• Faut-il envoyer nos sénateurs faire un stage de clairvoyance au Canada ?

    L’entreprise Clearview vient d’y être contrainte légalement à l’effacement des visages des citoyens canadiens de sa base de données (3 milliards de photos « récupérées » sur les réseaux sociaux), utilisée par plus de 2400 agences d’application de la loi, rien qu’aux USofA, d’après leur propre com’.


    The facial recognition app Clearview AI is not welcome in Canada and the company that developed it should delete Canadians’ faces from its database, the country’s privacy commissioner said on Wednesday.

    “What Clearview does is mass surveillance, and it is illegal,” Commissioner Daniel Therrien said at a news conference. He forcefully denounced the company as putting all of society “continually in a police lineup.” Though the Canadian government does not have legal authority to enforce photo removal, the position — the strongest one an individual country has taken against the company — was clear: “This is completely unacceptable.”

    Clearview scraped more than three billion photos from social media networks and other public websites in order to build a facial recognition app that is now used by over 2,400 U.S. law enforcement agencies, according to the company. When an officer runs a search, the app provides links to sites on the web where the person’s face has appeared. The scope of the company’s reach and law enforcement application was first reported by The New York Times in January 2020.

    Mr. Therrien, along with three regional privacy commissioners in Canada, began an investigation into Clearview a year ago, after the article on the company was published. Privacy laws in Canada require getting people’s consent to use their personal data, giving the government grounds to pursue an inquiry. Authorities in Australia and the United Kingdom are jointly pursuing an inquiry of their own.

    Dozens of law enforcement agencies and organizations across Canada used the app, according to the commissioners, including the national Royal Canadian Mounted Police. One Canadian law enforcement officer told The Times last year that it was “the biggest breakthrough in the last decade” for investigating child sexual abuse crimes. “Thousands of searches” were conducted, a report from the commissioners said, but only one agency was paying for the app, mainly because a number of groups used it through a free trial.

    According to the commissioners’ report, Clearview said that it did not need consent from Canadians to use facial biometric information, because that information came from photos that were on the public internet. There is an exception in the privacy law for publicly available information. The commission disagreed.

    “Information collected from public websites, such as social media or professional profiles, and then used for an unrelated purpose, does not fall under the ‘publicly available’ exception,” according to the report. The commissioners objected to the images being used in a way that the posters of the photos hadn’t intended and in a way that could “create the risk of significant harm to those individuals.”

    Clearview AI said that it planned to challenge the determination in court. “Clearview AI only collects public information from the Internet which is explicitly permitted,” Doug Mitchell, a lawyer for Clearview AI, said in a statement. “Clearview AI is a search engine that collects public data just as much larger companies do, including Google, which is permitted to operate in Canada.”

    The commissioners, who noted that they don’t have the power to fine companies or make orders, sent a “letter of intention” to Clearview AI telling it to cease offering its facial recognition services in Canada, cease the scraping of Canadians’ faces, and to delete images already collected.
    Editors’ Picks

    That is a difficult order: It’s not possible to tell someone’s nationality or where they live from their face alone.
    Hoan Ton-That, founder of Clearview AI, said the company allows Canadians to opt out of the database.
    Hoan Ton-That, founder of Clearview AI, said the company allows Canadians to opt out of the database.Credit...Amr Alfiky for The New York Times
    Hoan Ton-That, founder of Clearview AI, said the company allows Canadians to opt out of the database.

    Hoan Ton-That, the chief executive of Clearview AI, said Wednesday that because of the inquiry, the company stopped operating in Canada last July, but had no plans to proactively delete Canadians from its database.

    The company has previously taken pains to delete faces after running afoul of local privacy laws. Last year, Clearview was sued in Illinois for violating that state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, which says that companies must get people’s consent before using images of their faces. Clearview tried to delete Illinois residents’ faces by, for example, looking at photo metadata and geographical information. It also allows state residents to request removal by uploading photos of themselves via an “opt-out form.”

    Mr. Ton-That said Clearview allows Canadians to opt out of the database the same way.

    Mr. Therrien was not satisfied with that solution. “You realize the irony of the remedy, requiring individuals to provide further personal information about themselves,” he said.

    Mr. Ton-That said he was eager to fight the finding in court. “This is a simple issue of public information and who has access to it and why,” he said. “We don’t want a world where it’s just Google and a few other tech companies accessing public information.”

    #AI #IA #facialrecognition

  • Pluralistic: The public paid for “Moderna’s” vaccine, and now we’re going to pay again (and again and again) (25 Jan 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow

    par Cory Doctorow

    Moderna is quadrupling the cost of covid vaccines, from $26/dose to $110-130. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel calls the price hike “consistent with the value” of the mRNA vaccines. Moderna’s manufacturing costs are $2.85/dose, for a 4,460% markup on every dose:


    Now, obviously the manufacturing costs are only part of the cost of making a vaccine: there’s also all the high-risk capital that goes into doing the basic research. Whenever a pharma company like Moderna hikes its prices, we’re reminded that the rewards are commensurate with these risks.

    But the story of the Moderna vaccine isn’t one of a company taking huge gambles with shareholder dollars. It’s the story of the US government giving billions and billions of dollars to a private firm, which will now charge the US government – and the American people – a 4,460% markup on the resulting medicine.

