• 276 Posts
Joined 1Y ago
Cake day: May 10, 2022


The financial services firm might soon use a software similar to ChatGPT that will use artificial intelligence to offer investment advice. It has filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to trademark IndexGPT. Here is the filing: http://web.archive.org/web/20230526170913/https://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn97931538&docId=APP20230515101121#docIndex=1&page=1

Another dormant crypto wallet awakens after 8 years, moving ETH worth almost USD 15 million
This has been happening quite often over the recent few months. Why? In the current case, which has been observed and reported by Lookonchain, a participant in Ethereum's ICO has moved holdings to another wallet address, also with a very short transaction history. Here is the data from the Ethereum explorer: https://web.archive.org/web/20230527172457mp_/https://etherscan.io/address/0x6ccb03acf7f53ce87aadcc21a9932de915f89804

Climate activists see surge in support following German raids

Following Wednesday’s raid targeting 15 properties affiliated with members of the group in seven German states, the activists called for people to join protest marches in several cities, including Berlin and Munich.

The rally in the German capital drew several hundred people on Wednesday evening, making it the largest to date, Last Generation said.

I’d think anyone worried about government subpoenas is already locked in offline.

I’d think anyone worried about government subpoenas has never done crypto at all :-)

… will always be opt in.

‘Always’ is a long time. No one knows what the future holds, and the statements are not exactly helpful if they want to build trust imo.

And even if you opted in, it’s somewhat strange to say that “governments only issue subpoenas in the case of a serious act like terrorism or one involving drugs.” In many countries you are obviously a ‘terrorist’ nowadays if you protest for climate change (e.g., in Germany), if you protest for democracy instead of monarchy (UK), if you protest to end the war (Russia) or if you simply criticise the government (China).

So I’m not sure who this ‘average person’ is who doesn’t get ‘subpoenaed every day.’

The firm asserted that regulators in the U.S. are “actively trying to stop companies (banks and fintechs) from supporting crypto assets – even when the companies are trying to do it correctly and by the book”. Unbanked said it recently signed a term sheet for a $5 million investment with a $20 million valuation. Though it did not state which regulations prevented it from receiving the loan, it said it ultimately had not received the funds as of yet and will resume operations.

CEO of Crypto Hardware Wallet Ledger concedes that governments could subpoena access to user funds, but says it is not a concern
Recent comments by Ledger shareholder and former CEO Éric Larchevêque that governments could subpoena access to user funds held on a Ledger device that has subscribed to its new Recover service sparked consternation among Ledger users. Now Ledger's current CEO Pascal Gauthier has shrugged off concerns, arguing that governments only issue subpoenas in the case of a serious act like terrorism or one involving drugs. "It's not true that the average person gets subpoenaed every day." Aha.

No one knows what exactly would happen as it would be the first-ever default on federal debt, but the consequences would likely be severe and it’s almost irrelevant where you live and what you do for a living. Asset managers around the globe -e.g., your pension fund, your insurance- would suffer heavy losses. Especially countries like China and Japan would suffer given as they are the two largest foreign investors in US debt (together they hold more than 20% of all US credit held by foreigners, around 2 trillion dollars).

Interest rates -for public and private debt such as your mortgage or commercial loans- would likely rise across the globe as asset managers focus on risk, and if a nation like the US defaults on its public debt, this must certainly be seen as a very strong risk event.

World trade would suffer. China’s exports, which contribute a fifth to its GDP, depend on a strong US market (China’s largest trading partner is the US) for their own growth and job creation. And so do other countries.

Some countries especially in the global South would or could no longer use the dollar as a replacement for their own weak currencies, which would further accelerate a chain reaction.

If the US government doesn’t agree on the matter soon, the Secretary of the Treasury could principally decide to continue paying bond holders and thus avoiding a technical default for a certain period (I’m not sure how long this is and can’t find it quickly). But even this would harm the US and global trade irreversibly in the long term imho.

