Snowden Updates: Face Recognition, German Prosecution, Brazil, Moscow

Snowden leak du jour: The NSA is doing face recognition on a mass scale, looking at every image it can get its electronic tentacles on. [1]

This is used to identify people, as well as to cross-link different data sources so they can “add more facts to your file.” In other words, if someone EVER uploads a photo of you to the Internet, or emails a photo of you as an attachment… assume it’s been cross-referenced to everything else!

What’s more, the NSA actively goes after new databases of ID data. For example: “national identity card databases created by foreign countries,” regardless of whether that access is authorized by said foreign country or not, as well as intercepting videoconference (Skype?) calls.

The NSA also collects’ people’s iris scans and other biometric data. When a country (any one of “a wide range of countries”) scans your fingers or eyes… the scan goes to Ft. Meade.

But wait… there’s more 😦

The NSA’s image recognition technology is sophisticated enough to identify the location where a picture was shot… by comparing it to overhead spy satellite imagery.

So much for the leak. How are the various political machinations going? Well, it was widely reported that the German federal prosecutor had decided not to investigate the NSA for “lack of witnesses and evidence.” So much so that Appelbaum complained on Twitter that said prosecutor had never asked him.[2]

Question. Did Appelbaum ever consider dropping the guy a note from his lawyer, “yo, bro, if you need a witness, I’m your man! And I’ve got connects to evidence, too” …?

Something tells me the answer is “no.” Fortunately, he’ll probably have a second chance. It turns out the intial reports were misleading. While the prosecutor’s staff had recommended not investigating… the decision has not yet been made.

And the prosecutor is indeed leaning towards an investigation.[3]

Still up in the air is the question of asylum. In a recent interview with Brazilian TV, Snowden said he’d love to live in Brazil — pointing to the official asylum application he’d lodged with the country during his Sheremetyevo days. [4] (The Brazilian government claims to have no record of it…?)

As to life in Moscow, Snowden says he walks around unmolested and unrecognized. Well, mostly unrecognized… except when he enters a computer store!

I wonder how many Snowden-autographed computers are walking around Russia? Or what’s the Russian equivalent of asking for an autograph?

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-web-images.html

[2]
https://twitter.com/ioerror/status/471763907359817728
I’m surprised that the German federal prosecutor’s office is dropping the #NSA case for lack of evidence. Did they even try to reach people?

https://twitter.com/ioerror/status/471764831528579072
I was never contacted by the German Federal Prosecutor – was #Snowden? Or His lawyer @benwizner? Sounds like a total lack of due diligence.

[3]
German language, if you can’t read it your pet robot can.
http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/vorab/ermittlungen-wegen-spionageangriff-auf-merkels-handy-a-972638.html

[4]
http://g1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2014/06/se-o-brasil-me-oferecer-asilo-aceito-diz-edward-snowden.html

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