    Writing for The American Prospect, Lily Meyersohn reminds us of the Moderna vaccine’s origin story: the NIH spent $1.4B developing the underlying technology and then the US government bought $8b worth of vaccines at $16/dose, giving Moderna a guaranteed 460% margin on each jab:


    Moderna clearly does not feel that the billions it received in public funds came with any obligation to serve the public interest. The company falsified its patent applications, omitting the NIH scientists who co-developed the vaccine, claiming sole ownership:


    As Meyersohn writes, this omission allows Moderna to block the NIH from licensing the vaccine to foreign manufacturers – including vaccine manufacturers in the global south, home to many powerhouse producers of vaccines:


    Moderna claims to have capitulated to the NIH on the patent question, but it’s a lie – even as they were publicly announcing they would drop their bid to exclude NIH scientists from their patent application, they quietly filed for a continuance that would let them renew their exclusive claim later, when the heat has died down:


    This maneuver, combined with Astrazeneca reneging on its promise to open its vaccine – a move engineered by Bill Gates – has deprived billions of the world’s poorest people of access to vaccines. Many of these people were previously blocked from accessing AIDS drugs when the Gates Foundation teamed up to block WTO vaccine waivers:


    These immunucompromised, unvaccinated people are at increased risk of contracting covid, and when they do, they are sick for longer, creating more opportunities for viral mutation and new, more virulent variants.

    That was where we stood before Moderna announced its 400% vaccine price-hike. Now, millions of Americans will also be blocked from accessing vaccines, opening the door for rampant, repeated infections, more mutations, and more variants. As Alex Lawson of Social Security Works told Meyersohn, at that price, the US will not be able to achieve herd immunity.

    What will Moderna do with the billions it reaps through price-gouging? It won’t be research. To date, the company has spent >20% of its covid windfall profits on stock buybacks and dividends, manipulating its stock price, with more to come:


    It’s not an outlier. Big Pharma is a machine for commercializing publicly funded research and then laundering the profits with financial engineering. The largest pharma companies each spend more on stock buybacks than research:


    Moderna didn’t have a single successful product for its first decade of operation: it is only a going concern because it got billions in free public research and billions more in public commitments to buy its products at a huge markup.

    It wasn’t always this way. Until the 1990s, pharma companies that commercialized public research were bound to license terms that required “reasonable pricing.” NIH inventions were subject to non-exclusive licensing terms, ensuring a competitive market.

    The NIH could act to stem Moderna’s profiteering. Moderna’s vaccine (like virtually all mRNA vaccines) uses NIH patent 10,960,070 – though Moderna doesn’t license the ’070 patent. The NIH could use the threat of a patent infringement suit to force Moderna to put pandemic resilience and access to vaccines over financial engineering and executive bonuses.

    When it comes to patent enforcement to protect the public interest, the USG has a long history of channeling King Log, letting companies price-gouge with products built on public research.


    The states are stepping in where the feds have failed to act, spinning up their own pharma production capacity to create a “public option” for medicine – think of California’s move to produce insulin and other meds:


    Or Massachusetts’s MassBiologics, the “only non-profit, FDA-licensed manufacturer of vaccines” in the USA, which sells its generic tetanus and diptheria vaccines nationwide:


    The US has a long way to go when it comes to using public production to offer competitive discipline to private pharma. Sweden privatized its pharma in 1970. Cuba got there in 1960, and is a pharma powerhouse:


    Meyersohn closes her excellent article with a warning and a promise: though public covid vaccines are a long way away, new vaccines for RSV and even cancer are in the pipeline, and without “substantial intervention,” Moderna will be a “harbinger…of crises of inequitable access to come.”

    #Vaccins #Covid #Moderna #Big_Pharma #Brevets

  • Opinion | The War on Terror Was Corrupt From the Start - The New York Times

    Article de septembre 2021

    The war in Afghanistan wasn’t a failure. It was a massive success — for those who made a fortune off it.


    “It’s a bugbear of mine that Afghan corruption is so frequently cited as an explanation (as well as an excuse) for Western failure in Afghanistan,” Jonathan Goodhand, a professor in Conflict and Development Studies at SOAS University of London, wrote me in an email. Americans “point the finger at Afghans, whilst ignoring their role in both fuelling and benefiting from the patronage pump.”

  • Excess death rates for Republicans and Democrats during the COVID-19 pandemic – comment by Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham @paulgp – Twitter

    le tweet initial

    New NBER working paper with @jwswallace and @jasonlschwartz on Covid mortality: “Excess death rates for Republicans and Democrats during the COVID-19 pandemic” nber.org/papers/w30512
    Ungated on arxiv here: arxiv.org/abs/2209.10751

    Political affiliation has emerged as a potential risk factor for COVID-19, amid evidence that Republican-leaning counties have had higher COVID-19 death rates than Democrat-leaning counties and evidence of a link between political party affiliation and vaccination views.

    original paper

    2/ A popular commentary on the Covid crisis has been how much higher the Covid death toll has been in Republican vs. Democratic counties in the U.S.

    U.S. Covid Deaths Get Even Redder
    The partisan gap in Covid’s death toll has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point.

    3/ There are natural reasons to believe that there are strong differences by Republicans vs. Democrats: survey data suggests that there are big differences by party ID on Covid-19 vaccination:

    KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor Dashboard
    Using a combination of surveys and focus groups, the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor will track the dynamic nature of public reactions as vaccine development unfolds, including vaccine confidence and ÷


    4/ The challenge, of course, is whether it’s really about Republicans vs. Democrats living in these areas, or just the areas where individuals sort into are different.

    5/ This statistical analysis runs into a serious challenge, driven by the fact that publicly available data on Covid deaths, and measures of political party, are typically only available at the county level.

    6/ The focus on Covid deaths and counties has lead researchers to try to account for these locational differences (by controlling for features at the county level), but are still limited by the aggregated nature of the data:

    The Association Between COVID-19 Mortality And The County-Level Partisan Divide In The United States | Health Affairs Journal
    Partisan differences in attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic and toward the appropriateness of local policies requiring masks, social distancing, and vaccines are apparent in the United States.