I could continue endlessly on this, but in a nutshell: We need a lot of change in global economics and politics, including a new currency regime, but we’ll certainly never need something like a debt default, so let’s hope the change comes without such a chaos. And I’m very convinced it will. I don’t think the US will default on its debt. It’s a safe bet that everyone knows that there would be only loosers and no winners.

Broker commission in retail financials services damages household wealth by 375 million euros annually, study finds
Household wealth in countries with commission bans grows significantly more than in countries without commission bans, a research team from the University of Regensburg claims. They measured the difference in returns at 1.7 percent p.a. The researchers call lawmakers in countries like Germany, where the loss amounts to 2,400 euros per household per year, to ban commission-based sales of financial products. In the recent past, Denmark, Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway as well as Australia and New Zealand have introduced such bans and established alternative payment methods, e.g., according to advisory time or assets under management. Here is the study: https://epub.uni-regensburg.de/54281/

When citizens are voting away the democracies they claim to cherish, they are driven in part by the belief that their opponents will undermine democracy first, a new research has shown. The findings suggest that "aspiring autocrats may instigate democratic backsliding by accusing their opponents of subverting democracy". The authors claim that "we can foster democratic stability by informing partisans about the other side’s commitment to democracy." Here is the study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-023-01594-w

"They pay more for such work than in ‘white’ jobs”: Interview with a crypto scam investment spammer
'Krebs on Security' publishes an interview with a Russian hacker responsible for a series of aggressive crypto spam campaigns that recently prompted several large Mastodon communities to temporarily halt new registrations. According to the hacker, their spam software has been in private use until the last few weeks, when it was released as open source code.

The cited report (as pdf here) says:

The typical rescue loan by Chinese banks requires interest rates of 5 percent. These rates are […] considerably higher than the average IMF [International Monetary Fund] rate, which has been around 2 percent for non-concessional lending operations over the past 10 years. Other multilateral institutions, including the world bank, offer even lower rates for budgetary support.

We see historical parallels [of Chinese activities] to the era when the US started its rise to a global financial power, especially in the 1930s and after World War 2, when it used the US Ex-Im Bank, the US Exchange Stabilization Fund and the Fed to provide rescue funds to countries with large liabilities to US banks and exporters […]

“Regulatory Capture”: Two new reports show how big tech lobbyists are using ‘public interest’ for their own ends
A report presented by US Senator Elizabeth Warren shows how Big Tech lobbyists redefine the concept of “digital trade” and use it to protect the profitability of their enterprises and make it impossible for signatory countries in trade deals to use legislative ends to protect other things, like people’s privacy or the rule of law. It largely confirms the revolving-door tech lobbyism investigated by sociologist Wendy Li. Here is Sen. Warren’s report (pdf): https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/USTR REPORT.pdf Here is tve research paper by Wendy Li: http://web.archive.org/web/20230316084447/https://academic.oup.com/ser/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ser/mwad002/7030814?utm_source=authortollfreelink&utm_campaign=ser&utm_medium=email&guestAccessKey=d5eab2cc-f0ea-4f77-a68c-97412d8b3e9d

China has created its own subprime infrastructure crisis, and now it is trying to bail itself out
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) made high-risk, often-unneeded billion-dollar infrastructure loans, with no conditionality, poor risk planning, shrouded in opacity and secrecy. Cash-poor developing countries that lacked the ability to pay were particularly vulnerable, a report says. The seeds of project failure were sown from the outset by a lack of transparency, risk management, and viable controls to check corruption and incompetence.

Ecosystem Graphs: The Social Footprint of Foundation Models
Researchers develop a framework to capture the vast downstream impact and complex upstream dependencies that define the foundation model ecosystem. 'Ecosystem Graphs' project consolidates the distributed knowledge to improve the ecosystem’s transparency. Here is the graph: https://crfm.stanford.edu/ecosystem-graphs/index.html?mode=graph Here is the table: https://crfm.stanford.edu/ecosystem-graphs/index.html?mode=table

Open Source Software - developed by the NSA
Not sure whether that's a fake site or valid, but just stumbled upon it ...

