technology:mobile phones

  • Settlers ’executed’ a Palestinian, and the Israeli army covered it up, rights group reports - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-settlers-executed-a-palestinian-and-idf-covered-it-up-human-rights

    Abed al-Muneim Abdel Fattah. Explained repeatedly to investigators that his son had no family or other problems and was never active in any group. Credit : Alex Levac

    It’s a very busy traffic circle on Highway 60, the major route in the West Bank, between the Hawara checkpoint and the Tapuah settlement intersection, not far from Nablus. As you drive toward the spot, which the Palestinians call Beita Circle and the settlers call Beitot Circle, garbage is piled up along the roadside. This is the industrial zone of the town of Hawara, where there is no industry other than garages and workers’ restaurants that look out onto the highway.

    On April 3, three men, all of them on the way to work, arrived at the traffic circle separately. Only two of them left the site alive. The third was shot to death. The B’Tselem Israeli human rights organization asserted this week that the shooting was an execution and that the Israel Defense Forces destroyed evidence and whitewashed the findings.

    It all happened in a flash. A little before 8:30 A.M., Mohammed Abdel Fattah arrived at the circle. He was 23 years old, married and the father of 7-month-old daughter, on the way from his apartment in his uncle’s house in the village of Beita to his job at the uncle’s brick factory in the village of Jama’in. He had apparently been traveling in a shared taxi. Eyewitnesses saw him standing by the side of the road and smoking two cigarettes, one after the other. What was going on in his mind? What was he planning? What made him act? We are unlikely to know.

    He then crossed the road, to the west. He stood on the shoulder, within touching distance of the vehicles proceeding from north to south, a few meters from the circle, where traffic has to slow down. The road was very busy at that time of the morning. He threw two or three stones, not very big ones, at passing cars, hitting no one.

    Even a visit to the home of Mohammed’s family did not provide an explanation for why he threw the stones. He was not a teenager and had never been arrested. He was married with a child, had a steady job and was on the way to work. A few days earlier he’d been to Israel for the first time in his life; together with his wife he visited Jerusalem and they later ate fish at a restaurant in Jaffa. Perhaps that trip holds the key to what drove the young married father to throw stones or try to stab a settler that morning.

    One of the cars he’d thrown a stone at stopped. It was a white Renault with a blue poster of the Union of Right-Wing Parties displayed in the rear window. The driver was Yehoshua Sherman, from the settlement of Elon Moreh, who was working as a field director for the Union of Right-Wing Parties during the election campaign, which had then entered its final week. A blurry video clip from a security camera shows Sherman’s car, which had been traveling from north to south, stopping. Fifteen seconds later, Sherman gets out of the car and apparently shoots Mohammed Abdel Fattah, who’s seen kneeling behind the vehicle. We don’t know what happened in those 15 seconds – the car blocks the view.

    In the meantime a truck with Israeli plates also stops and the driver gets out. B’Tselem field researchers Salma a-Deb’i and Abdulkarim Sadi cite witnesses as saying that they heard two shots. They think Sherman fired them before leaving his car. Abdel Fattah apparently tried to seek refuge behind a dumpster, which this week was still there, overflowing with refuse, at the edge of the road. A second video clip shows him lying on the road on his stomach, and being turned over onto his back by soldiers trying to ascertain if he was carrying explosives.

    According to the testimonies B’Tselem took from four people, who all saw similar things, the two drivers fired a number of shots from close range even after Abdel Fattah lay wounded on the ground. B’Tselem also claims the Israel Defense Forces deleted footage from security cameras in the area of the shooting of the wounded man. Israeli media reported that “a Palestinian terrorist was shot and subdued by two drivers after trying to stab a father and his daughter near Hawara, south of Nablus.”

    From the B’Tselem report, on its website: “At that point, Abdel Fattah was crouching among the dumpsters. Sherman approached him and fired several more shots at him. A truck driving along the road also stopped, and the driver got out. He came over to stand next to Sherman, and the two men fired several more shots at Abdel Fattah, who was lying wounded on the ground… Abdel Fattah succumbed to his wounds a short while later, at Beilinson Hospital in Israel.”

    One of the shots hit Khaled Hawajba, a young man who works in a nearby store, in the abdomen. He was treated in Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus and discharged a few days later.

    Minutes after the shooting by the two settlers, military jeeps arrived at the scene. The soldiers used stun grenades to disperse the crowd that had begun to gather at the site. According to B’Tselem, immediately afterward a group of about eight soldiers entered two of the nearby businesses to check their security cameras. They dismantled a digital video recorder in one of the stores and left. About 20 minutes later, the soldiers returned to the store, reinstalled the DVR and watched the footage.

    “Two soldiers filmed the screen with their mobile phones. They then erased the footage from the DVR and left,” the B’Tselem report states.

    In one of the clips that was uploaded to social networks in Israel, the photographer can be heard saying in Hebrew: “The terrorist tried to jump onto the Jew’s car and stab him. Our heroic soldiers eliminated him, may his name be blotted out. There are no casualties.”

    After the incident, Sherman told Srugim, a website that calls itself “the home site of the religious sector”: “At Beitot junction a terrorist with a knife jumped on the car and tried to open the door. I got out and as the terrorist tried to go around the car in my direction I subdued him with gunfire with the aid of another resident of a nearby settlement who was driving behind me.”

    The media reported that Sherman’s daughter was in the back seat; the allegation was that Abdel Fattah tried to open the car door and stab her. In the clip B’Tselem attached to its report, her father is seen moving relatively coolly toward the young man who is hiding behind the car. What happened there?

    The human rights group is convinced, on the basis of the accounts it collected, that the shooting continued from close range as the wounded man lay on the ground. Moreover, B’Tselem believes that the two drivers shot Abdel Fattah with no justification, after he had moved away from the car and was kneeling behind the dumpster. According to the organization, the security forces who arrived at the scene made no attempt to arrest the two settlers, quickly dispersed the Palestinians and then proceeded to go to the stores and delete the documentation of the event “to ensure that the truth never comes to light and the shooters would not face any charges or be held accountable in any way.”

    It was reported this week that the Samaria Regional Council has decided to award citations to the two settler-shooters.

    The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit this week sent Haaretz this response: “On April 3, 2019 there was an attempted stabbing attack at the Beitot junction, which is [within the purview of] the Samaria Division of the IDF Central Command. The terrorist was shot by citizens and subdued after he threw stones at Israeli cars and then approached one of the cars in order to perpetrate a stabbing attack in the area. At the site of the incident a knife used by the terrorist was found. We would like to point out that the cameras that were dismantled by the security forces as part of their investigation of the incident were returned to their owners. The incident is under investigation.”

    Khirbet Qeis. A small village below the town of Salfit, in the central West Bank, where Abdel Fattah’s parents live. His father, Abed al-Muneim Abdel Fattah, 50, is a night watchman in Ramallah, who has five other children in addition to Mohammed. The house is well kept. Mohammed, the eldest, completed high school, but “regrettably,” his father says, he did not pursue his studies and went to work. In October 2017, he married his cousin, Rada Awadala, from the village of Ein Ariq, near Ramallah, and their daughter Jawan was born last fall. They visited every second Friday, rotating weekends between Rada’s parents in Ein Ariq and Mohammed’s in Khirbet Qeis.

    On the last Friday of Mohammed’s life they were at the home of his in-laws. The next day, when he and Rada went on an organized tour to Jerusalem and Jaffa, they left Jawan with her maternal grandparents. When they got back, Rada went to her parents’ home to collect the baby and stayed there for a few days. Mohammed remained alone in their apartment in Beita, close to his place of work.

    Mohammed’s father was on the job in Ramallah the day his son died. A relative called to inform him that Mohammed had been wounded. Shortly afterward, a Shin Bet security service agent called and ordered him to come to the IDF base at Hawara, Abed tells us now. The agent informed him that his son had tried to stab a soldier and afterward corrected himself to say that his son had thrown stones. The father replied that it was unimaginable for his son to have done that.

    Abed was asked in his interrogation whether Mohammed had been active in any sort of movement, whether anyone had tried to persuade him to throw stones or carry out a stabbing attack, whether he suffered from mental problems or problems at home or at work, or whether perhaps he’d quarreled with his wife. The father replied that his son had no family or other problems and was never active in any group. The interrogator repeated the questions twice, then a third time.

    At this point Abed still didn’t yet know that his son was dead. The Shin Bet agent said he’d been wounded and taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. He recommended that Abed get in touch with the Palestinian District Coordination and Liaison Office to arrange an entry permit to visit his son in Israel. Finally the agent said to the father, “From now on, you and your children are under surveillance. Dir balak [Watch your step]. Take this as a warning, as a red light. Anyone who lifts his head – we’ll cut it off.”

    Abed was at the base in Hawara for nearly three hours. By the time he got home, almost the whole village had gathered next to his house, and he understood that his son was dead. The social networks said he had been killed by settlers.

    Why was he throwing stones, we asked. Abed: “I don’t believe he did anything like that. He was on the way to work. But even if he did, sometimes the settlers provoke people who are standing on the road, spit at them or curse them or try to run them over. Even if he threw stones, by then he wasn’t endangering anyone. After all, the law says that it’s forbidden to shoot someone who is lying on the ground. Arrest him. But why did you kill him?”

    Israel has not yet returned Mohammed Abdel Fattah’s body; all the family’s efforts to claim it have been rebuffed. His grave has already been dug in the village’s small cemetery. There’s a mound of earth there now, but the grave is empty.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/771991

  • WiCipedia: Diversity in Product Dev & Israeli Entrepreneurs Protest Sexism
    https://hackernoon.com/wicipedia-diversity-in-product-dev-israeli-entrepreneurs-protest-sexism-

    This week in our WiCipedia roundup: Keeping smart home products safe for all; Merkel finds sexism in Israeli tech community; girls have limited access to mobile phones worldwide; and more.Interested in joining Women in Comms on our mission to champion change, empower women and redress the gender imbalance in the comms industry? Visit WiC online and get in touch to learn more about how you can become a member!Despite all of the challenges that women have endured in the tech sector lately, many still have a glass-half-full perspective on the future of women in the industry, reports a new study from Booking.com. Though there are certainly impediments to women who work in tech advancing their careers, the study — which surveyed women who currently work in tech and women who are interested in (...)

    #press-release #women-in-tech #product-management #technology #awip

  • New report exposes global reach of powerful governments who equip, finance and train other countries to spy on their populations

    Privacy International has today released a report that looks at how powerful governments are financing, training and equipping countries — including authoritarian regimes — with surveillance capabilities. The report warns that rather than increasing security, this is entrenching authoritarianism.

    Countries with powerful security agencies are spending literally billions to equip, finance, and train security and surveillance agencies around the world — including authoritarian regimes. This is resulting in entrenched authoritarianism, further facilitation of abuse against people, and diversion of resources from long-term development programmes.

    The report, titled ‘Teach ’em to Phish: State Sponsors of Surveillance’ is available to download here.

    Examples from the report include:

    In 2001, the US spent $5.7 billion in security aid. In 2017 it spent over $20 billion [1]. In 2015, military and non-military security assistance in the US amounted to an estimated 35% of its entire foreign aid expenditure [2]. The report provides examples of how US Departments of State, Defense, and Justice all facilitate foreign countries’ surveillance capabilities, as well as an overview of how large arms companies have embedded themselves into such programmes, including at surveillance training bases in the US. Examples provided include how these agencies have provided communications intercept and other surveillance technology, how they fund wiretapping programmes, and how they train foreign spy agencies in surveillance techniques around the world.

    The EU and individual European countries are sponsoring surveillance globally. The EU is already spending billions developing border control and surveillance capabilities in foreign countries to deter migration to Europe. For example, the EU is supporting Sudan’s leader with tens of millions of Euros aimed at capacity building for border management. The EU is now looking to massively increase its expenditure aimed at building border control and surveillance capabilities globally under the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework, which will determine its budget for 2021–2027. Other EU projects include developing the surveillance capabilities of security agencies in Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Iraq and elsewhere. European countries such as France, Germany, and the UK are sponsoring surveillance worldwide, for example, providing training and equipment to “Cyber Police Officers” in Ukraine, as well as to agencies in Saudi Arabia, and across Africa.

    Surveillance capabilities are also being supported by China’s government under the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and other efforts to expand into international markets. Chinese companies have reportedly supplied surveillance capabilities to Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador [3]. In Ecuador, China Electronics Corporation supplied a network of cameras — including some fitted with facial recognition capabilities — to the country’s 24 provinces, as well as a system to locate and identify mobile phones.

    Edin Omanovic, Privacy International’s Surveillance Programme Lead, said

    “The global rush to make sure that surveillance is as universal and pervasive as possible is as astonishing as it is disturbing. The breadth of institutions, countries, agencies, and arms companies that are involved shows how there is no real long-term policy or strategic thinking driving any of this. It’s a free-for-all, where capabilities developed by some of the world’s most powerful spy agencies are being thrown at anyone willing to serve their interests, including dictators and killers whose only goal is to cling to power.

    “If these ‘benefactor’ countries truly want to assist other countries to be secure and stable, they should build schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure, and promote democracy and human rights. This is what communities need for safety, security, and prosperity. What we don’t need is powerful and wealthy countries giving money to arms companies to build border control and surveillance infrastructure. This only serves the interests of those powerful, wealthy countries. As our report shows, instead of putting resources into long-term development solutions, such programmes further entrench authoritarianism and spur abuses around the world — the very things which cause insecurity in the first place.”

    https://privacyinternational.org/press-release/2161/press-release-new-report-exposes-global-reach-powerful-governm

    #surveillance #surveillance_de_masse #rapport

    Pour télécharger le rapport “Teach ’em to Phish: State Sponsors of Surveillance”:
    https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/Teach-em-to-Phish-report.pdf

    ping @fil

    • China Uses DNA to Track Its People, With the Help of American Expertise

      The Chinese authorities turned to a Massachusetts company and a prominent Yale researcher as they built an enormous system of surveillance and control.

      The authorities called it a free health check. Tahir Imin had his doubts.

      They drew blood from the 38-year-old Muslim, scanned his face, recorded his voice and took his fingerprints. They didn’t bother to check his heart or kidneys, and they rebuffed his request to see the results.

      “They said, ‘You don’t have the right to ask about this,’” Mr. Imin said. “‘If you want to ask more,’ they said, ‘you can go to the police.’”

      Mr. Imin was one of millions of people caught up in a vast Chinese campaign of surveillance and oppression. To give it teeth, the Chinese authorities are collecting DNA — and they got unlikely corporate and academic help from the United States to do it.

      China wants to make the country’s Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, more subservient to the Communist Party. It has detained up to a million people in what China calls “re-education” camps, drawing condemnation from human rights groups and a threat of sanctions from the Trump administration.

      Collecting genetic material is a key part of China’s campaign, according to human rights groups and Uighur activists. They say a comprehensive DNA database could be used to chase down any Uighurs who resist conforming to the campaign.