    7/ The other issue with this approach is that it focuses on reported Covid deaths as an aggregate measure. This measure may not fully capture the “counterfactual” deaths in the absence of the pandemic. Our world in data does an excellent discussion:

    Excess mortality during the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)
    Excess mortality is a term used in epidemiology and public health that refers to the number of deaths from all causes during a crisis above and beyond what we would have expected to see under ‘normal’…

    8/ Intuitively, calculating excess death rates requires a prediction of death rates in 2020 and 2021 based on previous years for the group of interest: namely Democrats and Republicans. Fortunately, we have mortality data with party affiliation, age, and location in this paper!

    9/ We construct data using individual-level voter registration in 2017, linked to death records from 2018 to 2021, for Ohio and Florida. We then construct excess death rates that control for differences in mortality rates (pre-Covid) at the age-by-party-by-county-by-month level

    This lets us ask and answer three questions:

    11/ Q1: Does excess death in 2020 and 2021 differ by political party, how much and when does this occur?

    A1: Yes, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 p.p., or 76%, higher than for Democrats. The gap was exclusively in the post-vaccine period (10.4 pp or 153%).

    12/ Q2: Is this difference explained by geographic or age differences in political party affiliation?

    A tiny share of the difference is explained by differential impacts of age-by-county during Covid (recall that excess deaths already controls for pre-Covid differences):

    13/ Q3: How much can we point to vaccines?
    A3: This is harder, since we don’t have individual-level data on vaccines. However, two facts emerge:

    A. The association between the Rep.-Dem. gap and county-level vaccination rates grows significantly after they become available:

    B. Moreover, pre-vaccine, the relationship across counties between realized vax rates and excess deaths was identical for both groups.

    Post-vaccine, the Democrat rate fell and Republican rate climbed; and the gap between the two was near zero in high-vax counties.

    16/ If this is really a story about vaccines, the continued story of low take-up of vaccines + boosters among Republicans may perpetuate some of these differences:

    KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: September 2022
    Our latest Vaccine Monitor survey finds that half of the public has heard either “a lot” or “some” about the newly-available bivalent COVID-19 boosters, and a third (32%) say they’ve already gotten…

    17/ We’re working on expanding this out now to contrast our results with the existing literature a bit and highlight some more points, but would welcome any comments or suggestions.

    fin/ It is important to reiterate that our results hold fixed differences in mortality by age, location, and party pre-Covid, and can account for location-by-age differences post-Covid. Hence these are within-age-and-location differences in mortality outcomes by political party.

  • Welcome to ‘Web3.’ What’s That ? - The New York Times

    If that sounds far-fetched, consider that venture capitalists have invested more than $27 billion in crypto and related projects this year, more than the previous 10 years combined, according to PitchBook. The biggest investors and industry players are also lobbying in Washington to influence rules that would favor their futuristic view of tokenomics, which can already be seen in some burgeoning communities where web3 is not some abstract concept but a feature of daily life.

    So far in 2021, about $27 billion worth of crypto has been spent on major NFT platforms, according to Chainalysis. That’s up from $114 million in all of last year.

    What are people getting? The NFT confers public proof of ownership and authenticity of an item, which may or may not include copyright — just as in the physical world an artist may sell a work but retain the intellectual property, said Frank Gerratana of Mintz, a law firm.

    Last month, Miramax sued the director Quentin Tarantino over his proposed auction of “Pulp Fiction” NFTs, which were linked to high-resolution scans from his original handwritten script. The company said using the film’s branding and imagery violated its rights.

    Another web3 concept that challenges conventions is decentralized social media, where users earn and trade crypto.

    On DeSo, a network for blockchain-based apps, users are paid for popularity, participation, posts and work. Its founder, Nader Al-Naji, a former Google engineer, believes that internet users will want to bypass the likes of Twitter and TikTok, which make money by serving them ads, and capture this worth directly for themselves instead.

    Toujours les mêmes arguments d’aide aux petits qui se sont toujours révélés faux !!

    Any users can be rewarded for their musings, music or mere presence via tokens or “frictionless tipping,” with a diamond button that allows others to send a bit of crypto their way in appreciation of whatever they do or say.

    “The vast majority of the benefits go to the smaller creators who people have always wanted to support,” Mr. Al-Naji said. “Here you just throw them some diamonds, you know, or buy their coin, which is an investment.”

    #Web3 #Cryptomonnaies

    • Merci pour ce partage, les photos me rappellent la situation post-soviétique où on trouve encore un peu partout aujourd’hui (Arménie, Géorgie, Lettonie) des carcasse de gros œuvres en cour de construction avec les grues etc... Le 21 août 1991, les grutiers sont partis à 5 h du soir et ne sont jamais revenus !

    • On a Sunday night in September, Ashley Estrada was at a friend’s home in Los Angeles when she received a strange notification on her iPhone: “AirTag Detected Near You.”

      An AirTag is a 1.26-inch disc with location-tracking capabilities that Apple started selling earlier this year as a way “to keep track of your stuff.” Ms. Estrada, 24, didn’t own one, nor did the friends she was with. The notification on her phone said the AirTag had first been spotted with her four hours earlier. A map of the AirTag’s history showed the zigzag path Ms. Estrada had driven across the city while running errands.

      “I felt so violated,” she said. “I just felt like, who’s tracking me? What was their intent with me? It was scary.”