There is a good report by Lighthouse, a Dutch media collective, about the families falsely accused by their state. There’s a high number of similar cases like the one of Prof. Torley’s, and such ‘false positives’ will always happen as they are inherent to such analyses.

The point for me here is that this guy from Microsoft likely knows that (or, in case he doesn’t, there are certainly a lot of experts at MS who know it as we can reasonably assume). What I don’t understand is that executives get often away with such statements, journalists rarely raise the issue of biases these models have. I feel that is not understood by the masses, and companies and governments exploit that use it against the people.

I feel the term ‘socialist’ is a bit overused here on Lemmy, and in some weird interpretation. But, yes, as long as they adhere to democratic principles and respect human rights, everyone can do good work.

Ron DeSantis Explodes When Asked About His Role in Guantánamo Torture

Two former detainees have called out DeSantis specifically for his role in the unbearable situation at Guantánamo. One, Abu Sarrah Ahmed Abdel Aziz, told The Washington Post he is “100 percent” certain he spoke to DeSantis multiple times. Abdel Aziz spoke fluent English and was trying to report mistreatment claims to JAG officers.

Another former inmate, Mansoor Adayfi, said he saw a photo of DeSantis on Twitter in 2021 and recognized the governor immediately. “It was a face I could never forget. I had seen that face for the first time in Guantanamo, in 2006—one of the camp’s darkest years when the authorities started violently breaking hunger strikes and three of my brothers were found dead in their cages,” Adayfi wrote in an essay for Al Jazeera.

Adayfi said he shared a photo of DeSantis with several other former inmates, and they all recognized him from Guantánamo. Adayfi vividly remembers DeSantis watching from behind a fence as he was force-fed, “smiling and laughing with other officers as I screamed in pain.”

The number of internally displaced people -those who flee their homes but stay within their country- reached a worldwide record of 71.1 million as of the end of 2022, an increase by 20 per cent from the previous year, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s flagship annual report. Rapidly escalating conflict and violence in countries such as Ukraine and Congo and disasters such as flooding in Pakistan forced millions of people to flee and join the tens of millions of people already living in prolonged displacement. There is a written summary also here: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/global-report-internal-displacement-2023-grid-2023-internal-displacement-and-food-security

UK: Majority of gig economy workers earn below minimum wage, study says
52% of those doing jobs ranging from data entry to food delivery are earning below the minimum wage, a study by University of Bristol finds. Average wages are £8.97 per hour – around 15% below the current UK minimum which rose to £10.42 in May. Three out of four workers say they are experiencing work-related insecurity and anxiety.

AIMLab’s core activity will be developing impact assessment methods to hold those who built the algorithms accountable for harm. "Automated decisions impacting us in ways that are too often rendered invisible,” says Jacob Metcalf, one of the lab's directors. “The people for whom these systems are potentially the most harmful — those who are historically vulnerable [...] and often already subject to multiple forms of arbitrary exclusion, coercion, and surveillance — have had the least power to shape them." [Edit for a typo.]

After FTX's collapse last year, federal prosecutors intervened within a month alleging that Bankman-Fried was stealing billions in customer funds, defrauding investors, committing bank and wire fraud, providing improper loans, misleading lenders, transmitting money without a license, making illegal campaign contributions, bribing China officials, and other crimes.

I will, certainly, be watching out for all of the claims being made.

I will, too :-)

Thanks for sharing this, I wasn’t aware if this company.

This is very impressive. I would have tons of questions, though, as I don’t understand :-)

How did the device know that he accepts the call? He didn’t do something as far as I am aware.

And how did the device know that he wants the translation into French, or that he wants a translation at all?

