Evan Greer Profile picture
🎸She/her/they/them @dongiovannirecs | deputy dir @fightfortheftr | @NoMusicForICE | 📝 @washingtonpost @guardian @buzzfeed @time @wired| 🦋trans, opinions mine
Joe Thornton III Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
15 Oct
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the University of Miami is now DENYING that the school used facial recognition surveillance to intimidate student protesters.

But @fightfortheftr uncovered documents that prove they're not telling the truth.

We've got receipts:
fightfortheftr.medium.com/the-university…
Left: email @univmiami Executive Director of communications sent a reporter yesterday claiming the school does not use facial recognition.

Right: the campus Chief of Police bragging about using facial recognition in an article published last week

Source: distractionmagazine.com/caught-theft-h…
And here's the kicker. We found the resume for @univmiami Chief of Police David Rivero, which is publicly available on the university's website: umpd.miami.edu/_assets/pdf/ri…

In it he claims to oversee the school's surveillance camera systems, INCLUDING FACIAL RECOGNITION.
Read 5 tweets
21 Sep
Now that Trump has declared entire US cities "Anarchist Jurisdictions," maybe it's a good time to do a quick THREAD on anarchists and anarchism. Fascists throughout history have invoked these words to spread fear & seize power, but actually anarchy is about love & cooperation.
There are lots of different types of anarchists & strains of anarchism, but at a basic level anarchists believe that arbitrary forms of hierarchy are inherently oppressive, and that humans are better off organizing ourselves horizontally rather than thru laws enforced by violence
Anarchists believe in communities making decisions together through consensus & discussion rather than having those decisions be imposed by politicians or those with institutional power (say, bosses, religious leaders, or landlords.) They believe in mutual aid and solidarity.
Read 10 tweets
20 Sep
It feels like part of the reason that mainstream tech discourse has latched on so much to the specific problem of bias in AI, especially facial recognition, is that people are uncomfortable questioning the validity of institutions like policing.
It's much easier and safer to say "This software might be biased and therefore police shouldn't use it until it works right" than it is to say "this software will help police perform the functions of policing faster, and more efficiently, and that in and of itself is a bad thing"
The same could be said for corporations looking to use AI and things like face recognition for marketing or customer experience, etc. Yes, bias in these systems can exacerbate discrimination, but using software to extract ever more profit from humans is problematic from the start
Read 8 tweets
16 Sep
One of my problems with "The Social Dilemma" is that it makes the same mistake a lot of tech observers are making: it treats social media as if its cigarettes -- something that's addictive and bad with no value at all. The Internet is more like sex, drugs and rock & roll (thread)
Done wrong, it can be harmful, unhealthy, addictive, violating and corrosive. But done right it can be liberating, mind-expanding, transformative, and fun as hell. The problem with ignoring this is that it leads us toward "solutions" to Big Tech that do more harm than good.
We can't, and shouldn't, call for regulation of social media companies without acknowledging the fact that the Internet, and specifically the ability for user-generated content on the Internet to go viral, has transformed and revolutionized our society in profoundly good ways.
Read 14 tweets
15 Sep
Face ID is trending so I suppose now is a good moment to tell people not to use it.