      Ms. Estrada is not alone in her experience. In recent months, people have posted on TikTok, Reddit and Twitter about finding AirTags on their cars and in their belongings. There is growing concern that the devices may be abetting a new form of stalking, which privacy groups predicted could happen when Apple introduced the devices in April.
      The New York Times spoke with seven women who believe they were tracked with AirTags, including a 17-year-old whose mother surreptitiously placed one on her car to stay apprised of her whereabouts.

    • A person who doesn’t own an iPhone might have a harder time detecting an unwanted AirTag. AirTags aren’t compatible with Android smartphones. Earlier this month, Apple released an Android app that can scan for AirTags — but you have to be vigilant enough to download it and proactively use it.

      Apple declined to say if it was working with Google on technology that would allow Android phones to automatically detect its trackers.

  • The Metaverse’s Dark Side : Here Come Harassment and Assaults - The New York Times

    SAN FRANCISCO — Chanelle Siggens recently strapped on an Oculus Quest virtual reality headset to play her favorite shooter game, Population One. Once she turned on the game, she maneuvered her avatar into a virtual lobby in the immersive digital world and waited for the action to begin.

    But as she waited, another player’s avatar approached hers. The stranger then simulated groping and ejaculating onto her avatar, Ms. Siggens said. Shocked, she asked the player, whose avatar appeared male, to stop.

    “He shrugged as if to say: ‘I don’t know what to tell you. It’s the metaverse — I’ll do what I want,’” said Ms. Siggens, a 29-year-old Toronto resident. “Then he walked away.”

    The world’s largest tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Apple and others — are hurtling headlong into creating the metaverse, a virtual reality world where people can have their avatars do everything from play video games and attend gym classes to participate in meetings. In October, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, said he believed so much in the metaverse that he would invest billions in the effort. He also renamed his company Meta.

    Yet even as tech giants bet big on the concept, questions about the metaverse’s safety have surfaced. Harassment, assaults, bullying and hate speech already run rampant in virtual reality games, which are part of the metaverse, and there are few mechanisms to easily report the misbehavior, researchers said. In one popular virtual reality game, VRChat, a violating incident occurs about once every seven minutes, according to the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate.

    Bad behavior in the metaverse can be more severe than today’s online harassment and bullying. That’s because virtual reality plunges people into an all-encompassing digital environment where unwanted touches in the digital world can be made to feel real and the sensory experience is heightened.

    Tout ceci n’est pas sans rappeler les début des MMPORG, avec ce viol en ligne qui avait fait la une du Village Voice. La première partie du monde réel à grimper dans le métaverse sera certainement la plus dégoûtante. Direct dans les mirettes, en attendant que l’on branche cela directement dans le cerveau.

    #Metaverse #Cyberharcèlement #Agression_sexuelle #Réalité_virtuelle

  • The Latest High School Prank ? Students Sleeping. - The New York Times

    Instagram accounts featuring photos of students slouching, nodding off and parking badly took off this past semester at schools around the country.

    Le lycée comme lieu de sous-veillance (surveillance mutuelle) qui peut partir du rire et finir dans les pleurs du harcèlement.

    #Instagram #Surveillance #Cyberharcèlement #Lycée

  • bell hooks, Pathbreaking Black Feminist, Dies at 69 - The New York Times

    bell hooks, whose incisive, wide-ranging writing on gender and race helped push feminism beyond its white, middle-class worldview to include the voices of Black and working-class women, died on Wednesday at her home in Berea, Ky. She was 69.

    Her sister Gwenda Motley said the cause was end-stage renal failure.

    Starting in 1981 with her book “Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism,” Ms. hooks, who insisted on using all lowercase letters in her name, argued that feminism’s claim to speak for all women had pushed the unique experiences of working-class and Black women to the margins.

    “A devaluation of Black womanhood occurred as a result of the sexual exploitation of Black women during slavery that has not altered in the course of hundreds of years,” she wrote.

    Womanhood, Ms. hooks said, could not be reduced to a singular experience, but had to be considered within a framework encompassing race and class. She called for a new form of feminism, one that recognized differences and inequalities among women as a way of creating a new, more inclusive movement — one that, she later said, had largely been achieved.

    Her first book was a collection of poems, “And There We Wept,” which was published in 1978 while she was teaching at the University of Southern California. It was the first time she used the pen name bell hooks — in homage to her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks, to whom she was often compared as a child. She insisted on rendering it in lowercase letters to emphasize, she often said, the “substance of books, not who I am.”

    (une position très semblable à celle de danah boyd, y compris sur l’usage du nom de sa grand-mère. On retrouve d’ailleurs la figure de la grand-mère comme chez Zeynep Tufekci... quelque chose à creuser)

    Especially in her later work, Ms. hooks emphasized the importance of community and of healing as the end goal of movements like feminism and antiracism. Some criticized this position as papering over deep social divisions.

    But Ms. hooks, who described herself as a “Buddhist Christian” and spoke often of her friendship with the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, insisted that love was the only way to overcome what she called the “imperialist white supremacy capitalist patriarchy.”

    “I believe wholeheartedly that the only way out of domination is love,” she told the philosopher George Yancy in an interview for The New York Times in 2015, “and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love.”

    #bell_hook #Féminisme #Intersectionnalité

  • Civilian Deaths Mounted as Secret Unit Pounded ISIS https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/12/us/civilian-deaths-war-isis.html

    All of the footage from the strikes is stored by the military. In an apparent attempt to blunt criticism and undercut potential investigations, Talon Anvil started directing drone cameras away from targets shortly before a strike hit, preventing the collection of video evidence, the former Air Force intelligence officer and one of the former task force members said.

    Another Air Force officer, who reviewed dozens of task force strikes where civilians were reportedly killed, said that drone crews were trained to keep cameras on targets so the military could assess damage. Yet he frequently saw cameras jerk away at key moments, as if hit by a wind gust. It was only after seeing the pattern over and over, he said, that he began to believe it was done on purpose.