He says that it’s private. But how? Doesn’t have the device sync with other data, e.g., some health data base (regarding the chocolate example)? Where does the data sit, in the cloud or on the device? Meaning, does the device also work offline or do you need a cloud (or a network)?

And how does the device learn and store new data (e.g., that he ate a chocolate)? And when he eats the chocolate, does this go into some database? If so, who controls this data?

I am wondering whether this technology could enable communication with non-human species. There’s a fair evidence from research that animals have someform of intelligence, e.g., the paper posted yesterday. I mean, if this decoder can be trained on an individual human being’s brain activity, why not on any non-human being’s?

A lot of research has been going on for some time around “intelligence” with some books published in the last 10 or so years. There is an interesting long read reviewing some of these books.

From AI to cephalopods, a new strain of “nature writing” explores the frontiers of non-human sentience […] Octopuses are having a moment. So are slime moulds and honeybees. Mushrooms are in vogue. After 250 years of humanity (well, some of humanity…) confidently atop the great pyramid of being, we in the west are becoming more aware that we might, perhaps, have company.

There are a fair few examples in the animal kingdom of species that have mathematical abilities, some fish can count, bees can tell apart odd and even numbers, and now giraffes can make decisions based on statistical information, a new study has found. This reaches new heights in terms of animal intelligence. Here is the study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-32615-3

A paper published by security researchers at the Technical University of Berlin reveals that AMD's firmware-based Trusted Platform Module (fTPM / TPM) can be fully compromised, thus allowing full access to the cryptographic data held inside the fTPM in an attack called 'faulTPM.' The attacker needs physical access to the device to exploit the vulnerability. The paper is here: https://arxiv.org/abs/2304.14717 The researcher also shared the code used: https://github.com/PSPReverse/ftpm_attack

Russia’s dominion over Eastern Europe — first as the Russian Empire, later as the Soviet Union — ushered in many of the same colonial practices as Western empires: the suppression of local languages, the persecution of the local intelligentsia, and education reforms that prioritized the metropol’s view of culture and history. Ukrainian, Belarusian, Lithuanian art was simply labeled as 'Russian'. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, however, artists across Eastern Europe are increasingly reclaiming their identities and carving their own paths.

Finland’s decision to seek NATO membership and the removal of the last remaining Lenin statues in the country in 2022 highlighted a change in how perceptions of Russia have shifted in Finland post-February 24, 2022. And some argue that the Finns’ previous reticence regarding America is also on the decline.

It’s all written in the linked article and this thread already imo, but as I just stumbled about this:

If you post any content to the Bluesky Web Services, you hereby grant Bluesky and its licensees a worldwide, perpetual […] licence to use, reproduce, publicly display, publicly perform, modify, sublicense …

That’s from BS’s Terms of Service.

And this is somewhat at the other end of the spectrum: Texas governor decried for ‘disgusting’ rhetoric in wake of mass shooting

Republican Greg Abbott condemned for calling […] victims of Friday night shooting in rural Cleveland ‘illegal immigrants’.

The victims, which included a young boy and two women who were shielding children from gunfire, were all from Honduras.

Since Euromaidan and the first Russian invasion in 2014, Ukrainian filmmakers have been prolifically recording the impact of war on society. The result is an immensely powerful and varied body of work across genres and styles. [The article contains links to the films/documentaries.]

After reading this site (btw, they appear to be using Cloudflare for their decentralized service) it doesn’t change anything. They indeed “may soon be able to migrate”, may “federate soon”, and all that, but it simply isn’t. It is a centralized service, and they promise once again that this time everything will really be better.

After the terrifying early months of 2022, and a brutal winter of drone attacks and blackouts, a crop of new independent bookshops is hardly what one would expect to find in the Ukrainian capital. But, in defiance of Russia’s ongoing invasion, they are springing up all around Kyiv.

ActivityPub has a over 20k different independent instances, mostly federating with one another. BlueSky has one, and if you try to set up an independent one, it won’t federate.

