Canada Signs U.S. FATCA Deal, IRS To Get Data
Canadians often feel slighted by their own government when it comes to the big Washington machine down south. It’s about to get worse, now that the two nations inked a tax-information sharing agreement. The broad deal is one of 22 intergovernmental agreements (so-called IGAs) the U.S. has signed to crack down on tax evasion.
FATCA is the U.S. law that requires banks everywhere to pony up information on Americans or face serious sanctions. The sanctions are so bad that virtually every institution or every nation seems to be striking a deal. Indeed, it is not exaggeration to say that banks and countries everywhere are scrambling, trying to appease the U.S. taxing authorities in ways that are not too intrusive.
In Canada’s case, the broad agreement calls for the Canadian tax authorities to serve as a buffer between the IRS and Canadian banks. That is one of the shrewder features of FATCA. Rather than mandating that Canadian banks hand over account data directly to the IRS, the Canadian institutions will give the date to their own Canada Revenue Agency.
That would mean data on accounts held by U.S. depositors holding more than $50,000. Once the Canada Revenue Agency has the dirt it can hand it over under the existing treaties between the two nations. There are said to be over 1 million U.S. persons in Canada, many of whom may not realize they are still American. Moreover, even if they do, they may not be doing the dual tax filings the IRS expects.
It’s no secret that many dual Canadian and U.S. citizens feel caught in the crosshairs of the IRS war on offshore accounts. Many Canadians don’t exactly consider Canada offshore. And given Canada’s high tax rates, many dual citizens don’t ever worry about taxes in the U.S.
But they must still file. And that generally means filing FBARs too. Canadians who remain U.S. citizens are supposed to be doing dual filings and many now worry that their U.S. pedigree will come out in the wash.
The new agreement makes that reality closer. Officials in Canada have had to tread the delicate line between service to their own citizens, concern for the financial health and burdens placed on Canada’s financial institutions, while at the same time trying to address the inevitable cooperation with the U.S. government that has characterized the world response to FATCA.
In some ways, the newly minted agreement between the countries has small victories for Canada. In fact, the deal is said to exempt some small financial institutions. More important, certain registered savings vehicles such as Canadian registered retirement savings plans, long a bone of contention for many dual citizens who are dealing with the IRS, are exempted.
FATCA’s timeline has been extended several times, and it’s possible more extensions will be offered. For now, though, the start date is July 1, 2014. That is when Canadian banks will collect information on the people the IRS sees as wayward Americans. The Canadian authorities are to start handing over the data to the IRS in 2015.
When we do our word processing we quickly notice that the software puts a red squiggley line under a word(s) we’re sure are not incorrect.
The software thinks our word(s) require ‘correction’
In a similar way those of us with non-mainstream views are going to find a red squiggley line placed under us because of our views.
So how valuable is your liberty to you?
How important is your Freedom of Speech and Expression? How important to you in Freedom of Assembly?
Every day, our liberties are falling under more and more attack. These are liberties, which most of us born in the West, have long taken for granted.
For those born in other countries, or immigrants to the West, usually appreciate the freedom to speak or assemble much more than native born westerners do.
Why is this? What have Westerners forgotten? ‘To give back’
Namely, we need to be reminded that the field we have lived in needs to be sown with fresh seeds of life; to ensure there will be liberty for our and others children and grandchildren later.
More and more online regular people are receiving a ‘red squiggley line’ by their governments (i.e. ‘no fly lists).
When governments use less asking and more and more telling you know it’s time to stand up.
Facinating and relevant story on the Stasi, NSA and sleepwalking into a subtly constructed police state in the West.
‘Everything about everyone’: the depth of Stasi surveillance in the GDR.
The recent NSA scandal has triggered comparisons with the East German Stasi, demonstrating that even twenty five years after the collapse of the GDR the Stasi still act as a a default global synonym for the modern police state. In this blog post, guest author Rachel Clark, a final year History student at Leeds Metropolitan University, explores the intrusive methods used by the Stasi in their ruthless and relentless pursuit to ‘know everything about everyone’ in the GDR.
‘Everything about everyone’: the depth of Stasi surveillance in the GDR.
By Rachel Clark.