1) normalizes biometric surveillance

2) weaker security than a passcode

3) there is legal precedent that cops can't force you to give you password, but can unlock using Face ID or thumbprint
Apple (ostensibly) stores your biometric data directly on your device, which makes it much more secure than, for example, a cloud based banking service with a facial recognition login, but in the end it's still normalizing the practice of letting corporations scan your face.
But to me this is less of a tech security issue and more of a basic common sense issue. If your stalker, or a cop, or your boss, or your neighbor's kid grabs your phone from you do you want them to be able to unlock it just by holding it up to your face? How is that security?
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep
BREAKING: Portland, OR just became the first city in the US (possibly the world?) to ban both government and corporate use of #FacialRecognition surveillance technology. Every city council should follow suit!
The city council and mayor unanimously approved two ordinances. The first is similar to those passed in Boston, San Francisco, etc. it bans all government use of facial recognition including use by police, schools, etc. notably this also includes use by TSA or airlines at PDX
The second ordinance is historic. It bans private businesses from using facial recognition in places of “public accommodation” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. That means stores can’t use it on their customers, or on people walking by. It’s a huge deal.
Read 6 tweets
31 Aug
wow. i shouldn't be surprised by this, but I am. AT&T will throw its weight behind Trump's absolutely absurd Executive Order that would gut Section 230 & enable widespread Internet censorship. And they're doing it just to confuse ppl about #netneutrality. attpublicpolicy.com/fcc/the-neutra…
this is perfectly in line with Big Telecom strategies over the last few years. AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are some of the worst perpetrators of privacy violations and they routinely abuse their monopoly power. But they wave their hands and say "look over there at Facebook!"
Which works pretty well, because Facebook and other Big Tech companies are also doing terrible shit, and also have surveillance capitalist business models that are fundamentally at odds with basic rights and democracy. But AT&T wants us to think that you can only fix one of these
Read 11 tweets
16 Jun
URGENT: The FBI are actively "visiting" people across the country right now gathering information about their political beliefs and associations, as a direct form of harassment and intimidation to crack down on the powerful protests of the last few weeks. DO NOT SAY A WORD.
This is not a new phenomenon, so take a minute to learn from social movements of the past that have faced FBI repression. You cannot "outsmart" the FBI. Lying to them is a crime. If an FBI agent comes to your door, do not let them in. Do not answer questions. Call the @NLGnews
Tell the agents to slide their card under the door in order to identify themselves. Otherwise SAY NOTHING. Even seemingly innocuous things you say could be used to target or harm other people, or could be used against you by agents in bad faith. These ppl are not your friends.
Read 14 tweets
31 May
THREAD: trying to figure out how i can be helpful. Here's one thing: it's clear the government is bringing the full force of the surveillance state to monitor these uprisings. Here are some basic steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones if you're in the streets.
First, this thread will not be comprehensive. So if you are particularly vulnerable, or if you're involved in something particularly sensitive, DO NOT assume that these practices will be 100% fail safe. Get expert help and be super careful. Start here ssd.eff.org
Ok, disclaimers aside, the first and most important thing to understand is that your phone and the information on it is the cops' best friend, and that's the most important thing to protect. Make sure you have a LONG password with letters & numbers, not a thumb print, not Face ID
Read 15 tweets
28 May
I just want to be extremely clear that right now Nancy Pelosi the so-called leader of "The Resistance" is actively trying to gut a bipartisan amendment that specifically protects journalists & religious groups from abusive surveillance, so she can reauthorize FISA & Patriot Act
Here's what's happening: late last night @SpeakerPelosi attempted to ram through a reauthorization of #FISA and #PatriotAct surveillance authorities. But she had to cancel the vote at the last minute when it became clear she didn't have even close to enough votes to pass it.
She's trying to blame that on Trump tweeting about it, but the reality is that the vote was going to fail anyway because the entire Congressional Progressive Caucus (nearly 100 member of the House) came out against the bill after Pelosi let @RepAdamSchiff gut a privacy amendment
Read 7 tweets
14 May
BREAKING: The Senate just voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act, after rejecting an amendment that would have required the FBI to at least get a warrant before spying on Internet activity. Both parties just handed an authoritarian admin nearly limitless surveillance power
The Wyden/Daines amendment, which failed by JUST ONE VOTE (with several members who would have voted for it, including @BernieSanders, not present) would have required the FBI to get a warrant before looking at your browsing history and online activity.
The Senate did pass the Lee/Leahy amendment, which expands the role of the amici curiae to guard against FISA abuses like targeting of religious groups, political organizations and the press. But they otherwise reauthorized the surveillance programs in their entirely.
Read 7 tweets
5 May
i dunno if anyone maybe needs some good news for a change but ... remember those students who were told by their administration that they weren't allowed to introduce a student gov resolution to ban facial recognition?

it just passed overwhelmingly.

vice.com/en_us/article/…
Here's the story: students at Oakland Community College, near Detroit, were originally told by their administration that they were not allowed to introduce a student government resolution to ban the use of facial recognition surveillance on campus.
Then, on top of that, they were told they were not allowed to even host A FORUM on the topic of banning facial recognition surveillance on campus. They already had the event planned and had invited speakers from @justcitydetroit and @ACLUofMichigan.
Read 11 tweets
10 Mar
THREAD: In the weeks after 9-11 everyone was afraid.

Congress & the Bush administration exploited that fear to ram through the USA PATRIOT ACT, granting the government broad surveillance and detention authorities.

Twenty years later, we're still trying to get even basic reforms
Right now, people are understandably afraid of #COVID19.

But while we're stocking up on food & avoiding big events and washing our hands, we should also be preparing to organize en masse to oppose any attempts to exploit this public health crisis to crack down on civil liberties
Key provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT are up for reauthorization.

The Trump admin has already teased the idea of more travel bans that are politically motivated, not about public safety.

We've seen increased censorship & surveillance in China & Russia in response to the virus
Read 5 tweets
17 Jan
i really wish this drama would die but apparently i can't let it go either

part of what's happening here is our inability to separate "said something sexist" from "is a sexist monster"

our movement desperately needs a little more humanity & some education on restorative justice
every cis man I have ever organized with for any significant period of time has said or done something informed by sexism.

every white person i have ever organized with for any significant period of time (including myself) has said or done something informed by racism
oppressive structures are the sea we swim in.

we are all affected by them.

that doesn't make us horrible people to be thrown in the trash.

accepting that is a huge step toward approaching people and organizing in a healthier way.
Read 4 tweets
6 Jan
This is exactly how it will happen.

