Protecting Americans From Technology And Criminals

Grind for February 6th, 2019

“It’s a good thing I was born a girl, otherwise I’d be a drag queen.”

– Dolly Parton

A Good Idea

The Headline

Should city agencies be allowed to use facial recognition technology?

The Grind

Lawmakers in San Diego are considering a proposal to ban the use of facial recognition technology by city agencies.

The proposal, introduced by city board member Aaron Peskin, would set into place a new approval process that all companies would have to pass before utilizing any new surveillance technology.

This would force companies to justify the use of controversial surveillance tools like CCTV cameras, license plate readers, and gunshot-detection systems.

The Details

Peskin’s proposal calls for an audit of all existing surveillance tech in use in the city but does not address the issue of private surveillance in public areas or the use of surveillance tools by law enforcement.

“I have yet to be persuaded that there is any beneficial use of this technology that outweighs the potential for government actors to use it for coercive and oppressive ends,” said Peskin in reference to facial recognition technology.

If it passes, the bill would make San Francisco the first US city to ban its own agencies from using facial recognition tech.

“This is the first piece of legislation that I’ve seen that really takes facial recognition technology as serious as it is warranted and treats it as uniquely dangerous,” said Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University.

“Moratoriums and bans prevent the technology from getting embedded in everything,” continued Hartzog. “Abuse doesn’t happen at the outset. It happens when the technology becomes entrenched and dismantling it becomes unimaginable.”

Unfortunately things are already at the “entrenched” level in China.

Stay Out

The Headline

Trump sends 4,000 troops to the border to stop migrant caravans

The Grind

The Pentagon is sending another 3,750 troops to the US-Mexico border to fortify existing barriers, bringing the total number of US troops stationed at the southern border to roughly 6,000.

Last week, officials in Mexico City confirmed that a group of 2,400 migrants was on its way towards the US.

“With caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country, Republicans must be prepared to do whatever is necessary for STRONG Border Security,” tweeted President Trump on Sunday. “Dems do nothing. If there is no Wall, there is no Security. Human Trafficking, Drugs, and Criminals of all dimensions – KEEP OUT!”

The Details

Trump is expected to speak about border security and the border wall during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The speech, which was originally scheduled for January 29th, was delayed by Democratic lawmakers frustrated with the government shutdown.

Federal workers returned to work on January 28th as part of a deal that keeps the government open through February 15th. The deal does not include funding for the border wall.

Trump said the odds of reaching a deal with Democrats by February 15th are less than 50% and has hinted at using his emergency powers to obtain funding for the border wall.

The Yo-Yo originated as a weapon in the Philippine Islands during the sixteenth century.