Dec 19, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 390 words, a 2-minute read.

Situational awareness: House Democrats have passed USMCA, the trade deal that replaces NAFTA, just a day after impeaching President Trump.

1 big thing: Law enforcement's rising problem
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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

  • 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 WashPost.
  • 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 tells me.

  • 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.
Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

German tourists take a selfie in Sydney, Australia.

  • The province of New South Wales has declared a state of emergency for the next seven days with ongoing dangerous fire conditions and almost 100 bushfires burning across the state.
2. What you missed
  1. Confirmed: President Trump announced in the Oval Office that New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew will join the Republican Party. Go deeper.
  2. More than 1 million more workers will be eligible for overtime pay when a federal law kicks in on Jan. 1. Go deeper.
  3. GOP senators have called on NBCUniversal, which has broadcast rights for the Olympics, to refuse to air the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. Go deeper.
  4. Congress voted to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. Go deeper.
  5. A quick look around the world might give Trump comfort about being the third American president to be impeached. Go deeper.
3. Map du jour
Expand chart
Data: New York Fed; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Above is a vivid depiction of credit inequality in the United States, as first seen in Axios Edge (sign up here).

  • The dark areas show counties where a large proportion of the population has no access to credit, while the lighter areas are considered "credit-assured" or "credit-likely."

Go deeper.

Mike Allen