This New York school quietly purchased a facial recognition surveillance system.

When parents, students, and teachers found out, they were outraged.

So school officials went into spin mode. THREAD:

nbcnewyork.com/news/local/ny-…
They held some open meetings and assured parents that they would revise their policies.

Their original plan included using facial recognition, which is notoriously racially biased, to track student attendance and blacklist students who were suspended.

They made some tweaks.
After some pushback, they came back saying that they would only use the system to identify guns, not faces. Sounds reasonable, right?

Then once they got buy in for that, they expanded the scope: now they're scanning faces looking for people on law enforcement watch lists.
Read 6 tweets
9 Oct 19
Someone just sent this to @fightfortheftr. An internal email showing that @github, which is now owned by @Microsoft recently renewed a $200,000 contract with ICE.

Full email here: drive.google.com/file/d/1ljH74A…
These parts jumped out at me:

"The revenue from the purchase is less than $200,000 and not financially material for our company."

"GitHub has no visibility into how this software is being used"

Write GitHub senior management ... as if that somehow makes it okay?
Then the letter goes full on "ICE is actually kinda good and if we don't take their money then the terrorists win"
Read 5 tweets
19 Jul 19
THREAD: Here's the problem with the argument that invasive mass surveillance is okay because "as long as you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about."

The concept of what is "wrong" is not static or set in stone. Without privacy, we can't advance as a society
It wasn't long ago that it was "wrong" to be gay, to have sex out of wedlock, to swear, or to be in public without wearing a hat or panty hose.

Not long before that it was "wrong" for black people to drink from the same water fountain or eat at the same counter as white people.
It was "wrong" to form unions and demand safe working conditions and decent pay.

It was "wrong" to get divorced.

It was "wrong" to question religious superstition & advocate for hand washing and the germ theory of medicine

It was "wrong" to help harbor people escaping slavery
Read 8 tweets
30 May 19
Brands during Pride month:

🌈 Exxon: no matter who you love, we’ll make sure your children don’t have a livable planet

🌈 Amazon: we treat all of our warehouse workers like dirt, regardless of their sexual orientation

🌈 Raytheon: our tomahawk missiles don’t discriminate
🌈 Bank of America: when we foreclose on your home because you can’t afford the interest on the predatory loan we gave you, you can be sure it has nothing to do with your gender identity or expression

🌈 Apple: our CEO is gay please don’t ask us about the iPhone factories
🌈 Burger King: we have sassy tweets. Gays like sassy things right? Do gays like factory farms? We hope so.

🌈 Facebook: check out our new pride emoji! Now you can show your support for the LGBTQ community while we harvest the most intimate details of your lives to target ads
Read 11 tweets
1 Apr 19
Wow. AI technology can be used to target and oppress marginalized people at a mass scale, and Google just put the president of the Heritage Foundation, a xenophobic transphobe, on their AI Ethics Council. Now employees are speaking out: medium.com/@against.trans…
This is the person Google just invited to advise them on ethics in Artificial Intelligence technology. They announced it four days before #TransDayOfVisibility
The letter has been signed by more than 80 Google employees, plus dozens of academics, activists, attorneys, celebrities, etc

One member of the AI Ethics council already resigned over the controversy

There's info on how to add your name at bottom of this medium.com/@against.trans…
Read 8 tweets
13 Sep 18
I grew up in Andover next to Lawrence. Super important to understand that Lawrence is the poorest community in New England with a huge immigrant population. Don't give $$ to the Red Cross. Give it to local community groups there who will be supporting residents for the long haul
Here's some:
Bread And Roses Lawrence: breadandroseslawrence.org
Lazarus House shelter: lazarushouse.org
Elevated Thought elevatedthought.org/our_story
Greater Lawrence Community Action Council: glcac.org
Based on initial reports it seems that the area of Lawrence most affected by these gas industry related explosions is the same one that was hit hard during flooding of the Merrimack river in 2006.
Read 9 tweets
19 Jul 18
Before you organize a protest, ask yourself a few basic things:

-what do you want?

-who has the power to give you what you want?

-who has power over the people who have the power to give you what you want?

-how will the protest get those people to give you what you want?
If you answered one of these questions with "it will get media coverage," then ask yourself a follow-up question:

-How will getting media coverage get the people who have the power to give you what you want to give you what you want?
This is not shared with judgment or snark. These are basic strategic considerations for organizing 101 that I spent the majority of my life as an activist completely ignorant of. We are taught that activism is performative, its about SHOWING that we care or that we are right.
Read 4 tweets