Larry Hosken. Technical writer. Puzzlehunt enthusiast.
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Minitrue: “Voiceprint Analysis Can Recognize Swindlers”

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The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

Find and delete The Paper’s Article “Voiceprint Analysis Can Recognize Swindlers: Causes 80% Drop in Fake Legal Case Phone Scams in Anhui”; do not hype related technical content. (February 28) [Chinese]

The article from state-owned flagship online news outlet The Paper, which is reposted in full at CDT Chinese, begins with the story of an Anhui woman who received a fraudulent phone call. The caller claimed to hold a court summons against her, and said she would need to authorize a large payment over the phone to resolve the matter. At the last moment, the report says, the call set off an alarm with the local public security organs’ voiceprint recognition system, and they were able to terminate the call, averting the loss of ten to twenty million yuan.

The technology involved is reported to have been developed by the Intelligent Speech Technology Public Security Key Laboratory, established in 2012 by Anhui public security authorities and the University of Science and Technology of China’s Xunfei Information Technology, also known as iFlyTek. Its new Telephone Fraud Monitoring and Interception Platform can identify known scammers based on the voiceprint created by their unique biometric and behavioral characteristics. iFlyTek chairman Liu Qingfeng has claimed that the system, now integrated with local phone networks, reduced phone scams involving fake legal cases by 80% in Anhui in 2015, even as they rose by almost 70% nationally. The company claims that its voiceprint identification is more than 95% accurate, and besides fighting phone fraud can offer an extra layer of security in contexts like credit cards, remote stock trading, and social security.

The article goes on to note concerns including the fact that biometric characteristics, unlike passwords, cannot be changed if they are somehow compromised; the effects on one’s voice of factors like disease, drunkenness, and mood; and the security and privacy implications of automatically monitoring the entire phone network. This may be behind the order to delete the article, whether because it falsely alleged or inadvertently revealed the extent of automated monitoring.

iFlyTek also powers the LingLong DingDong, a Chinese-speaking home voice assistant akin to Amazon’s Echo. The privacy implications of such systems have been highlighted by Amazon’s ongoing U.S. court battle over recordings of a murder one of its devices may have witnessed. Privacy hazards have also been revealed with microphone-equipped childrens’ toys, another area in which iFlyTek is pushing its technology.

The company and its government collaborations recently appeared in a New York Times article on Chinese advances in defense-related artificial intelligence technologies, in which chairman Liu expressed his hope that an iFlyTek device would be able “to attend the college entrance examination, and to be admitted by key national universities in the near future.”

Another article from The Paper, on research into the public health impact of smog, was targeted by a deletion order earlier in February.

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. Some instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.


© Samuel Wade for China Digital Times (CDT), get_post_time('Y'). | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
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lahosken
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"...similar to the way a floppy disk works but this time using a Swedish pancake marked up with chocolate"
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Get to know Vladimir Putin

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Trump’s science advisor candidates both question climate change

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Enlarge / David Gelernter of Yale University at the Digital Life Design conference on January 25, 2010 in Munich, Germany. (credit: Getty Images)

In January, the Trump transition team arranged for two scientists to meet with Trump. Since then, both have been considered frontrunners to become the new presidential science advisor, who typically heads the Office of Science and Technology Policy. While the two—Princeton's William Happer and Yale's David Gelernter—have radically different backgrounds, they have a couple of things in common: strong support for science in general and extreme skepticism of climate science in particular.

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lahosken
41 days ago
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"Gelernter 'blamed intellectualism for the disintegration of patriotism and traditional family values.' He also blamed the presence of Jews in higher education. (Notably, Gelernter is Jewish and has a faculty position at Yale.)"
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Wind penetration on central US grid hits 52% Sunday night, breaking record

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(credit: Indigo Skies Photography)

An organization that manages transmission systems across the central US announced on Tuesday that it broke a record for wind penetration in North America. On Sunday at 4:30am, Southwest Power Pool (SPP) became the first regional transmission organization (RTO) to serve 52.1 percent of its load using wind energy.

SPP also set the previous record in April 2016 with 49.2 percent wind generation. A record previous to that was set by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in late March 2016, when the organization hit 48.28 percent wind penetration at 1:10am.

Records for wind penetration, which measure the amount of total load supplied by wind on a moment-to-moment basis, are being broken more frequently these days, on a regional and internal level. As RTOs, which generally serve large areas and cross state lines, add more wind turbines to their portfolios, wind is becoming a more important part of the energy mix. SPP noted that “wind is now the third most-prevalent fuel source in the SPP region,” which covers 550,000 square miles of territory in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and portions of neighboring states. Natural gas and coal are still the primary fuel sources for SPP, but the organization said that wind accounted for 15 percent of its generating capacity in 2016.

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The Police Can Target Muslims Using This Conspiracy Theorist’s Website

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How a former FBI agent delivered a tool for tracking Muslims into the Trumpian mainstream.

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