      Police forces in the United States and elsewhere use genetic material from family members to find suspects and solve crimes. Chinese officials, who are building a broad nationwide database of DNA samples, have cited the crime-fighting benefits of China’s own genetic studies.

      To bolster their DNA capabilities, scientists affiliated with China’s police used equipment made by Thermo Fisher, a Massachusetts company. For comparison with Uighur DNA, they also relied on genetic material from people around the world that was provided by #Kenneth_Kidd, a prominent #Yale_University geneticist.

      On Wednesday, #Thermo_Fisher said it would no longer sell its equipment in Xinjiang, the part of China where the campaign to track Uighurs is mostly taking place. The company said separately in an earlier statement to The New York Times that it was working with American officials to figure out how its technology was being used.

      Dr. Kidd said he had been unaware of how his material and know-how were being used. He said he believed Chinese scientists were acting within scientific norms that require informed consent by DNA donors.

      China’s campaign poses a direct challenge to the scientific community and the way it makes cutting-edge knowledge publicly available. The campaign relies in part on public DNA databases and commercial technology, much of it made or managed in the United States. In turn, Chinese scientists have contributed Uighur DNA samples to a global database, potentially violating scientific norms of consent.

      Cooperation from the global scientific community “legitimizes this type of genetic surveillance,” said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who has closely tracked the use of American technology in Xinjiang.

      Swabbing Millions

      In Xinjiang, in northwestern China, the program was known as “#Physicals_for_All.”

      From 2016 to 2017, nearly 36 million people took part in it, according to Xinhua, China’s official news agency. The authorities collected DNA samples, images of irises and other personal data, according to Uighurs and human rights groups. It is unclear whether some residents participated more than once — Xinjiang has a population of about 24.5 million.

      In a statement, the Xinjiang government denied that it collects DNA samples as part of the free medical checkups. It said the DNA machines that were bought by the Xinjiang authorities were for “internal use.”

      China has for decades maintained an iron grip in Xinjiang. In recent years, it has blamed Uighurs for a series of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, including a 2013 incident in which a driver struck two people in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

      In late 2016, the Communist Party embarked on a campaign to turn the Uighurs and other largely Muslim minority groups into loyal supporters. The government locked up hundreds of thousands of them in what it called job training camps, touted as a way to escape poverty, backwardness and radical Islam. It also began to take DNA samples.

      In at least some of the cases, people didn’t give up their genetic material voluntarily. To mobilize Uighurs for the free medical checkups, police and local cadres called or sent them text messages, telling them the checkups were required, according to Uighurs interviewed by The Times.

      “There was a pretty strong coercive element to it,” said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at the University of Washington who studies the plight of the Uighurs. “They had no choice.”

      Calling Dr. Kidd

      Kenneth Kidd first visited China in 1981 and remained curious about the country. So when he received an invitation in 2010 for an expenses-paid trip to visit Beijing, he said yes.

      Dr. Kidd is a major figure in the genetics field. The 77-year-old Yale professor has helped to make DNA evidence more acceptable in American courts.

      His Chinese hosts had their own background in law enforcement. They were scientists from the Ministry of Public Security — essentially, China’s police.

      During that trip, Dr. Kidd met Li Caixia, the chief forensic physician of the ministry’s Institute of Forensic Science. The relationship deepened. In December 2014, Dr. Li arrived at Dr. Kidd’s lab for an 11-month stint. She took some DNA samples back to China.

      “I had thought we were sharing samples for collaborative research,” said Dr. Kidd.

      Dr. Kidd is not the only prominent foreign geneticist to have worked with the Chinese authorities. Bruce Budowle, a professor at the University of North Texas, says in his online biography that he “has served or is serving” as a member of an academic committee at the ministry’s Institute of Forensic Science.

      Jeff Carlton, a university spokesman, said in a statement that Professor Budowle’s role with the ministry was “only symbolic in nature” and that he had “done no work on its behalf.”

      “Dr. Budowle and his team abhor the use of DNA technology to persecute ethnic or religious groups,” Mr. Carlton said in the statement. “Their work focuses on criminal investigations and combating human trafficking to serve humanity.”

      Dr. Kidd’s data became part of China’s DNA drive.

      In 2014, ministry researchers published a paper describing a way for scientists to tell one ethnic group from another. It cited, as an example, the ability to distinguish Uighurs from Indians. The authors said they used 40 DNA samples taken from Uighurs in China and samples from other ethnic groups from Dr. Kidd’s Yale lab.

      In patent applications filed in China in 2013 and 2017, ministry researchers described ways to sort people by ethnicity by screening their genetic makeup. They took genetic material from Uighurs and compared it with DNA from other ethnic groups. In the 2017 filing, researchers explained that their system would help in “inferring the geographical origin from the DNA of suspects at crime scenes.”

      For outside comparisons, they used DNA samples provided by Dr. Kidd’s lab, the 2017 filing said. They also used samples from the 1000 Genomes Project, a public catalog of genes from around the world.

      Paul Flicek, member of the steering committee of the 1000 Genomes Project, said that its data was unrestricted and that “there is no obvious problem” if it was being used as a way to determine where a DNA sample came from.

      The data flow also went the other way.

      Chinese government researchers contributed the data of 2,143 Uighurs to the Allele Frequency Database, an online search platform run by Dr. Kidd that was partly funded by the United States Department of Justice until last year. The database, known as Alfred, contains DNA data from more than 700 populations around the world.

      This sharing of data could violate scientific norms of informed consent because it is not clear whether the Uighurs volunteered their DNA samples to the Chinese authorities, said Arthur Caplan, the founding head of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s School of Medicine. He said that “no one should be in a database without express consent.”

      “Honestly, there’s been a kind of naïveté on the part of American scientists presuming that other people will follow the same rules and standards wherever they come from,” Dr. Caplan said.

      Dr. Kidd said he was “not particularly happy” that the ministry had cited him in its patents, saying his data shouldn’t be used in ways that could allow people or institutions to potentially profit from it. If the Chinese authorities used data they got from their earlier collaborations with him, he added, there is little he can do to stop them.

      He said he was unaware of the filings until he was contacted by The Times.

      Dr. Kidd also said he considered his collaboration with the ministry to be no different from his work with police and forensics labs elsewhere. He said governments should have access to data about minorities, not just the dominant ethnic group, in order to have an accurate picture of the whole population.

      As for the consent issue, he said the burden of meeting that standard lay with the Chinese researchers, though he said reports about what Uighurs are subjected to in China raised some difficult questions.

      “I would assume they had appropriate informed consent on the samples,” he said, “though I must say what I’ve been hearing in the news recently about the treatment of the Uighurs raises concerns.”
      Machine Learning

      In 2015, Dr. Kidd and Dr. Budowle spoke at a genomics conference in the Chinese city of Xi’an. It was underwritten in part by Thermo Fisher, a company that has come under intense criticism for its equipment sales in China, and Illumina, a San Diego company that makes gene sequencing instruments. Illumina did not respond to requests for comment.

      China is ramping up spending on health care and research. The Chinese market for gene-sequencing equipment and other technologies was worth $1 billion in 2017 and could more than double in five years, according to CCID Consulting, a research firm. But the Chinese market is loosely regulated, and it isn’t always clear where the equipment goes or to what uses it is put.

      Thermo Fisher sells everything from lab instruments to forensic DNA testing kits to DNA mapping machines, which help scientists decipher a person’s ethnicity and identify diseases to which he or she is particularly vulnerable. China accounted for 10 percent of Thermo Fisher’s $20.9 billion in revenue, according to the company’s 2017 annual report, and it employs nearly 5,000 people there.

      “Our greatest success story in emerging markets continues to be China,” it said in the report.

      China used Thermo Fisher’s equipment to map the genes of its people, according to five Ministry of Public Security patent filings.

      The company has also sold equipment directly to the authorities in Xinjiang, where the campaign to control the Uighurs has been most intense. At least some of the equipment was intended for use by the police, according to procurement documents. The authorities there said in the documents that the machines were important for DNA inspections in criminal cases and had “no substitutes in China.”

      In February 2013, six ministry researchers credited Thermo Fisher’s Applied Biosystems brand, as well as other companies, with helping to analyze the DNA samples of Han, Uighur and Tibetan people in China, according to a patent filing. The researchers said understanding how to differentiate between such DNA samples was necessary for fighting terrorism “because these cases were becoming more difficult to crack.”

      The researchers said they had obtained 95 Uighur DNA samples, some of which were given to them by the police. Other samples were provided by Uighurs voluntarily, they said.

      Thermo Fisher was criticized by Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and others who asked the Commerce Department to prohibit American companies from selling technology to China that could be used for purposes of surveillance and tracking.

      On Wednesday, Thermo Fisher said it would stop selling its equipment in Xinjiang, a decision it said was “consistent with Thermo Fisher’s values, ethics code and policies.”

      “As the world leader in serving science, we recognize the importance of considering how our products and services are used — or may be used — by our customers,” it said.

      Human rights groups praised Thermo Fisher’s move. Still, they said, equipment and information flows into China should be better monitored, to make sure the authorities elsewhere don’t send them to Xinjiang.

      “It’s an important step, and one hopes that they apply the language in their own statement to commercial activity across China, and that other companies are assessing their sales and operations, especially in Xinjiang,” said Sophie Richardson, the China director of Human Rights Watch.

      American lawmakers and officials are taking a hard look at the situation in Xinjiang. The Trump administration is considering sanctions against Chinese officials and companies over China’s treatment of the Uighurs.

      China’s tracking campaign unnerved people like Tahir Hamut. In May 2017, the police in the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang drew the 49-year-old Uighur’s blood, took his fingerprints, recorded his voice and took a scan of his face. He was called back a month later for what he was told was a free health check at a local clinic.

      Mr. Hamut, a filmmaker who is now living in Virginia, said he saw between 20 to 40 Uighurs in line. He said it was absurd to think that such frightened people had consented to submit their DNA.

      “No one in this situation, not under this much pressure and facing such personal danger, would agree to give their blood samples for research,” Mr. Hamut said. “It’s just inconceivable.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/business/china-xinjiang-uighur-dna-thermo-fisher.html?action=click&module=MoreInSect
      #USA #Etats-Unis #ADN #DNA #Ouïghours #université #science #génétique #base_de_données

  • 6 Free #software To Boost Your #productivity In 2019
    https://hackernoon.com/6-free-software-to-boost-your-productivity-in-2019-61e22bd85195?source=r

    Today everyone is running the race to be more productive. To discover smart hacks or shortcuts to save time. And since most people spend a large amount of their time staring into a computer screen, that’s a good place to start.Mobile phones might be winning the overall battle against the desktops. According to Google, more searches are done via mobile platforms than desktops. But as much as mobile phones might be booming, they got nothing on desktops when it comes to work.Most of the workforce around the globe still depend on a Mac, Windows or Linux machine to do most if not all of their daily grunt work.And if you’re anything like me, you’re always on a lookout for some kickass software to increase your productivity or make your work easier and enjoyable.In my quest to find such software (...)

    #developer-tools #developer #utilities

  • ‘It’s an Act of Murder’: How Europe Outsources Suffering as Migrants Drown

    This short film, produced by The Times’s Opinion Video team and the research groups #Forensic_Architecture and #Forensic_Oceanography, reconstructs a tragedy at sea that left at least 20 migrants dead. Combining footage from more than 10 cameras, 3-D modeling and interviews with rescuers and survivors, the documentary shows Europe’s role in the migrant crisis at sea.

    On Nov. 6, 2017, at least 20 people trying to reach Europe from Libya drowned in the Mediterranean, foundering next to a sinking raft.

    Not far from the raft was a ship belonging to Sea-Watch, a German humanitarian organization. That ship had enough space on it for everyone who had been aboard the raft. It could have brought them all to the safety of Europe, where they might have had a chance at being granted asylum.

    Instead, 20 people drowned and 47 more were captured by the Libyan Coast Guard, which brought the migrants back to Libya, where they suffered abuse — including rape and torture.

    This confrontation at sea was not a simplistic case of Europe versus Africa, with human rights and rescue on one side and chaos and danger on the other. Rather it’s a case of Europe versus Europe: of volunteers struggling to save lives being undercut by European Union policies that outsource border control responsibilities to the Libyan Coast Guard — with the aim of stemming arrivals on European shores.

    While funding, equipping and directing the Libyan Coast Guard, European governments have stymied the activities of nongovernmental organizations like Sea-Watch, criminalizing them or impounding their ships, or turning away from ports ships carrying survivors.

    More than 14,000 people have died or gone missing while trying to cross the central Mediterranean since 2014. But unlike most of those deaths and drownings, the incident on Nov. 6, 2017, was extensively documented.

    Sea-Watch’s ship and rescue rafts were outfitted with nine cameras, documenting the entire scene in video and audio. The Libyans, too, filmed parts of the incident on their mobile phones.

    The research groups Forensic Architecture and Forensic Oceanography of Goldsmiths, University of London, of which three of us — Mr. Heller, Mr. Pezzani and Mr. Weizman — are a part, combined these video sources with radio recordings, vessel tracking data, witness testimonies and newly obtained official sources to produce a minute-by-minute reconstruction of the facts. Opinion Video at The New York Times built on this work to create the above short documentary, gathering further testimonials by some of the survivors and rescuers who were there.

    This investigation makes a few things clear: European governments are avoiding their legal and moral responsibilities to protect the human rights of people fleeing violence and economic desperation. More worrying, the Libyan Coast Guard partners that Europe is collaborating with are ready to blatantly violate those rights if it allows them to prevent migrants from crossing the sea.

    Stopping Migrants, Whatever the Cost

    To understand the cynicism of Europe’s policies in the Mediterranean, one must understand the legal context. According to a 2012 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, migrants rescued by European civilian or military vessels must be taken to a safe port. Because of the chaotic political situation in Libya and well-documented human rights abuses in detention camps there, that means a European port, often in Italy or Malta.

    But when the Libyan Coast Guard intercepts migrants, even outside Libyan territorial waters, as it did on Nov. 6, the Libyans take them back to detention camps in Libya, which is not subject to European Court of Human Rights jurisdiction.

    For Italy — and Europe — this is an ideal situation. Europe is able to stop people from reaching its shores while washing its hands of any responsibility for their safety.

    This policy can be traced back to February 2017, when Italy and the United Nations-supported Libyan Government of National Accord signed a “memorandum of understanding” that provided a framework for collaboration on development, to fight against “illegal immigration,” human trafficking and the smuggling of contraband. This agreement defines clearly the aim, “to stem the illegal migrants’ flows,” and committed Italy to provide “technical and technological support to the Libyan institutions in charge of the fight against illegal immigration.”

