Yeni Safak, a Turkish daily, reports that a wall the Turkish government is building along the Turkish-Syrian border will include shooting gun towers. Thermal cameras and alert systems will detect anyone coming within 300 meters of the border line. The tower will issue warnings in three languages to leave the area immediately. A computer-controlled machine gun will start firing at the person if they do not comply. What could possibly go wrong? It is sad that the issue of legal accountability for algorithms is highlighted by such an extreme case. http://www.yenisafak.com/en/gundem/security-wall-partially-completed-on-turkeys-syrian-border-2550353 [Shooting at Turkey's <border> in a barrel (gunsight>? NOT FUNNY. PGN]
Frank Pasquale, Get Off the Trolley Problem Slate, New America, and ASU http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2016/10/self_driving_cars_shouldn_t_have_to_choose_who_to_protect_in_a_crash.html Imagine you are driving down a two-lane road at about 45 miles per hour, cruising home. You see a group of kids walking home from school about 100 yards ahead. Just as you're about to pass by them, an oncoming 18-wheeler swerves out of its lane and is about to hit you head on. You have seconds, tops, to decide: Sacrifice yourself, or hit the children so you can avoid the truck. I like to think that, if asked in advance, most people would choose not to plou gh into the kids. As the automation of driving advances, there's a way to hard-code that decision into vehicles. Many cars already detect whether a toddler in a driveway is about to be run over by a driver with a blind spot. They even beep when other vehicles are in danger of being bumped. Transitioning from an alert system to a hard-wired hard stop is technically possible. And if that's possible, so is an automatic brake that would prevent a driver from swerving to save herself at the expense of many others. But the decision can also be coded the other way—to put the car occupants' interests above all others. Christoph von Hugo, Mercedes' manager of driver assistance systems, active safety, and ratings, appeared to push this vision of the future of more fully autonomous vehicles in a recent article in Car and Driver. “You could sacrifice the car, but then the people you've saved, you don't know what happens to them after that in situations that are often very complex, so you save the ones you know you can save. If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car.'' (Mercedes has since said that Hugo was *quoted incorrectly* and that “[f]or Daimler it is clear that neither programmers nor automated systems are entitled to weigh the value of human lives. Our development work focuses on completely avoiding dilemma situation by, for example, implementing a risk-avoiding operating strategy in our vehicles.'') Some ethicists classify decisions like von Hugo's as a solution to a *trolley problem*, after the famous series of thought experiments presented by Judith Jarvis Thomson to challenge simple utilitarianism. Jarvis Thomson, a professor of philosophy, stylized ethical dilemmas in a series of hypotheticals. Would you divert an oncoming trolley away from hitting five schoolchildren if your decision meant it killed one person instead? Would you push a very heavy person over a bridge onto the tracks in front of the trolley to slow it down and keep it from hitting another person? The trolley problem was a classic example of an *intuition pump*, capable of eliciting responses ranging from the judicious to the zany. It's even satirized in memes . So how do you solve a trolley problem? Some believe the answer is to give car owners ever more granular control. Enlightened drivers might choose a general rule of *save me first* but soften it to include more self-sacrificial options in case of mass casualties. Or they might not. Mere awareness that others are not willing to sacrifice for the common good could tip the system toward selfishness, or worse. The same individualism that has undermined U.S. organ donation rates would probably be even more influential in driver decision-making here. So perhaps increasingly autonomous cars should abide by common rules, setting the same terms of safety and danger for all. The Moral Machine project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is soliciting feedback on user responses to ethical dilemmas. With a large enough data set on how research subjects respond to simulated crashes, programmers might try to assure that car code of the future reflects our current judgments (or at least those of the people who participate in the Moral Machine). For example, if 80 percent of subjects chose self-sacrifice in the *hit the truck or the children* scenario at the beginning of this article, that could become the coded rule for such tragic choices. Programmers might also tilt the code in a more utilitarian direction, nudging automation toward better societal outcomes. Noodling about variations on the trolley problem could occupy car-makers, programmers, and research subjects for years. What if only one child were sacrificed by a decision to avoid the truck? Do elderly persons deserve more, less, or the same consideration as children? But a better question might be: Why are automobiles traveling so close to pedestrians in the first place? The nonprofit safety advocacy organization Transportation for America has studied the enormous (and troubling) variation among pedestrian death rates in major American cities. The worst places, such as Florida suburbs and exurbs, feature urban design that makes it all too easy for drivers of any stripe—man or machine—to crash into pedestrians. Safety is not just a problem of code—physical infrastructure matters, too. And the disastrous scenario with the 18-wheeler and the group of kids might never happen if proper dividers separate oncoming lanes of traffic. Even if those stronger barriers don't come to pass, though, worry over trolley problems should not freeze autonomous car initiatives. Human error is the root cause of thousands of traffic deaths each year. The Department of Transportation has rightly prioritized self-driving cars' development, and local authorities could do more to advance their adoption. But the question of who is sacrificed in tragic scenarios is not one that can be submerged in the general utilitarian calculus of lives saved via robot cars. Both law and software code have an expressive function as well, favoring some of our values over others. There will always be conflicts among cars, pedestrians, robots, drones, and bikers over the proper share of space and respect each deserves. We need individualistic, technical solutions to some of the problems that will result as new modes of driving arise and robot delivery services share sidewalks with people. But we also need holistic, big-picture thinking. As policymakers set the rules of the road for 21st-century mobility, they should listen to the urban planners, social scientists, and advocates who've spent decades thinking about how to build better, more livable communities. Transport isn't just a technical problem: It's a human and social one, with political implications far beyond arid intellectual models of utilitarian markets. This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter. Frank Pasquale is a professor of law at the University of Maryland and author of The Black Box Society. [Thanks to Marc Rotenberg for spotting this one. PGN]