The whistle-blower scandal currently dominating the USA has resulted in some uncomfortable comparisons being drawn between the actions of the US National Security Agency and the activities of the East German Stasi, arguably the most formidable security service in modern European history. One former Stasi officer has even commented that ‘The National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance capabilities would have been ‘a dream come true’ for East Germany. NSA supporters have emphasised the necessary role that the agency plays to protect national security interests, whereas the Stasi’s sole objective was to act as the ‘sword and shield’ of the East German communist party and ensure their continued supremacy. In order to fulfil this role, the Stasi developed an extensive range of highly intrusive methods.
Stasi Surveillance Tactics
The establishment of communist regimes across Eastern Europe in the aftermath of World War II led to a severe expansion of domestic security services as these ‘overt socialist dictatorships’ required complete ideological compliance from the populations under their authority. The East German Ministry of State Security (MfS), otherwise known as the Stasi, was founded in 1950, and would soon go on to develop a fearsome reputation both within and beyond the GDR.
The Stasi aimed to rigidly monitor and ruthlessly suppress any potential dissent or non-conformity. In the Stasi mindset, knowledge was power, and inStasiland Anna Funder describes how the Stasi strove to ‘know everything about everyone’, scrutinising not only the political conduct of suspected opponents but also their personal lives, infiltrating leisure clubs and social societies, their working lives, and even studying their sexual habits. The 2006 thriller The Lives of Others depicts Stasi surveillance tactics in East Berlin, as the film’s protagonist, Stasi officer Gerd Wiesler rigorously monitors his allocated target by eavesdropping on and recording their most private moments, including their personal conversations, telephone calls, and even their lovemaking. Gerd Wiesler effectively illustrates how the Stasi operated with no limits to privacy and had no shame when it came to protecting the party and the state.
Stasi tactics involved serious breaches of privacy, but the organization simply operated ‘above the law’. Various methods of comprehensive surveillance and control over communication were utilised by the MfS, including the opening of personal mail and the tapping of telephone calls, and by the 1960s 3,000 Stasi officers had been assigned to telephone surveillance. Personal correspondence was opened religiously, with little effort made to disguise mail that had been tampered with. Julia, a citizen of the former GDR who was placed under intense Stasi surveillance due to her a relationship with an Italian man, described to Funder how her letters used to frequently arrive ripped open, with stickers claiming they had been ‘damaged in transit’ (Stasiland). Recording devices were secretly installed in suspected dissident’s homes and regular ‘home intrusions’ (apartment searches) were conducted while residents were out, although the Stasi often deliberately left discreet signs of their presence, designed to intimidate the individual they were monitoring.
Ulrike Poppe became one of the most heavily targeted individuals in the GDR due to her unrelenting support for democracy, and she was intimidated and harassed by the Stasi on a daily basis. Poppe recalls how Stasi officers often flattened her bicycle tyres and due to their desire to acquire as much information about her as possible, the homes of her friends and acquaintances were bugged and cameras were installed across the street from her apartment. This level of personal persecution was a tactic often utilised against Stasi targets, as they endeavoured to strike fear and unease into all sectors of society. The Stasi’s relentless methods were somewhat of an ‘open secret’ among the GDR populace, most of whom became resigned to living under the ever-watchful eye of the organisation.
Such a wealth of information resulted in the formation of files containing remarkably detailed descriptions of citizen’s lives. After the collapse of communism and the dissolution of the MfS, the Gauck Agency (BStU) seized control of these files and early in 1992 public bodies and individuals were access to these surveillance records. 180 kilometers of files, 35 million other documents, photos, sound documents, and tapes of telephone conversations were released for public viewing. This exposed the depth of observation that East German citizens had been subjected to, highlighting the shocking crimes and breaches of privacy committed by the Stasi. Historian Timothy Garton-Ash was conducting research for his PhD in East Berlin in 1978, and as a western intellectual he was closely observed by the MfS. In 1997, having accessed his file, Garton-Ash authored a book The File: A Personal History, describing his experiences with the Stasi and recording how he had been ‘deeply stirred’ by reading his file, a ‘minute-by-minute record’ of his time in Berlin’. After reading her file, Ulrike Poppe was also surprised by the depth of Stasi knowledge, everything had been recorded, no matter how trivial, as her file contained a record of her every movement and was full of ‘just junk’.
Ardagh estimates that secret files were kept on about one citizen in three, highlighting the enormity of the Stasi library. In order to gather such extensive amounts of information, the MfS established an immense network, comprised of both fulltime, paid Stasi officers and a large quantity of informers. At the height of Stasi dominance shortly before the collapse of communism in 1989, estimates suggest there were a staggering 97,000 people employed by the MfS with an additional 173,000 informers living amongst the populace, resulting in an unprecedented ratio of one Stasi officer for every sixty-three individuals. If unpaid informers are included in these figures, the ratio could have been as high as one in five. (Figures from Ardagh, Germany and the Germans and Funder, Stasiland).