    Libyan Coast Guard members have been trained by the European Union, and the Italian government donated or repaired several patrol boats and supported the establishment of a Libyan search-and-rescue zone. Libyan authorities have since attempted — in defiance of maritime law — to make that zone off-limits to nongovernmental organizations’ rescue vessels. Italian Navy ships, based in Tripoli, have coordinated Libyan Coast Guard efforts.

    Before these arrangements, Libyan actors were able to intercept and return very few migrants leaving from Libyan shores. Now the Libyan Coast Guard is an efficient partner, having intercepted some 20,000 people in 2017 alone.

    The Libyan Coast Guard is efficient when it comes to stopping migrants from reaching Europe. It’s not as good, however, at saving their lives, as the events of Nov. 6 show.

    A Deadly Policy in Action

    That morning the migrant raft had encountered worsening conditions after leaving Tripoli, Libya, over night. Someone onboard used a satellite phone to call the Italian Coast Guard for help.

    Because the Italians were required by law to alert nearby vessels of the sinking raft, they alerted Sea-Watch to its approximate location. But they also requested the intervention of their Libyan counterparts.

    The Libyan Coast Guard vessel that was sent to intervene on that morning, the Ras Jadir, was one of several that had been repaired by Italy and handed back to the Libyans in May of 2017. Eight of the 13 crew members onboard had received training from the European Union anti-smuggling naval program known as Operation Sophia.

    Even so, the Libyans brought the Ras Jadir next to the migrants’ raft, rather than deploying a smaller rescue vessel, as professional rescuers do. This offered no hope of rescuing those who had already fallen overboard and only caused more chaos, during which at least five people died.

    These deaths were not merely a result of a lack of professionalism. Some of the migrants who had been brought aboard the Ras Jadir were so afraid of their fate at the hands of the Libyans that they jumped back into the water to try to reach the European rescuers. As can be seen in the footage, members of the Libyan Coast Guard beat the remaining migrants.

    Sea-Watch’s crew was also attacked by the Libyan Coast Guard, who threatened them and threw hard objects at them to keep them away. This eruption of violence was the result of a clash between the goals of rescue and interception, with the migrants caught in the middle desperately struggling for their lives.

    Apart from those who died during this chaos, more than 15 people had already drowned in the time spent waiting for any rescue vessel to appear.

    There was, however, no shortage of potential rescuers in the area: A Portuguese surveillance plane had located the migrants’ raft after its distress call. An Italian Navy helicopter and a French frigate were nearby and eventually offered some support during the rescue.

    It’s possible that this French ship, deployed as part of Operation Sophia, could have reached the sinking vessel earlier, in time to save more lives — despite our requests, this information has not been disclosed to us. But it remained at a distance throughout the incident and while offering some support, notably refrained from taking migrants onboard who would then have had to have been disembarked on European soil. It’s an example of a hands-off approach that seeks to make Libyan intervention not only possible but also inevitable.

    A Legal Challenge

    On the basis of the forensic reconstruction, the Global Legal Action Network and the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration, with the support of Yale Law School students, have filed a case against Italy at the European Court of Human Rights representing 17 survivors of this incident.

    Those working on the suit, who include two of us — Mr. Mann and Ms. Moreno-Lax — argue that even though Italian or European personnel did not physically intercept the migrants and bring them back to Libya, Italy exercised effective control over the Libyan Coast Guard through mutual agreements, support and on-the-ground coordination. Italy has entrusted the Libyans with a task that Rome knows full well would be illegal if undertaken directly: preventing migrants from seeking protection in Europe by impeding their flight and sending them back to a country where extreme violence and exploitation await.

    We hope this legal complaint will lead the European court to rule that countries cannot subcontract their legal and humanitarian obligations to dubious partners, and that if they do, they retain responsibility for the resulting violations. Such a precedent would force the entire European Union to make sure its cooperation with partners like Libya does not end up denying refugees the right to seek asylum.

    This case is especially important right now. In Italy’s elections in March, the far-right Lega party, which campaigned on radical anti-immigrant rhetoric, took nearly 20 percent of the vote. The party is now part of the governing coalition, of which its leader, Matteo Salvini, is the interior minister.

    His government has doubled down on animosity toward migrants. In June, Italy took the drastic step of turning away a humanitarian vessel from the country’s ports and has been systematically blocking rescued migrants from being disembarked since then, even when they had been assisted by the Italian Coast Guard.

    The Italian crackdown helps explain why seafarers off the Libyan coast have refrained from assisting migrants in distress, leaving them to drift for days. Under the new Italian government, a new batch of patrol boats has been handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard, and the rate of migrants being intercepted and brought back to Libya has increased. All this has made the crossing even more dangerous than before.

    Italy has been seeking to enact a practice that blatantly violates the spirit of the Geneva Convention on refugees, which enshrines the right to seek asylum and prohibits sending people back to countries in which their lives are at risk. A judgment by the European Court sanctioning Italy for this practice would help prevent the outsourcing of border control and human rights violations that may prevent the world’s most disempowered populations from seeking protection and dignity.

    The European Court of Human Rights cannot stand alone as a guardian of fundamental rights. Yet an insistence on its part to uphold the law would both reflect and bolster the movements seeking solidarity with migrants across Europe.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/26/opinion/europe-migrant-crisis-mediterranean-libya.html
    #reconstruction #naufrage #Méditerranée #Charles_Heller #Lorenzo_Pezzani #asile #migrations #réfugiés #mourir_en_mer #ONG #sauvetage #Sea-Watch #gardes-côtes_libyens #Libye #pull-back #refoulement #externalisation #vidéo #responsabilité #Ras_Jadir #Operation_Sophia #CEDH #cour_européenne_des_droits_de_l'homme #justice #droits_humains #droit_à_la_vie

    ping @reka

    • È un omicidio con navi italiane” L’accusa del Nyt

      Video-denuncia contro Roma e l’Ue per un naufragio di un anno fa: botte dei libici ai migranti, 50 morti.

      Patate scagliate addosso ai soccorritori della Sea Watch invece di lanciare giubbotti e salvagente ai naufraghi che stavano annegando. E poi botte ai migranti riusciti a salire sulle motovedette per salvarsi la vita. Ecco i risultati dell’addestramento che l’Italia ha impartito ai libici per far fuori i migranti nel Mediterraneo. È un video pubblicato dal New York Times che parte da una delle più gravi tra le ultime stragi avvenute del Canale di Sicilia, con un commento intitolato: “‘È un omicidio’: come l’Europa esternalizza sofferenza mentre i migranti annegano”.

      Era il 6 novembre 2017 e le operazioni in mare erano gestite dalla guardia costiera libica, in accordo con l’allora ministro dell’Interno, Marco Minniti. Il dettaglio non è secondario, lo stesso video mostra la cerimonia di consegna delle motovedette made in Italy ai partner nordafricani. Una delle imbarcazioni, la 648, la ritroviamo proprio al centro dell’azione dove, quel giorno, cinquanta africani vennero inghiottiti dal mare. Al tempo era consentito alle imbarcazioni di soccorso pattugliare lo specchio di mare a cavallo tra le zone Sar (Search and rescue, ricerca e soccorso) di competenza. Al tempo i porti italiani erano aperti, ma il comportamento dei militari libici già al limite della crudeltà. Il video e le foto scattate dal personale della Sea Watch mostrano scene durissime. Un migrante lasciato annegare senza alcun tentativo da parte dei libici di salvarlo: il corpo disperato annaspa per poi sparire sott’acqua, quando il salvagente viene lanciato è tardi. Botte, calci e pugni a uomini appena saliti a bordo delle motovedette, di una violenza ingiustificabile. Il New York Times va giù duro e nel commento, oltre a stigmatizzare attacca i governi italiani. Dalla prova delle motovedette vendute per far fare ad altri il lavoro sporco, al nuovo governo definito “di ultradestra” che “ha completato la strategia”. Matteo Salvini però non viene nominato. L’Italia, sottolinea il Nyt, ha delegato alle autorità della Tripolitania il pattugliamento delle coste e il recupero di qualsiasi imbarcazione diretta a nord. Nulla di nuovo, visto che la Spagna, guidata dal socialista Sanchez e impegnata sul fronte occidentale con un’ondata migratoria senza precedenti, usa il Marocco per “bonificare” il tratto di mare vicino allo stretto di Gibilterra da gommoni e carrette. Gli organismi europei da una parte stimolano il blocco delle migrazioni verso il continente, eppure dall’altra lo condannano. Per l’episodio del 6 novembre 2017, infatti, la Corte europea dei diritti umani sta trattando il ricorso presentato dall’Asgi (Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione) contro il respingimento collettivo. Sempre l’Asgi ha presentato due ricorsi analoghi per fatti del dicembre 2018 e gennaio 2018; infine altri due, uno sulla cessione delle motovedette e l’altro sull’implementazione dell’accordo Italia-Libia firmato da Minniti.

      https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/premium/articoli/e-un-omicidio-con-navi-italiane-laccusa-del-nyt

    • Comment l’Europe et la Libye laissent mourir les migrants en mer

      Il y a un peu plus d’un an, le 6 novembre 2017, une fragile embarcation sombre en mer avec à son bord 150 migrants partis de Tripoli pour tenter de rejoindre l’Europe. La plupart d’entre eux sont morts. Avec l’aide de Forensic Oceanography – une organisation créée en 2011 pour tenir le compte des morts de migrants en Méditerranée – et de Forensic Architecture – groupe de recherche enquêtant sur les violations des droits de l’homme –, le New York Times a retracé le déroulement de ce drame, dans une enquête vidéo extrêmement documentée.

      Depuis l’accord passé en février 2017 entre la Libye et l’Italie, confiant aux autorités libyennes le soin d’intercepter les migrants dans ses eaux territoriales, le travail des ONG intervenant en mer Méditerranée avec leurs bateaux de sauvetage est devenu extrêmement difficile. Ces dernières subissent les menaces constantes des gardes-côtes libyens, qui, malgré les subventions européennes et les formations qu’ils reçoivent, n’ont pas vraiment pour but de sauver les migrants de la noyade. Ainsi, en fermant les yeux sur les pratiques libyennes régulièrement dénoncées par les ONG, l’Europe contribue à aggraver la situation et précipite les migrants vers la noyade, s’attache à démontrer cette enquête vidéo publiée dans la section Opinions du New York Times. Un document traduit et sous-titré par Courrier international.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/video/enquete-comment-leurope-et-la-libye-laissent-mourir-les-migra

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=dcbh8yJclGI

    • How We Made an Invisible Crisis at Sea Visible

      An ambitious Opinion Video project produced across three continents — in collaboration with a pioneering forensic research group — shines a spotlight on the more than 16,000 migrants who have died trying to cross the Mediterranean since 2014.

      Forensic Oceanography had created a report and a minute-by-minute reconstruction of the episode (http://www.forensic-architecture.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-05-07-FO-Mare-Clausum-full-EN.pdf) intended partly to support a case that was about to be filed on behalf of survivors at the European Court of Human Rights.

      Their reporting was deep, but it was very technical. We wanted to build on the original research to create a short film that would sharpen the story while still embracing complexity.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/reader-center/migrants-mediterranean-sea.html
      #visibilité #invisibilité #in/visiblité #Mare_clausum

  • How Would a Foldable #smartphones Enhance Our Everyday Usage?
    https://hackernoon.com/how-would-a-foldable-smartphones-enhance-our-everyday-usage-b4a06ae18013

    Over the years, smartphones have been rapidly bringing in new innovations and designs. We went from classic Nokia phones to touchscreen mobile phones in a span of a few years. However, for quite some time now, we haven’t seen a major technological or innovational change in smartphones. We have better smartphones today, but nothing has changed for a long time. But, things are expected to change soon. For years now, we have seen various concepts, patents and prototypes of foldable smartphones appear online.It is no hidden fact that many smartphone companies have been working on perfecting a foldable smartphone. And now finally, it looks like we might get to see these flexible smartphones in 2019. These devices will come with different form factors. While some smartphone will come with an (...)

    #futureofsmartphones #technology #foldable-smartphone #foldable-phone

  • How to make #snapchat Lenses ?
    https://hackernoon.com/how-to-make-snapchat-lenses-f9eae861b5db?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3---4

    We all love SnapChat lenses/filters, but ever wondered how you can make your own? This article explains how you can use python and computer vision libraries like opencv and dlib to create your own “glasses and mustache lens” with as few as 80 lines of code.What is dlib?Dlib is a modern C++ toolkit containing machine learning algorithms and tools for creating complex software in C++ to solve real world problems. It is used in both industry and academia in a wide range of domains including robotics, embedded devices, mobile phones, and large high performance computing environments. Dlib’s open source licensing allows you to use it in any application, free of charge. [source]https://medium.com/media/66cfd3663b00a2d2c3ded8a04e8c8bb5/hrefWhat is OpenCV?OpenCV (Open Source Computer Vision) is a (...)

    #computer-vision #snapchat-lenses #machine-learning #make-snapchat-lense

  • Tracking China’s Muslim Gulag
    https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/muslims-camps-china

    China is accused of incarcerating hundreds of thousands of Muslims in detention camps that are rising from the desert sands in Xinjiang. A forensic analysis of satellite images of 39 of these facilities shows they are expanding at a rapid rate.

    #chine #camps_de_travail #musulman #Ouïghours #détention

    • Très belle illustration visuelle !

      La légende des différentes étapes :

      Here are the footprints of all 39 camps. Prior to April 2017, these facilities had a total of 539 buildings covering 379,000 square meters.

      By August this year, the number of buildings at these facilities had more than doubled to 1,129. The area they covered had almost tripled to more than 1 million square meters - roughly the size of 140 soccer fields.

      And the expansion continues. A further 67 buildings, covering an area of 210,000 square meters, are now under construction in these compounds, according to the most recent satellite imagery that was analyzed.

      Infographie vraiment remarquable.

      #merci @odilon

    • Opinion: The Strange Silence Over China’s Muslim Crackdown

      President Trump says trade talks between the United States and China have been, “going very well.” The United States put $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods last year, to counter what it considers unfair trade practices and theft of U.S. technology.

      But there are no indications the United States, the United Nations, or any government is prepared to use any economic or diplomatic leverage to oppose China locking up between 800,000 and 2 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Chinese Muslims into internment camps in the western Xinjiang region.

      The camps are in remote locations — closed to the world — and ringed with barbed wire. But they have been photographed by satellite. The Chinese government calls them “re-education centers,” a phrase that carries a sinister history from the murderous purges of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.

      The people in the camps are forced to denounce their faith and pledge loyalty to the Communist Party. According to multiple reports, a number of people in the camps have also been tortured.

      As Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, told The Independent, “If any other government in the world was locking up a million Muslims I think we can reasonably expect to have seen demands for a debate at the U.N. Security Council or an international investigation. That’s generally unlikely to happen with China.”

      There were calls in the U.S. Congress last fall for the Trump administration to consider sanctions against China for what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced as “awful abuses.”