    #civils #victimes_civiles #états-unis #crimes #impunité

  • Un interprète qui travaille pour #Frontex affirme qu’en septembre, des gardes-frontières grecs l’ont pris pour un demandeur d’asile, l’ont agressé et l’ont ensuite forcé à traverser la frontière vers la Turquie avec des dizaines de migrants. Selon les fonctionnaires européens chargés de son dossier, il a fourni à l’agence des preuves à l’appui de ses allégations. Il a déposé plainte contre Frontex. Ylva Johansson, commissaire européenne chargée des migrations, a déclaré qu’après une conversation avec lui, elle avait été « extrêmement préoccupée par son récit »

    E.U. Interpreter Says Greece Expelled Him to Turkey in Migrant Roundup

    The man’s story echoes complaints from human-rights groups that Greek authorities often expel asylum seekers indiscriminately and violently.

    For years, Greek officials have denied complaints from human rights groups that the country’s border agents have brutalized migrants and forcibly pushed them back into Turkey. They have dismissed the allegations as fake news or Turkish propaganda.

    Now a single case may force a reckoning.

    A European Union interpreter says that in September, Greek border guards mistook him for an asylum seeker, assaulted him and then forced him across the border into Turkey alongside dozens of migrants.

    His allegation is particularly problematic for Greek officials because he is a legal European Union resident employed by the E.U. border agency, Frontex. And he has turned over evidence to the agency to support his claims of abuse, according to European officials dealing with his case.

    The European Union, which has mostly looked the other way on abuses of migrants, is now being forced to confront the problem.

    Surfacing in the wake of an acute border crisis with Belarus over migrants, the case has commanded the attention of senior European leaders for weeks. Ylva Johansson, the European commissioner for migration, said she called the interpreter on Friday to discuss his accusations.

    “After direct, in-depth discussion with the person on Nov. 25, I was extremely concerned by his account,” Ms. Johansson said. “In addition to his personal story, his assertion that this was not an isolated case is a serious issue,” she added, saying he told her he had witnessed at least 100 migrants who were pushed over the border and sometimes roughed up

    However, a Greek government ministry statement cast doubt on his account, saying initial inquiries suggested “the facts are not as presented.”

    The interpreter told The New York Times that he had filed a complaint with Frontex, and European officials confirmed this. They said the complaint was being treated as credible because of the man’s position and the documentation he provided, including audio and video recordings.

    The man asked not to be identified out of concern for his safety and his livelihood. Two European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case with reporters, confirmed his identity.

    He said that he and many of the migrants he was detained with were beaten and stripped, and that the police seized their phones, money and documents. His attempts to tell the police who he was were met with laughter and beatings, he said. He said he was taken to a remote warehouse where he was kept with at least 100 others, including women and children. They were then put on dinghies and pushed across the Evros River into Turkish territory.

    His accusations were similar to those from human-rights groups, along with mounting evidence gathered by migrants and reporters, all claiming that Greek authorities routinely round up and expel migrants without permitting them to complete asylum requests — often in an indiscriminate and violent way. Greek authorities have also been accused of pushing back migrants in flimsy dinghies in the Aegean Sea, sometimes disabling the engines and leaving the migrants to drift back into Turkish waters. Greece has denied the accusations.

    The man’s story came to light at a critical moment in Europe’s reckoning with its practices in dealing with migrants, which have drawn renewed scrutiny after a standoff at the Belarus-Poland border that left 12 migrants dead. In a bid to put pressure on the European Union over a geopolitical standoff, Belarus lured migrants into its territory, left them in a frigid forest and encouraged them to cross into E.U. countries, including Poland. Polish authorities repelled them, sometimes violently.

    That crisis, together with a similar standoff between Greece and Turkey last year with asylum seekers caught in the middle, has laid bare a growing gulf between European laws and norms in treating asylum seekers, and the reality on the ground.

    Public opinion toward immigration soured after the Syrian war brought more than one million refugees to Europe in 2015-16. Still, in much of the European Union, politicians and citizens oppose inhumane and illegal practices such as rounding up migrants and expelling them without due process.

    But governments at Europe’s frontiers, such as Greece, view migration laws and procedures as out of date and out of step with the current climate, contending that they were designed before the mass population displacements seen in recent years.

    Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece, in remarks this month, rejected accusations of abuses against migrants by the Greek authorities. He called his migration policy “tough, but fair.”

    Ms. Johansson said she had spoken on Monday with the Greek minister for citizen protection, Takis Theodorikakos, and he promised to investigate the interpreter’s claims.

    “The independent National Transparency Authority will conduct an investigation and will be open about its findings as always, but preliminary inquiries in this case appear to suggest the facts are not as presented,” the ministry’s media office said in a statement.

    Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said the interpreter’s allegations were part of a pattern of growing E.U. brutality toward migrants and asylum seekers.

    “With tens of thousands of victims who drowned in the Mediterranean, thousands languishing in what has been described as concentration camps in Libya, the misery in the camps on the Greek islands for so many years, people drowning in the Channel or freezing to death on the border between Belarus and the E.U., the European Commission cannot claim anymore that these are incidents, accidents, exceptions,” she said.

    “It is not a policy failure,” she added. “It is policy.”

    Greece, one of the main gateways into the European Union for migrants, has long maintained that it is being asked to rescue, process and host too many people arriving from Turkey, a hostile neighbor that often encourages asylum seekers to go to Greece to provoke the government there and to press its demands with the European Union.

