Crypto Currency

San Francisco Bans Agency Use of Facial Recognition Tech

facial recognition by city agencies, a first-of-its-kind measure that has inspired similar efforts elsewhere.Gregory Barber covers cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for WIRED.San Francisco’s ban covers government agencies, including the city police and county sheriff’s department, but doesn’t affect the technology that unlocks your iPhone or cameras installed by businesses or individuals. It’s part of…

facial recognition by city agencies, a first-of-its-kind measure that has inspired similar efforts elsewhere.

Gregory Barber covers cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for WIRED.

San Francisco’s ban covers government agencies, including the city police and county sheriff’s department, but doesn’t affect the technology that unlocks your iPhone or cameras installed by businesses or individuals. It’s part of a broader package of rules, introduced in January by supervisor Aaron Peskin, that will require agencies to gain approval from the board before purchasing surveillance tech and will require that they publicly disclose its intended use. In coming weeks, Oakland and Somerville, Massachusetts, are expected to consider facial-recognition bans of their own.

Facial-recognition technology has been used by law enforcement to spot fraud and identify suspects, but critics say that recent advances in AI have transformed the technology into a dangerous tool that enables real-time surveillance. Studies by researchers at MIT and Georgetown have found that the technology is less accurate at identifying people of color and could automate biases already pervasive in law enforcement. Privacy advocates see banning facial recognition as a unique opportunity to prevent the technology from getting too entrenched. “We’re doing it now before the genie gets out of the bottle,” says Brian Hofer, an attorney who heads Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission, which spearheaded the legislation in that city.

In San Francisco, the police department says it doesn’t currently use facial recognition, although it tested the technology on booking photos between 2013 and 2017. The Sheriff’s department, which is included under the board’s unique city-and-county authority, says it doesn’t either. “We will comply with whatever the requirements are,” says spokeswoman Nancy Crowley, adding that officers are equipped with Axon body camera

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Crypto Currency

The Newest Haven for Cryptocurrency Companies? Wyoming

godspeed, my friend), there are a few telltale signs. First, look for the live bulls and the yellow Lambos. But if they’ve fallen victim to cost-cutting or newfound modesty, then look for a procession of cream-colored cowboy hats. They belong to a retinue of lobbyists and legislators from Wyoming, preaching the virtues of their state…

godspeed, my friend), there are a few telltale signs. First, look for the live bulls and the yellow Lambos. But if they’ve fallen victim to cost-cutting or newfound modesty, then look for a procession of cream-colored cowboy hats. They belong to a retinue of lobbyists and legislators from Wyoming, preaching the virtues of their state as a mecca for blockchain.

Gregory Barber covers cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for WIRED.

Wyoming’s transformation into a blockchain booster is somewhat legendary in cryptocurrency circles. Until recently, strict money-transmitter laws meant residents there couldn’t even use a Coinbase account. But over the past two years, Wyoming has enacted 13 blockchain laws, with a raft of other proposals on the way. The question is, what does the country’s least-populous state, far from tech hubs and long associated with an unhealthy dependency on resource extraction, want with blockchain?

“The ethos of blockchain and the ethos of Wyoming are very similar,” says Caitlin Long, cofounder of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition, a lobbying group responsible for pushing for the crypto-friendly bills, many with a libertarian bent.

Wyoming’s push is a reflection of the nation’s patchwork of state laws, created in the absence of clear federal rules. Some, like New York, favor rigorous regulation. The state’s Bitlicense regime, which began in 2015, involves a strict vetting process for companies that want to deal with New York residents, prompting complaints that it deters innovation. Legislators in Wyoming, as well as neighboring Colorado and Montana, see that as an opening.

“It’s been good for Wyoming that the federal government has been proving its stripes of incompetency,” says Tyler Lindholm, a state representative who, at 6’7″, does much to increase the visibility of the cowboy hats.

Lindholm and Long first partnered on blockchain legislation two years ago. Long, a former executive at Morgan Stanley, became interested when she discovered that state regulations prevented her from donating bitcoin to her alma mater, the University of Wyoming. Lindholm, a longtime cryptocurrency enthusiast, had previously tried to tackle that issue. But his fellow legislators mostly associated cryptocurrency with drug sales and scams. “This was their first blush with crypto—even hearing about it,” Lindholm says. “I got my ass whipped pretty bad.”

Their fortunes improved by casting cryptocurrency as a way to replace flagging state revenue from the coal industry, Long says. Working with lawyers from Consensys, a company that builds and promotes Ethereum applications,

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Crypto Currency

Coinbase’s crypto debit card arrives in 6 more countries

In April, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launched a Visa debit card in the UK, allowing users to spend cryptocurrency online, as well as in retail stores all over the world.  Now, the company announced the card’s availability in six more European countries: Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands. SEE ALSO: Coinbase Earn now lets…


In April, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launched a Visa debit card in the UK, allowing users to spend cryptocurrency online, as well as in retail stores all over the world. 