      But China is America’s largest creditor: it holds more than a trillion dollars in U.S. Treasury securities. Look down at whatever you’re wearing, carrying, riding in or working on right now. American businesses get rich relying on Chinese workers who earn low wages to produce our clothing, mobile phones, building materials, and dazzling new tech devices.

      The Trump administration imposed tariffs on China over unfair trade practices. But it has offered no more than a few rhetorical flourishes over human rights crimes. Neither did the Obama administration, or the European Union.

      And Muslim countries — including Saudi Arabia and Iran — have been similarly, conspicuously, silent. China invests heavily, and strategically in their nations too.

      Sometimes, the price of human rights just cannot compete.

      https://www.npr.org/2019/01/12/684687441/opinion-the-strange-silence-over-chinas-muslim-crackdown
      #disparitions

  • Europe is using smartphone data as a weapon to deport refugees

    European leaders need to bring immigration numbers down, and #metadata on smartphones could be just what they need to start sending migrants back.

    Smartphones have helped tens of thousands of migrants travel to Europe. A phone means you can stay in touch with your family – or with people smugglers. On the road, you can check Facebook groups that warn of border closures, policy changes or scams to watch out for. Advice on how to avoid border police spreads via WhatsApp.

    Now, governments are using migrants’ smartphones to deport them.

    Across the continent, migrants are being confronted by a booming mobile forensics industry that specialises in extracting a smartphone’s messages, location history, and even #WhatsApp data. That information can potentially be turned against the phone owners themselves.

    In 2017 both Germany and Denmark expanded laws that enabled immigration officials to extract data from asylum seekers’ phones. Similar legislation has been proposed in Belgium and Austria, while the UK and Norway have been searching asylum seekers’ devices for years.

    Following right-wing gains across the EU, beleaguered governments are scrambling to bring immigration numbers down. Tackling fraudulent asylum applications seems like an easy way to do that. As European leaders met in Brussels last week to thrash out a new, tougher framework to manage migration —which nevertheless seems insufficient to placate Angela Merkel’s critics in Germany— immigration agencies across Europe are showing new enthusiasm for laws and software that enable phone data to be used in deportation cases.

    Admittedly, some refugees do lie on their asylum applications. Omar – not his real name – certainly did. He travelled to Germany via Greece. Even for Syrians like him there were few legal alternatives into the EU. But his route meant he could face deportation under the EU’s Dublin regulation, which dictates that asylum seekers must claim refugee status in the first EU country they arrive in. For Omar, that would mean settling in Greece – hardly an attractive destination considering its high unemployment and stretched social services.

    Last year, more than 7,000 people were deported from Germany according to the Dublin regulation. If Omar’s phone were searched, he could have become one of them, as his location history would have revealed his route through Europe, including his arrival in Greece.

    But before his asylum interview, he met Lena – also not her real name. A refugee advocate and businesswoman, Lena had read about Germany’s new surveillance laws. She encouraged Omar to throw his phone away and tell immigration officials it had been stolen in the refugee camp where he was staying. “This camp was well-known for crime,” says Lena, “so the story seemed believable.” His application is still pending.

    Omar is not the only asylum seeker to hide phone data from state officials. When sociology professor Marie Gillespie researched phone use among migrants travelling to Europe in 2016, she encountered widespread fear of mobile phone surveillance. “Mobile phones were facilitators and enablers of their journeys, but they also posed a threat,” she says. In response, she saw migrants who kept up to 13 different #SIM cards, hiding them in different parts of their bodies as they travelled.

    This could become a problem for immigration officials, who are increasingly using mobile phones to verify migrants’ identities, and ascertain whether they qualify for asylum. (That is: whether they are fleeing countries where they risk facing violence or persecution.) In Germany, only 40 per cent of asylum applicants in 2016 could provide official identification documents. In their absence, the nationalities of the other 60 per cent were verified through a mixture of language analysis — using human translators and computers to confirm whether their accent is authentic — and mobile phone data.

    Over the six months after Germany’s phone search law came into force, immigration officials searched 8,000 phones. If they doubted an asylum seeker’s story, they would extract their phone’s metadata – digital information that can reveal the user’s language settings and the locations where they made calls or took pictures.

    To do this, German authorities are using a computer programme, called Atos, that combines technology made by two mobile forensic companies – T3K and MSAB. It takes just a few minutes to download metadata. “The analysis of mobile phone data is never the sole basis on which a decision about the application for asylum is made,” says a spokesperson for BAMF, Germany’s immigration agency. But they do use the data to look for inconsistencies in an applicant’s story. If a person says they were in Turkey in September, for example, but phone data shows they were actually in Syria, they can see more investigation is needed.

    Denmark is taking this a step further, by asking migrants for their Facebook passwords. Refugee groups note how the platform is being used more and more to verify an asylum seeker’s identity.

    It recently happened to Assem, a 36-year-old refugee from Syria. Five minutes on his public Facebook profile will tell you two things about him: first, he supports a revolution against Syria’s Assad regime and, second, he is a devoted fan of Barcelona football club. When Danish immigration officials asked him for his password, he gave it to them willingly. “At that time, I didn’t care what they were doing. I just wanted to leave the asylum center,” he says. While Assem was not happy about the request, he now has refugee status.

    The Danish immigration agency confirmed they do ask asylum applicants to see their Facebook profiles. While it is not standard procedure, it can be used if a caseworker feels they need more information. If the applicant refused their consent, they would tell them they are obliged under Danish law. Right now, they only use Facebook – not Instagram or other social platforms.

    Across the EU, rights groups and opposition parties have questioned whether these searches are constitutional, raising concerns over their infringement of privacy and the effect of searching migrants like criminals.

    “In my view, it’s a violation of ethics on privacy to ask for a password to Facebook or open somebody’s mobile phone,” says Michala Clante Bendixen of Denmark’s Refugees Welcome movement. “For an asylum seeker, this is often the only piece of personal and private space he or she has left.”

    Information sourced from phones and social media offers an alternative reality that can compete with an asylum seeker’s own testimony. “They’re holding the phone to be a stronger testament to their history than what the person is ready to disclose,” says Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International. “That’s unprecedented.”
    Read next

    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn
    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn

    By WIRED

    Privacy campaigners note how digital information might not reflect a person’s character accurately. “Because there is so much data on a person’s phone, you can make quite sweeping judgements that might not necessarily be true,” says Christopher Weatherhead, technologist at Privacy International.

    Bendixen cites the case of one man whose asylum application was rejected after Danish authorities examined his phone and saw his Facebook account had left comments during a time he said he was in prison. He explained that his brother also had access to his account, but the authorities did not believe him; he is currently waiting for appeal.

    A spokesperson for the UK’s Home Office told me they don’t check the social media of asylum seekers unless they are suspected of a crime. Nonetheless, British lawyers and social workers have reported that social media searches do take place, although it is unclear whether they reflect official policy. The Home Office did not respond to requests for clarification on that matter.

    Privacy International has investigated the UK police’s ability to search phones, indicating that immigration officials could possess similar powers. “What surprised us was the level of detail of these phone searches. Police could access information even you don’t have access to, such as deleted messages,” Weatherhead says.

    His team found that British police are aided by Israeli mobile forensic company Cellebrite. Using their software, officials can access search history, including deleted browsing history. It can also extract WhatsApp messages from some Android phones.

    There is a crippling irony that the smartphone, for so long a tool of liberation, has become a digital Judas. If you had stood in Athens’ Victoria Square in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, you would have noticed the “smartphone stoop”: hundreds of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans standing or sitting about this sun-baked patch of grass and concrete, were bending their heads, looking into their phones.

    The smartphone has become the essential accessory for modern migration. Travelling to Europe as an asylum seeker is expensive. People who can’t afford phones typically can’t afford the journey either. Phones became a constant feature along the route to Northern Europe: young men would line the pavements outside reception centres in Berlin, hunched over their screens. In Calais, groups would crowd around charging points. In 2016, the UN refugee agency reported that phones were so important to migrants moving across Europe, that they were spending up to one third of their income on phone credit.

    Now, migrants are being forced to confront a more dangerous reality, as governments worldwide expand their abilities to search asylum seekers’ phones. While European countries were relaxing their laws on metadata search, last year US immigration spent $2.2 million on phone hacking software. But asylum seekers too are changing their behaviour as they become more aware that the smartphone, the very device that has bought them so much freedom, could be the very thing used to unravel their hope of a new life.

    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/europe-immigration-refugees-smartphone-metadata-deportations
    #smartphone #smartphones #données #big_data #expulsions #Allemagne #Danemark #renvois #carte_SIM #Belgique #Autriche

  • No man’s land at Paris airport: Where France keeps foreigners who’ve been refused entry

    Every day, foreigners suspected of trying to enter France illegally are taken to a special area of Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport where they are held at a facility dubbed #ZAPI. Located just a stone’s throw away from the airport’s runways, the ultra-secure area is closed to the general public. NGOs say ZAPI is just another name for a prison, where foreigner’s rights are flouted and where expulsions are fast-tracked. InfoMigrants was granted exclusive access to it.

    Audrey is pulling funny faces at the little girl she’s holding in her arms. “She’s not mine,” she says, and points to the girl’s mother who is sitting on another bench just a few metres away. “I’m just playing with her to pass the time,” she says. Twenty-eight-year-old Audrey from Gabon currently lives inside the four walls of the Charles de Gaulle airport’s “waiting zone”, or ZAPI, where people who have been refused entry onto French territory are being held while authorities decide what to do with them.

    Audrey’s laugh is barely audible. Neither is that of the little girl. The loud noise of the aircraft that just touched down some 50 metres away from them have drowned out all the surrounding sounds. “The noise, it’s hard… It prevents us from sleeping, we hear the planes all the time…,” the young woman complains without even looking at the giant aircraft whose wings are now gracing the fence of ZAPI.

    This tiny piece of no man’s land lies just next to one of the airport’s runways. “ZAPI is a bit like a protrusion of the international zone,” Alexis Marty explains, who heads up the immigration department at the French border police (PAF). In legal terms, the zone is not deemed to be a part of French territory. “It’s a zone where people end up when they’ve been refused entry into France and the Schengen area” by not having a visa, or because there are suspicions that their travel documents have been forged… Audrey, who’s been there for nearly a week, recalls how she was intercepted just as she was getting off the plane. She says she was placed at ZAPI because she didn’t have a “hotel” and “not enough money”.

    To visit France for a period lasting up to three months, foreigners need to fulfill certain conditions before being allowed to touch French ground: They need to have a valid passport, a visa (depending on the nationality), a medical insurance covering their stay, proof of lodging (hotel reservation or with family members), enough funds to cover their stay as well as a return ticket.

    Ill-prepared tourists or illegal immigrants?

    Foreigners who are stopped by customs officers because they don’t fulfill the conditions linked to their stay generally end up at ZAPI. “We don’t send everyone there,” Marty explains, however, pointing to certain nuances. “There are confused tourists who’ve just prepared their vacations really poorly, and who’ve forgotten essential documents. But there are also those who have different intentions, and who produce forged documents to try to enter European territory illegally.”

    It’s difficult to tell an ill-prepared tourist and a potential illegal immigrant apart. This is why the verification is done in several steps. “We don’t send people to ZAPI right away, we first carry out an initial check. When a suspicious person steps out of the plane, we bring them into a separate room to verify their documents, to ask them questions, listen to their replies and to verify any additional information they give us. If all goes well, we release them after a few hours,” he explains. “But if the incoherencies and the doubts persist, if the person produces fake documents or no documents at all, if a ‘migration risk’ exists for the person, we place them in ZAPI.”

    On this particular October day, the airport’s “waiting zone” houses a total of 96 people, of which one is an unaccompanied minor. The number of people changes on a daily basis. “Generally, a person spends four and a half days at ZAPI, so the rotation is pretty fast,” police commander Serge Berquier, who is the head of ZAPI, says. The maximum time a person can stay there is 20 days. Men, women and children – even minors traveling on their own – may be sent there. There is no age limit.

    After a three-week stay, a so-called “ZAPIst” is left with three options: Either they are finally granted entry into France (with a safe conduct), they are sent back to the country they traveled from, or a legal case is opened against them (for refusing to board, for forging documents, etc.). In 2016, some 7,000 people were held at the airport at some point, of which 53 percent were immediately refused entry into France.

    While “ZAPIsts” wait for their fates to be decided, they do what they can to kill time. They stroll in the outdoor space, they stay in their rooms, or they hang out in the TV room. The PAF makes a point of clarifying that the “ZAPIsts” are not “detainees” but rather “retainees”. This means that they have rights; family members can visit, they have access to catering services and can get legal and humanitarian assistance from the Red Cross which has a permanent presence at the facility.

    “It’s not a prison,” Marty says. “Here, you can keep your personal belongings, your mobile phone, you can go in and out of the rooms as much as you like. The only restriction is that you’re not allowed to exit the premises.”

    It may not be a prison, but it’s definitely a place of deprivation. Not all mobile phones are allowed, and those equipped with a camera are confiscated automatically.

    It’s 11.45am, but no one seems to be around on the ground floor. The TV is on in the communal room, but there’s no one there to watch it. No one is using the public payphones which are available to the “ZAPIsts” 24/7. On the first floor, where the rooms are located, the hallways are more or less empty. “They’re most likely downstairs, in the canteen, lunch will be served soon,” a police officer says. “Otherwise they might be outside, in the garden, talking or smoking.”

    The police presence is fairly discrete on the floor with the rooms, but every now and then the police officers can be heard calling someone through the loud-speakers that have been installed in the building. “We use it to call people who have a visit or a meeting. It helps us avoid having to run through the hallways to find them,” Berquier, the head of ZAPI, explains while showing us around the premises. “There are 67 rooms. Some are reserved for families, and others for people with reduced mobility […] There’s also an area reserved for unaccompanied minors and an area with games for them and for families.”

    La ZAPI compte au total une soixantaine de chambres Crdit InfoMigrants

    ‘Things can be improved’

    The atmosphere at ZAPI is calm, almost peaceful. Until Youssef, an Algerian who’s been held there for four days, turns up. He seems to be on his guard, and appears quite tense. “I’m still waiting for my suitcase, I don’t have any clothes to change with,” he complains and lights a cigarette. “The Red Cross is helping me out.” It can take several days for a person who’ve been placed in ZAPI to have their personal belongings returned to them. Checked-in luggage first has to be located and then controlled… During this period, the Red Cross does what it can in terms of clothing, offering T-shirts and underwear.

    Marty finds the situation with the luggage deplorable. “It’s evident that not everything is perfect, there are things that can be improved,” he admits. “To have a suitcase speedily returned to someone at ZAPI is among the things where progress can be made.”