It was the widespread recruitment of Inoffizielle Mitarbeiters (IM’s, or ‘unofficial collaborators’), that allowed the Stasi to construct such an impressive
army of spies and conduct such intense levels of surveillance. The recruitment of informers enabled the Stasi to infiltrate all aspects of daily life. In the GDR ‘everyone suspected everyone else, and the mistrust this bred was the foundation of social existence’ (Stasiland p.28). Former citizens of the GDR often say that the most distressing element of retrieving ones Stasi file was the revelation that trusted friends, family members and colleagues had been secretly relaying information about them to the MfS. Though such a revelation is obviously upsetting, Dennis argues that a large number of IM’s were blackmailed or coerced by the Stasi (Stasi, p.243). Potential IM’s were subject to strict Stasi scrutiny to ensure they were ‘appropriate’ targets and all of their personal details would be closely examined, including their sexual behavior. Any potential ‘flaw’ uncovered could serve as a means of blackmail to ‘persuade’ potential recruits to inform on others; again illustrating the famed Stasi obsession for personal information.
A Modern Day Stasi?
The Stasi operated with cunning and coercion and their intense levels of intimidation and surveillance successfully created a culture of fear in the GDR. Following the East German uprising of June 1953 the GDR was often perceived as ‘one of the most quiescent’ of the east bloc states (Anatomy of a Dictatorship, p.5) and it is significant that there were no further outbreaks of mass political stability until communism collapsed in November 1989. The fearsome reputation of the East German state security survived the collapse of communism and the end of the GDR itself, as shown by the fact that contemporary security establishments such as NSA are likened to a ‘modern-day Stasi State’. In today’s increasingly digital age, some of the old Stasi surveillance tactics such as opening letters seem a little out-dated, but the digital advances of the twenty first century pose some interesting debates as it can be suggested that today’s technological capabilities may succeed is making the modern populace as vulnerable to personal infiltration as those who lived under the Stasi. Perhaps we should consider whether hacking email accounts, Facebook ‘stalking’, CCTV surveillance and GPS tracking are really so far-removed from tearing open letters and tailing individuals as they go about their daily activities?
About the Author:
Rachel Clark has recently completed her BA in History at Leeds Metropolitan University and will graduate with First Class Honours later this month. During her final year of study, Rachel studied the history of twentieth century East Central Europe, specialising on the role of the Stasi for one of her research essays. Her final year dissertation, which researched the treatment of shell-shock in the First World War, was awarded the class prize. Rachel plans to spend the next year travelling and hopes to continue her academic studies at postgraduate level when she returns.
Curry, C. (2008) ‘Piecing Together the Dark Legacy of East Germany’s Secret Police’, Wired Magazine
Dennis, M. (2003) The Stasi: Myth and Reality Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Fulbrook, M. (1995) Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR 1949-1989 Oxford: Oxford University Press. .
Funder, A. (2003) Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall London: Granta Publications.
Funder, A. (2007) ‘Tyranny of Terror’, The Guardian
Garton-Ash, T. (2007) ‘The Stasi on Our Minds’, New York Review of Books
Ghouas, N. (2004) The Conditions, Means and Methods of the MfS in the GDR; An Analysis of the Post and Telephone Control Gottingen: Cuvillier Verlag.
Koehler, J, O. (1999) Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police Colorado: Westview Press.
Pittaway, M. (2004) Brief Histories: Eastern Europe 1939-2000 London: Hodder Arnold.
Have you seen this covered on your mainstream news? What does it mean?
What happens when governments mix austerity measures with their healthcare programs?
“Austria to exhume hundreds of bodies in Nazi euthanasia probe”
The discovery of about 220 bodies in a hospital cemetery during a construction project in Hall, near the Tyrolean capital Innsbruck, aroused suspicions that some of those buried there between 1942 and 1945 were victims of a euthanasia campaign.
“But one should not speak of 220 murder victims,” historian Oliver Seifert told Reuters Television, noting that some of the patients buried there may have died of undernourishment or natural causes.
Officials told a news conference a panel of experts would oversee the two-year project to identify the dead from hospital records and genetic samples.
