Surveillance and Privacy

Following the debate and consequence of technology's bargain with consumers: convenience and safety in exchange for unprecedented access to our personal lives.

Latest Stories

Everything you need to get started making models and visualizations using COVID-19 data

April 28th

MIT has ended its partnership with Chinese AI firm iFlyTek

April 23rd

An MIT machine learning model predicts a plateau in the US, and an "exponential explosion" if lockdown ends early

April 17th

A look at Voxel51, a company using AI to monitor social distancing in real time.

April 14th

Apple and Google are building a system to warn smartphone owners if they’ve interacted with anyone who has COVID-19

April 10th

How South Korea has used aggressive contact tracing surveillance to fight COVID-19

April 3rd

The Basics

AI-enabled technologies produce and rely on vast troves of personal data, most of which is unregulated and vulnerable to theft and misuse.

These technologies include:

  • Facial recognition: It helps users unlock their smartphones. It also helps police in China track criminal suspects and monitor members of the Uyghur ethnic minority.
  • Personalization: It helps consumers make necessary purchases and discover entertainment, but also encourages developers to collect personal data from increasingly far-flung sources.
  • Voice assistants: They help users answer questions, create calendar events, and set alarms. They also record audio accidentally, and until recently relied on human reviewers to listen to private audio to improve their responses.
  • Smart home products: Similar to voice assistants, these products allow users to remotely operate appliances, set temperatures and access security footage. They also collect a vast amount of private information about the home life of their users.

Relevant People

Fei-Fei Li is a computer science professor and the lead researcher of ImageNet

Go deeper

Where do tech bosses and politicians stand on AI regulation?

January 22nd

Neural networks: a computing model inspired by the human brain

November 1st

China's social credit system: Orwellian nightmare or a modern take on credit scores?

October 2nd

ImageNet: the database that sparked today's AI boom

September 18th