Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios.

Baltimore will become the first city in the U.S. to pilot aerial surveillance, funded by philanthropists, to understand its impact on crime, per the Baltimore Sun.

Driving the news: Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, who's been skeptical of the effectiveness of surveillance planes, has reversed course and said he supports a pilot program to let three private planes monitor the city from above.

Why it matters: The use of surveillance planes has been a controversial topic in Baltimore since 2016, when Bloomberg reported private surveillance planes had been circling the city in secret.

  • On one side of the debate are advocates, including the ACLU, who say use of the planes — called "spy planes" by some — will be a drastic privacy invasion.
  • On the other are community groups searching for ways to curb crime and record-high homicide rates.

How it works: The program is run by Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems, which is backed by Texas billionaires Laura and John Arnold.

  • Three planes would record during daylight hours from 8,500 feet above the ground, but would not be used for real-time surveillance. Instead, law enforcement could use the footage to investigate past crimes, per the Sun.
  • "By funding a limited-duration pilot and a fully independent evaluation, we hope to learn whether this technology can be a useful part of Baltimore’s crime reduction strategy," Arnold said in a statement.
  • The 4-to-6-month pilot will begin in May. Harrison said he would halt the program if it doesn't show results.

Of note: Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan support the decision.

Go deeper: Baltimore wrestles with aerial surveillance

Go deeper

Zeta, now a Category 2 Hurricane, makes landfall on Louisiana coast

The probable path of Zeta, per the National Hurricane Center. Photo: NHC/NOAA

Zeta, classified as a "significant" Category 2 hurricane, made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana on Wednesday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday. The hurricane is producing 110-mph maximum sustained winds and stronger gusts. The core of Zeta — including its destructive eyewall — moved ashore near Cocodrie.

Supreme Court won't expedite Pennsylvania GOP's request to block mail-in ballot extension

Amy Coney Barrett being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Photo: Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Images

The Supreme Court voted 5-3 on Wednesday to deny a bid from Pennsylvania Republicans to expedite their request to shorten the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots. Newly-confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the decision.

Why it matters: A lower court ruling allowing ballots to be counted until 5 p.m. on Nov. 6, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day, will remain in place for now.

32 mins ago - World

Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave

Paris under curfew. Photo: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The coronavirus is still winning: Now even Germany is entering another national lockdown, joined by France.

Why it matters: France has been "overpowered by a second wave,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a nationally televised address today. Macron said the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier" than the first.

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