    Under Greek and E.U. laws, the Greek authorities are required to assess asylum requests for all who seek protection, to house asylum seekers in humane conditions and, if they are rejected, to repatriate them safely.

    Efforts to more fairly distribute asylum seekers across the European Union have stalled, as many member countries prefer to send funding to Greece and other frontier nations to host asylum seekers, and keep them away from their territories.

    Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office pay and deploy hundreds of employees to ensure that the bloc’s external borders are guarded while human rights laws are upheld.

    The interpreter, who is originally from Afghanistan, has lived for years as a legal resident in Italy. He was employed by Frontex as a member of an E.U.-funded team of experts deployed to help the border guards communicate with asylum seekers.

    He had been working in the border region of Evros alongside Greek and E.U. guards, and was on his way to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, for a break when the police pulled him and a number of migrants off a bus, he said.

    After they were beaten, detained and forced into Turkey, the interpreter said, he managed to reach Istanbul, where he received consular assistance from the Italian authorities, and was eventually repatriated to Italy on Sept. 18.

    The Italian foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    A Frontex spokesman said the agency was investigating the report and could not comment further as long as the investigation continues.


    #plainte #témoignage #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Grèce #frontières #refoulement #push-back #interprète #Evros #Turquie

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • Frontière de l’Evros : roué de coups et déshabillé de force, un interprète afghan de Frontex accuse les garde-frontières grecs

      Un interprète afghan de l’agence européenne de surveillance des frontières, Frontex, a été agressé par les autorités grecques, qui l’avaient pris pour un migrant. Après son arrestation, il a été contraint de monter dans un canot sur la rivière Evros, direction la Turquie.

      C’est un incident qui pourrait changer la donne. Un interprète afghan travaillant pour l’agence européenne de surveillance des frontières Frontex a déclaré avoir été agressé par des garde-frontières grecs, qui l’avaient pris pour un demandeur d’asile, rapporte le New York Times.

      Le 3 septembre dernier, alors qu’il se rendait en bus dans la ville grecque de Thessalonique, la police l’a forcé à descendre, avec un certain nombre de migrants. Roué de coups, déshabillé de force, l’interprète a ensuite été emmené dans un entrepôt isolé où étaient détenues « au moins 100 autres personnes, dont des femmes et des enfants ». Tous ont été forcés à monter dans des canots et poussés à traverser la rivière Evros, pour rejoindre la Turquie.

      Membre d’une équipe d’experts déployée pour aider les garde-frontières à communiquer avec les demandeurs d’asile, il s’est retrouvé dans le pays sans téléphone, sans argent et sans papiers, que les policiers grecs lui avaient volés. L’homme a fini par atteindre Istanbul, où il a reçu une assistance consulaire des autorités italiennes.

      Plusieurs fois durant son arrestation, il a essayé de dire aux policiers grecs qu’il travaillait pour l’Union européenne (UE). Mais « ses tentatives […] se sont soldées par des rires et des coups ».

      Pour le journal américain, ses dires « sont particulièrement problématiques pour les fonctionnaires grecs, car [la victime] est un résident légal de l’UE [il vit en Italie], et employé par une de ses agences ». D’autant plus qu’il dispose de preuves tangibles, sous la forme d’enregistrements audio et vidéo, qui étayent les abus qu’il a subis.

      L’affaire a d’ailleurs fait réagir jusqu’aux hautes sphères de l’institution. La commissaire européenne chargée des migrations, Ylva Johansson, a déclaré avoir appelé l’interprète vendredi dernier et s’est dit « extrêmement préoccupée » par son récit. « Son affirmation selon laquelle il ne s’agissait pas d’un cas isolé est un problème grave », a-t-elle ajouté.

      Après cette discussion, Ylva Johansson s’est entretenue lundi avec Takis Theodorikakos. Le ministre grec de la Protection des citoyens lui a promis d’enquêter sur les allégations de l’interprète. Mais son cabinet a dans le même temps indiqué dans un communiqué que, d’après les premières enquêtes effectuées, « les faits ne sont pas tels qu’ils sont présentés ».

      « Déshabillages de masse »

      Des accusations telles que celle-ci sont régulièrement rapportées par les migrants aux ONG et à la presse. En octobre, un ex-policier grec confirmait même à InfoMigrants avoir pratiqué des « pushbacks » illégaux, et renvoyé lui-même 2 000 personnes vers la Turquie. « Régulièrement, mes collègues m’appelaient pour me prévenir qu’ils allaient venir avec des migrants. Ils étaient généralement rassemblés par groupe de 10 environ. Mon rôle était simple : je les faisais monter sur mon bateau, souvent à la tombée de la nuit et je les ramenais vers les côtes turques », avait-il raconté.

      Des #agressions_physiques et des #humiliations sont aussi très régulières. En juin, les autorités turques avaient partagé une photo d’un petit groupe de migrants totalement nus. D’après eux, ils avaient été arrêtés en Grèce, battus, déshabillés, privés d’eau et de nourriture, et renvoyés de force de l’autre côté de la frontière. Le procédé est également documenté dans un rapport du Border Violence Monitoring Network. Selon le réseau d’organisations, en 2020, 44% des témoignages enregistrés décrivent des cas de déshabillage forcé. Des « déshabillages de masse, avec jusqu’à 120 personnes enfermées dans le même espace de détention » sont monnaie courante.

      Ces pratiques, pourtant connues depuis de nombreuses années, ont toujours été réfutées par le gouvernement grec. Ce mois-ci, le Premier ministre Kyriakos Mitsotakis a une nouvelle fois rejeté les accusations d’abus contre les migrants par les autorités du pays. Il a qualifié sa politique migratoire de « dure, mais juste ».

