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FBI’s vast facial recognition database more likely to misidentify innocent blacks as suspects

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In 2010, the FBI launched Next Generation Identification, a sprawling, complex program designed to use biometric tools like facial recognition, finger and palm prints, and iris scans in criminal investigations. At the time, privacy advocates worried that the FBI would collect and use the data without adequate oversight or privacy protections, especially given the rapid advances in facial recognition technology.

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Last week, a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that privacy experts were right to be concerned: the FBI uses facial recognition without complying with privacy laws; 1 out of every 2 Americans’ photo is in some kind of FRT database; and facial recognition technology can reproduce race and gender bias, “misidentifying female and African American individuals at a higher rate.”

Jennifer Lynch, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, testified about all the ways that police can use—and misuse—facial recognition.

“Law enforcement officers can use mobile devices to capture face recognition-ready photographs of people they stop on the street; surveillance cameras boast real-time face scanning and identification capabilities; and the FBI has access to hundreds of millions of face recognition images of law-abiding Americans,” Lynch testified. “This has led to the development of unproven, inaccurate systems that will impinge on constitutional rights and disproportionately impact people of color.”

“This has real-world impact; an inaccurate system will implicate people for crimes they didn’t commit, forcing them to try to prove their innocence and shifting the traditional burden of proof away from the government,” Lynch testified. “Face recognition misidentifies African Americans and ethnic minorities, young people, and women at higher rates than whites, older people, and men, respectively.”

Research suggests that several algorithms used in FRT searches are more likely to give the wrong result when the suspect is black.

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“If the suspect is African American rather than Caucasian, the system is more likely to erroneously fail to identify the right person, potentially causing innocent people to be bumped up the list—and possibly even investigated,” according to a statement by Alvaro Bedoya, head of Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law.

“Perversely, due to disproportionately higher arrest rates among African Americans, face recognition may be least accurate for those it is most likely to affect: African Americans,” Bedoya said.


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2020 Election

Biden beats Trump to the punch with massive ‘Buy American’ spending package — and GOP allies are fuming

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Some of President Donald Trump's "economic nationalist" allies are furious that Joe Biden beat the White House to the punch with a "Buy American" policy push.

The president's former chief strategist Steve Bannon told the Washington Post's Jeff Stein that Biden's $300 billion domestic spending proposal was "very smart," and said the likely Democratic nominee had scored a win.

"The campaign and White House have been caught flat-footed," Bannon said. "Biden has very smart people around him, particularly on the economic side."

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2020 Election

Fox News pundit: Tax returns ruling against Trump is ‘a win for him’ and ‘will help the president’

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Fox News pundit Katie Pavlich argued on Thursday that a Supreme Court ruling which opened the door for prosecutors to obtain Donald Trump's tax returns is actually "a win" for the president.

Pavlich made the remarks after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance can request the president's tax records in a public corruption case.

"I think it's a win and a little bit of a loss for President Trump," Pavlich explained. "In the sense that he will now have to deal with a number of these issues and other presidents in the future will as well, whether they are valid requests for information or not and whether they are being made for political for reasons or for valid criminal investigations."

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Trump melts down on Twitter after his own Supreme Court nominees rebuke him on financial cases

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On Thursday, following the 7-2 rulings from the Supreme Court rejecting President Donald Trump's claims of absolute immunity in the New York tax returns and House financial oversight cases, the president took to Twitter to complain.

In the thread, Trump whined that he was being unfairly targeted by the Supreme Court decisions — which were joined by the two justices he appointed — and claimed he was a victim of "prosecutorial misconduct."

We have a totally corrupt previous Administration, including a President and Vice President who spied on my campaign, AND GOT CAIGHT...and nothing happens to them. This crime was taking place even before my election, everyone knows it, and yet all are frozen stiff with fear....

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