Thank Kade Crockford for driving the ban of facial recognition tech in cities

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The activist has become one of the leading proponents of enhancing our privacy and safety by abolishing the technology that would imperil both. According to activist Kade Crockford, widespread use of face surveillance—in which algorithms match real-time and historical video data to people’s identities—would “obliterate privacy and anonymity in public as we know it.” That’s why they have organized local support and worked with seven Massachusetts cities over the past year and a half to enact preemptive bans against the technology. As big tech companies continued to pitch their facial recognition algorithms to police departments, Crockford convinced local police chiefs of the need to prevent face surveillance from being used in their communities, and in June, succeeded in banning the tech in Boston. Crockford is eyeing statewide policy, and people have been reaching out about emulating these efforts elsewhere. “This is not a controversial issue for voters,” says Crockford, who …

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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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IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon’s face recognition bans don’t go far enough

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While these tech giants may have stepped back from facial recognition, their bans don’t encompass other technology they supply for police or square with their past lobbying and legislative efforts. Advocates against flawed facial recognition systems have pushed for limits or bans on the use of these controversial technologies by law enforcement for at least four years. Now, amid a global reckoning around racial injustice spurred by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft declared decisions to end or pause sales of their facial recognition products to law enforcement. 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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Understanding the role of voice in martech

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30-second summary: Voice technology is being widely adopted, thanks to the global distribution of voice assistants like Google Assistant, which is installed in over 1 billion devices as of 2020. Improvement in voice recognition accuracy is also helping with widespread adoption of voice technology. Google achieved a 95% accuracy rate for the English language as of March 2017. This is the same threshold for human accuracy. 82% of consumers expect an immediate response on sales or marketing. Voice recognition technology, which enables the immediacy of customer service responses, is addressing this need for many businesses. Voice-enabled tools are increasingly being employed within an organization’s martech stack, to facilitate internal operations. Examples include speech-to-text transcription tools, real-time conversational analysis, and automated call listening/conversational analysis platforms. Voice technology is playing an ever-growing role in a variety of martech applications, from AI-powered transcription tools like Trint to signal-based AI tools like Cogito that …

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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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Cities are starting to ban evictions to help workers affected by the coronavirus response

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“This is a public health crisis, and we need to make sure that it doesn’t create a whole new housing crisis in the upcoming weeks.” Someone trying to survive in the Bay Area with a minimum-wage job probably can’t pay rent if they miss one paycheck. But as people increasingly avoid public places because of the new coronavirus, workers (especially those who work for tips) are losing money quickly. And if anyone becomes sick, they’ll be forced to miss work for 14 days of quarantine. If schools close, parents will also miss work. The entire environment is making it more likely that some people may not have enough money to pay essential bills. So in San Jose, the city council voted today to begin work on a plan to temporarily ban evictions due to the epidemic. Read Full Story

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