      Cette même politique - couplée à une forte militarisation de la frontière - occasionne, aussi, des morts. À Alexandropoulis, près de la frontière turque, un médecin-légiste se charge de leur redonner une identité. Entre janvier et octobre, il a autopsié 38 corps. Chaque semaine, le médecin reçoit des mails de familles désespérées, et prend le temps de répondre à chacun d’eux. Les corps non-identifiés et non réclamés sont envoyés dans un cimetière de migrants anonymes. Perdu dans les collines, il compte environ 200 tombes.



  • Opinion | We Got a Head Start on Omicron, So Let’s Not Blow It - The New York Times

    Par Zeynep Tufekci

    There’s very little we know for sure about Omicron, the Covid variant first detected in South Africa that has caused tremors of panic as winter approaches. That’s actually good news. Fast, honest work by South Africa has allowed the world to get on top of this variant even while clinical and epidemiological data is scarce.

    So let’s get our act together now. Omicron, which early indicators suggest it could be more transmissible even than Delta and more likely to cause breakthrough infections, may arrive in the United States soon if it’s not here already.

    A dynamic response requires tough containment measures to be modified quickly as evidence comes in, as well as rapid data collection to understand the scope of the threat.

    The United States, the European Union and many nations have already announced a travel ban on several African countries. Such restrictions can buy time, even if the variant has started to spread, but only if they are implemented in a smart way along with other measures, not as pandemic theatrics.

    Mr. Biden’s ban has similar problems — it won’t even start until Monday, as if the virus takes the weekend off.

    That’s pandemic theatrics, not public health.

    The reason we can even discuss such early, vigorous, responsible attacks on Omicron is because South African scientists and medical workers realized it was a danger within three weeks of its detection, and their government acted like a good global citizen by notifying the world. They should not be punished for their honest and impressive actions. The United States and other richer countries should provide them with resources to combat their own outbreak — it’s the least we can do.

    Tragically, one reason South Africa put in place the advanced medical surveillance that found the Omicron variant was to track cases of AIDS, which continues to be a crisis there.

    The antiviral cocktail that turned AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic condition was developed by the mid-1990s, but pharmaceutical companies, protected by rich nations, refused to let cheap generic versions be manufactured and sold in many poorer countries — they even sued to stop South Africa from importing any. Millions died before an agreement was finally reached years later after extensive global activism.

    The callous mistreatment of South Africa by big pharmaceutical companies continued into this pandemic. Moderna, for example, has run some of its vaccine trials in South Africa but did not donate any to the country or even to Covax, the global vaccine alliance, until much later.

    Wealthier nations must provide financial support, as well, for nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as improved ventilation and air filtering, higher-quality masks, paid sick leave and quarantine.

    All this requires leadership and a global outlook. Unlike in the terrible days of early last year, we have an early warning, vaccines, effective drugs, greater understanding of the disease and many painful lessons. It’s time to demonstrate that we learned them.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Omicron #Pandemie_circus #Mesures_protection #Regard_mondial

  • The New York Times sur Twitter https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1464372422224879617

    With 6,000 residents, a McDonald’s drive-through, bars and ball fields, the #Guantánamo Bay Navy base is more than one big prison. It has the trappings of small-town America and the amenities of a college campus.

    Guantánamo Bay: Beyond the Prison - The New York Times

    It has a Defense Department school system for the children of sailors and contractors, a seaport for Navy and Coast Guard supply missions, bars, ball fields, neighborhoods with swing sets, beaches with barbecue grills and pleasure boats to rent for excursions on the bay.


  • Opinion | What Happens After the Worst of the Pandemic Is Behind Us? - The New York Times

    par Zeynep Tufekci

    But despite having one of the earliest and most abundant supplies of vaccines, the United States has a vaccination rate that isn’t in the top 50 in the world — lower than many, many other countries that started much later.

    Some of the reasons for our relatively low vaccination coverage trace back to the dysfunctions of our medical system. The United States is the only developed nation without universal health coverage, and our medical system continues to disproportionately fail people from minority backgrounds; such shortcomings don’t help develop the necessary trust.

    But there is another dynamic. Many Republican politicians and pundits have chosen to pump hostility to vaccines and public health institutions as a platform for their supporters to rally around. Some of their claims are outright false or wildly misleading, but as with such demagogy historically, sometimes they capitalize on existing failures.

    All this finds a ready home on online platforms designed to optimize for how much time and effort we spend on them. Even before the pandemic, doctors were begging tech platforms like Facebook and YouTube to take action about the rampant vaccine misinformation on their sites that not only existed but thrived. Leaked internal documents show that Facebook’s own researchers were worried about how rampant vaccine misinformation was on the platform during the pandemic. The public has even less insight into YouTube, but it only recently pledged to ban all vaccine misinformation on its platform — a step taken almost two years into the pandemic. This information environment fuels tribalization and demagogy the way warm water intensifies a hurricane. This, in turn, further degrades the capacity for mending our dysfunctional governance.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Covid

  • Amazon on the High Seas - The New York Times

    Mammoth shipping containers packed with dehumidifiers in the Pacific Ocean provide a glimpse at how the pandemic and Amazon might be shifting shopping as we know it.

    Earlier this year, a company called Aterian was in a jam with its hOmeLabs brand of dehumidifiers. You may have read about how difficult and expensive it has become to move goods around the world, and Aterian was feeling the pain.

    The company was being quoted prices of $25,000 or more to haul a shipping container of products from factories in China to its shoppers in the U.S. The same shipment typically costs about $3,000, Aterian’s chief product officer, Michal Chaouat-Fix, told me. Then Amazon got in touch and offered to put the dehumidifiers on cargo ships that it chartered across the Pacific for a significantly lower fee.

