Should law enforcement be using AI and cell phone data to find rioters?

The attack on the Capitol forces us to confront an existential question about privacy.

Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
  • The insurrection attempt at the Capitol was captured by thousands of cell phones and security cameras.
  • Many protestors have been arrested after their identity was reported to the FBI.
  • Surveillance experts warn about the dangers of using facial recognition to monitor protests.
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Should facial recognition software be banned on college campuses?

A heated debate is occurring at the University of Miami.

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  • Students say they were identified with facial recognition technology after a protest at the University of Miami; campus police claim this isn't true.
  • Over 60 universities nationwide have banned facial recognition; a few colleges, such as USC, regularly use it.
  • Civil rights groups in Miami have called for the University of Miami to have talks on this topic.

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This interactive face recognition tool measures your attractiveness, BMI and age

A new interactive documentary "How Normal Am I?" helps reveal the shortcomings of facial recognition technology.

Credit: hownormalami.eu
  • The website is part of SHERPA, a European Union-funded "project which analyses how AI and big data analytics impact ethics and human rights."
  • The interactive documentary uses your webcam to analyze your face, predicting metrics like age, attractiveness, gender, body mass index and life expectancy.
  • Despite the shortcomings of facial recognition, there's currently no set of national laws regulating the use of the technology by governments or private companies.
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Police can track cars nationwide with new license plate surveillance network

The system is basically facial recognition technology, but for cars.

Flock Safety
  • Some police departments use automatic license plate readers to track suspects.
  • A company called Flock Safety is now allowing police departments to opt in to a national network, which shares data on car movements.
  • Privacy advocates are concerned about the potential for errors and abuse.
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The Secret Service is buying social media location data

New documents confirm that the government agency—one of many—has been using a tracking company.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
  • Documents reveal that the Secret Service used Locate X as part of a social media tracking package.
  • The service "allows investigators to draw a digital fence around an address or area, pinpoint mobile devices that were within that area, and see where else those devices have traveled, going back months."
  • Other agencies that have used this service include the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
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