Yes, and the current owners have no economic incentive to change that. It’s a project backed by financial investors, which means they’ll want to get back as much money as possible as soon as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not some “venture capital bashing”. It’s their full right to earn their money back and do with their companies whatever they want. If I were a financial investor, I did the same (what is ignored in many discussions on this is the fact that the vast majority of VC investments fail due to their high-risk nature, but that’s a different story). I just argue that if you want a distributed and/or decentralised system, you likely need a different kind of funding and a more decentralized form of decision making.

it decentralizes the cost to the central authority by pushing data load onto volunteers

the sad reality is that people will buy the hype

I have been discussing BlueSky some time ago with a friend of mine, and we soon agreed exactly on these two things. This is an excellent article, thanks for sharing this.

Khrystyna Mykhailichenko, 17, has been awarded a full bursary for four years to study piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her 12-year-old sister, Sasha, a violinist, has a scholarship to become a weekly boarder at the Yehudi Menuhin School. Both feel that classical music helped them to face the trauma of abandoning their home with their mother.

Many Public Salesforce Sites are Leaking Private Data
A high number of organizations — including banks and healthcare providers — are leaking private and sensitive information from their public Salesforce Community websites, says KrebsOnSecurity. The data exposures all stem from a misconfiguration in Salesforce Community that allows an unauthenticated user to access records that should only be available after logging in.

A little experiment to demonstrate how a large language model like ChatGPT can not only write, but can read and judge. That, in turn, could lead to an enormous scaling up of the number of communications that are meaningfully monitored, warns ACLU, a human rights group.

In the meantime I got similar additional information as @loki did. Seems to be more advertising than information.

Should I delete the post?

Companies like Google, for instance, could obtain access to the details of a patient's cancer treatment or the results of a psychotherapy session to train its new AI for some well-being app. The outcome of that might feed into the company’s advertising business. The European Health Data Space (EHDS) does not foresee patients being asked for their permission; it does not even include a right to object to this kind of excessive data sharing.

Affected smart phones are Sony Xperia XA2 and likely the Fairphone and many more Android phones which use popular Qualcomm chips. The data is sent without user consent, unencrypted, and even when using a Google-free Android distribution. This is possible because the Qualcomm chipset itself sends the data, circumventing any potential Android operating system setting and protection mechanisms.

If you ask ten people about their opinions on anarchism (or any other form of political or economic thought), I’d say you get ten different answers - at least. That’s my experience.

Democracy is a good step in the right direction, but what does that mean? Even North Korea claims to be a democratic republic, China bears the term “Republic” in its name, Iran has a parliament, but these countries are dictatorships where people have nothing to say, and where power and capital are as concentrated as in the worst forms of neo-liberal capitalism.

I firmly believe that we need the best ideas from different philosophies as none of them is able to solve real issues, no matter how great thinkers their creators often were. On my list: a little bit agorism, a bit Austrian school of economics (not exclusively, but especially its theory on money, e.g., by Carl Menger and Ludwig Mises), a bit behavorial economics. We can learn from Silvio Gesell, Bernard Lietaer, and so many others such as those who did research in very small niche areas like Elinor Ostrom. It depends what problems we want solve.

It may go in the direction of some form of anarchism I would say, but not in its pure form.

Edit: I should say that I am not part of the Beehaw team, so this is not an “official” statement. I should have made that clear, sorry.

it is time for me to walk the walk and change funds

We all should do this, although it is going to get very hard as investments in fossil fuels (and all other investments) are highly concentrated.

For example, the world’s 2 biggest asset managers, Vanguard and Black Rock, account for 17% of all global investments in fossil fuels. 50% of the total institutional investments in fossil fuel companies are held by just 23 investors. One new study is here.

The same two AMs -Vanguard and Black Rock- are also the two biggest shareholders of Google, Amazon, Facebook parent Meta, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as many other multinationals across practically all industry sectors.

