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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Law enforcement's use of facial recognition faces a new wave of scrutiny because of a wrongful arrest lawsuit by Nijeer Parks, a 33-year-old Black man in New Jersey.

Why it matters: While advocates of the tech say it's a valuable tool in solving crime, facial recognition programs repeatedly show they are less accurate on people of color.

Parks spent more than a week in jail on charges of shoplifting, drug possession and assault. His case was dismissed in November 2o19.

  • Authorities used a driver's license shown during the crime to pull a photo of the perpetrator. They say the photo was a "high profile" match to Parks.
  • It's unclear which specific software was used in Parks' case

The big picture: Some jurisdictions, including Portland and San Francisco, have banned the use of facial-recognition technology in law enforcement, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • Other companies that produce the tools have pulled back their distributions or halted police use until racial biases can be addressed.

The bottom line: Parks "is the third person known to be falsely arrested based on a bad facial recognition match," the N.Y. Times notes.

  • "In all three cases, the people mistakenly identified by the technology have been Black men."

Go deeper

Arizona Judge: Adding mask mandates ban to budget bill is unconstitutional

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An Arizona judge ruled Monday that the state's ban on mask mandates in schools, and other measures put into the state budget by Republicans, are unconstitutional, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The sweeping ruling voids a ban on vaccine requirements for public universities, community colleges and local governments, and strikes down some non-COVID-related measures like a ban on teaching critical race theory in classrooms and anti-fraud measures for ballots.

Activision to set up $18M victims fund in response to harassment suit

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard announced plans Monday to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hours after it was filed.

Why it matters: This is Activision's most visible acknowledgment of problems at the company, in the wake of a series of workplace misconduct lawsuits, complaints and investigations initiated against the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" maker since the summer.

Pfizer testing oral pill for prevention of COVID

Photo: Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer announced Monday that it is testing an oral antiviral drug that would help prevent COVID-19.

Why it matters: This drug is one of several antiviral pills that could have a massive impact on coronavirus treatment since not everyone will get a vaccine, and it may take years to fully vaccinate people in certain countries, per Axios' Alison Snyder.