Nazi Germany, which annexed Austria in 1938, introduced mass killings of the physically and mentally handicapped in an effort to eradicate people deemed inferior.
Thousands in Austria died in gas chambers at the Hartheim Castle euthanasia centre near Linz.
At least 360 patients from the hospital in Hall were sent to their deaths before the so-called T4 euthanasia programme officially ended in August 1941, ushering in a new phase in which victims died from neglect, hunger or drug overdoses.
“This phase of ‘wild euthanasia’ between 1942 and 1945 has really been examined in just a cursory way,” Seifert said.
“This is certainly a first step and a good opportunity to see what happened here and how to view it. We know that active killing went on at other institutions in Austria … but there are no indications of this at the moment in Hall.”
The hospital cemetery in Hall might have been opened in 1942 as part of plans — never realised — to set up its own euthanasia station, deputy medical director Christian Haring said.
“This dark chapter of history must now be carefully examined and cleared up,” provincial Governor Guenther Platter told the Austria Press Agency, saying he was deeply shaken by the discovery.
We Read the Past to See the Future
Bail-Ins are the New Trendy Tax. The governments just use complicated legal language to justify it. Small bank account holders will fund any future bank crisis under new laws.
Now that “bail-ins” have become accepted practice all over the planet, no bank account and no pension fund will ever be 100% safe again. In fact, Cyprus-style wealth confiscation is already starting to happen all around the world. As you will read about below, private pension funds were just raided by the government in Poland, and a “bail-in” is being organized for one of the largest banks in Italy. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The precedent that was set in Cyprus is being used as a template for establishing bail-in procedures in New Zealand, Canada and all over Europe. It is only a matter of time before we see this exact same type of thing happen in the United States as well. From now on, anyone that keeps a large amount of money in any single bank account or retirement fund is being incredibly foolish. Let’s take a look at a few of the examples of how Cyprus-style wealth confiscation is now moving forward all over the globe… Poland For years, there have been rumors that someday the U.S. government would raid private pension funds. Well, in Poland it just happened. According to Reuters, private pension funds were raided in order to reduce the size of the government debt… Poland said on Wednesday it will transfer to the state many of the assets held by private pension funds, slashing public debt but putting in doubt the future of the multi-billion-euro funds, many of them foreign-owned. The Polish government is doing the best that it can to make this sound like some sort of complicated legal maneuver, but the truth is that what they have done is stolen private assets without giving any compensation in return… The Polish pension funds’ organisation said the changes may be unconstitutional because the government is taking private assets away from them without offering any compensation. Announcing the long-awaited overhaul of state-guaranteed pensions, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said private funds within the state-guaranteed system would have their bond holdings transferred to a state pension vehicle, but keep their equity holdings. He said that what remained in citizens’ pension pots in the private funds will be gradually transferred into the state vehicle over the last 10 years before savers hit retirement age. Iceland For years, Iceland has been applauded for how they handled the last financial crisis. But now it is being proposed that the “blanket guarantee” that currently applies to all bank accounts should be reduced to 100,000 euros. Will this open the door for “haircuts” to be applied to bank account balances above that amount?… Following the crisis in October 2008, Iceland’s government declared all deposits in domestic financial institutions were ‘blanket’ guaranteed – an Emergency Act that was reafrmed twice since. However, according to RUV, the finance minister is proposing to restrict this guarantee to only deposits less-than-EUR100,000. While some might see the removal of an ’emergency’ measure as a positive, it is of course sadly reminiscent of the European Union “template” to haircut large depositors. This is coincidental (threatening) timing given the current stagnation of talks between Iceland bank creditors and the government over haircuts and lifting capital controls – which have restricted the outflows of around $8 billion. Europe European finance ministers have agreed to a plan that would make “bail-ins” the standard procedure for rescuing “too big to fail” banks in the future. The following is how CNN described this plan… European Union finance ministers approved a plan Thursday for dealing with future bank bailouts, forcing bondholders and shareholders to take the hit for bank rescues ahead of taxpayers. The new framework requires bondholders, shareholders and large depositors with over 100,000 euros to be first to suffer losses when banks fail. Depositors with less than 100,000 euros will be protected. Taxpayer funds would be used only as a last resort. What this means is that if you have over 100,000 euros in a bank account in Europe, you could lose every single bit of the unprotected amount if your bank collapses. Italy As Zero Hedge reported on Tuesday, a “bail-in” is now being organized for the oldest