    Returning home

    Audrey from Gabon and Youssef from Algeria, who have both found themselves blocked in this no-man’s land, have more or less the same story to tell. Both of them claim they came to France to visit family, insisting they did not intend to enter the country illegally. “But now, my situation isn’t very good,” the young woman says. Did she really come for the “tourist visit” she claims? Or did she try her chance at entering France by sneaking through the controls (customs)? It’s hard to know. The police have the same doubts when it comes to Youssef. “I came here to visit family, but I had a problem with my return ticket which didn’t match my visa,” he explains. Youssef says he wants to try to regularize his documents – “to buy a return ticket that conforms to the conditions” – in order to leave ZAPI and thereafter enter France. Audrey, on the other hand, says she has “given up”. She wants to go home now.

    The PAF sometimes comes across “people who ask to go home because they understand that their entry into France is compromised,” Marty explains. The costs of such returns are normally taken out of the pocket of the airline that flew the foreigner in question to France in the first place, and is undoubtedly a way for authorities to sanction the airlines and force them to be more vigilant when it comes to checking their passengers’ travel documents.

    The risk of failing an attempt to enter a country illegally is often higher for those who try to do so via air travel. “It’s an expensive trip, you have to pay for the ticket as well as the forged passport you need to fool the authorities, and this is before having to take the rigorous controls at the airports into account,” Marty says.

    The nationalities of migrants arriving by plane are often different from those who try to reach Europe by sea or by land. “The people at ZAPI are mainly from South America, Honduras, Brazil, and Nicaragua. Also from China and Russia. Some also come from North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, but they are fewer in numbers.” On this particular day, the people in ZAPI’s courtyard are from Gabon, Chad, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and South America.

    ’The aim is to deport’

    ZAPI also houses people seeking asylum. “There are people who demand protection in France as soon as they step off the plane,” Marty explains. “They tell border police […] Everything has been organized so that they know they have the right to demand asylum and that we’re ready to help them in their attempt to do so.”

    Charlene Cuartero-Saez works for Anafé, an association that helps foreigners who have been blocked between borders, and which has an office at ZAPI. She almost chokes when she hears the “model” description of the facility that Marty has given, saying it is far from the benevolent place he has been talking about.

    Cuartero-Saez has her desk in room 38 of the building, which has been converted into an Anafé office, Cuartero-Saez lists the different dysfunctions of the place: the poor ventilation, the restricted outdoor access, cameras in the communal areas, no laundry room… “It’s true that here, the material conditions are less difficult than elsewhere. Charles de Gaulle’s ZAPI is a bit like the display window for other ‘waiting zones’ in France. But that doesn’t prevent people from having their rights flouted, especially here.”

    ’Some are sent back just a few hours after their arrival in France’

    “[Police] say that people are informed of their rights in their native language, but in my opinion that is not always true. Many [officers] work on the principle that if the migrants speaks a few words of English, he or she doesn’t need an interpreter.”

    Anafé is also alarmed over the fast-speed returns of “ZAPIsts” – despite the existence of a “clear day” which normally gives a person 24 hours of respite at ZAPI. “This ‘clear day’ exists, yes, but you only get it if you ask for it! Many people don’t even know what it is,” Cuartero-Saez says. “There have been cases where people have been sent back to their countries just a few hours after arriving in France.”

    The law stipulates that asylum request can be filed at any moment – and thereby suspending an imminent deportation. In those cases, an Ofpra official comes to ZAPI to carry out a pre-assessment of the person’s request. The interview doesn’t decide on the asylum application itself, but evaluates the pertinence of the demand. A decision should be made within 20 days. If the demand is rejected, a deportation is imminent. A person filing a demand for asylum while at ZAPI can therefore receive a definite response within just a few days, whereas the average waiting time in France is between two and eight months or even more, depending on the case.

    Ces trois jeunes Sri-Lankais ont dpos une demande dasile aux frontires Crdit InfoMigrants

    “The aim of keeping [people in] this waiting area is to be able deport them, Cuartero-Saez states, and gives three asylum-seeking Sri Lankans who are currently staying at ZAPI as an example. The three men – all under the age of 30 – are in the courtyard and explain how they fear for their lives because they’re members of the separatist Tamil Tigers (LTTE) movement. All three have just been notified that their demands for asylum have been rejected.

    They show their rejection letters while seated on a bench in the sunshine. They speak neither French nor English and they don’t seem to know what to do next. They’ve been there for two weeks now. “We told them that they can appeal the decision. They didn’t know they could do that, no one had informed them of that,” Cuartero-Saez says.

    The three Tamils appear to be quite lost. They don’t seem to understand that they could face imminent deportation. In five days’ time, their retention at ZAPI will expire. “We don’t want to go back to Sri Lanka,” they say smiling. “We want to stay in France.”

    Aja, from Chad, and her two small daughters are in the same situation. They have been held at ZAPI for four days. Aja doesn’t want them to be returned to Chad, but she doesn’t want to demand asylum either. “I think I had a problem with money… That’s why they’re keeping me here. I’m here as a tourist,” she says, but adds that she “would very much like” to stay in France if it was possible. Because of this deadlock, she and her daughters also risk deportation.

    For those staying at ZAPI, the place is not synonymous with neither violence nor mistreatment but rather anxiety. At any given moment, PAF officers can try to force someone at ZAPI onboard a plane. “We have examples of people who don’t manage to register their asylum request in time,” Cuartero-Saez at Anafé says. “When the demand hasn’t been registered, the process is never launched… And so, without recourse, a person can be sent back in less than four days without even knowing his or her rights.”

    http://www.infomigrants.net/en/webdoc/146/no-man-s-land-at-paris-airport-where-france-keeps-foreigners-who-ve-be
    #Paris #aéroport #zone_de_transit #limbe #asile #migrations #réfugiés #déboutés #renvois #expulsions #détention #rétention #détention_administrative

  • The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-compa

    The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.

    […]

    There are two ways for spies to alter the guts of computer equipment. One, known as interdiction, consists of manipulating devices as they’re in transit from manufacturer to customer. This approach is favored by U.S. spy agencies, according to documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The other method involves seeding changes from the very beginning.

    One country in particular has an advantage executing this kind of attack: China, which by some estimates makes 75 percent of the world’s mobile phones and 90 percent of its PCs.

    #espionnage #Chine #États-Unis #informatique

  • Neurocapitalism | openDemocracy
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/ewa-hess-hennric-jokeit/neurocapitalism

    There is good reason to assert the existence, or at least the emergence, of a new type of capitalism: neurocapitalism. After all, the capitalist economy, as the foundation of modern liberal societies, has shown itself to be not only exceptionally adaptable and crisis-resistant, but also, in every phase of its dominance, capable of producing the scientific and technological wherewithal to analyse and mitigate the self-generated “malfunctioning” to which its constituent subjects are prone. In doing so – and this too is one of capitalism’s algorithms – it involves them in the inexorably effective cycle of supply and demand.

    Just as globalisation is a consequence of optimising the means of production and paths of communication (as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels predicted), so the brain, as the command centre of the modern human being, finally appears to be within reach of the humanities, a field closely associated with capitalism. It may seem uncanny just how closely the narrow path to scientific supremacy over the brain runs to the broad highway along which capitalism has been speeding for over 150 years. The relationship remains dynamic, yet what links capitalism with neuroscience is not so much strict regulation as a complex syndrome of systemic flaws.

    At this point, if not before, the unequal duo of capitalism and neuroscience was joined by a third partner. From now on, the blossoming pharmaceutical industry was to function as a kind of transmission belt connecting the two wheels and making them turn faster. In the first half of the twentieth century, mental disorders were treated mainly with sedative barbiturates, electric shock therapy and psychosurgery. But by the 1930s, neuro-psychopharmacology was already winning the day, as Freud had predicted it would.

    Is it a paradox, or one of those things that are so obvious they remain unobserved, that the success of Freud’s psychoanalysis and that of modern neuroscience are based on similar premises? Psychoanalysis was successful because it wove together medically relevant disciplines like psychiatry and psychology with art, culture, education, economics and politics, allowing it to penetrate important areas of social life. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the neurosciences seem to be in a position to take on a comparable role in the future.

    The ten top-selling psychotropic substances in the USA include anti-depressants, neuroleptics (antipsychotics), stimulants and drugs for treating dementia. In 2007 one hundred million prescriptions were issued for these drugs with sales worth more than sixteen billion dollars. These figures illustrate how, in an environment that is regulated but difficult to control, supply and subjectively perceived need can create a market turning over billions of dollars. What is more, it is a market that is likely to expand into those areas in which a performance-driven society confronts the post-postmodern self with its own shortcomings: in others words in schools and further education, at work, in relationships, and in old age. Among the best-selling neuro-psychotropic drugs are those that modulate the way people experience emotions and those that improve their capacity to pay attention and to concentrate, in most cases regardless of whether there is a clinically definable impairment of these functions.

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    Neurocapitalism
    Ewa Hess and Hennric Jokeit 3 March 2010
    Despite the immense costs for healthcare systems, the fear of depression, dementia and attention deficit disorder legitimises the boom in neuro-psychotropic drugs. In a performance-driven society that confronts the self with its own shortcomings, neuroscience serves an expanding market

    Today, the phenomenology of the mind is stepping indignantly aside for a host of hyphenated disciplines such as neuro-anthropology, neuro-pedagogy, neuro-theology, neuro-aesthetics and neuro-economics. Their self-assurance reveals the neurosciences’ usurpatory tendency to become not only the humanities of science, but the leading science of the twenty-first century. The legitimacy, impetus and promise of this claim derive from the maxim that all human behaviour is determined by the laws governing neuronal activity and the way it is organised in the brain.

    Whether or not one accepts the universal validity of this maxim, it is fair to assume that a science that aggressively seeks to establish hermeneutic supremacy will change everyday capitalist reality via its discoveries and products. Or, to put it more cautiously, that its triumph is legitimated, if not enabled, by a significant shift in the capitalist world order.

    There is good reason to assert the existence, or at least the emergence, of a new type of capitalism: neurocapitalism. After all, the capitalist economy, as the foundation of modern liberal societies, has shown itself to be not only exceptionally adaptable and crisis-resistant, but also, in every phase of its dominance, capable of producing the scientific and technological wherewithal to analyse and mitigate the self-generated “malfunctioning” to which its constituent subjects are prone. In doing so – and this too is one of capitalism’s algorithms – it involves them in the inexorably effective cycle of supply and demand.

    Just as globalisation is a consequence of optimising the means of production and paths of communication (as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels predicted), so the brain, as the command centre of the modern human being, finally appears to be within reach of the humanities, a field closely associated with capitalism. It may seem uncanny just how closely the narrow path to scientific supremacy over the brain runs to the broad highway along which capitalism has been speeding for over 150 years. The relationship remains dynamic, yet what links capitalism with neuroscience is not so much strict regulation as a complex syndrome of systemic flaws.

    Repressive late nineteenth-century capitalism, with its exploitative moral dictates, proscriptions and social injustices, was a breeding ground for the neurosis diagnosed by scientists in the early twentieth century as a spiritual epidemic. This mysterious scourge of the bourgeoisie, a class which according to Marx, “through the rapid improvement of all instruments of production [...] draws all, even the most barbarian nations, into civilisation”, expressed the silent rebellion of the abused creature in human beings. It was, in other words, the expression of resistance – as defiant as it was futile – of people’s inner “barbarian nation” to forceful modernisation and civilisation.

    To introduce here the inventor of psychoanalysis and neurosis researcher Sigmund Freud as the first neurocapitalist practitioner and thinker might be thought to be overstepping the mark. Yet people tend to forget that Freud was a neuro-anatomist and neurologist by training, and saw himself primarily as a neuroscientist. What distinguished him from his colleagues was that he was more aware of the limitations of the methods available for studying the brain at the end of the nineteenth century. Having identified neurosis as an acquired pathology of the nervous system for which there was no known treatment or way to localise, he decided instead to take an indirect route. The means he invented in order both to research and to cure this mysterious illness was psychoanalysis. Fellow researchers like Oskar Vogt, who continued to search for the key to psychopathology and genius in the anatomy of the brain, were doomed to fail. From then on, psychology served the requirements of everyday life in a constantly changing capitalist reality. As a method based on communication, psychoanalysis penetrated all spheres of social interaction, from the intimate and private to the economic and cultural. In doing so, it created new markets: a repair market for mental illness and a coaching market for those seeking to optimise capitalist production and reproduction.

    Delayed by the Second World War, the repressive capitalism of the nineteenth century was eventually replaced by libertarian, affluent capitalism. Conformity, discipline and feelings of guilt – the symptoms of failure to cope with a system of moral dictates and proscriptions – gave way to the new imperative of self-realisation. The psychic ideal of the successful individual was characterised by dynamically renewable readiness for self-expansion, which for the subject meant having a capacity for self-motivation that could be activated at any time and that was immune to frustration. Failure now meant not being able to exhaust the full potential of one’s options. This development brought a diametric change in the character of mental illness. Neurosis, a disorder born of guilt, powerlessness and lack of discipline, lost its significance. Attention shifted to the self’s failure to realise itself. Depression, the syndrome described by Alain Ehrenberg in The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age, began its triumphal march.

    Depression, however, was also the first widespread mental illness for which modern neuroscience promptly found a remedy. Depression and anxiety were located in the gaps between the synapses, which is precisely where they were treated. Where previously there had only been reflexive psychotherapy, an interface had now been identified where suffering induced by the self and the world could now be alleviated directly and pre-reflexively.

    At this point, if not before, the unequal duo of capitalism and neuroscience was joined by a third partner. From now on, the blossoming pharmaceutical industry was to function as a kind of transmission belt connecting the two wheels and making them turn faster. In the first half of the twentieth century, mental disorders were treated mainly with sedative barbiturates, electric shock therapy and psychosurgery. But by the 1930s, neuro-psychopharmacology was already winning the day, as Freud had predicted it would.

    Is it a paradox, or one of those things that are so obvious they remain unobserved, that the success of Freud’s psychoanalysis and that of modern neuroscience are based on similar premises? Psychoanalysis was successful because it wove together medically relevant disciplines like psychiatry and psychology with art, culture, education, economics and politics, allowing it to penetrate important areas of social life. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the neurosciences seem to be in a position to take on a comparable role in the future.

    What cannot be overlooked is that the methodological anchoring of the neurosciences in pure science, combined with the ethical legitimacy ascribed to them as a branch of medicine, gives them a privileged position similar to that enjoyed by psychoanalysis in the early twentieth century. Unlike the latter, however, the neurosciences are extremely well funded by the state and even more so by private investment from the pharmaceutical industry. Their prominent status can be explained both by the number and significance of the problems they are attempting to solve, as well as the broad public recognition of these problems, and by the respectable profits to be made should they succeed. In other words, they are driven by economic and epistemic forces that emanate from the capitalism of today, and that will shape the capitalism of tomorrow – whatever that might look like.
    II

    In Germany, the USA and many western European countries, it is neither painkillers nor cardiovascular drugs that now put the greatest strain on health budgets, but rather neuro-psychotropic drugs. The huge market for this group of drugs will grow rapidly as life expectancy continues to rise, since age is the biggest risk factor for neurological and psychiatric illness. All over the world, whole armies of neuroscientists are engaged in research in universities, in projects often funded by the pharmaceuticals industry, and to an even greater extent in the industry’s own facilities, to find more effective and more profitable drugs to bring onto the market. The engine driving the huge advances being made in the neurosciences is capital, while the market seems both to unleash and to constrain the potential of this development.

