WeeklyTech #93

Should Facial Recognition Be Used in Policing?

In January 2020, The New York Times broke the story and raised public awareness of a little-known facial recognition startup called Clearview AI, which sells their controversial technology to more than 600 law enforcement agencies and police units around the nation. CEO Hon Ton-That says the benefits of the technology include allowing police to identify criminals quickly and efficiently, often from a single photo uploaded to the service.

Facial recognition technology is already used in varying capacities throughout our nation. With an estimated 18,000 U.S. departments currently using the tool, many officers claim they have been able to break open cold cases, ranging from child sexual abuse to assault, as well as stop criminals from leaving the country illegally. There are countless beneficial uses of this technology, but also many unknowns and concerns over issues like privacy and bias. Used with wisdom and abundant transparency, this type of technology might indeed revolutionize safety in our communities. But adopted too quickly, or without adequate understanding of its various possibilities, it might also lead to dangerous or even deadly injustices.

Image Credit: The Gospel Coalition

The Rundown

Facebook will push you to read articles before you share them – Shirin Ghaffary | Vox

The social media company announced on Monday morning that, starting today, it will test a new feature prompting users to actually open and read articles before sharing them on the platform. 

The Ransomware Pandemic – Felix Salmon, Ina Fried | Axios

Crippling a major U.S. oil pipeline last week initially looked like an act of war — but it’s now looking like an increasingly normal crime, bought off-the-shelf from a “ransomware as a service” provider known as DarkSide.

Biden administration signs onto international effort to curb online extremism – Ben Leonard | Politico

The Biden administration announced Friday it will be joining an international call to tackle terrorist and extremist content on the web after the Trump administration opted not to do so.

The Artificial Intelligence Act: A Quick Explainer – Benjamin Mueller | Center for Data Innovation

On April 21, 2021, the European Commission published a draft law to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) in the European Union. The Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) is notable for its expansive definition of AI systems, and the imposition of extensive documentation, training, and monitoring requirements on AI tools that fall under its purview. Any company with EU market exposure that develops or wants to adopt machine-learning-based software will be affected by the AIA.

Uber And Lyft Will Give Free Rides To COVID-19 Vaccination Spots, White House Says – Bill Chappell | NPR

Anyone needing a ride to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot will be able to get a free trip from the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, the White House announced Tuesday, in the latest push to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.

The child safety problem on platforms is worse than we knew – Casey Newton | The Verge

Millions of young children are using platforms years before they turn 13 — and their presence could put many of them in danger. An alarming new study has found that minors in the US often receive abuse, harassment, or sexual solicitation from adults on tech platforms.