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  • New documentary about bias
  • Facial recognition’s bottom line in China
  • Scottish Parliament weighs in
  • Army wants “mixed reality” goggles
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Fact Check ABC Australia
Facial recognition technology, which often relies on opaque algorithms developed by tech companies, is rapidly infiltrating many aspects of people’s lives, despite lawyers and technology experts warning that it is inaccurate and discriminatory.

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AFP
Beijing: A man who had travelled to Wuhan – the central city at the heart of China’s new coronavirus crisis – was surprised when police showed up at his door after he returned home, asking to check his temperature.

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The Hill
Two Democratic senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that would place a moratorium on federal government use of facial recognition technology until Congress passes legislation regulating it

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Variety
By its very nature, science is supposed to be an impartial judge. But is it really? In her thought-provoking documentary “Coded Bias,” director Shalini Kantayya questions the neutrality of technology, arguing that computers have a built-in bias that reflects the faulty assumptions of the people (usually men) who program them.

Editor’s Note: Questions of facial recognition and bias have garnered enough attention for their own movie. Here Variety looks at a documentary from Shalini Kantayya.

Venture Beat
Twenty years ago, the average person likely owned a single camera, and security cameras inside homes were nearly as rare as they were in cars. But as we enter the 2020s, cameras have become ubiquitous. Most people today have two or more cameras on each smartphone, one or two in each computer and tablet, and at least one — a backup camera — in their car.

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Euractiv
The European Commission is in consultation with EU data protection authorities following the news that US technology firm Clearview AI has scraped more than three billion facial images from social media sites including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, without obtaining the permission of users.

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Biometric Update
On the heels of a proposed $550 million settlement that Facebook recently agreed to settle lawsuits under the controversial Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a deal which is still subject to the approval of U.S. District Judge James Donato of the United States District Court Northern District Of California, Google was being served with a class-action lawsuit alleging it, too, has violated BIPA.

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Innovation Origins
The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be evaluated this year. Yet it was originally drafted at a time when IoT, AI, smart sensors or cloud services were virtually non-existent. As in the past, the GDPR will likely not take the latest technological developments enough into account. This is what legal expert Jeroen Terstegge believes. He is calling for a different approach.

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Buzzfeed
Facebook confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Clearview AI, asking the company to stop using information from Facebook and Instagram.

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CBS Chicago
CHICAGO — They’re watching you in a whole new way, with controversial new facial recognition software used by Chicago Police.

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Biometric Update
The federal government’s chief technology standards body is working with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to test facial recognition software used in its biometric entry and exit program.

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The Hill
A decade ago, Tesla’s stock was worth a mere $17 a share. And with less than $10 million in the bank, Tesla could barely cover the costs of the cars it had already sold. This week, market analysts predicted Tesla stock to hit $7,000 a share by 2024, leading its stock to skyrocket.

Editor’s Note: One key issue in facial recognition is regulation, which NYC city government official Alexis Wichowski writes about here. Deepnews is also looking at launching an entire Distill about potential regulation of Big Tech. Head to Deepnews.ai to let us know if you’re interested.

Venture Beat
Artificial intelligence is sweeping through almost every industry, layering a new level of intelligence on the software used for things like delivering better cybersecurity. McAfee, one of the big players in the industry, is adding AI capabilities to its own suite of tools that protect users from increasingly automated attacks.

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CNN
If Hoan Ton-That is feeling the pressure, he isn’t showing it.

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The Appeal
In 2015, a security consultant approached the Lockport City School District in western New York, offering to do a free threat assessment. The assessment of the schools was free but the recommended course of action was far from it: the purchase and installation of a camera system equipped with facial recognition technology for $1.4 million. The district followed the recommendation and in 2017, New York State Education Department authorities approved the project.

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Scottish Parliament
Police Scotland has an ambition, outlined in its 10-year strategy, to introduce its use by 2026. Its assessment of the likely equalities and human rights impact as “likely to be positive in nature” is in stark contrast to the evidence received by the Justice Sub-Committee on Policing.

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AP
LONDON — London police started using facial recognition cameras on Tuesday to automatically scan for wanted people, as authorities adopt the controversial technology that has raised concerns about increased surveillance and erosion of privacy.

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AFP
SOFIA, Bulgaria: Single mother-of-two Sara Faizi from Afghanistan faced a dead end when she arrived in Bulgaria in 2018: The former bank branch operations manager needed a job but neither spoke the local language nor had any contacts.

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Reuters
BEIJING – More than 300 Chinese companies are seeking bank loans totalling at least 57.4 billion yuan ($8.2 billion) to help to soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, two banking sources said.

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CNET
Earlier court cases have permitted data scraping. But never for facial recognition.

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Engineering & Technology
Digital exams should take the place of pen and paper booklets by 2025 in order to make them more accessible and relevant to the modern world, a new report suggests.

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FCW
Opposition to the use of facial recognition and other biometric identity systems by the federal government and private sector has been slowly growing as the public learns more about such programs’ scope and application.

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Army Times
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Army wants to buy enough of a new augmented reality, do-it-all goggles to outfit nearly half of all close combat forces, from infantry to scouts and engineers, starting next year.

Editor’s Note: While often talked about for law enforcement, facial recognition is less discussed for military applications. Here The Army Times looks at a proposed budget and the number of Integrated Visual Augmentation Systems, or IVAS, that could soon be used by soldiers.

Christian Science Monitor
Despite enthusiasm, for some, the government’s approach harks back to Brazil’s military dictatorship, which leaned heavily on surveillance to target opponents. In China, an unrivaled state surveillance apparatus has had a chilling effect on political expression and personal freedoms. It also happens to be the country providing Brazil with the bulk of its surveillance technology.

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Bloomberg
One country focuses on entertainment, the other on social control and military dominance.

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