bank in Italy… Recall that three weeks ago we warned that “Monti Paschi Faces Bail-In As Capital Needs Point To Nationalization” although we left open the question of “who will get the haircut including senior bondholders and depositors…. given the small size of sub-debt in the capital structures.” Today, as many expected on the day following the German elections, the dominos are finally starting to wobble, and as we predicted, Monte Paschi, Italy’s oldest and according to many, most insolvent bank, quietly commenced a bondholder “bail in” after it said that it suspended interest payments on three hybrid notes following demands by European authorities that bondholders contribute to the restructuring of the bailed out Italian lender. Remember what Diesel-BOOM said about Cyprus – that it is a template? He wasn’t joking. As Bloomberg reports, Monte Paschi “said in a statement that it won’t pay interest on about 481 million euros ($650 million) of outstanding hybrid notes issued through MPS Capital Trust II and Antonveneta Capital Trusts I and II.” Why these notes? Because hybrid bondholders have zero protections and zero recourse. “Under the terms of the undated notes, the Siena, Italy-based lender is allowed to suspend interest without defaulting and doesn’t have to make up the missed coupons when payments resume.” Then again hybrids, to quote the Dutchman, are just the template for the balance of the bank’s balance sheet. Why is this happening now? Simple: the Merkel reelection is in the bag, and the EURUSD is too high (recall Adidas’ laments from last week). Furthermore, if the ECB proceeds with another LTRO as many believe it will, it will force the EURUSD even higher, surging from even more unwanted liquidity. So what to do? Why stage a small, contained crisis of course. Such as a bail in by a major Italian bank. The good news for now is that depositors are untouched. Unfortunately, with depositor cash on the wrong end of the (un)secured liability continuum it is only a matter of time before those with uninsured deposits share some of the Cypriot pain. After all, in the brave New Normal insolvent world, “it is only fair.” Fortunately, it does not appear that this particular bail-in will hit private bank accounts (at least for now), but it does show that European officials are very serious about applying bail-in procedures when a major bank fails. New Zealand The New Zealand government has been discussing implementing a “bail-in” system to deal with any future major bank failures. The following comes from a New Zealand news source… The National Government are pushing a Cyprus-style solution to bank failure in New Zealand which will see small depositors lose some of their savings to fund big bank bailouts, the Green Party said today. Open Bank Resolution (OBR) is Finance Minister Bill English’s favoured option dealing with a major bank failure. If a bank fails under OBR, all depositors will have their savings reduced overnight to fund the bank’s bail out. “Bill English is proposing a Cyprus-style solution for managing bank failure here in New Zealand – a solution that will see small depositors lose some of their savings to fund big bank bailouts,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman. “The Reserve Bank is in the final stages of implementing a system of managing bank failure called Open Bank Resolution. The scheme will put all bank depositors on the hook for bailing out their bank. “Depositors will overnight have their savings shaved by the amount needed to keep the bank afloat.” Canada Incredibly, even Canada is moving toward adopting these “bank bail-ins”. In a previous article, I explained that “bail-ins” were even part of the new Canadian government budget… Cyprus-style “bail-ins” are actually proposed in the new Canadian government budget. When I first heard about this I was quite skeptical, so I went and looked it up for myself. And guess what? It is right there in black and white on pages 144 and 145 of “Economic Action Plan 2013” which the Harper government has already submitted to the House of Commons. This new budget actually proposes “to implement a ‘bail-in’ regime for systemically important banks” in Canada. “Economic Action Plan 2013” was submitted on March 21st, which means that this “bail-in regime” was likely being planned long before the crisis in Cyprus ever erupted. So what does all of this mean for us? It means that the governments of the world are eyeing our money as part of the solution to any future failures of major banks. As a result, there is no longer any truly “safe” place to put your money. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to spread your money around. In other words, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. If you have your money a bunch of different places, it is going to be much harder for the government to grab it all. But if you don’t listen to the warnings and you continue to keep all of your wealth in one giant pile somewhere, don’t be surprised when you get wiped out in a single moment someday.
We are building new apps to use on the market; and making money on this without recognizing the coming adverse consequences. Not because of the technology by itself; but the effects of use when the technology is combined with other privacy infringing tools.
This NameTag app software is not new. It is old. It has been used for years by the British and other governments to watch their borders; and their own citizens too!
This matter is about new technology. Yet the matter is more importantly recognising what walking in the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil can bring upon us as a society.
