Good morning everybody! 

I was on WGAN this morning with Matt Gagnon and started this morning talking about Tax Time and the surprising effects that may come in April for many of us.  Then we got into changes in the way Hackers are attacking businesses and then we got into Facial Recognition Technology and how it is being used. Here we go with Matt.

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Automated Machine Generated Transcript:

Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Good morning,  Craig Peterson here.

Today, we talked a little bit about distributed denial of service attacks. I explain what they are, how they’re hurting businesses, particularly small businesses as the bad guys are doing more and more of them. We talked also about this problem with facial recognition software that has just completely gotten out of hand.

So here we go with Mr. Matt Gagnon

Matt Gagnon: [00:00:30] Tech talk with Craig Peterson right now on news radio 98.5  FM and AM 560 W G A N seven 36 Wednesday morning. Great time to talk to Craig Peterson, our tech guru, who joins us at this time every single week. And you can also hear him on Saturdays at this very station at one o’clock.

So thanks for joining us as always. Craig, how are you this morning?

Craig Peterson: [00:00:54] Hey doing well, coming out fighting to my Rocky theme.

Matt Gagnon: [00:00:58] Indeed. It is 2021, sir. Nice to talk to you in the new year. Hopefully a better one than last year, certainly. 2021 means that it’s probably about time too, start doing my taxes and you had some information here that I found very interesting about how the pandemic boosted remote workforce might in fact be in for a bit of a shock when it comes to tax time.

What do you think about this?

Craig Peterson: [00:01:21] We’ve seen so many people leaving the big cities, moving out into the suburbs, into the burbs. In many cases, just moving a long way away. People from New York City and other major metropolitan areas, Boston of course.  Many have ended up right here in Maine. Just all kinds of people all over the place, even like North Dakota in places.

But the thing that is really starting to scare people, especially accountants, is the lawsuits that have had to been brought to bear. Some of these States have decided that even if you have never, ever set foot in their state if your employer is in one of these high tax States. Every one of them, by the way, Democrat-controlled States, then you have to pay.

Taxes in your state now, Maine, and not your state, but their state main and math have an agreement in place that allows a little flexibility there. But if you started working for a company, even part-time as an employee, for instance, out of New York City, or even New York state, or some of these other different areas that you have to pay in New York City.

There’s city tax, income tax, county tax, and state tax for your income that you earned from that state over the course of the year. As I mentioned, there are a number of suits in play right now saying, Hey, this isn’t fair. We don’t work in that state. We’ve never worked in that state.

But those regulators they’re going to come after like crazy. I, one time exhibited as a vendor at a trade showdown in Connecticut. I started right then about a week later and for the next three years having to continually fight with the State of Connecticut department of taxes or whatever, they call it down there because they said you were down here, you had a presence here. You now have to pay corporate taxes on anything you sell.

Even if it isn’t in the state of Connecticut. So double-check with your Accountant. This is going to get a little nasty this year.

We’re speaking with Craig Peterson, our tech guru. He joins us at this time every Wednesday to go over what’s happening in the world of technology.

Matt Gagnon: [00:03:46] Another interesting thing here is about this facial recognition story that you sent to me as well. Another arrest here. Based on bad facial recognition matching, which is fascinating. Cause it’s an interesting technology and it’s becoming more increasingly used in law enforcement and for other purposes as well.

Maybe not perfect though.

Craig Peterson: [00:04:07] No. We think about fingerprint technology that’s been around for well over a hundred years and it’s based on all the little swirls and imperfections that are on our fingerprints. And initially when it came out. There were a lot of questions. The science wasn’t totally proven.

Now it’s pretty well proven. And we can say with 95%, 8%, whatever, it might be the certainty that those fingerprints belong to this individual. However, what we’ve been finding with facial recognition is something quite a bit different. It’s still early on that technology. Many people have the same basic features and that’s where the problem comes in.

We found people who have been arrested spent time in jail, had to defend themselves, hire an attorney because their faces matched a person who committed the crimes face according to facial recognition technology.

Now we spoke a little bit, Matt, last year about this company called Clearview.  This company has been going through every picture that we have posted on social media now. It’s, we’re on the internet and grabbing them.  Then it tries to find landmarks on those pictures. Those faces is what’s interesting. Yeah. Now when the police run your face through this Clearview database, which by the way, anybody almost can do with just an app on their phone.

So they take a picture of you, at a traffic stop or on the street and run the through the database. They look for those same types of landmarks, try and line them up. They may or may not match if they match. Boom. All of a sudden you’re a suspect in a case.

There’s a case that I just shared this week of a gentleman who was accused of shoplifting candy. This guy had to spend five grand to defend himself and they ended up dismissing the case for lack of evidence. Are you kidding me? Did anybody bother to look at the pictures? The one that Clearview or one of these other organizations companies said –  yeah, it matches him or her. Did anybody bother to look at them?  In some of these cases? No.

The police are sent in with an arrest warrant to arrest someone. Those police officers are not double-checking all of this data all of the time. That gets very concerning and it isn’t just minorities. We’ve heard of, for instance, black people’s faces, particularly black men. This software has a hard time recognizing. The same thing’s true for Asians and many other minorities, but it’s also true for us white guys.

This is not technology that’s really ready yet. It might give people the police, et cetera, an idea of who it might be, but we’re putting far too much trust in it. Places like Portland, Oregon, and others have said, we are banning facial recognition technology in our city.  In some cases, States are taking this up because of how inaccurate it is.

Matt Gagnon: [00:07:24] Finally, Craig, before I let you go, the denial of service attacks have become a little more sophisticated, a little more complex in 2020. So that’s a great harbinger for 2021. Tell me more about this.

Craig Peterson: [00:07:36] In case you’re not familiar with it, these are attacks that are used for a different type of ransom. And many times they’re used by these quotes, social warriors, unquote. So here’s what happens. A business has a website online that website is used for disseminating news or maybe for selling products online. What’ll happen is one of these bad guys will say, Hey, if you do not pay this. Ransom. If you will, we’re going to hold your website hostage. They will use. Home computers, tens of thousands of them to send web requests to the website. So what’s happened is these home computers have been compromised and they have a remote control on them.

So that’s your own computer because you did not keep it up to date. So they’ll have thousands of these computers now say give me your homepage or give me the checkout page on the website. Of course, the website now becomes completely overloaded and no one can legitimately get to the website or checkout, et cetera. It’s become very prominent this last year because of the number of bot networks out there.

But also due to companies like Amazon, and others are now renting computers by the hour. Some of these bad guys come in the rent a bunch of computers. Again, they could rent a thousand of them spend maybe a thousand dollars on them and ultimately end up with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom payments.

So it did go up, as you mentioned this year, Matt, in a big way.  It’s particularly harmful to small businesses that have no way to cope with these denial of service attacks and they are increasingly expensive to protect against and more and more of them.

Hard to believe. It’s 2021. It’s one of these, Thank God it’s 2021 because hopefully, things will be a little better, no matter what happened with the election, maybe we can get these things cleaned up.

We are idiots for using technology like this in our elections.

But anyway, that’s it for now? I’ll be back again this weekend.

Take care, everybody.



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