A patent shows how facial recognition drones could identify you from above

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An Israeli biometrics startup with a history of defense contracts has applied for a patent on technology that repositions drones to get a better shot of a person on the ground. An Israeli biometrics startup called AnyVision with ties to Israel’s military has applied for a U.S. patent on technology that tells drones how to maneuver to capture better facial recognition images of people on the ground. Read Full Story

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Now Microsoft is banning police from using its facial recognition tech, too

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Microsoft wants “a national law in place ground in human rights” to govern the use of facial recognition tech before it will sell such technology to the police. This week has been a big one for facial recognition news. First, IBM announced they will be getting out of the facial recognition tools game altogether, and then Amazon announced it is placing a moratorium on selling its facial recognition tools to police for one year. Both moves were sparked by the resurgent Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of white police officers. Facial recognition technology has frequently been found to be racially biased . Read Full Story

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In historic first, Portland bans corporations from using facial recognition tech on the public

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But Portland residents can still use facial recognition tech, like the kind found in iPhones and Nest cameras. Over the past year, several U.S. cities have taken steps to ban or limit the use of facial recognition technology to surveil people. Yet these bans were only applied to government departments and police. As of today, Portland, Oregon, has surpassed those bans in an effort to protect its citizens from surveillance. Read Full Story

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Microsoft needs to stop selling surveillance to the NYPD

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Microsoft’s decision not to sell facial recognition to the police means nothing if the company won’t stop selling the Orwellian Domain Awareness System to the New York Police Department. When Microsoft announced to much fanfare that they wouldn’t sell police facial recognition, almost no one asked the urgent follow-up question: “What about your other surveillance technology?” The truth is that Microsoft wasn’t selling police facial recognition to begin with, so their “principled stand” was nothing more than free PR. But there is a much less well-known system that Microsoft has sold to police for years, one that is even worse than facial recognition: The Domain Awareness System (DAS). Read Full Story

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The Capitol riot is spurring new interest in gun-detection AI

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Facial detection has all sorts of technological and ethical problems. What if we tried to prevent crime by using software to spot weapons? A new round of debate over surveillance technology broke out after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. As some oberservers wisely pointed out , such events make it tempting to loosen restrictions on surveillance technologies such as facial recognition in the name of safety, but yielding to those temptations could lead to a rapid erosion of privacy and civil liberties. The Patriot Act Congress adopted after 9/11 (and the mass surveillance programs that followed) is a notable example. Read Full Story

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Facial recognition technology is inevitable—it’s time we make it human-centered

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As big tech companies press pause on developing this surveillance tool, others are racing to commercialize it. On the back of the Black Lives Matters movement, IBM decided to get out of the facial recognition (FR) business altogether. Amazon announced a one-year moratorium on police use of its FR software, Rekognition, and Microsoft declared that it would do the same until there is a federal law to regulate the technology. Read Full Story

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