New tech is here to help but is not without its flaws

Every day, we produce wonderful new technologies to meet the insatiable demands of consumers, whether for enjoyment or out of necessity.

In many cases, a new tech product is a marginal redesign of a standard piece of equipment, but in many cases, these small adjustments can help thousands of consumers and workers.

Veterans can benefit from this new tech in their careers and personal lives. However, we need to keep in mind that many of these developments, such as computer software programs and high end chips, come with their own new and unique problems.

San Francisco bans facial recognition software for government agencies

Law enforcement agencies across the country have turned to facial recognition software to help spot fraud and identify criminal suspects. However, the city of San Francisco has banned its use for all government agencies, to include law enforcement.

The ban is included into a wider bill which requires agencies who want to use facial recognition software to get approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In addition, the agency will need to publicly disclose the tech’s intended use.

Critics of facial recognition tech feel that using artificial intelligence to spot and ID citizens is a step down the rabbit hole, potentially leading to real-time surveillance of all citizens, not just suspects and criminals. A study by MIT and Georgetown also found that the tech is less accurate at identifying people of color and will only increase biases in law enforcement.

Currently, the SF Police Department and Sheriff’s Department do not use the technology and will identify their need, as prescribed by the law, if they ever plan on purchasing this type of AI. Veterans interested in moving into law enforcement will be faced with the pros and cons of this new technology, depending largely on the community where they will operate.

Intel chip leaves your computer open to new attacks

An integral flaw in an Intel chip has compromised millions of devices. Skilled hackers are able to manipulate the holes in the chips’ security to pull sensitive information from microprocessors.

Four new kinds of attacks have been identified by researchers, and those vulnerabilities can result in hackers accessing information like encryption keys and passwords of millions of computers. This new set of exploits is considered to be in the same family as the Meltdown and Specter flaws announced in 2018. Some commonalities include data storage issues, and the ability to allow malicious software to be run on your device.

The best way to protect your data is to keep your computers and mobile devices updated with the latest software and patches as soon as they are released. Intel has fixed the flaw in their Intel Core processors from the 8th and 9th generations, as well as the Intel Xeon processor family’s 2nd generation. If your computers do not fall into these categories, look for software updates that can patch the flaw with microcode.

Veterans, whose personally identifiable information is transferred, stored, and used more frequently than most citizens, will have a greater stake in making sure to close these security gaps in personal devices as well as demanding update compliance in organizations with which they work.

New tech is coming, but it’s not without its problems

Companies like Microsoft and Intel are constantly evolving. Trying to maintain the tip of the spear requires them to produce new products, processors, programs, and devices constantly. They don’t always get it right the first time. As consumers of tech, veterans need to understand that flaws are always possible.

We embrace adaptive devices, keep a cautious eye on facial recognition, and work to overcome production flaws in our microchips, and in these recent case studies we can see the full spectrum of technology’s benefits and challenges for veterans.

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