Aug 2, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Happy August Friday: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 499 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Kids at the center of facial recognition

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facial recognition is going everywhere far faster than expected — including creeping into private and public spaces as a means to keep tabs on children.

Why it matters: The people with the power to rein in this tech are the same ones who will most enjoy its benefits — while those who face its adverse effects, especially people of color and low-income communities, will be largely powerless to make anything change.

  • For the privileged, facial recognition saves time: Parents can keep tabs on their summer camp tykes thanks to facial recognition identifying their pics, the WSJ reports. Parents upload a pic of their kids, which is matched to new pics uploaded by camp photographers.
  • For the non-privileged, it's a source of concern: "The New York Police Department has been loading thousands of arrest photos of children and teenagers into a facial recognition database despite evidence the technology has a higher risk of false matches in younger faces." [NYT] This could especially expose more children of color to the school to prison pipeline.
  • For a mixture of both (via public schools), there are surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition meant to spot potential threats: Schools can upload a list of faces not allowed on the premises, and get notifications if someone on the list shows up. [WSJ]

The big picture: Security fears have propelled surveillance adoption, but there’s little evidence yet that this technology keeps kids safer, Axios' Kaveh Waddell emails.

The bottom line: Considering all the issues listed above, perhaps it wouldn't hurt to move a smidge slower before rolling out these ideas nationwide.

Go deeper: AI surveillance goes to school

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

Hongkongers gather with illuminated smartphone flashlights.

  • Pro-democracy protesters have continued rallies on the streets of Hong Kong, demanding Chief Executive Carrie Lam's resignation and the complete withdrawal of a bill that would have exposed Hongkongers to Chinese extradition.
2. What you missed
  1. The U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in July — right in line with economists' expectations of 165,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%. Chart.
  2. Trump announced Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would not be nominated to become the next director of national intelligence in a pair of tweets, saying it would expose him to "months of slander and libel." Go deeper.
  3. Trump said North Korea's three short-range missile tests this week do not comprise a violation of his agreement with Kim Jong-un, but still told Kim to "do the right thing." Go deeper.
  4. An administrative judge recommended the NYPD fire officer Daniel Pantaleo, the white officer accused of choking Eric Garner in 2014. Go deeper.
  5. American rapper A$AP Rocky was released today after weeks in Swedish detention, pending an Aug. 14. verdict in his assault trial, reports the Washington Post.
3. 1 fun thing: The zombie minivan

Beto driving a minivan. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Minivan sales have been struggling for years thanks to SUVs, but there's a chance they won't vanish from the face of this good Earth, the AP notes.

  • Only 5 automakers still make minivans, vs. 18 models on sale in 2005, the AP notes.
  • But margins are high: “Balloons rain from the sky every time they sell an Odyssey."

P.S. "Google spinoff Waymo is buying up to 62,000 Pacificas from Fiat Chrysler and is using them to haul people and test self-driving systems."

Mike Allen