    Depression, anxiety or attention deficit disorders are now regarded by researchers and clinical practitioners alike as products of neuro-chemical dysregulation in interconnected systems of neurotransmitters. They are therefore treated with substances that intervene either directly or indirectly in the regulation of neurotransmitters. Given that the body’s neuro-chemical systems are highly sensitive and inter-reactive, the art of successful treatment resides in a process of fine-tuning. New and more expensive drugs are able to do this increasingly effectively and selectively, thus reducing undesirable side effects. Despite the immense costs for healthcare systems, the high incidence of mental disorders and the fear of anxiety, depression and dementia make the development of ever better neuro-psychotropic drugs desirable and legitimate.

    However, the development and approval of drugs designed to alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders also open the gates to substances that can be used to deliberately alter non-pathological brain functions or mental states. The rigid ethical conventions in the USA and the European Union – today the most profitable markets for neuro-psychotropic drugs – mean that drug development, whether funded by the state or by the pharmaceuticals industry, is strictly geared towards the prevention and treatment of illness. Few pharmaceutical companies are therefore willing to make public their interest in studying and developing substances designed to increase the cognitive performance or psychological wellbeing of healthy people. The reason is simple: there is no legal market for these so-called “neuro-enhancers”. Taking such drugs to perform better in examinations, for example, is a punishable offence in the USA. Yet sales figures for certain neuro-psychotropic drugs are considerably higher than the incidence of the illnesses for which they are indicated would lead one to expect. This apparent paradox applies above all to neuropsychotropic drugs that have neuro-enhancement properties. The most likely explanation is that neuro-enhancers are currently undergoing millions of self-trials, including in universities – albeit probably not in their laboratories.

    The ten top-selling psychotropic substances in the USA include anti-depressants, neuroleptics (antipsychotics), stimulants and drugs for treating dementia. In 2007 one hundred million prescriptions were issued for these drugs with sales worth more than sixteen billion dollars. These figures illustrate how, in an environment that is regulated but difficult to control, supply and subjectively perceived need can create a market turning over billions of dollars. What is more, it is a market that is likely to expand into those areas in which a performance-driven society confronts the post-postmodern self with its own shortcomings: in others words in schools and further education, at work, in relationships, and in old age. Among the best-selling neuro-psychotropic drugs are those that modulate the way people experience emotions and those that improve their capacity to pay attention and to concentrate, in most cases regardless of whether there is a clinically definable impairment of these functions.

    Attempts to offset naturally occurring, non-pathological deviations from the norm are referred to as “compensatory” or “moderate enhancement” – in the same way that glasses are worn to correct the eyes’ decreasing ability to focus. The term describes a gradual improvement in function to a degree that is still physiologically natural. By contrast, “progressive” or “radical enhancement” denotes a qualitative improvement in function that exceeds natural boundaries. To return to the optical metaphor, we could say that the difference between these forms of performance enhancement is like that between wearing spectacles and night-vision glasses.

    In all ages and cultures, producers and purveyors of drugs and potions purported to enhance the individual’s cognitive state have been able to do a tidy trade, as the many references to magic potions and fountains of youth in literature and the fine arts testify. Nowadays, one substance with this kind of mythical status is ginkgo. Billions of dollars worth of ginkgo-biloba preparations are sold in the USA every year; and if ginkgo really did have any significant effect on cognition or memory, it would be a classic case of the widespread, unchecked use of a compensatory neuro-enhancer. As it is, however, the myth and commercial success of ginkgo are more a testament to the perhaps universal human need for a better attention span, memory and mental powers, and to the willingness to pay good money to preserve and enhance them.

    For the attainment of happiness as the aim of a good life, Aristotle recommended cultivating a virtuous mind and virtuous character. This is precisely what some neuro-psychotropic drugs are designed to do. The virtues of the mind are generally understood to be instrumental traits like memory and attention span. The extent to which these traits are innate or acquired varies from person to person. After adolescence, their efficiency gradually goes into decline at individually varying rates. Inequality and the threat of loss are strong motivations for action. The current consensus on the ethics of neuro-enhancement seems to be that as long as the fundamental medical principles of self-determination, non-harm (nil nocere) and benefit (salus aegroti) are adhered to, rejecting pharmacological intervention in the instrumental traits of the brain would be at odds with a liberal understanding of democracy.

    A more complex ethical problem would seem to be the improvement of so-called character virtues, which we shall refer to here as socio-affective traits. Unlike instrumental traits such as attention span and memory, traits like temperament, self-confidence, trust, willingness to take risks, authenticity and so on are considered to be crucial to the personality. Pharmacological intervention that alters these traits therefore affects a person’s psychological integrity. While such interventions may facilitate and accelerate self-discovery and self-realisation (see the large body of literature on experience with Prozac, e.g. Peter D. Kramer, Listening to Prozac: Psychiatrist Explores Antidepressant Drugs and the Remaking of the Self , they may also do the exact opposite. We will never be able to predict with any certainty how altering instrumental and socio-affective traits will ultimately affect the reflexively structured human personality as a whole. Today’s tacit assumption that neuro-psychotropic interventions are reversible is leading individuals to experiment on themselves. Yet even if certain mental states are indeed reversible, the memory of them may not be.

    The barriers to neuro-enhancement actually fell some time ago, albeit in ways that for a long time went unnoticed. Jet-lag-free short breaks to Bali, working for global companies with a twenty-four hour information flow from headquarters in Tokyo, Brussels and San Francisco, exams and assessments, medical emergency services – in all of these situations it has become routine for people with no medical knowledge to use chemical substances to influence their ability to pay attention. The technologies that have sped up our lives in the era of globalisation – the Internet, mobile phones, aeroplanes – are already a daily reality for large numbers of people and are interfering with their biologically and culturally determined cycles of activity and rest.

    That is not to say that the popularisation of these findings has had no effect at all. Reconceptualising joy as dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centres, melancholy as serotonin deficiency, attention as the noradrenalin-induced modulation of stimulus-processing, and, not least, love as a consequence of the secretion of centrally acting bonding hormones, changes not only our perspective on emotional and mental states, but also our subjective experience of self. That does not mean that we experience the physiological side of feelings like love or guilt any differently, but it does make us think about them differently. This, in turn, changes the way we perceive, interpret and order them, and hence the effect they have on our behaviour. By viewing emotions in general terms rather than as singular events taking place in a unique temporal and spatial context, the neurosciences have created a rational justification for trying to influence them in ways other than by individual and mutual care.

    The possibility of pharmacological intervention thus expands the subjective autonomy of people to act in their own best interests or to their own detriment. This in turn is accompanied by a new form of self-reflection, which encompasses both structural images of the brain and the ability to imagine the neuro-chemical activity that goes on there. What is alarming is that many of the neuroscientific findings that have triggered a transformation in our perception of ourselves are linked with commercial interests.

    It is already clear that global capitalism will make excessive demands on our material, and even more so on our human-mental resources. This is evident from the oft-used term “information society”, since information can only function as a commodity if it changes human behaviour, and it can only do this if we accord it our attention and engage with it emotionally.

    #Neurocapitalisme #Neurosciences

  • The Apps Benefits That Can Secretly Spy at Home and Work Premises
    https://hackernoon.com/the-apps-benefits-that-can-secretly-spy-at-home-and-work-premises-8c3dd9

    In a world filled with technology, mobile phones have gone to the next ultimate level. With this, the rates of suspicious activities have also increased causing havoc all over the world. Hence, to tackle such kind of issues, the cell phone spy software’s have started to catch wildfire. Every day, their demand is at an increasing pace compared to their very first appearance.Well, there is a whole plethora of reasons why these spy apps are becoming popular in 2018. Eager to know the whole insight on mobile phone spy app? Let us hope into the topic and discover some essential information.An Introduction to Spy Apps and their Marvellous set of BenefitsStarting with the basics, whenever we heard the word, “spy”, it often gives a sense of negative vibes. Further, we generate a sense of (...)

  • #alexa Voice Control Is Changing the Way We Do Business
    https://hackernoon.com/alexa-voice-control-is-changing-the-way-we-do-business-57b186769d8f?sour

    Voice-controlled devices offer a wonderful level of convenience and increased efficiency in our homes, cars, businesses, and even when we’re walking down the street. Not surprisingly, the popularity of this technology is growing. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 46% of U.S. adults use their voice to interact with smartphones and other devices, and this number is expected to rise dramatically over the next few years.A recent study by Net Elixir showed that the majority (64%) of people who use voice assistants do so via their mobile phones. This number is followed by 35% of respondents indicating that they use their voice to control smart speakers, while many consumers use this technology on a variety of devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartwatches. And the range of (...)

    #alexa-voice-control #alexa-skills #amazon-echo #voice-assistant

  • French police cut soles off migrant children’s shoes, claims Oxfam | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/14/french-border-police-accused-of-cutting-soles-off-migrant-childrens-sho

    French border police have been accused of detaining migrant children as young as 12 in cells without food or water, cutting the soles off their shoes and stealing sim cards from their mobile phones, before illegally sending them back to Italy.

    A report released on Friday by the charity Oxfam also cites the case of a “very young” Eritrean girl, who was forced to walk back to the Italian border town of Ventimiglia along a road with no pavement while carrying her 40-day-old baby.

    The allegations, which come from testimony gathered by Oxfam workers and partner organisations, come two months after French border police were accused of falsifying the birth dates of unaccompanied migrant children in an attempt to pass them off as adults and send them back to Italy.

    “We don’t have evidence of violent physical abuse, but many [children] have recounted being pushed and shoved or shouted at in a language they don’t understand,” Giulia Capitani, the report’s author, told the Guardian.

    “And in other ways the border police intimidate them – for example, cutting the soles off their shoes is a way of saying, ‘Don’t try to come back’.”

  • Police trial AI software to help process mobile phone evidence
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/27/police-trial-ai-software-to-help-process-mobile-phone-evidence

    Move to use software capable of facial recognition prompts concerns over privacy and the introduction of bias Artificial intelligence software capable of interpreting images, matching faces and analysing patterns of communication is being piloted by UK police forces to speed up examination of mobile phones seized in crime investigations. Cellebrite, the Israeli-founded and now Japanese-owned company behind some of the software, claims a wider rollout would solve problems over failures to (...)

    #Cellebrite #smartphone #BigData #algorithme #facial #biométrie

  • On China’s New Silk Road, Democracy Pays A Toll – Foreign Policy
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/16/on-chinas-new-silk-road-democracy-pays-a-toll

    To understand how the #Belt_and_Road Initiative can threaten human rights and good governance, consider first how its projects are financed.To understand how the Belt and Road Initiative can threaten human rights and good governance, consider first how its projects are financed. Thus far, China has largely favored loans over grants. It is not a member of the Paris Club of major creditor nations, and it has shown little inclination to adhere to internationally recognized norms of debt sustainability, such as the sovereign lending principles issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. At the same time, many of the recipient countries participating in the project lack the capability to assess the long-term financial consequences of China’s loans — or they may simply accept them, assuming the bills will come due on a future government’s watch.

    Ballooning, unsustainable debt is the predictable result. Sri Lanka, where in 2017 some 95 percent of government revenue went to debt repayment, represents the best-known example of Belt and Road’s negative impact on a country’s balance sheet. But Sri Lanka is only the most prominent case; a recent study by the Center for Global Development identified eight countries — Djibouti, the Maldives, Laos, Montenegro, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan — that are at particular risk of debt distress due to future Belt and Road-related financing.
    […]
    China’s planned development of a “#new_digital_Silk_Road ” has received comparatively less attention than other elements of the initiative but is equally troubling. China’s digital blueprint seeks to promote information technology connectivity across the Indian Ocean rim and Eurasia through new fiber optic lines, undersea cables, cloud computing capacity, and even artificial intelligence research centers. If realized, this ambitious vision will serve to export elements of Beijing’s surveillance regime. Indeed, Chinese technology companies already have a track record of aiding repressive governments. In Ethiopia, likely prior to the advent of Belt and Road, the Washington Post reports that China’s ZTE Corporation “sold technology and provided training to monitor mobile phones and Internet activity.” Today, Chinese tech giant Huawei is partnering with the government of Kenya to construct “safe cities” that leverage thousands of surveillance cameras feeding data into a public security cloud “to keep an eye on what is going on generally” according to the company’s promotional materials. Not all elements of China’s domestic surveillance regime are exportable, but as the “New Digital Silk Road” takes shape, the public and online spaces of countries along it will become less free.
    […]
    States financially beholden to China will become less willing to call out Beijing’s domestic human rights abuses, for instance, and less eager to object to its foreign-policy practices. This dynamic is already playing out within the European Union. In mid-2017, for the first time, the EU failed to issue a joint condemnation of China at the U.N. Human Rights Council. Greece, which had recently received a massive influx of Chinese investment into its Port of Piraeus, scuttled the EU statement.