    “It was a huge relief,” Chaouat-Fix said. Amazon brought the goods to port, and Aterian arranged to truck them from there to its U.S. warehouses. Those dehumidifiers were then available to buy on Amazon, as well as from Walmart, eBay and the hOmeLabs website.

    I keep close tabs on Amazon, but I didn’t know until Aterian told me that the company hires cargo ships for some of the merchants that sell in its digital mall. Amazon’s ocean freight service is not new, but it became more relevant as global shipping went haywire this year. Amazon has also added new options to what the company told me was a still relatively small service that’s available to few merchants.

    Amazon’s adventures on the high seas are an intriguing wrinkle in the war to get products to our door. It’s also another example of Amazon’s growing network of warehouses, package hubs, trucks, airplanes and delivery vans that show that the company is becoming a force in the entire life cycle of products from factories to our homes.

    #Amazon #Logistique #Concentration #Economie_numérique #Brick_and_Mortar

  • Missing Girl Is Rescued After Using Hand Signal From TikTok - The New York Times

    Un signal de détresse qui peut se réaliser en direct ou en vidéo afin de prévenir d’une situation de danger. Devenu viral sur TikTok, il est reconnu par un automobiliste qui fait arrêter un kidnapper.

    A girl reported missing from Asheville, N.C., and in distress in the passenger seat of a car traveling through Kentucky appeared to be waving through the window to passing cars on Thursday.

    But one person in a nearby car recognized the signal from TikTok, and knew it was no ordinary wave.

    The girl, 16, was using a new distress signal, tucking her thumb into her palm before closing her fingers over it, according to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office. The signal, created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation for people to indicate that they are at risk of abuse and need help, has spread largely through TikTok in the past year.

    #TikTok #Signal_detresse #Féminisme

  • Les majors bloquent la production de disques vinyle au détriment des labels indépendants | Trax Magazine

    Intéressant : c’est la même chose pour le livre.

    Bon, j’ai toujours gardé ma collec’ de « disques » (les vrais :-), retardé jusqu’au dernier moment l’achat d’une platine CD (le double « Weld » de Neil Young n’existait qu’en CD, et je le voulais vraiment - jamais regretté d’ailleurs, un disque fabuleux).
    Mais maintenant, il va falloir doubler la mise pour en avoir de nouveaux.
    Il y a eu un article du même tonneau dans le New York Times la semaine passée :

    Vinyl Is Selling So Well That It’s Getting Hard to Sell Vinyl
    Left for dead in the 1980s, vinyl records are now the music industry’s most popular and highest-grossing physical format. Getting them manufactured, however, is increasingly a challenge.

    En passant des commandes massives qui monopolisent les usines, les majors Universal, Sony et Warner enrayent une partie de la chaine de production de disques vinyle, déstabilisant les petits labels en occasionnant des retards inédits sur leurs sorties.

    C’était en quelque sorte l’une des rares bonnes surprises de cette pandémie. En 2020, alors que le monde était en partie à l’arrêt, les ventes de disques vinyle ont explosé. Aux États-Unis, ces dernières ont même dépassé le nombre de CD écoulés dans les magasins, pour la première fois depuis 34 ans. Et ce retour en fanfare du vieux support noir tombé un temps en désuétude ne semble pas prêt de s’arrêter. Sur le premier trimestre 2021, 19,2 millions de vinyles se sont écoulés aux États-Unis, contre 9,2 millions un an plus tôt. En France, cette progression est plus discrète mais suffisante pour poser une constatation : longtemps annoncé sur le retour, le vinyle semble bel et bien avoir repris une partie de ses droits face au CD.

    Voyant le vent tourner, les majors de l’industrie du disque – qui avaient pourtant étaient promptes à saborder le support au profit du CD dans les années 80 et 90 – se décident donc à rééditer l’intégralité de leurs fonds de catalogues, occasionnant des embouteillages inédits dans la chaine de production des vinyles. « Là où il fallait deux mois en temps normal, ce sont désormais entre cinq et sept mois d’attente pour produire un vinyle », explique Laurent Didailler, directeur général de Pias France qui distribue de nombreux labels indépendants, dans un article pour Télérama. Ce dernier constate que concernant les retards de production, le problème « est surtout le comportement des majors du disque, qui ont fait main basse sur toutes les filières de production. » Logiquement incapables de s’aligner sur les gigantesques commandes payées en avance que passent les majors comme Sony, Universal ou Warner, les petit labels indépendants sont donc relayés au second plan et doivent parfois attendre de longs mois que la chaîne de fabrication de vinyles ne soit plus monopolisée par des rééditions de disques de Pink Floyd, AC/DC ou David Bowie. Quitte a retarder sans cesse les sorties physiques de leurs projets.

    En parallèle, les majors ont aussi décidé d’augmenter drastiquement le prix de vente de leurs disques, argumentant que le prix des polymères, qui rentrent dans la fabrication des galettes vinyles, s’est envolé pendant la pandémie en raison d’un manque de matière première. À titre d’exemple, un disque vinyle comme Young Americans de David Bowie coûtait 14,99 euros TTC avant la pandémie. Il est désormais vendu à 39 euros. Une hausse faramineuse qui risque de faire du vinyle un produit de luxe dont le grand public pourrait se détourner. « Les majors voudraient tuer le vinyle qu’elles ne s’y prendraient pas autrement », se désole chez Télérama Christophe Ouali, patron de la boutique de disques Le Silence de la rue à Paris et coprésident du Gredin, syndicat professionnel regroupant près de 300 disquaires indépendants en France. Affaire à suivre.

    #Musique #Vinyls