Regional Government


European Commission to release new paper on AI, facial recognition

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The Irish Times reports the European Commission will publish a new position paper on artificial intelligence across the bloc next week. While the paper does not include a pitch for a previously proposed facial-recognition moratorium, the commission is set to allow member states, via an independent assessor, to decipher how and when they will permit the use of facial recognition. Meanwhile, Euractiv reports that Clearview AI aims to expand services across the European market.


How the Pentagon's AI team can benefit civilian agencies

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The General Services Administration expects that its new partnership with the Pentagon's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center will ultimately lead to significant benefits for civilian agencies. The GSA is working with JAIC, which was established last year to speed up AI adoption across the Pentagon, to accelerate the center's process by adding AI into acquisition work, which GSA officials said they hope to turn around and offer civilian government. "We're able to utilize a lot of that educational material [and] best practices that they're getting and scale it up, standardize it in a sense so it can be spread among civilian agencies," said Omid Ghaffari-Tabrizi, acquisition lead at the GSA Centers of Excellence, speaking Dec. 5 at the GovernmentCIO AI and RPA in Government conference. "All of the AI that we're procuring for them, we're also hoping to procure for ourselves," Ghaffari-Tabrizi added. One frustration with the acquisition process is the time it takes from the start of the project to the end.


Esper to allies: Picking Huawei risks intel and security ties with the US

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MUNICH ― U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday called out China as America's main adversary and warned allies that letting the Chinese firm Huawei build its next-generation, or 5G, network risks their security cooperation and information sharing arrangements with the U.S. "Reliance on Chinese 5G vendors, for example, could render our partners' critical systems vulnerable to disruption, manipulation and espionage," Esper said in a speech at the high-level Munich Security Conference. "It could also jeopardize our communication and intelligence sharing capabilities, and by extension, our alliances." Adopting Huawei's equipment on allies' 5G networks, Esper said, "could inject serious risk into our defense cooperation." It was a tough statement partially at odds with other U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who offered assurances last week that U.S.-U.K. intelligence sharing remained strong despite Britain's decision to include Huawei in some parts of its nascent 5G network. A day earlier, the White House's point person for international telecommunications policy, Robert Blair, told reporters: "There will be no erosion in our overall intelligence sharing."


Oh great, the EU has ditched its facial recognition ban

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The European Union is backing away from its plan to introduce a temporary ban on facial recognition technology -- instead delegating decisions on the software to its member states. In a previous draft of a paper on AI, the European Commission had proposed introducing a five-year moratorium on the technology. But in a new draft seen by the Financial Times, that suggestion has been dropped. "The early draft floated the idea of a full ban, which is very popular among civil rights campaigners worried about abuse," a person with direct knowledge of the discussions told the FT. "But the security community is against the ban because they think it's a good tool."


In wake of Soleimani's death, Tehran-backed Hezbollah steps in to guide Iraqi militias

The Japan Times

Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, the Tehran-backed Lebanese organization Hezbollah urgently met with Iraqi militia leaders, seeking to unite them in the face of a huge void left by their powerful mentor's death, two sources with knowledge of the meetings said. The meetings were meant to coordinate the political efforts of Iraq's often-fractious militias, which lost not only Soleimani but also Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a unifying Iraqi paramilitary commander, in the Jan. 3 attack at Baghdad airport, the sources said. While offering few details, two additional sources in a pro-Iran regional alliance confirmed that Hezbollah, which is sanctioned as a terrorist group by the United States, has stepped in to help fill the void left by Soleimani in guiding the militias. All sources in this article spoke on condition of anonymity to address sensitive political activities rarely addressed in public. Officials with the governments of Iraq and Iran did not respond to requests for comment, nor did a spokesperson for the militia groups.


How AI is fighting, and could enable, ransomware attacks on cities

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Imagine getting to a courthouse and seeing paper signs stuck to the doors with the message "Systems down." What about police officers in the field unable to access information on laptops in their vehicles, or surgeries delayed in hospitals? That's what can happen to a city, police department, or hospital in a ransomware attack. Ransomware is malicious software that can encrypt or control computer systems. Criminals who launch these attacks can then refuse to return access until they get paid.


How Well Is DoD Positioned For AI? - Liwaiwai

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is permeating across various sectors. This includes even the defense sector. With this, it is important to identify the implications of this rising technology in our current way of handling national security and what must be done in order to ensure that the nation remains safe if AI continues to assert domination. This matter is the central issue in the published book, The Department of Defense Posture for Artificial Intelligence, made by the RAND Corporation as mandated by the US Department of National Defense (DoD). If you want to read the book, you may download the free ebook.


The White House wants more AI research for less money

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The White House released a budget proposal this week that at first glance, looks like a big win for the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The budget for fiscal year 2021 (which begins in October) would ramp up spending for AI research at DARPA (the Pentagon's research arm) and the National Science Foundation by roughly $549 million. The budget request, which still needs to be approved by Congress, increases AI funding from $50 million to $249 million at DARPA, and from $500 million to $850 million at NSF. But while technologists applaud the increased investment in AI, the White House budget proposal is giving many in the science community pause. Overall, the budget proposes $142.2 billion in spending for research and development, a 9% cut from current levels.


US military face recognition system could work from 1 kilometre away

New Scientist

The US military is developing a portable face-recognition device capable of identifying individuals from a kilometre away. The Advanced Tactical Facial Recognition at a Distance Technology project is being carried out for US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). It commenced in 2016, and a working prototype was demonstrated in December 2019, paving the way for a production version. SOCOM says the research is ongoing, but declined to comment further. Initially designed for hand-held use, the technology could also be used from drones.


Making personal data make sense with machine learning.

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As the field of big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence keep growing and revolutionizing the current world as we know it and playing a big role in determining the future, it is without doubt that certain questions are beginning to get raised in terms ethics, governance, regulations, and privacy issues surrounding the big data revolution. At a first glance, these topics can all be classified commonly as thorns in the advancement of AI and machine learning especially since most businesses are largely more curious about the business benefits of the domain and not necessarily the disadvantages as well. Recent activities and global trends are however beginning to show the negative impact that can be caused by ignoring some of these seemingly looking thorns in companies trying to make money out of data. The European Union has been an example of how governments are beginning to prioritize certain regulations that most tech companies were not paying attention to before and hence affecting their business models. Facebook's dating app which was supposed to be released today, a day before valentine, has been banned by the European Union as Facebook has failed to provide adequate and required documentation to the regulatory boards.