Now, the company announced the card’s availability in six more European countries: Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Just like the UK version, the card lets you spend cryptocurrencies in your Coinbase account — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and all other cryptocurrencies present on Coinbase are supported — at any place that

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Crypto Currency

Ledger Nano X crypto wallet review: Improved in every way

Ledger Nano X $119 View Product The Good Wireless • Large screen • Supports a huge number of cryptocurrencies The Bad Pricey • Could be more intuitive The Bottom Line The Ledger Nano X is a great cryptocurrency hardware wallet. It fixes all the issues that its predecessor had, but does so at twice the…


Ledger Nano X
$119
View Product
The Good

Wireless • Large screen • Supports a huge number of cryptocurrencies

The Bad

Pricey • Could be more intuitive

The Bottom Line

The Ledger Nano X is a great cryptocurrency hardware wallet. It fixes all the issues that its predecessor had, but does so at twice the price — which is still alright if you’re serious about crypto.

⚡ Mashable Score4.0
😎 Cool Factor4.0
📘Learning Curve3.5
💪Performance4.5
💵 Bang for the Buck3.5

If you’re serious about cryptocurrency, one gadget that you simply must have is a hardware cryptocurrency wallet. One of the most popular such wallets is Ledger’s Nano S — a USB flash drive-sized, practical device that supports nearly every cryptocurrency you can think of. 

But the Nano S has been around for a couple of years, and its age is showing — it’s fairly slow and its memory is limited, meaning it only works with a couple (typically 3) of different cryptocurrencies at the same time. 

In January, Ledger announced a new hardware wallet, the Ledger Nano X. It’s a significant improvement over the Nano S in several key areas: It’s faster, has a bigger screen, it’s wireless, and it can support many more coins (up to 100) at the same time. 

At $119, the Nano X also significantly pricier than the $59 Nano S, and now I’ve had the chance to test a review unit out and see whether the price premium is worth it. 

SEE ALSO:Major U.S. retailers are now accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency

First, a short introduction to hardware cryptocurrency wallets. They are hardware devices which keep your crypto private keys and let you securely access your cryptocoins with a PIN. By requiring actual interaction with the hardware at certain points, such as pressing a key or confirming that a cryptocurrency address is accurate on the screen, they add a much-needed layer of security over software wallets. 

Ledger's Ledger Live software works well both on the PC and the iPhone. It's available for all major platforms, including Android. macOS and Windows.

Ledger’s Ledger Live software works well both on the PC and the iPhone. It’s available for all major platforms, including Android. macOS and Windows.

Image: Stan Schroeder/Mashable

On the Ledger Nano X, your cryptocurrency private keys (which are long strings of symbols that let you spend your cryptocoins) are kept “isolated” in a “secure element” chip and none of the applications interacting with the Nano X never get to see them. Even if you plug the Nano X into a compromised PC, your private key should remain safe. 

Setting up

As is the case with most hardware wallets, setting up the Nano X for the first time takes a while, but the process is largely painless. The device is, again, USB thumb-like in size, though it is a little bigger than the Nano S. It comes with a very short set of instructions, three seed phrase cards, and a USB-C to USB-A c

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Crypto Currency

Bitcoin’s Climate Impact Is Global. The Cures Are Local.

Gregory Barber covers cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for WIRED.Not so fast, said county officials. They pointed to a different culprit: a giant coal plant halfway across the state. If energy from the dam went to bitcoin mining, they said, the county as a whole would wind up using more coal. In April, officials required…

Gregory Barber covers cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for WIRED.

Not so fast, said county officials. They pointed to a different culprit: a giant coal plant halfway across the state. If energy from the dam went to bitcoin mining, they said, the county as a whole would wind up using more coal. In April, officials required all future mines to build their own renewable power.

Missoula County was on the right track, says Christian Stoll, an energy researcher at the Technical University of Munich. In a paper published Wednesday in the journalJoule,his team takes a closer look at the energy consumption of bitcoin mining, based on where miners are located and the types of machines they are using. “Coal is fueling Bitcoin,” he says. “The question is how to prevent it, and that’s up to local regulators.”

Bitcoin mining, a process called “proof-of-work,” involves a global network of machines racing to solve complex math. In return for helping to keep the network secure, the solver receives bitcoin. When it comes to measuring energy use, the global nature of that activity makes it difficult to study; it’s hard to know what kinds of machines are running, where they’re located, and the fuel used to supply the electricity.

Those unknowns have led to wildly varying estimates. One study said that growth in bitcoin mining alone could result in a 2 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures. But others say such estimates are inflated as miners increasingly flock to sources of cheap renewable energy, like hydropower.

Stoll’s team was able to take a more granular look thanks to a stroke of good timing. Last year, three Chinese makers of mining hardware, responsible for producing nearly all of t

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