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Police can use this facial recognition technology to fight sex-trafficking

Migrants ride a bus along the border of Hungary and Serbia.

Image: Ray Tang/REX/Shutterstock

Emily Kennedy spent her undergrad years reading child sex-trafficking ads.

She wanted to understand their ticks: Why was this ad formatted that way? Why did the same ads often have different phone numbers? Kennedy knew that this kind of analysis could unravel at least a portion of sex-trafficking business. And after she graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University, she built a system to do just that.

Traffic Jam, which was developed by Kennedy’s company, Marinus Analytics, has for years detected patterns in sex-trafficking ads and used them to help police find trafficked children and arrest traffickers. The system took a big step up on Tuesday, though.

That’s when the company announced FaceSearch, which allows the police to match a photo of a child’s face to sex-trafficking ads on the internet. The initial photo can come from Facebook or other social media, from a “missing child” ad, or anywhere else. FaceSearch can then scan online photos and “quickly determine whether this potential victim has been advertised online for commercial sex,” according to a company release online.

“Anything they can upload from their computer can be searched,” Kennedy said.

The technology is now available to any law enforcement agency that wants it. Marinus uploaded FaceSearch into the Traffic Jam, so their law enforcement clients who use Traffic Jam which includes agencies in California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and more already have access.

Facial recognition technology and law enforcement are becoming increasingly linked with each passing week. Around 25% of police departments in the United States have access to facial recognition technology. Customs and Border Patrol is using it at select U.S. airports to determine whether your face might one day serve as your boarding pass. And police in Berlin are using it at train stations to “recognize and report detected users or persons from whom a danger could arise or emerge.” This increase in the use of facial recognition has led to a growing body of privacy concerns, but even researchers who have raised those worries see FaceSearch as something different.

“We definitely can’t control the way every single user uses our software, but I’m not too worried about misuse, because it’s so focused,” Kennedy said.

Other companies, she said, provide law enforcement agencies with much broader access to facial recognition technology, and those companies will have to confront the ethical questions therein.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/28/facial-recognition-child-sex-trafficking/

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Ethereum flash crash shows how risky new cryptocurrency markets are

Ethereum is rebounding, but not after a dramatic crash.

Image: Shutterstock / Wit Olszewski

The cryptocurrency market for Ethereum plummeted late Wednesday. This wasn’t a quick dip, but a flash crash that sent the price from $317 to a low of $0.10 in a matter of seconds.

Some people saw thousands of dollars in value disappear.

Image: Twitter

Things are back to normal, sort of. The price of ether, the cryptocurrency of the suddenly hot Ethereum platform, has since rebounded and is trading back at about $318.

The crash, however, remains as a big reminder that this is a volatile, new market. Plenty of people have made small fortunes investing in these markets, but the get-rich-quick stories belie the risks that the average person faces if they want to get in on these new digital currencies.

The vice president of GDAX, the Ethereum exchange which experienced the crash, blogged about the event, explaining that a “multimillion dollar market sell” was placed midday Wednesday. This triggered prices to fall from about $317 to $224 and 800 automatic stop loss orders to go throughthose are automatic sells set for when prices hit a certain amount.

Hence some people who didn’t even mean to sell ended up dumping their ether for a small percentage of what it had just been worth.

“We understand this event can be frustrating for our customers,” VP Adam White wrote.

Things went down fast. The trading price of ether dropped 99 percent in a second, but then rose back up, with traders who held onto their holdings coming out just fine.

Others were not so lucky.

If you’re interested in this market, use this as a learning experience. This is the wild west of investing. Exchanges like these are not mature. They’re still very new and much smaller than established stock markets. These exchanges are susceptible to huge swings like Wednesday’s flash crash. In a normal stock exchange, a multimillion sell wouldn’t throw everything off.

As Omega One, a crypto currency trading platform, noted, the crash shows the problems with these exchanges.

“The millions of dollars that investors lost due to forced selling of their positions will not be recovered. This incident highlights the relative immaturity of the cryptocurrency trading ecosystem,” the company wrote.

While casual investors are jumping onto the Ethereum and Bitcoin markets, it’s a risky place. You can bet on that.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/22/ethereum-flash-crash-cryptocurrency/

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