All posts by Midnightschildren

DC Oversight Hearing on Facial Recognition Software

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March 22, 2017

  • Approximately half of adult Americans’ photographs are in a FRT database.
    • 18 states each have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the FBI to share photos with the federal government, including from state departments of motor vehicles (DMV). The committee identified Maryland and Arizona as having MOUs with the FBI.
    • The FBI will continue to pursue MOUs with states to gain access to DMV images.
  • The FBI used facial recognition technology (FRT) for years without first publishing a privacy impact assessment, as required by law.
  • FRT has accuracy deficiencies, misidentifying female and African American individuals at a higher rate. Human verification is often insufficient as a backup and can allow for racial bias.
  • The FBI went to great lengths to exempt itself from certain provisions of the Privacy Act.

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73 Groups Challenge Facebook Censorship

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More than 70 media justice groups wrote to Facebook, the ubiquitous social network, to challenge the company’s growing censorship of user-generated content.  A disturbing chain of incidents has included the deactivation of Korryn Gaines account before she was shot by police, the removal of iconic photos of Agent Orange attacks by the US military in Vietnam, and the disabling of several Palestinian journalists accounts after Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Continue reading 73 Groups Challenge Facebook Censorship

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Oakland Police Department Rejects Predictive Policing

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Predictive policing is the use of computer-generated algorithims to predict crimes prior to happening. Made famous in Phillip K. Dick’s Minority Report and the later film with Tom Cruise in which a futuristic policeman goes on the run after being accused of a precrime, software such as “Predpol” is becoming quite the rage in police departments across the country. Continue reading Oakland Police Department Rejects Predictive Policing

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Pacific Felt Factory Leads Bay Area Response To Ghost Ship Fire

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Cutting edge community arts space and Media Alliance’s wonderful new home, the Pacific Felt Factory,  sprung into action after the tragic Ghost Ship Fire in December of 2016, to  arm artists with fire safety tools to avoid tragedy in the living space challenges all low-income Bay Areans face.

Brava Theater for the Arts hosted a free anonymous fire safety workshop for Bay Area artists featuring a host of safety supplies and equipment and demonstrations and advice from the SF Fire Department, with an amnesty agreement that no one at the workshop needed to divulge where they were living in order to get their questions answered or to receive supplies.

The workshop got a huge amount of press attention including KRON , KPIX and KTVU.

Watch the video!

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Remaking Media

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The History of Media Alliance – Excerpted from “Remaking Media: The Struggle to Democratize Public Communication”.

Posted by Bob Hackett (Author) and Bill Carroll (Author) on May 27th, 2009

In its 7 January 2002 cover story on media reform, the respected progressive periodical The Nation recognized Media Alliance in San Francisco (now Oakland) as one of several ‘crucial organizations’ for building media democracy in the US.

The seed from which this non-profit media advocacy group sprouted was the post-Watergate generation of journalists, against the backdrop of a high tide of liberal reformism in American politics. The tumult of the Vietnam war era had receded following the withdrawal of US troops, but the movements which it had engendered were impacting the State machinery. Lawmakers and courts were moving forward on environmental protection, reproductive rights, women’s equality and other issues. Buoyed by the liberal zeitgeist but frustrated by the conservative disposition of mainstream media, about 50 journalists began meeting in 1975-6 to socialize and discuss media and political issues.  Larry Bensky describes his fellow founding members as journalists, especially freelancers, but also many employed in both corporate and alternative media, people dissatisfied with corporate media coverage of events in the Bay Area (like the Vietnam war and the anti-war movement), and hoping to change that. Continue reading Remaking Media

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