A CDC inquiry found that a machine used in open-heart surgery at a hospital was probably tainted at the plant in Germany where it was made. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/health/bacteria-thought-to-be-from-germany-infected-at-least-12-heart-patients-6-of-whom-died.html
https://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/russian-hackers-faked-gmail-password-form-to-invade-dnc-emai San Francisco—Russian hackers used emails disguised to look as Gmail security updates to hack into the computers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and members of Hillary Clinton's top campaign staff, according to a report by the SecureWorks cybersecurity company. The emails, which were sent to DNC and Clinton staff from March 10, appeared almost identical to the standard warnings Gmail users get asking them to reset their passwords, the report found. Once clicked, the links took users to a page that imitated a Google login page, but which was stealing their password information—and downloading malware—designed by a group of Russian hackers known as Fancy Bear. The emails were sent to 108 members of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign and 20 people clicked on them, at least four people clicking more than once, Secureworks' research found. The emails were sent to another 16 people from the DNC and four people clicked on them, the report said.
What "Things" were under attack in the Krebs revelations? https://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/10/who-makes-the-iot-things-under-attack/
> Would you use an ATM if there was only a chance that you'd get your money > or that your deposit would be credited to your account? If I were trying to get my car out of a parking garage, the garage took only cash, and closed in 15 minutes, you bet I would—and so would you. They won't wait, and neither will election calendars. While it is certainly true that there is too much cruddy automated election equipment, it's pure self-indulgence to imagine that anyone cares if a few individuals stamp their feet and refuse to vote because they don't like the technology. Vastly more people in the US refuse to vote purely because they can't be bothered to go to the polls, and there's no way anyone can tell you from them. If you want to fix the voting process, you fix it by pressuring election officials to fix it. It's not impossible—here in NY we went directly from lever machines, which have truly awful security properties, to hand marked paper ballots that are scanned by machine but retained so they can be recounted by hand if need be. By the way, I think we need a law of discourse that says anyone who compares voting to bank ATMs immediately loses the argument. The security and threat models are completely totally different, and the only similarity is that some of the machines happen to have been made by Diebold.
But how can an election be legitimate if OVER HALF the voters select party A, and yet party B wins? Or if party A gets 40% of the votes, and 60% of the seats; party B gets 30% of the vote and 30% of the seats; and party C gets 30% of the vote, and 10% of the seats? *That* is why so many people don't vote. Why should I bother, if my vote is so unlikely to make a difference? What's the point? *That* is why people are fleeing politics in droves. (I'm a Brit. Example 1 was an election in the 1950s. Example 2 was 1982 (or was it 1983?)) If you want people to vote, you need to convince them that the person they *want* to vote for, stands a *decent* chance. As it stands, most people vote for the "least worst" candidate, and too many people take the attitude "a plague on ALL your houses!".
> "This is of course a divergent rant that takes us away from cyberrisks." Anyone following this discussion would be aware that when I wrote "whoever takes office," the risk is that due to the potential for hacking, unverifiable results, and Constitutional constraints, the person who takes office might not be the person who was elected. > "You don't vote for your own good, you vote for the good of everyone else." When the only viable choices are two evils, voting for a nonviable choice, casting an informal ballot, or choosing what an individual may consider to the be lesser of the two evils, is not for the good of anyone else, it is for evil anyway you look at it. > "...many Australians try to avoid voting by not registering to vote..." Australia has begun registering voters automatically. "Even if I live in a safe left wing seat and right wing votes appear to be for naught, the number of right wing votes conveys information and this affects how audacious the left wing government of this seat behaves." That's because Australia has instant run-off voting and proportional representation, so the number of minority votes in a given district could affect future elections. In the US we have winner-take-all elections, so the candidates or parties that lose by only getting 49% of the vote compared to an opponent's 51%, have as much influence (none) as those who lose by getting 1% of the votes to an opponent's 99%. In Australia, the losers have a minority voice in government, in the US losers like third parties have no seats and no voice whatsoever. Moreover, in the US, the so-called "left" has proven to be more audacious in carrying out right-wing policy than the right, starting more wars, taking away more freedoms, spending more money on military adventurism and support for foreign terrorists, and in ignoring domestic needs. Australians are probably more amenable to voting than US citizens because as a British Commonwealth, you are not expected to vote, even indirectly, for your monarch. The British monarchy is hereditary and not subject to a vote by its subjects. There is always the risk that a computer or a list reader might compare apples to oranges if they have incomplete data and/or are not capable of making such distinctions.
