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Police departments throughout the U.S. are quietly rolling out facial recognition systems, according to a pair of new reports, even as scrutiny intensifies over the technology's accuracy and fairness.

What's happening: From high-tech systems in Chicago and Detroit to ongoing tests in every corner of the country, law enforcement is taking advantage of near-total freedom to deploy the surveillance technology without oversight or public announcement.

Why it matters: These systems, which scan the faces of passersby — often without their knowledge — and compare them against databases of mugshots or wanted posters, can be inaccurate, or perform especially poorly on women and people with dark skin.

Details: Two reports from the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology released today, outline both a proliferation of facial recognition systems and the haphazard way they are often used.

  • Detroit quietly bought a million-dollar system that can recognize faces in real time as people walk by cameras scattered throughout the city, writes Clare Garvie, a senior associate at the Georgetown center.
  • Chicago has installed similar real-time screening systems that can compare faces from video surveillance to the city's database of roughly 7 million mug shots, according to the report. The city claims it does not use technology it is paying for.
  • Pilot projects all around the country — from Seattle and LA to Orlando and New York — suggest that this is only the beginning.

It's not just where the systems are deployed that worries privacy advocates — it's how they're used. In a closer look at New York's system, Garvie found that the police have arrested suspects after searching the software for lookalike celebrities, and has even searched based on police sketches. These tactics increase the probability of bad matches.

The context: This week, San Francisco passed the first outright ban on facial recognition, and several other cities are considering doing the same.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 12,772,755 — Total deaths: 566,036 — Total recoveries — 7,030,749Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 3,269,531 — Total deaths: 134,898 — Total recoveries: 995,576 — Total tested: 39,553,395Map.
  3. Politics: Trump wears face mask in public for first time.
  4. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000.
  5. Public health: Trump's coronavirus testing czar says lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table" — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  6. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases

Data: Covid Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

Florida reported 15,299 confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday — a new single-day record for any state, according to its health department.

The big picture: The figure shatters both Florida's previous record of 11,458 new cases and the single-state record of 11,694 set by California last week, according to AP. It also surpasses New York's daily peak of 11,571 new cases in April, and comes just a day after Disney World reopened in Orlando.

Pelosi: Trump is "messing with the health of our children" with push to open schools

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' aggressive push to fully reopen schools this fall is "malfeasance and dereliction of duty," accusing the Trump administration of "messing with the health of our children."

Why it matters: Trump has demanded that schools reopen as part of his efforts to juice the economy by allowing parents to return to work, despite caution from health officials that little is known about how the virus impacts children.