Menu

Blog

Archive for the ‘law enforcement’ category

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.

May 23, 2020

Beyond the Prison Bubble

Posted by in category: law enforcement

“The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that two-thirds of released prisoners are rearrested for at least one serious new crime, and more than half are re-incarcerated within three years of release.”


The announcement last summer that the number of Americans behind bars had increased for the 37th consecutive year in 2009 provoked a fresh round of grim editorializing and national soul-searching. With its prisons and jails now holding more than 2.4 million inmates — roughly one in every 100 adults — the United States has the highest incarceration rate of any free nation. As a proportion of its population, the United States incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany, and 12 times more than Japan. “No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free,” The Economist has declared.

But a highly significant fact went largely unremarked amid the hubbub: The population of the nation’s state prisons, which house all but a relative handful of convicted felons, decreased by nearly 3,000. Although the drop was slight in percentage terms, it was the first since 1972. (State prisons held 1.4 million inmates at the end of 2009 and federal prisons more than 200,000, while the number held in local jails, mostly for minor crimes, averaged about 770,000 over the course of the year, and the majority had yet to face trial.) In California, which has the nation’s largest state prison system, with nearly 170,000 men and women behind bars, the prison population fell for the first time in 38 years. The national prison population — including those held in federal facilities — grew by less than one percent, the slowest rate in the last decade.

Continue reading “Beyond the Prison Bubble” »

May 23, 2020

Prisoners Could Serve ‘1,000 Year Sentences In 8.5 Hours’ In The Future

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, law enforcement

Future biotechnology could make prison a lot less expensive.

May 14, 2020

The US Senate just voted to let the FBI access your browser history without a warrant

Posted by in categories: law enforcement, security, surveillance

In a major blow to citizens’ privacy, the US Senate voted today to give law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and CIA the power to look into your browser history without a warrant. Thanks, Mitch McConnell.

Senators Ron Wyden from Oregan and Senator Steve Daines of Montana led the charge to insert privacy protections into the Patriot Act, which gives law enforcement agencies power for surveillance in order to maintain national security. However, the privacy protection amendment fell short by just one vote, as many senators who may have voted in favor of it didn’t show up.

Page 1 of 1312345678Last