A crime lab in the San Francisco Bay area has made an impressive dent in gun violence by helping local cops swiftly identify weapons used in crime through the 20-year-old National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. So why aren’t other police departments taking advantage of the network?
Police used flash-bangs while trying to disperse a crowd of counter-protestors at a right-wing rally on Saturday. Several people reported burns, and media outlets have published photos of a flash-bang canister lodged in a bike helmet. Police say that should not happen if the devices were fired properly.
More than 100 civil rights, “digital justice” and community groups issued a statement expressing concerns about the expanding use of risk assessment instruments as a substitute for basing bail releases on money. The groups said risk assessment tools may not only exacerbate racial bias but “allow further incarceration.”
Despite “real-time” facial recognition’s potential for crime-prevention, it is raising alarms of the risks of mistakes and abuse. Those concerns are coming not only from privacy and civil rights advocates, but increasingly from tech firms themselves.
All states have opted in to FirstNet, meaning that they agreed not to build their own competing broadband lanes for law enforcement and public safety. AT&T says that FirstNet’s core — the infrastructure that isolates police traffic from the commercial network — had become operational at last. “It’s like having a super highway that only public safety can use,” the company says.
Some air marshals say the program has them tasked with shadowing travelers who appear to pose no real threat, such as a businesswoman who happened to have traveled through a Mideast hot spot, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, and a fellow federal law enforcement officer.
Facial recognition technology made by Amazon that is being used by some police departments and other organizations incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress with people who had been charged with a crime, says the American Civil Liberties Union.
This month’s decision requiring police to obtain a warrant for cellphone data represented the opening stage of a legal movement to protect Americans’ privacy from big-data surveillance technologies, says law professor Andrew Guthrie Ferguson. But future digital tests are still to come.