    #OBOR

  • Attivarsi ovunque contro le frontiere assassine

    Guido Viale, presidente dell’#Osservatorio_solidarietà della #Carta_di_Milano, ha aperto i lavori della conferenza Solidarietà attraverso i confini, il 25 marzo a Fa’ la cosa giusta, illustrando semplicemente che la viva voce dei tanti protagonisti presenti avrebbe dato il senso dell’iniziativa oggi ancora più importante dopo il sequestro della nave di Proactivia Openarms operato in dispregio delle leggi italiane e internazionali come atto intimidatorio contro chi nel pieno rispetto delle leggi e dei Diritti umani è impegnato per salvare vite umane che i governi della Fortezza Europa, Italia in testa, vorrebbero si concludessero senza clamore in fondo al mare nostrum. Dopo una sintetica illustrazione di Daniela Padoan delle attività dell’Osservatorio solidarietà e una poesia di Ahmed, letta da Denise Rogers, una ragazza argentina che ha dato voce ai tanti migranti morti, si sono susseguite le testimonianze da Ventimiglia, Bolzano, Lesbo, Atene, Como formando un quadro tragico della situazione ma dimostrando anche che c’è un’Europa della solidarietà e dei diritti che lotta contro leggi e governi custodi implacabili di frontiere assassine.

    https://ecoinformazioni.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/attivarsi-ovunque-contro-le-frntiere-assassine

    #solidarité #mer #terre #Méditerranée #Alpes #frontière_sud-alpine #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité #délit_de_solidarité #sauvetage

    J’aimerais ici reprendre les propos de Charles Heller, qui ont été publié dans une interview dans Libé :

    Ceux qui ont imposé le contrôle des frontières de l’espace européen utilisent le terme de #integrated_border_management, la « #gestion_intégrée_des_frontières » : il ne suffit pas de contrôler la limite de la frontière territoriale, il faut contrôler avant, sur et après la frontière. La violence du contrôle s’exerce sur toute la trajectoire des migrants. De la même manière, les pratiques de solidarité, plus ou moins politisées, s’exercent sur l’ensemble de leur trajectoire. On pourrait imaginer une « #solidarité_intégrée », qui n’est pas chapeautée par une organisation mais qui de fait opère, petit bout par petit bout, sur les trajectoires.

    https://www.pacte-grenoble.fr/sites/pacte/files/files/liberation_20171215_15-12-2017-extrait.pdf
    cc @isskein

    • Crimes of solidarity. Migration and containment through rescue

      ‘Solidarity is not a crime.’ This is a slogan that has circulated widely across Europe in response to legal prosecutions and municipal decrees, which, especially in Italy and France, have been intended to act against citizens who provide logistical and humanitarian support to transiting migrants. Such criminalisation of individual acts of solidarity and coordinated platforms of refugee support is undertaken both in the name of national and European laws, in opposition to the facilitation of irregular entries, and through arbitrary police measures. In Calais on the French coast, for example, locals have been prohibited from allowing migrants to take showers in their homes or to recharge their mobile phones, while in the Roya Valley at the Italian-French border, many locals have been placed on trial, including the now famous ploughman Cedric Herrou. Responding to accusations that he has been one of the main facilitators along the French-Italian underground migrant route, Herrou has replied that ‘it is the State that is acting illegally, not me’, referring to the French State’s own human rights violations. 1

      ‘Crimes of solidarity’, to use the expression employed by activists and human rights organisations, are defined and prosecuted according to the 2002 EU Directive which prevents and penalises ‘the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence’ of migrants. In both Italy and France there are national laws that criminalise the facilitation and the support of ‘irregular’ migration; what in France activists call ‘délit de solidarité’. Notably, citizens who help migrants to cross national borders are prosecuted in Italy under the same law that punishes smugglers who take money from migrants. In France, the ‘humanitarian clause’, which exempts from sanctions citizens who support migrants whose life, dignity and physical integrity is at risk, is often disregarded. Nonetheless, the expression ‘crimes of solidarity’ should not lead us to overstate the legal dimension of what is at stake in this. Indeed, the ‘crime’ that is posited here goes well beyond the legal boundaries of European law, as well as national ones, and acquires an ethical and political dimension. In particular, the criminalisation of individuals and groups who are facilitating the crossing of migrants, without making a profit from doing so, opens up the critical question of exactly ‘who is a smuggler?’ today. Significantly, the very definition of ‘smuggling’ in European and international documents is a fairly slippery one, as the boundaries between supporting migrants for one’s own financial benefit or for ‘humanitarian’ reasons are consistently blurred. 2

      In a 1979 interview, Michel Foucault stressed the potential strategic role that might be played by ‘rights’ to ‘mark out for a government its limit’. 3 In this way, Foucault gestured towards an extralegal conceptualisation and use of rights as actual limits to be set against governments. In the case of crimes of solidarity, we are confronted less, however, with the mobilisation of rights as limits to states’ action than with what Foucault calls ‘infra-legal illegalisms’; 4 namely, with practices of an active refusal of states’ arbitrary measures that are taken in the name of migration containment, regardless of whether or not the latter are legally grounded or in violation of the law.

      NGOs and independent organisations that undertake search and rescue activities to save migrants in the Mediterranean have also been under attack, accused of collaborating with smuggling networks, of constituting a pull-factor for migrants, and of ferrying them to Europe. Three years after the end of the military-humanitarian operation Mare Nostrum, which was deployed by the Italian Navy to save migrant lives at sea, the Mediterranean has become the site of a sort of naval battle in which the obligation to rescue migrants in distress is no longer the priority. The fight against smugglers and traffickers has taken central stage, and the figure of the shipwrecked refugee has consequently vanished little by little. Today, the war on smugglers is presented as the primary goal and, at the same time, as a strategy to protect migrants from ‘traffickers’. The criminalisation of NGOs, like Doctors without Borders, Save the Children and SOS Mediterranee, and of independent actors, including Sea-Eye, Sea-Watch, Jugend-Rettet and Arms Pro-Activa, who conduct search and rescue operations, started with the simultaneous implementation of the Libyan mobile sea-barrier, which charges the Libyan Coast Guard with responsibility for intercepting migrant vessels and bringing them back to Libya. As a consequence of this agreement, being rescued means being captured and contained.

      Following the signing of a new bilateral agreement between Libya and Italy in March 2017, in July, the Italian government put pressure on one of the three Libyan governments (the one led by Fayez al-Serraj) demanding better cooperation in intercepting and returning migrants who head to Europe by sea. In order to accelerate this process, Italy sent two Navy ships into Libyan national waters, with the purpose of ‘strengthening Libyan sovereignty by helping the country to keep control of its national waters’. 5

      Far from being a smooth negotiation, however, the Libyan government led by General Khalifa Haftar threatened to shoot in the direction of the Italian ships if they were to violate Libya’s sovereignty by entering their national territory. 6

      Overall, the ‘migration deal’ has been made by the EU and Italy in the context of different asymmetric relationships: on the one hand, with a ‘rogue state’ such as Libya, characterised by a fragmented sovereignty, and on the other, with non-state actors, and more precisely with the same smugglers that Europe has supposedly declared war on. Indeed, as various journalistic investigations have proved, Italy has paid Libyan militias and smuggling networks to block migrants’ departures temporarily in exchange for fewer controls on other smuggling channels, specifically those involving drugs and weapons. In this way, smugglers have been incorporated into a politics of migration containment. Governing migration through and with smugglers has become fully part of the EU’s political agenda. As such, a critical appraisal of the criminalisation of migrant smuggling requires undoing the existing narrative of a war on smugglers, as well as challenging those analyses that simply posit smugglers as the straightforward enemies of society.

      The naval battle in the Mediterranean has not been an exclusive affair of Italy and Libya. On the contrary, it is within this type of geopolitical context that the escalating criminalisation of sea rescue is more broadly taking place. 7 On July 31, at the request of the European Commission, the Italian Home Office released a ‘Code of Conduct’ that NGOs have been asked to sign if they want to continue search and rescue activities. Given that the code of conduct imposes on NGOs the obligation to have armed judicial police on board, 8 some organisations, including Doctors without Borders, Sea Watch and Jugend Rettet, have refused to sign, arguing that through the enforcement of the Code of Conduct, and under pressure from the European Commission, Italy has turned towards a militarisation of humanitarianism and of independent actors. As a consequence of the refusal to sign, their ships have been prevented from docking in Italian ports and the rescuers of the Jugend Rettet are currently on trial, accused of collaborating with Libyan smugglers. On August 11, Libya traced new virtual restrictive sea borders for NGOs, declaring that search and rescue ships will not be allowed to get closer than one hundred miles from the Libyan coast. The humanitarian scene of rescue has been shrunk.

      In such a political context, two interrelated aspects emerging from the multiplication of attacks against refugee support activities and against search and rescue operations are worth considering. The first concerns a need to unpack what is now meant by the very expression ‘crime of solidarity’ within the framework of this shift towards the priority of fighting smugglers over saving migrants. This requires an engagement with the biopolitical predicaments that sustain a debate centered on the question of to what extent, and up to which point, rescuing migrants at sea is deemed legitimate. The second, related point concerns the modes of containment through rescue that are currently at work in the Mediterranean. One consequence of this is that the reframing of the debate around migrant deaths at sea has lowered the level of critique of a contemporary politics of migration more generally: the fight against smugglers has become the unquestioned and unyielding point of agreement, supported across more or less the entire European political arena.

      The criminalisation of NGOs, accused of ferrying migrants to Europe, should be read in partial continuity with the attack against other forms of support given to migrants in many European countries. The use of the term ‘solidarity’ is helpful in this context insofar as it helps to highlight both actions undertaken by citizens in support of refugees and, more importantly, the transversal alliances between migrants and non-migrants. In fact, acting in solidarity entails supporting migrant struggles – for example, as struggles for movement or struggles to stay in a certain place – more than it does acting in order to save or bring help to them. 9 As Chandra Mohanty argues, practices of solidarity are predicated upon the recognition of ‘common differences’, 10 and in this sense they entail a certain shared political space and the awareness of being governed by the same mechanisms of precaritisation and exploitation. 11 In other words, solidarity does not at all imply a simple politics of identity, but requires building transversal alliances and networks in support of certain struggles. The reduction of migrants to bodies to be fished out of the water, simultaneous with the vanishing of the figure of the refugee, preemptively denies the possibility of establishing a common ground in struggling for freedom of movement and equal access to mobility.

      Despite the many continuities and similarities between the criminalisation of refugee support activities on the mainland and at sea, if we shift the attention to the Mediterranean Sea, what is specifically at stake here is a biopolitics of rescuing or ‘letting drown’. Under attack in the Mediterranean scene of rescue and drowning are what could be termed crimes of humanitarianism; or, that is, crimes of rescue. Humanitarianism as such, precisely in its acts of taking migrants out of the sea through independent search and rescue operations that exercise an active refusal of the geographical restrictions imposed by nation states, has become an uncomfortable and unbearable mode of intervention in the Mediterranean.
      Geographies of ungrievability

      The criminalisation of alliances and initiatives in support of migrants’ transit should not lead us to imagine a stark opposition between ‘good humanitarians’, on the one side, and bad military actors or national authorities, on the other. On the contrary, it is important to keep in mind the many entanglements between military and humanitarian measures, as well as the role played by military actors, such as the Navy, in performing tasks like rescuing migrants at sea that could fall under the category of what Cuttitta terms ‘military-humanitarianism’. 12 Moreover, the Code of Conduct enforced by the Italian government actually strengthens the divide between ‘good’ NGOs and ‘treacherous’ humanitarian actors. Thus, far from building a cohesive front, the obligation to sign the Code of Conduct produced a split among those NGOs involved in search and rescue operations.

      In the meantime, the figure of the refugee at sea has arguably faded away: sea rescue operations are in fact currently deployed with the twofold task of not letting migrants drown and of fighting smugglers, which de facto entails undermining the only effective channels of sea passage for migrants across the Mediterranean. From a military-humanitarian approach that, under Mare Nostrum, considered refugees at sea as shipwrecked lives, the unconditionality of rescue is now subjected to the aim of dismantling the migrants’ logistics of crossing. At the same time, the migrant drowning at sea is ultimately not seen any longer as a refugee, i.e. as a subject of rights who is seeking protection, but as a life to be rescued in the technical sense of being fished out of the sea. In other words, the migrant at sea is the subject who eventually needs to be rescued, but not thereby placed into safety by granting them protection and refuge in Europe. What happens ‘after landing’ is something not considered within the framework of a biopolitics of rescuing and of letting drown. 13 Indeed, the latter is not only about saving (or not saving) migrants at sea, but also, in a more proactive way, about aiming at human targets. In manhunting, Gregoire Chamayou explains, ‘the combat zone tends to be reduced to the body of the enemy’. 14 Yet who is the human target of migrant hunts in the Mediterranean? It is not only the migrant in distress at sea, who in fact is rescued and captured at the same time; rather, migrants and smugglers are both considered the ‘prey’ of contemporary military-humanitarianism.

      Public debate in Europe about the criminalisation of NGOs and sea rescue is characterised by a polarisation between those who posit the non-negotiable obligation to rescue migrants and those who want to limit rescue operations in the name of regaining control over migrant arrivals, stemming the flows and keeping them in Libya. What remains outside the order of this discourse is the shrinking and disappearing figure of the refugee, who is superseded by the figure of the migrant to be taken out of the sea.

      Relatedly, the exclusive focus on the Mediterranean Sea itself contributes to strengthening geographies of ungrievability. By this I mean those produced hierarchies of migrant deaths that are essentially dependent on their more or less consistent geographic distance from Europe’s spotlight and, at the same time, on the assumption of shipwrecked migrants as the most embodied refugee subjectivities. More precisely, the recent multiplication of bilateral agreements between EU member states and African countries has moved back deadly frontiers from the Mediterranean Sea to the Libyan and Niger desert. As a consequence, migrants who do not die at sea but who manage to arrive in Libya are kept in Libyan prisons.
      Containment through rescue

      On 12 August 2017, Doctors without Borders decided to stop search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean after Libya enforced its sea-barrier by forbidding NGOs to go closer than about one hundred miles from the Libyan coast, and threatening to shoot at those ships that sought to violate the ban. In the space of two days, even Save the Children and the independent German organisation Sea-Eye declared that they would also suspend search and rescue activities. The NGOs’ Mediterranean exit has been presented by humanitarian actors as a refusal to be coopted into the EU-Libyan enforcement of a sea barrier against migrants. Yet, in truth, both the Italian government and the EU have been rather obviously pleased by the humanitarians’ withdrawal from the Mediterranean scene of drown and rescue.

      Should we therefore understand the ongoing criminalisation of NGOs as the attempt to fully block migrant flows? Does it indicate a return from the staging of a ‘good scene of rescue’ back to an overt militarisation of the Mediterranean? The problem is that such an analytical angle risks, first, corroborating the misleading opposition between military intervention and humanitarianism in the field of migration governmentality. Second, it re-instantiates the image of a Fortress Europe, while disregarding the huge ‘migration industry’ that is flourishing both in Libya, with the smuggling-and-detention market, and on the Northern shore of the Mediterranean. 15 With the empty space left by the NGOs at sea, the biopolitics of rescuing or letting drown has been reshaped by new modes of containment through rescue: migrants who manage to leave the Libyan coast are ‘rescued’ – that is, intercepted and blocked – by the Libyan Coast Guard and taken back to Libya. Yet containment should not be confused with detention nor with a total blockage of migrants’ movements and departures. Rather, by ‘containment’ I refer to the substantial disruptions and decelerations of migrant movements, as well as to the effects of more or less temporary spatial confinement. Modes of containment through rescue were already in place, to some extent, when migrants used to be ‘ferried’ to Italy in a smoother way, by the Navy or by NGOs. Indeed, from the moment of rescue onward, migrants were transferred and channelled into the Hotspot System, where many were denied international protection and, thus, rendered ‘illegal’ and constructed as deportable subjects. 16 The distinction between intercepting vessels sailing to Europe and saving migrants in distress has become blurred: with the enforcement of the Libyan sea barrier, rescue and capture can hardly be separated any longer. In this sense, visibility can be a trap: if images taken by drones or radars are sent to Italian authorities before migrants enter international waters, the Italian Coast Guard has to inform Libyan authorities who are in charge of rescuing migrants and thus taking them back to Libya.

