Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Boosters of surveillance technology argue that it can make cities safer, improve traffic, speed up airport and stadium lines, make workers more productive and safeguard valuable company property.

The big picture: People are willing to be watched in certain cases. Most people trust the police to use facial recognition responsibly, according to a new Pew Research survey, but the majority don't trust tech companies or advertisers to do the same.

Details: Police say facial recognition accelerates investigations, stripping away some human biases and shortcomings.

  • NYPD commissioner James O'Neill wrote in a New York Times op-ed in June that facial recognition matches led to nearly 1,000 arrests in 2018.
  • The volume of important digital evidence has exploded so fast that it's "quickly outpacing our ability to deal with it," says Jim Burch, president of the National Police Foundation.
  • But, but, but: Historically, surveillance hasn't clearly prevented or deterred terrorism and crimes. There’s no good data yet about emerging methods.

Companies, too, monitor employees' computers and phones to make sure they're not about to spill the beans to competitors or the press.

  • Or, by checking up on workers, they claim to "optimize productivity" and deliver projects more quickly.
  • For instance, Upwork, a company that helps clients find freelancers for code and design jobs, uses screen recording technology to "provide proof of work."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump signs 4 executive orders on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive orders to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,451,097 — Total deaths: 722,835 — Total recoveries — 11,788,665Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
4 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.