The problem is not abandoned batteries, but abandoned CHARGED batteries. Any battery that is short-circuited will discharge violently and possibly explode (it's thought that Samsung's batteries are vulnerable to being squeezed during manufacture, which damages the insulation between cathode and anode. This causes lithium crystals to form which puncture the insulation and cause a short circuit). I have some high-capacity AA batteries which self-discharge in weeks. These would be harmless if abandoned. But many batteries are marketed with a fully charged shelf life of years. These are dangerous. But basically, the older the batteries when they are disposed of, the less charge they hold and the quicker they discharge, so the lower the risk of an explosion.
Hopefully, most batteries will be dismantled and/or recycled in a safe manner. But it is inevitable that some will end up in places where they don't really belong: Landfills, incinerators, shredders, or just left or dropped somewhere. Improper disposal, of hazardous waste, is a familiar activity. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/05/19/americas-28-most-polluted-places.html Proper disposal of hazardous materials has long been a topic understood by people in the industries of those materials, but often not in the minds of the end customers of the materials. I think that auto batteries may be a good model for smart phone batteries. The batteries industry has guidance on how to safely dispose of these products. How many consumers pay attention? http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/batteries.php In recent memory, there had to be mass disposal of hover boards, after some spectacular incidents , including several house fires. How were those devices disposed of, by saddened customers, and places involved in the recalls? In my household and possession, I have batteries for: clocks; flash lights; hearing aid; room fresheners; smoke detectors; UPS; and other products. When we get new parts into our autos, by some auto mechanic, there are regulations for the proper disposal of the old parts, oil and other fluids. There are chemicals used for cooling, which need proper disposal. PCBs? A problem comes when the end user, be it a person or a company, disposes of technology, in ignorance of risks to the public if they are dumped any old place. One of the most dangerous has been disposal of radiological materials, which were safe in their original gadgets, but deadly when the gadgets are dismantled by people ignorant of the poison inside, or aware, but ignorant of long term risks. * Wikipedia has a directory of notable incidents of improper disposal of hazardous waste. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_waste_disposal_incidents * St. Louis MO has an underground fire thanks to improper disposal of US government Manhattan Project era radioactive materials. This news from a year ago.) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0265931X15301685 http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2015/12/31/epa-to-build-isolation-barrier-for-west-lake-landfill/ http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-nuclear-fire-20151020-story.html
Erling Kristiansen wrote: > Does anybody have a feel for how real this problem is? Will discarded > batteries remain time bombs forever, or are they likely to degrade > gracefully into something less hazardous after some time?" While I can't speak to all of those categories, I really don't expect electric car batteries to be a problem. Disposal of junked cars is already a HIGHLY regulated industry, with requirements for removing the fuel tank, lead-acid battery, etc. and properly disposing of them. Additionally, the materials in the battery have value, so for batteries that large there'll be an economic incentive to recover them.
Further to Erling Kristiansen's comment about lithium batteries, if you search using your favourite web-searcher for 'waste fire lithium' there are numerous reports of fires in waste handling facilities around the world which have been attributed to improperly disposed of lithium batteries. Most problems appear to be caused by consumer devices discarded as general municipal waste which will normally get crushed and shredded as part of the material handling process. Many consumers will not make the effort to (or are unable to) remove and safely discharge embedded lithium batteries before disposing of an old/unwanted small electronic gadget in the simplest and most convenient way possible - into the refuse (UK) / trash (US) bin. Some people in the waste management business have expressed concern that the problem will get worse as larger capacity batteries find their way into consumer products.
I too have terrible problems with people with the same name. There are several Lindsay Marshalls with gmail addresses. One of them has lindsay.m.marshall, but never uses the dots and so it becomes lindsaymmarshall, and nobody sees the double m. Another has lindsay.marshall1, and you can see the problem there too. Using the dots helps of course, but many people are very skeptical when I tell them that the dots are all ignored by gmail so can be put anywhere to help readability. So I get lots of invitations to women volleyball, offers of houses to rent, dental appointments etc. The worst though are forums that I get signed up for where there is no way to delete the login and no way to alter mailing preferences to shut them up.
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