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Aug 21, 2020

‘Severe inhumanity’: California prisons overwhelmed by Covid outbreaks and approaching fires

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, law enforcement

Families of prisoners declare public health and human rights catastrophes as officials resist calls to evacuate as virus spreads.

Aug 9, 2020

1 Million Cannibal Ants Have Now Escaped Their Soviet Nuclear Bunker Prison

Posted by in category: law enforcement

Researchers applaud as a million cannibal ants escape their nuclear bunker prison and head out into the world. Good for those ants.

Aug 8, 2020

Omniviolence Is Coming and the World Isn’t Ready

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, cybercrime/malcode, drones, internet, law enforcement, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

The terrorist or psychopath of the future, however, will have not just the Internet or drones—called “slaughterbots” in this video from the Future of Life Institute—but also synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and advanced AI systems at their disposal. These tools make wreaking havoc across international borders trivial, which raises the question: Will emerging technologies make the state system obsolete? It’s hard to see why not. What justifies the existence of the state, English philosopher Thomas Hobbes argued, is a “social contract.” People give up certain freedoms in exchange for state-provided security, whereby the state acts as a neutral “referee” that can intervene when people get into disputes, punish people who steal and murder, and enforce contracts signed by parties with competing interests.

The trouble is that if anyone anywhere can attack anyone anywhere else, then states will become—and are becoming—unable to satisfy their primary duty as referee.

Continue reading “Omniviolence Is Coming and the World Isn’t Ready” »

Jun 29, 2020

Awesome Idea: Turn Rikers Island Into A Solar Farm

Posted by in categories: law enforcement, solar power, sustainability

Kate Aronoff wrote about a great idea recently: turn Rikers Island into a solar farm. Transforming a prison that was built on heaps of trash into a solar farm does have many benefits.

Her article dives into the past as well as the present of Rikers Island and she points out that both share the story of the United States itself. The island’s ownership has roots traced to slaveowners since the 1660s and played a huge role in the kidnapping ring that sold black people in the North back to slavery in the South under the Fugitive Slave Act. The island was sold in 1884 and it became a penal colony. The island was redesigned into a massive jail complex.

Today, 80% of the island’s landmass is landfill. Aronoff, with her words, painted a picture of an island that is filled with decomposing garbage and prisoners — with 90% of them being people of color. “Heat in the summer can be unbearable, which has lent to its ominous nickname: The Oven,” she wrote. She referenced another account from Raven Rakia who spoke about the island’s “environmental justice horror show.” Rakia noted that 6 of the island’s 10 facilities don’t have any air conditioning.

Jun 27, 2020

Congress introduces bill that bans facial recognition use

Posted by in categories: government, habitats, law enforcement, privacy, robotics/AI, surveillance

“Facial recognition is a uniquely dangerous form of surveillance. This is not just some Orwellian technology of the future — it’s being used by law enforcement agencies across the country right now, and doing harm to communities right now,” Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer said in a statement shared with VentureBeat and posted online.


Members of the United States Congress introduced a bill today, The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act of 2020, that would prohibit the use of U.S. federal funds to acquire facial recognition systems or “any biometric surveillance system” use by federal government officials. It would also withhold federal funding through the Byrne grant program for state and local governments that use the technology.

The bill is sponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) as well as Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Pressley previously introduced a bill prohibiting use of facial recognition in public housing, while Merkley introduced a facial recognition moratorium bill in February with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Continue reading “Congress introduces bill that bans facial recognition use” »

Jun 24, 2020

AI researchers condemn predictive crime software, citing racial bias and flawed methods

Posted by in categories: law enforcement, military, robotics/AI

A collective of more than 1,000 researchers, academics and experts in artificial intelligence are speaking out against soon-to-be-published research that claims to use neural networks to “predict criminality.” At the time of writing, more than 50 employees working on AI at companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft had signed on to an open letter opposing the research and imploring its publisher to reconsider.

The controversial research is set to be highlighted in an upcoming book series by Springer, the publisher of Nature. Its authors make the alarming claim that their automated facial recognition software can predict if a person will become a criminal, citing the utility of such work in law enforcement applications for predictive policing.

“By automating the identification of potential threats without bias, our aim is to produce tools for crime prevention, law enforcement, and military applications that are less impacted by implicit biases and emotional responses,” Harrisburg University professor and co-author Nathaniel J.S. Ashby said.

Jun 18, 2020

Rare look inside China’s internment camps holding more than 1 million Muslims

Posted by in category: law enforcement

More than a million Uighurs and others belonging to Muslim minority groups are believed to be detained in China’s Xinjiang region. China calls them “transformation camps” built to prevent extremism from spreading. However, reports indicate they’re more like prisons. BBC News correspondent John Sudworth got exclusive access to one of the facilities.

Jun 18, 2020

Prisoners Are Using Smuggled Cellphones to Show the Coronavirus Nightmare Behind Bars

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, law enforcement, mobile phones

The coronavirus has killed dozens of federal prisons and infected more than 6,000. Prisoners say they have been stuck in grim conditions that make social distancing impossible. To support their claims, some prisoners have used contraband cell phones that have been smuggled into prisons to post videos on Facebook and other social media sites.

VICE News contacted one of the prisoners, 34-year-old Aaron Campbell, held at a federal prison in Ohio, who said he was punished for making his video by being sent to solitary confinement. In a letter, Campbell said officials told him he would not face additional discipline if he issued a statement saying the video was fake. He refused. (The BOP did not respond to questions about his allegations.)

Continue reading “Prisoners Are Using Smuggled Cellphones to Show the Coronavirus Nightmare Behind Bars” »

Jun 9, 2020

IBM will no longer offer, develop, or research facial recognition technology

Posted by in categories: government, law enforcement, robotics/AI, surveillance

IBM will no longer offer general purpose facial recognition or analysis software, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said in a letter to Congress today. The company will also no longer develop or research the technology, IBM tells The Verge. Krishna addressed the letter to Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

“IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any [facial recognition] technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency,” Krishna said in the letter. “We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.”

May 30, 2020

Want to stop these riots? Reform the police

Posted by in category: law enforcement

We ask a lot of our law enforcement officials. We have every right to.

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