03 Jun 2020

feedSlashdot

Walmart Employees Are Out To Show Its Anti-Shoplifting AI Doesn't Work

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In January, my coworker received a peculiar email. The message, which she forwarded to me, was from a handful of corporate Walmart employees calling themselves the "Concerned Home Office Associates." (Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, is often referred to as the Home Office.) While it's not unusual for journalists to receive anonymous tips, they don't usually come with their own slickly produced videos. The employees said they were "past their breaking point" with Everseen, a small artificial intelligence firm based in Cork, Ireland, whose technology Walmart began using in 2017. Walmart uses Everseen in thousands of stores to prevent shoplifting at registers and self-checkout kiosks. But the workers claimed it misidentified innocuous behavior as theft and often failed to stop actual instances of stealing. They told WIRED they were dismayed that their employer -- one of the largest retailers in the world -- was relying on AI they believed was flawed. One worker said that the technology was sometimes even referred to internally as "NeverSeen" because of its frequent mistakes. WIRED granted the employees anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press. The workers said they had been upset about Walmart's use of Everseen for years and claimed colleagues had raised concerns about the technology to managers but were rebuked. They decided to speak to the press, they said, after a June 2019 Business Insider article reported Walmart's partnership with Everseen publicly for the first time. The story described how Everseen uses AI to analyze footage from surveillance cameras installed in the ceiling and can detect issues in real time, such as when a customer places an item in their bag without scanning it. When the system spots something, it automatically alerts store associates. A video from the Concerned Home Office Associates "purports to show Everseen's technology failing to flag items not being scanned in three different Walmart stores," adds the report. "Set to cheery elevator music, it begins with a person using self-checkout to buy two jumbo packages of Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups. Because the packages are stacked on top of each other, only one is scanned, but both are successfully placed in the bagging area without issue." "The same person then grabs two gallons of milk by their handles and moves them across the scanner with one hand. Only one is rung up, but both are put in the bagging area. They then put their own cell phone on top of the machine, and an alert pops up saying they need to wait for assistance -- a false positive."

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03 Jun 2020 3:30am GMT

Apple Warns Looters With Stolen iPhones: You Are Being Tracked

Following the rioting and looting from the death of George Floyd, Apple has a message for those who power on a stolen iPhone: "This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted." Forbes reports: Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a message to his employees as those protests escalated, saying that "there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions. To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism." Cook went on to say that "at Apple, our mission has and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better. We've always drawn strength from our diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world, and strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone." These words were being digested as the tech giant made the decision to close the majority of its U.S. stores for the safety of those staff and its customers, stores that had only just reopened after the COVID-19 shutdown. Apple has unsurprisingly become a favored target of looters, given the likely spoils on offer, and the decision was taken to remove stock from shop floors and shutter locations. It has long been known that Apple operates some form of proximity software that disables a device when it is taken illegally from a store. Until now, though, little had been seen of that technology in action. Well, thanks to social media, we can now see the message that greets a looter powering up their new device: "This device has been disabled and is being tracked," it says. "Local authorities will be alerted."

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03 Jun 2020 1:25am GMT

Google Faces $5 Billion Lawsuit In US For Tracking 'Private' Internet Use

Google was sued on Tuesday in a proposed class action accusing the internet search company of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users by pervasively tracking their internet use through browsers set in "private" mode. Reuters reports: The lawsuit seeks at least $5 billion, accusing the Alphabet unit of collecting information about what people view online and where they do their browsing, despite using what Google calls Incognito mode. The complaint said Google surreptitiously collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads. This helps the Mountain View, California-based company learn details about users' friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the "most intimate and potentially embarrassing things" they search for online, the complaint said. Google "cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone," the complaint said. The complaint said the proposed class likely includes "millions" of Google users who since June 1, 2016 browsed the internet in "private" mode. It seeks damages per user of $5,000 or three times actual damages, whichever is greater, for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

03 Jun 2020 12:45am GMT

02 Jun 2020

feedArs Technica

Family affairs: Everyone learns they can’t go home again in Killing Eve S3

The hit BBC series has already been renewed for a fourth season.

02 Jun 2020 10:11pm GMT

Ransomware gang is auctioning off victims’ confidential data

New high-pressure tactic is designed to increase the chance of a hefty payout.

02 Jun 2020 9:18pm GMT

The Last of Us Pt. 2 hands-on: You can’t pet the dog—but you can expect terror

We can only disclose so much ahead of June 12, but you can read between the lines.

02 Jun 2020 8:58pm GMT

feedYahoo News - Latest News & Headlines

Extinction crisis 'poses existential threat to civilisation'

Extinction crisis 'poses existential threat to civilisation'A study presents more evidence that the world is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction.


02 Jun 2020 8:48am GMT

Climate change: older trees loss continue around the world

Climate change: older trees loss continue around the worldEvery six seconds in 2019 the world lost an area of primary forest the size of a football pitch, a study says.


02 Jun 2020 4:44am GMT

01 Jun 2020

feedYahoo News - Latest News & Headlines

NASA’s Dragon riders capture the flag, nine years after it was left on the space station

NASA’s Dragon riders capture the flag, nine years after it was left on the space stationA day after arriving at the International Space Station on SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken laid claim to a U.S. flag that symbolizes America's capability to send people to orbit from U.S. soil. The handkerchief-sized flag, sealed in a plastic envelope, has been kept aboard the space station since 2011, when NASA's final space shuttle crew left it behind before making their departure aboard Atlantis. It was displayed above the Harmony module's hatch - and, for a time, stored in an equipment bag, nearly forgotten - with instructions that it was to be taken… Read More


01 Jun 2020 11:25pm GMT