Entering through this doorway will help us in some areas (i.e. child find); yet it will injure us at the same time (enhancing prey for stalkers; or worse… stalking by authorities; which have no moral boundaries for themselves (‘determinists acting above the law’).
Today they come for your neighbour. Tomorrow they come for you. It’s simple. They just pass a new (arbitrary) law and grab you because of some behaviour now deemed illegal; or just bypass the law (or constitution) and grab you. That is how it was in East Germany with the Stasi (Secret Police).
These are the amusements and pains that eating from fruit of the tree of the KGE , has brought, is bringing, and will bring us deeper into. It is not just about what you choose to eat; but what your neighbour chooses to eat; ‘but lets not get into politics and religion.’
Issue: NameTag: Facial recognition app
A controversial new app that scans social media networks to identify strangers upon sight is raising privacy concerns. (NameTag/FacialNetwork.com)
If all goes well for the developers of a new facial recognition app, getting detailed personal information about a stranger in your midst could one day be as easy as glancing in their direction.
Released in beta for Google Glass last month, “NameTag” works by scanning the face of a person captured in Glass’ video feed against photos from dating sites and social media networks to determine who they are – everything from their name and occupation, to their latest post on Instagram.
The app’s creator, FacialNetwork.com, says it uses “some of the most accurate facial recognition software in the world” to compare millions of public records, returning a stranger’s name, additional photos, and links to their public social media profiles within seconds.
“No longer will social media be limited to the screens of desktops, tablets and smartphones,” reads a press release issued by the company. “With the NameTag app running on Google Glass a user can simply glance at someone nearby and instantly see that person’s name, occupation and even visit their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles in real-time.”
While currently only available to Google Glass beta testers, FacialNetwork.com hopes to bring the app to smartphones in the future. This would allow users to snap photos of people around them, upload said photos to the app, and scan for personal information on the spot.
The company also claims its technology can let users scan more than 450,000 entries in the U.S. National Sex Offender Registry, potentially identifying another person’s criminal background upon site.
“It’s much easier to meet interesting new people when we can simply look at someone, see their Facebook, review their LinkedIn page or maybe even see their dating site profile,” said NameTag’s creator Kevin Alan Tussy. “Often we were interacting with people blindly or not interacting at all. NameTag on Google Glass can change all that.”
Change things it could, but not if privacy advocates have their way.
Despite the company’s claim that anyone can opt out of its database, many are discomforted by the idea that such a tool may exist in the first place.
Raffi Cavoukian, Canadian children’s performer, author, and co-founder of a consumer protection group for children called Red Hood Project, has openly criticized the app on Twitter.
“You can’t know how old someone is online in social media,” Cavoukian, whose sister Ann Cavoukian is Ontario’s privacy commissioner, told Metro News. His main concern is that the privacy and safety of children could be compromised.
“Millions of parents, and this is well known, lie about their kids’ age, and put them on Facebook much younger than 13,” he said. “This is a huge problem.”
Lisa Vaas of the Sophos Naked Security blog expressed a similar sentiment, comparing NameTag to the controversial “Girls Around Me” app which was pulled in April of 2012 on privacy concerns.
“It sounds as if the only way to control sensitive information is to join NameTag and create your own profile,” she wrote. “The theoretical woman in the street, if she’s made her phone number or address public anywhere online, won’t be afforded that privacy control, in spite of never having opted in to this service.”
The app’s creators insist that privacy shouldn’t be a concern, being that all of the information it scans is taken from public networks and profiles.
“It’s not about invading anyone’s privacy,” said Tussy. “it’s about connecting people that want to be connected. We will even allow users to have one profile that is seen during business hours and another that is only seen in social situations.”
A sample profile provided by the app’s creators on nametag.ws. (NameTag/FacialNetwork.com)
Metro reports that the office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has yet to examine the app in depth, as neither the app or Google Glass are yet available in Canada.
Furthermore, Google has declared that it will not be supporting facial recognition technology for the final version of its Glass hardware – though, as the Independent notes, the device can be ‘jailbroken’ like a mobile phone and modified by a user.
Google’s restrictions haven’t deterred NameTag, however. FacialNetwork.com plans on releasing its website and app this spring in hopes that Google will reconsider.
And if it doesn’t?
“There will be many providers of augmented reality headsets and even if facial recognition is not supported by some, I’m confident that there will be solutions for such limitations,” said Tussy.