San Francisco becomes 1st U.S. city to ban facial recognition technology

The city council voted in favor of the ban by a margin of 8 to 1.

  • Supporters say the surveillance technology helps law enforcement do its job.
  • Critics say the technology could be used to target minorities, or lead to the implementation of a policy state.
  • Dozens of U.S. police departments are currently using facial recognition technology, though it's unclear exactly how many.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Free speech: The history every American should know

What can and can't you say? A brief glimpse of precedent-setting free speech cases in the United States.

  • There's a reason you're free to wear clothing with protest statements on them today. In 1968, 19-year-old Paul Robert Cohen was arrested for disturbing the peace by wearing a jacked that read "F*ck the Draft" in a California courthouse. His case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided that being offended by the jacket did not merit censorship.
  • Jonathan Zimmerman argues that the history of debate in the U.S. – of who gets to say what, and how that has evolved – should be taught to every American.
  • Zimmerman also says it's ahistorical for free speech to be cast as a conservative issue. For much of U.S. history, champions of free speech were those who fought for social justice to help the powerless keep the only power they had: their voices.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies

Should veganism receive the same legal protection as a religion?

It's illegal to discriminate against people based on their gender, race, or religion. What about veganism?

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Veganism is on the rise globally – but it can be contentious. Only recently, the editor of a food magazine joked that vegans should be force-fed meat while a bank employee told a vegan customer that they should be punched after he objected to some vegan graffiti near his home.

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Culture & Religion

NASA uncovers a 19-year fraud that caused failed missions

An investigation finds the cause of failed NASA launches and $700 million in losses.

NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory on the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Image credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
  • An Oregon company provided falsified tests to a NASA rocket builder for almost two decades.
  • The company is now liable for $46 million in payments and the lab manager went to prison.
  • NASA can't test every single component itself, making it important the supply chain is protected.
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Technology & Innovation

Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
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Politics & Current Affairs