The dating app Bumble has disabled its politics filter after it was supposedly used to reveal the identities of Capitol rioters, Mashable has reported. Bumble support posted on Twitter that it "temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse," adding that it "prohibits any content that promotes terrorism or racial hatred." Bumble has promised in another tweet that it will "be reinstated in the future." It also stated that it has removed users confirmed as participants in the US Capitol attack. We've temporarily removed our politics filter to prevent misuse.
A Los Angeles man admitted in federal court Thursday that he flew a drone that struck a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter that was responding to a crime scene in Hollywood. Andrew Rene Hernandez, 22, made the admission in pleading guilty to one count of unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft, a misdemeanor. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles said Hernandez is believed to be the first person in the country to be convicted of that offense, which carries a punishment of up to one year in prison. In his plea agreement, Hernandez admitted that he "recklessly interfered with and disrupted" the operation of the LAPD helicopter, which was responding to a burglary of a pharmacy, and that his actions "posed an imminent safety hazard" to the chopper's occupants. Reached by phone Thursday, Hernandez declined to comment.
Shortly after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week, the hunt was on to find those who participated. It wasn't that difficult, as these insurrectionists refused to wear masks in the middle of a pandemic, even if it meant being filmed breaking the law (or being livestreamed by one of their own). While the FBI seemingly failed to see the Capitol riot coming, they have set up a tip line for anyone who had information about participants. This led to people scouring the internet in attempt to identity these domestic terrorists. On January 7, the day after the riot, Foreign Policy for America NextGen Initiative Co-Chair Alia Awadallah noticed an uptick of MAGA-lovers on dating apps.
Say the word Apple today and we think of Steve Jobs' multi-billion-dollar technology company that spawned the iPhone and the Mac computer. But a decade before the California-based firm was even founded, Apple Electronics, a subsidiary of the Beatles' record label Apple, was working on several pioneering inventions – some of which were precursors of commonly available products today. Apple Electronics was led by Alexis Mardas, a young electronics engineer and inventor originally from Athens in Greece, known to the Beatles as Magic Alex. He died on this day in 2017, aged 74, and was one of the most colourful and mysterious characters in the Beatles' story. Dressed in a white lab coat in his London workshop, Mardas created prototypes of inventions that were set to be marketed and sold. These included the'composing typewriter' – powered by an early example of sound recognition – and a phone with advanced memory capacity.
The Los Angeles Police Commission approved a policy Tuesday that set new parameters on the LAPD's use of facial recognition technology, but stopped far short of the outright ban sought by many city activists. The move followed promises by the commission to review the Los Angeles Police Department's use of photo-comparison software in September, after The Times reported that officers had used the technology -- contrary to department claims -- more than 30,000 times since 2009. The new policy restricts LAPD detectives and other trained officers to using a single software platform operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which only uses mugshots and is far less expansive than some third-party search platforms. It also mandates new measures for tracking the Police Department's use of the county system and its outcomes in the crime fight. Commissioners and top police executives praised the policy as a step in the right direction, saying it struck the right balance between protecting people's civil liberties and giving cops the tools they need to solve and reduce crime -- which is on the rise.
In a recent New Yorker article about the Capitol siege, Ronan Farrow described how investigators used a bevy of online data and facial recognition technology to confirm the identity of Larry Rendall Brock Jr., an Air Force Academy graduate and combat veteran from Texas. Brock was photographed inside the Capitol carrying zip ties, presumably to be used to restrain someone. Brock was arrested Sunday and charged with two counts.) Even as they stormed the Capitol, many rioters stopped to pose for photos and give excited interviews on livestream. Each photo uploaded, message posted, and stream shared created a torrent of data for police, researchers, activists, and journalists to archive and analyze.
The FBI is seeking information on a half-dozen men suspected of assaulting federal officers Jan. 6 -- a pack that may include the alleged killer of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. A poster of the top suspects was sent out late Sunday night in a social media bulletin. The murder of a federal officer carries the death penalty. "Yes," Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI's former assistant director for counterintelligence, said when asked by the Herald Monday if one of those men shown could have killed Officer Sicknick. "The FBI is using facial recognition, surveillance cameras, geo-location of cell phones and more to find this guy or gal," Figliuzzi said.
Mr. Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications, including Alipay. It was the latest escalation of the president's economic war with China. Details and the start of the ban will fall to Mr. Biden, who could decide not to follow through on the idea. Separately, the Trump administration has also banned the import of some cotton from the Xinjiang region, where China has detained vast numbers of people who are members of ethnic minorities and forced them to work in fields and factories. In another move, the administration prohibited several Chinese companies, including the chip maker SMIC and the drone maker DJI, from buying American products.
They took our Capitol, stormed the halls, pilfered our documents, and shattered the norms of our democracy. The lasting damage from Wednesday's attack will not come from the mob itself, but from how we respond. Right now, a growing chorus is demanding we use facial recognition, cellphone tower data, and every manner of invasive surveillance to punish the mob. In the days since the attack, the airwaves have been full of former law enforcement officials claiming that surveillance is the answer, such retired FBI special agents Danny Coulson and Doug Kouns. Even many who are normally critical of policing have jumped on the surveillance bandwagon in the desire to find justice.
At the same time, there was indeed more action. In one major victory, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM banned or suspended their sale of face recognition to law enforcement, after the killing of George Floyd spurred global protests against police brutality. It was the culmination of two years of fighting by researchers and civil rights activists to demonstrate the ineffective and discriminatory effects of the companies' technologies. Another change was small yet notable: for the first time ever, NeurIPS, one of the most prominent AI research conferences, required researchers to submit an ethics statement with their papers. So here we are at the start of 2021, with more public and regulatory attention on AI's influence than ever before.