, includes photos, text messages, passwords, credit card information and internet history. This comes despite Cash Converters and CEX telling customers that their devices will be wiped clean of all personal data before they are sold.

The issue arises from the assumption by these companies that a “factory reset”, or something of that equivalence, is enough to wipe all personal data from the device. The reality is a factory reset doesn’t completely eradicate all personal data as it is still recoverable from the memory. One security expert that Channel 4 spoke to claims that data can be easily recovered using freely available software and about 10 minutes of your time.

“The phones look like they’re completely blank, but the data is still there in the memory,” said Glenn Wilkinson of SensePost. “You can use software to find it, and that software is freely available for download. I can teach you how to access the data in 10 minutes.”

The extent of information that people store on their phones means that for criminals and fraudsters second hand phones are a goldmine of valuable and sensitive private information.

The Chief Executive of one of the major pawn brokers, Cash Converters, stated that:

“All phones are wiped to a standard level and full factory restores are carried out,” said Mr Patrick. “It is our understanding that specialist software may still be able to recover certain information stored on the phone, but we do everything in our power to ensure all personal data is removed from the device.”

However, the clear moral of the story is that if you’re selling your phone make sure you have securely removed all your data to the best of your ability. In some cases the manufacturer reset function will be enough but in others it may not and specialist data removal software may be needed.

Image courtesy of the Guardian

Justin Carter Out On Bail After Anonymous Person Posted $500,000 Bail

When does your online life become your real life? Always, apparently. As a bonus anything you do in your life, especially any felony actions will stay to haunt you forever! Justin Carter, 19 and a gamer at heart was placed in jail and given a $500,000 bail for making a comment.

“Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head,” “I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts.” Making this comment on Facebook after a League of Legends match.

Not only is the comment considered a “Terroristic Threat” or “Criminal Threat” in some places, it can carry a 10 year prison sentence. Carter has already spent nearly four months in jail awaiting trial. Making a comment, sometimes even taking a single action could place the title of Felon over your name for the rest of your life in the United States, there are no second chances.

For those of you who are gamers, most likely know that what he said is just trash talk, and anyone in their right mind would likely know that he was not serious. After making the comments Carter supposedly followed the comment with “lol” and “JK”, which stand for Laugh Out Loud, and Just Kidding.

Much trash talk from gamers or anyone online for that matter, many times consist of homophobic, racist, threatening and sexist remarks. While many websites, and even games give you a feature to report said comments, or even posts, someone felt the need to report this comment to the police.

For those of you who have heard about this before, and are following the case, you might be interested in learning that Carter has been released from jail. According to Kotaku an anonymous person posted the $500,000 bail. If found guilty, Carter could spend up to 10 years in prison, and carry the lifetime title of felon, not a title that you earn from a video game, but a title you earn in real life. One that will likely haunt him for the rest of his life. If he does earn this title, he will likely be forced to work a dead end job, and be judged by everyone he meets for the rest of his life.

In the State of Texas a “Terrorist Threat” is a third-degree felony.

Do you feel that Carter deserves to earn the title of a felon, and serve a lengthy prison sentence. Or do you think he should be free?

Image courtesy of Christian Post.