      This entails a spatial rerouting of military-humanitarianism, in which migrants are paradoxically rescued to Libya. Rather than vanishing from the Mediterranean scene, the politics of rescue, conceived in terms of not letting people die, has been reshaped as a technique of capture. At the same time, the geographic orientation of humanitarianism has been inverted: migrants are ‘saved’ and dropped in Libya. Despite the fact that various journalistic investigations and UN reports have shown that after being intercepted, rescued and taken back to Libya, migrants are kept in detention in abysmal conditions and are blackmailed by smugglers, 17 the public discussion remains substantially polarised around the questions of deaths at sea. Should migrants be saved unconditionally? Or, should rescue be secondary to measures against smugglers and balanced against the risk of ‘migrant invasion’? A hierarchy of the spaces of death and confinement is in part determined by the criterion of geographical proximity, which contributes to the sidelining of mechanisms of exploitation and of a politics of letting die that takes place beyond the geopolitical borders of Europe. The biopolitical hold over migrants becomes apparent at sea: practices of solidarity are transformed into a relationship between rescuers and drowned. 18

      The criminalisation of refugee support activities cannot be separated from the increasing criminalisation of refugees as such: not only those who are labelled and declared illegal as ‘economic migrants’, but also those people who are accorded the status of refugees. Both are targets of restrictive and racialised measures of control. The migrant at sea is presented as part of a continuum of ‘tricky subjectivities’ 19 – which include the smuggler, the potential terrorist and the refugee – and as both a ‘risky subject’ and a ‘subject at risk’ at the same time. 20 In this regard, it is noticeable that the criminalisation of refugees as such has been achieved precisely through the major role played by the figure of the smuggler. In the EU’s declared fight against smuggling networks, migrants at sea are seen not only as shipwrecked lives to be rescued but also as potential fake refugees, as concealed terrorists or as traffickers. At the same time, the fight against smugglers has been used to enact a further shift in the criminalisation of refugees, which goes beyond the alleged dangerousness of migrants. Indeed, in the name of the war against the ‘illegal’ smuggling economy, as a shared priority of both left- and right-wing political parties in Europe, the strategy of letting migrants drown comes, in the end, to be justified. As Doctors without Borders have pointed out, ‘by declaring Libya a safe country, European governments are ultimately pushing forward the humanitarianisation of what appears at the threshold of the inhuman.’ 21

      The migrant at sea, who is the subject of humanitarianism par excellence, is no longer an individual to be saved at all costs, but rather the object of thorny calculations about the tolerated number of migrant arrivals and the migrant-money exchange with Libya. Who is (in) danger(ous)? The legal prosecutions and the political condemnation of ‘crimes of rescue’ and of ‘crimes of solidarity’ bring to the fore the undesirability of refugees as refugees. This does not depend so much on a logic of social dangerousness as such, but, rather, on the practices of spatial disobedience that they enact, against the restrictions imposed by the European Union. Thus, it is precisely the irreducibility of migrants to lives to be rescued that makes the refugee the main figure of a continuum of tricky subjectivities in a time of economic crisis. Yet, a critical engagement with the biopolitics of rescuing and drowning cannot stick to a North-South gaze on Mediterranean migrations. In order not to fall into a Eurocentric (or EU-centric) perspective on asylum, analyses of crimes of solidarity should also be articulated through an inquiry into the Libyan economy of migration and the modes of commodification of migrant bodies, considering what Brett Neilson calls ‘migration as a currency’; 22 that is, as an entity of exchange and as a source of value extraction.

      Crimes of solidarity put in place critical infrastructures to support migrants’ acts of spatial disobedience. These infra-legal crimes shed light on the inadequacy of human rights claims and of the legal framework in a time of hyper-visible and escalating border violence. Crimes of solidarity consist of individual and collective active refusals of states’ interventions, which are specifically carried out at the very edges of the law. In this way, crimes of solidarity manage to undo the biopolitics of rescuing and letting drown by acting beyond the existing scripts of ‘crisis’ and ‘security’. Rather than being ‘rescued’ from the sea or ‘saved’ from smugglers, migrants are supported in their unbearable practices of freedom, unsettling the contemporary hierarchies of lives and populations.
      Notes

      See the interview with Herrou in l’Humanité, accessed 30 September 2017, https://www.humanite.fr/cedric-herrou-cest-letat-qui-est-dans-lillegalite-pas-moi-629732. ^

      Economic profit is an essential dimension of ‘smuggling’, as it is defined by the United Nations Conventions against Transnational Organised Crime (2000). However, it is not in the 2002 EU Council Directive defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence. ^

      Michel Foucault, ‘There can’t be societies without uprisings’, trans. Farès Sassine, in Foucault and the Making of Subjects, ed. Laura Cremonesi, Orazio Irrera, Daniele Lorenzini and Martina Tazzioli (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), 40. ^

      See Michel Foucault, The Punitive Society: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1972-1973, trans. Graham Burchell (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave, 2015). ^

      See ‘Il governo vara la missione navale, prima nave italiana in Libia’, La Stampa, 18 July 2017, http://www.ilsecoloxix.it/p/italia/2017/07/28/ASBvqlaI-parlamento_missione_italiana.shtml. ^

      See, for example, the report in Al Arabiya, 3 August 2017, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/08/03/Haftar-instructs-bombing-Italian-warships-requested-by-Fayez-al-S ^

      See Liz Fekete, ‘Europe: crimes of solidarity’, Race & Class 50:4 (2009), 83 – 97; and Eric Fassin, ‘Le procès politique de la solidarité (3/4): les ONG en Méditerranée’ (2017), Mediapart, accessed 30 September 2017, https://blogs.mediapart.fr/eric-fassin/blog/170817/le-proces-politique-de-la-solidarite-34-les-ong-en-mediterranee ^

      The Code of Conduct can be found at: http://www.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/allegati/codice_condotta_ong.pdf; see also the transcript by Euronews, 3 August 2017, http://www.euronews.com/2017/08/03/text-of-italys-code-of-conduct-for-ngos-involved-in-migrant-rescue ^

      Sandro Mezzadra and Mario Neumann, ‘Al di la dell’opposizione tra interesse e identità. Per una politica di classe all’altezza dei tempi’ (2017), Euronomade, accessed September 30 2017, http://www.euronomade.info/?p=9402 ^

      Chandra Mohanty, “‘Under western eyes’’ revisited: feminist solidarity through anticapitalist struggles’, in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28:2 (2003), 499-–535. ^

      As Foucault puts it, ‘In the end, we are all governed, and in this sense we all act in solidarity’. Michel Foucault, ‘Face aux gouvernement, les droits de l’homme’, in Dits et Ecrits II (Paris: Gallimard, 2000), 1526. ^

      P. Cuttitta, ‘From the Cap Anamur to Mare Nostrum: Humanitarianism and migration controls at the EU’s Maritime borders’, in The Common European Asylum System and Human Rights: Enhancing Protection in Times of Emergency, ed. Claudio Matera and Amanda Taylor (The Hague: Asser Institute, 2014), 21–-38. See also Martina Tazzioli, ‘The desultory politics of mobility and the humanitarian-military border in the Mediterranean: Mare Nostrum beyond the sea’, REMHU: Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana 23:44 (2015), 61-–82. ^

      See Lucia Ciabarri and Barbara Pinelli, eds, Dopo l’Approdo: Un racconto per immagini e parole sui richiedenti asilo in Italia (Firenze: Editpress, 2016). ^

      Gregoire Chamayou, ‘The Manhunt Doctrine’, Radical Philosophy 169 (2011), 3. ^

      As a matter of fact, the vessels of the EU naval operation EU Navfor Med and the vessels of the Frontex operation ‘Triton’ were increased in number a few days after the pull-out of the NGOs. ^

      Nicholas De Genova, ‘Spectacles of migrant “illegality”: the scene of exclusion, the obscene of inclusion’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 36:7 (2013), 1180-–1198. ^

      See, for instance, the UN Report on Libya (2017), accessed 30 September 2017,http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1711623.pdf. ^

      Tugba Basaran, ‘The saved and the drowned: Governing indifference in the name of security’, Security Dialogue 46:3 (2015), 205 – 220. ^

      Glenda Garelli and Martina Tazzioli, ‘The Biopolitical Warfare on Migrants: EU Naval Force and NATO Operations of migration government in the Mediterranean’, in Critical Military Studies, forthcoming 2017. ^

      Claudia Aradau, ‘The perverse politics of four-letter words: risk and pity in the securitisation of human trafficking’, Millennium 33:2 (2004), 251-–277. ^

      Interview with Doctors without Borders, Rome, 21 August 2017. ^

      Brett Neilson, ‘The Currency of Migration’, in South Atlantic Quarterly, forthcoming 2018.

      https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/commentary/crimes-of-solidarity

      signalé par @isskein sur FB

  • Are You a #Fortnite Addict? - The New York Times

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/02/learning/are-you-a-fortnite-addict.html

    By Natalie Proulx
    May 2, 2018

    Do you, or have you ever, played Fortnite? Do any of your friends or peers at school play? What do you think of the game?

    In “Parenting the Fortnite Addict,” Lisa Damour writes:

    Every so often a game comes along that conquers the hearts, minds and thumbs of gamers everywhere. Fortnite: Battle Royale is the latest victor in this category. According to a report last week from the market research firm SuperData, the game generated $223 million in March, and it begins a new season — with a new theme and a few other changes — on May 1.

    Like a cross between #Minecraft and the Hunger Games, Fortnite drops 100 competitors on an island and requires them to scavenge for weapons and other resources, build defensive structures and vanquish opponents in a quest to become the last player standing. The game itself is free and playable on game systems, computers and mobile phones alike, but players pay for accessories and costumes for their characters.

    #jeux_vidéo #addiction #roblox

  • GSM was the dominant 2G digital mobile phone standard for most of the world. It determines the way in which mobile phones communicate with the land-based network of towers. The mobile phone standard is implemented world-wide. There are a total of 14 GSM jammer fequency bands that contain both pre-set and dynamic channel allocations. The frequency ranges for each this frequency band are different, with frequencies ranging from 380.2 to 1990 Mhz. 921 Mhz to 1710.1 Mhz fequencies are not assigned to GSM bands and are assigned to other tasks by the FCC. Each this frequency band also makes use of a separate uplink and downlink frequency range within each pre-designated band. The uplink and downlink ranges are distinguished from each other in order to help minimize potential interference.
    https://www.perfectjammer.com/gps-blockers-jammers.html

  • Hackers Are Sneaking Into Our Homes Through Appliances and Children’s #toys
    https://hackernoon.com/hackers-are-sneaking-into-our-homes-through-appliances-and-childrens-toy

    Default passwords, unsecured networks, and apps are rife with opportunities for someone to get hacked. #iot vulnerabilities are allowing for classic keylogging, brute-forcing, phishing scams, and man-in-the-middle hustles to run rampant. So while the IoT and connected devices bring some interesting and convenient ways of life, they are exposing people to being hacked every day.We have seen hacks from the reasonably painless, to massive data breaches, and everything in between, because of the current trend of our wants and needs to be connected to the internet and the cloud. As a result, mobile phones are being used to tap into a corporation’s information, families are falling victim through their children’s toys, and smart homes are proving to be not-so-smart homes in the eyes of cyber (...)

    #parenting #hacking #security

  • Supercharge your #arkit Interior Design App with a “Resume Session” feature.
    https://hackernoon.com/supercharge-your-arkit-interior-design-app-with-a-resume-session-feature

    How to redesign your AR app for persistent sessions.IKEA Place was one of the first ARKit app on the iOS app storeOne of the first ARKit apps to be released on the App Store was IKEA Place, a furniture shopping app, that let people virtually design their own homes with IKEA’s furniture catalogue before making a purchase.Since then, product visualization for furniture and home decor has become one of the most popular applications of AR on mobile phones and even big retailers like Lowe’s and Amazon have jumped in to experiment with the power of AR to influence furniture shopping behavior among consumers.If you’ve never tried one of these apps, check out IKEA Place or Housecraft.So what is the “Resume Session” problem?The “Resume Session” problem refers to a common problem faced by all AR (...)

    #interior-design #virtual-reality #architecture #augmented-reality

  • What Does a Smartphone Mean to a Refugee ? | NDTV Gadgets360.com
    https://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/features/what-does-a-smartphone-mean-to-a-refugee-1798259

    In an increasingly digital world, after food and shelter, the next necessity that people have is an Internet connected smartphone, says Mark Latonero, PhD, Lead Researcher at the Data and Society Research Institute in New York. Latonero’s work focuses on the implication of new technologies in the human rights space and speaking at the Cornell Tech Law Colloquium last month at Cornell University, he discussed the tensions between emerging technologies and the law, in particular the inadvertent ways in which tech companies have made interventions in the refugee crisis.

    “There are challenges and opportunities and technology can make a positive impact,” said Latonero. “It’s complicated. How can you think about technology, not as a thing in and of itself, but an intrical part social context. Digital infrastructures are facilitating the movement of people on a mass scale, but also serve as a mechanism for social control.”

    Like the rest of us reading this at home, the refugee populations also turned to Facebook and other social media, often to keep track of their friends and family.

    “So in the same way that we use Facebook or WhatsApp to coordinate with our friends or loved ones, to find directions, those kinds of uses are also for people where - finding people, or finding directions, could be a matter of life or death,” Latonero explained. “But there’s also a negative impact - while Facebook can be used to connect - it is also being used to exploit. So, the advertising of human trafficking and human smuggling is also being done through social media.”

    One of the questions that the survey wanted to clear up was where people get their information from. “Normally, a lot of the information you receive comes from talking to people, even here [in Cornell] where you’re all pretty digitally connected,” said Latonero. “But the mobile Internet - through free Wi-Fi, or with a data plan - accounted for 75 percent of news and information for the refugees. And 40 percent of the people told us that they use it to keep track of their friends and family, to stay connected to people who are left behind, and 24 percent of the people also said they used social media to track down people who had gone missing.”

    Beyond that, the research also found that 95 percent of men owned phones, while only 67 percent of women had a smartphone. This is in some ways in line with what you see in rural India, where in many cases, there is one phone for the family, held by the man of the house. “The ownership issue became quite significant,” said Latonero. “Imagine if you’re an NGO that wanted to get information to women who faced domestic violence. Your idea was to use mobile phones to send information etcetera, but then you realise that less women own phones than men, then it would change how you would design your intervention.”

    Another example he gives is that the vast majority of the refugees surveyed used WhatsApp (95 percent) while only 10 percent had Skype on their phones. As a result, many official interventions, and even private interventions, such as Coursera and Skype having educational courses for refugees, would not be accessed.

    “Essentially we need to really think about how to responsibly innovate in these very complex issues,” Latonero said, ending the chat, “A straight-up tech solutionist approach doesn’t really seem like it would work, given all we know about the challenges with technology itself.”

    #Mobile #Migrants #Culture_numérique