I watched the Star Wars prequels again in the past couple days. And while they are definitely not great, I appreciate Lucas having the courage to try something different. “Duel of the Fates” still slaps.– Robert
THE BIG NEWS
“Crime Fighting” Facial Recognition Technology Used to Evict People from Public Housing
Housing agencies across the United States are using surveillance systems, some equipped with facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence, to evict public housing residents, the Washington Post reports.
Much of the surveillance tech was purchased through federal grants from HUD meant to be used to “address crime and drug related activity.” Instead, the tech is being used to police low-income people for minor violations of public housing rules like “removing a cart from a communal laundry room” and “violating overnight guest rules.” A HUD spokesperson told WaPo that these were not the intended uses of the grant funding, but also they are “not in violation of grant terms.” In many cases housing authorities are footing the bills themselves to the same effect--around-the-clock surveillance of their residents. Here is one galling snippet from the WaPo piece:
Tania Acabou was served an eviction notice in 2021 after the housing authority in New Bedford, Mass., used cameras to investigate her over several months. A single mother of two, Acabou had relied on her ex-husband to help take care of their kids while she worked days as a bus driver and attended night school to train for a career as a lab technician. The housing authority believed her ex was living at the house without contributing rent, court records show, violating a policy that restricts overnight visitors to 21 nights a year.
The housing authority used software to place a digital marker next to Acabou’s front door and told the system to retrieve every moment when motion was detected near the marker, documents and interviews show. When her property manager suspected that Acabou’s ex was leaving through the back door, she set up a portable camera in the backyard pointed directly at that door.
In April, HUD announced a ban on facial recognition and AI tech for surveillance, but these restrictions would only apply to future grant recipients and does not prevent housing agencies from buying and using the tech themselves, which was the case for the New Bedford Housing Authority.
The Post included a chilling graphic in showing that public housing developments are more surveilled than Los Angeles Airport or the Louvre. One facility in Rolette, North Dakota has 107 cameras for 100 residents.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Biden Vetoes Restoration of Solar Tariffs
The resolution, which passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan (but mostly Republican) support, would have reimposed tariffs on solar modules imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, reports the Washington Post. Chinese companies have been using these intermediary countries to offload its solar components for sale in the U.S. market while avoiding tariffs. The fight over the tariff represents a rift within the solar industry itself, with major solar energy companies at odds with domestic manufacturers, and an ideological battle between believers in strong domestic industrial policy and adherents to free trade. When announcing the veto, Biden made sure to note the expansion of 51 new solar manufacturing plants.
Biden to Shorten Trip to Pacific Over Debt Ceiling Crisis
Biden may skip trips to Papua New Guinea and Australia to return to negotiations over the debt ceiling. The trips were scheduled after a three-day summit with G-7 leaders in Japan starting Thursday, according to the New York Times. As Corey told you yesterday, Biden is losing his nerve in debt ceiling negotiations, signaling he’d be willing to put in tougher work requirements for food stamps. Joe Manchin too brought up more work requirements for benefits yesterday. The shortened trip signals that talks yesterday did not go too well, and that the administration is squeezing in more days for negotiation wherever he can get them. The expected X-date, the date the federal government would default on its debt, of June 1st is fast approaching.
- “Full Self-Driving” Tesla Sees Pedestrian in Crosswalk and Doesn’t Slow Down Tesla’s deranged fan club is trying to spin this as a good thing. via ArsTechnica.
- Oxford Drops Sackler Name from Uni Buildings The university also cut social ties with the billionaire family responsible for starting the opioid crisis as producers and pushers of oxycontin. via FT.
- US and EU to Step Up Coordination on Sanctions The experience with the Russian invasion has impressed upon Washington and Brussels a need for aligning sanctions. via FT.
- Ron DeSantis is in Iowa Trying to Appear Normal Meatball Ron has an unnatural way of laughing. via TPM.
That’s how much biotech company Amgen is offering to acquire Horizon Therapeutics, but the FTC is seeking to block the deal. Go Lina Khan. via FT.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
5/17: It's Hump Day! Sam hosts Anjeanette Damon, government accountability reporter in ProPublica's Southwest Office, and Byard Duncan, engagement reporter also at ProPublica, to discuss their recent piece entitled "The Ugly Truth Behind “We Buy Ugly Houses”. Then, Sam is joined by Vilma Serrano of the Oakland Education Association, to discuss the recent agreement struck between striking teachers and the school district.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
Shapiro loves to fixate on cartoon nipples.
Free speech absolutist over here.
“The U.S. government should consider a combination of licensing or registration requirements for development and release of AI models above a crucial threshold of capabilities, alongside incentives for full compliance with these requirements."
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