The concentration in the asset management industry has increasingly become concerning and appears to have accelerated since the financial crisis 2007/08 for various reasons (e.g., there’s a growing trend to passively managed portfolios, which is basically a good thing imo, but it puts AM’s fees under pressure, which is why they further concentrate, which in turn increases asset price volatility, which also means higher systematic risks, …).

"We are in an age which, to an extent, embraces feminism, anti-racism and anti-ableism. Perhaps it is also time to include “speciesism” in our discussions about ethics – since valuing some species over others is a form of prejudice."

In the supposedly first report of its kind, researchers have shown that ChatGPT generates racist and other harmful dialogue in response to user questions. By asking the model to respond to questions as a good or a bad person, a man or woman, or as individuals of varying racial or ethnic backgrounds, it produced "biased and hurtful commentary" showing varying degrees of toxicity. The report (12 pages, not very technical) can be downloaded here: https://dx.doi.org/10.48550/arxiv.2304.05335

He could release a new album with Elvis …

I am also not a fan. “Resulted in people teaching to the test, rather than teaching to the material” as you say has already been a problem before AI and I agree that it is about to get worse with this. Another point is that psychological and emotional changes that occur during childhood and adolescence may differ from child to child. Will there be sone ‘gentle pressure’ to ‘meet’ some data? And what does it do to children if the teachers looks at the data instead of just talking to them?

I’m not an expert for this, but I feel very uneasy. It seems an education system preparing you for a job at Amazon or so.

Is this good? I personally find it scary and wouldn’t want that, especially if

for parents who don’t want their children using such platforms, opting out is not always straightforward

as the article says.

And I’m wondering Why Are Silicon Valley Executives Sending Their Kids to a Tech-Free School?

A study focusing on the sources of information within the field of environmental science has shown ChatGPT perpetuates the Matthew Effect in science, where the rich get richer in terms of citations. It tends to cite highly-cited publications and exhibits a preference for older publications, and predominantly refers to well-respected journals in the field, with Nature being the most cited journal by GPT. Interestingly, GPT seems to exclusively rely on citation count data from Google Scholar for the works it cites, rather than utilizing citation information from other scientific databases such as Web of Science or Scopus. The author Eduard Petiska warns that this can lead to a lack of diversity in the field, as certain researchers and institutions become more dominant and others are marginalized. This can limit the range of perspectives and approaches that are considered in environmental science research. It can also an perpetuate existing power imbalances, as those who are already in positions of power and influence continue to accumulate more resources and recognition. This can make it difficult for new voices and perspectives to be heard and taken seriously in the field. The study (12pages) is here: https://arxiv.org/abs/2304.06794

Onsite @ NYU in New York City or via live stream

A financial model investigating the issuance of digital money as central bank digital currency (CBDC) or as stablecoins found that a fully-integrated digital currency would lead to higher and less volatile asset prices, and household welfare gains are potentially large which could lead to an increase in consumption by up to 2%. However, a fully-integrated digital currency would depress bank deposit spreads, particularly during times of crises, which limits the banks’ abilities to recapitalize losses after a bank crises. These investment losses, not specifically bank runs, create instability, the paper argues. Another research paper found that bank runs are not as big as initially feared. This paper can be found here: https://www.financialresearch.gov/working-papers/2022/07/11/central-bank-digital-currency/ Both papers focus on the issuance of CBCD and stablecoins and do not include privately issued money like LETS/Time Dollars and similar privately issued complementary currency systems. (Edited to correct a typo.)

Russian forces detained and tortured residents of the city of Kherson and its vicinity during their occupation of the area between March and November 2022, Human Rights Watch. Victims and their family members reported about torture and other ill-treatment at several detention centers in the city.

For those interested in the case, the two human rights defenders wrote and released statements prior to their sentencing: Here are Xu Zhiyong’s and Ding Jiaxi’s statements.

