Dec 19, 2019

Law enforcement's rising problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The latest and greatest tool for law enforcement has an existential problem.

Driving the news: A major federal study found "Asian and African American people were up to 100 times as likely to be misidentified than white men," per the Washington Post. It also found "high error rates for 'one-to-one' searches of Asians, African Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders."

Why it matters: The study confirms what independent researchers have long known — but the messenger matters, Axios' Kaveh Waddell says.

  • The Trump administration has put the National Institute of Standards and Technology in charge of new federal standards for AI, and some lawmakers have proposed having it audit controversial algorithms before they can be put to use.
  • The latest findings could be used to obstruct the rollout of AI found to be biased.

The big picture: Law enforcement is rapidly adopting facial recognition technology.

  • "The FBI alone has logged more than 390,000 facial-recognition searches of state driver's license records and other federal and local databases since 2011," the Post notes.

The bottom line: People of color are more likely to distrust facial recognition technology used for policing Axios' Orion Rummler reported this fall.

  • Pew found that 61% of white Americans trust the police to use the technology responsibly versus 56% of Hispanic Americans and 43% of black Americans.

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Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: "Widespread looting" occurred in Manhattan, including at "Macy's flagship store in Herald Square and luxury stores along Fifth Avenue" as the 11 p.m. curfew began Monday, per the New York Times.

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,273,402 — Total deaths: 375,683 — Total recoveries — 2,697,873Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,811,277 — Total deaths: 105,147 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The virus didn't go away.
Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

St. John's clergy: Trump used church as prop, Bible as symbol of division

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Clergy of the historic St. John's Episcopal Church expressed furor and confusion over President Trump's visit on Monday, which he claimed was to honor the establishment after George Floyd protestors sparked a small fire on the property Sunday night.

The big picture: Park rangers and military police deployed tear gas and physical force to disperse peaceful protestors from Lafayette Park, which surrounds the White House, so Trump could walk to "pay respects" to the church — and a St. John's rector on the scene revealed in a Facebook post that she was left "coughing" from the tear gas.