After Nashville officials unanimously reappointed him, Jones supporters gathered to call for gun reform and chant "No Justin, No Peace". Jones has been expelled last week along with Rep. Justin Pearson for standing with distraught protesters seeking gun reform - a move Republican lawmakers deemed "disorderly behavior".

From 2006 to 2018, the tiger numbers almost doubled to 2,967 and are now well above 3,000, according to the recently released census in India, home to 70 percent of the world’s tigers. Indian PM Narendra Modi also launched the 'International Big Cats Alliance', which will focus on the protection of seven big cat species: the tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and cheetah.

‘Swimming pools are making cities thirsty’: social inequalities drive urban water crises more than environmental factors
A new study by the University of Reading found that urban elites overconsume water for their own personal leisure, such as filling their swimming pools, watering their gardens or washing their cars, while many under-privileged people live without taps or toilets and use their limited water for drinking and hygiene. The research team focused on Cape Town, South Africa, but also highlighted similar issues in 80 cities worldwide, including London, Miami, Barcelona, Beijing, Tokyo, Melbourne, Istanbul, Cairo, Moscow, Bangalore, Chennai, Jakarta, Sydney, Maputo, Harare, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Rome.

"Although libraries are afforded great discretion for their selection and acquisition decisions, the First Amendment prohibits the removal of books from libraries based on either viewpoint or content discrimination,” US District Judge Robert Pitman said in his order.

The 900 residents of the Manitoba town have learned to share their streets on the edge of the Arctic with the huge animals and the eager tourists who come to see them. Arrivals at the airport are greeted by a large safety sign warning them not to feed the polar bears and locals routinely leave their cars unlocked to give people an escape from bear encounters.

Xu Zhiyong, 50, and Ding Jiaxi, 55, were put on trial in June last year on charges of state subversion after having sought greater transparency into the wealth of officials and for Chinese citizens to be able to exercise their civil rights as written in the constitution. Their lawyers are reportedly forbidden from publishing court verdict documents and they do not dare to reveal where they were sentenced and under what charges.

It is high time we start codifying at least some protections into law

Yes, it’s sadly true.

For the issue you described above you wouldn’t necessarily need license plate scanners as it might be done with "correlation analysis" using CCTVs.

China’s government, which has been the most aggressive in using surveillance and AI to control its population, uses co-appearance searches to spot protesters and dissidents by merging video with a vast network of databases.

[In the US] no laws expressly prohibit police from using co-appearance searches […], “but it’s an open question” whether doing so would violate constitutionally protected rights of free assembly and protections against unauthorized searches.

In Europe, Asia and Africa the situation is similar to the US afaik, which means police departments and private companies have to weigh the balance of security and privacy on their own.

It would be a start but not helpful if it stops there. The surveillance in China and its social credit system is a desaster for the people and much worse. A ban in the US doesn’t help the people over there.

Edit for an addition: Iran to install cameras in public to spot women wearing no hijab

A good alternative is Librewolf imho as it comes with many privacy-friendly settings by default. Maybe this is interesting for users less tech savvy or for those who just want to avoid investing time changing the Firefox settings.

Yes, but a federal ban in the US is not enough. We need bans also in Europe, China and all other countries …

I am wondering whether the Streisand effect is already here, but am not sure whether the Chinese government would care. And it’s not only China but also the US which doesn’t fully cooperate with the UN as I have read recently. There appears to be too much politics, too much national interest on all sides.

More data transparency would not only help scientists to better understand the origin of the virus but also help to fight future pandemics. I am not an expert in this field, but I guess more international collaboration would be beneficial for the entire globe (not in the least because, as you suggest, there’s no country to blame for as such an outbreak can happen anywhere, anytime).

The bans are exclusively for government-issued devices. I wouldn’t welcome a ban for private uses as which apps you’re using should not be your government’s business (and yes, we also have strict rules for work phones).