Civil Rights & Constitutional Law

The LAPD will use drones—and people are pissed


Los Angeles' Blade Runner-esque future of a world watched by robots is here. On Tuesday, a civilian oversight panel gave the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) the OK to begin a year-long drone trial, primarily for reconnaissance in "tactical missions" conducted by SWAT. The decision came after a contentious meeting and protest by privacy advocates who oppose the use of drones by law enforcement. As the third largest police force in the nation behind New York and Chicago, the trial makes the LAPD the largest police force in the nation to use drones. The Chicago PD and New York PD confirmed in official statements to Mashable that neither police force deploys drones.

Civilian oversight panel hears guidelines for LAPD use of drones

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Police Department released formal guidelines on its proposal to fly drones during a one-year pilot program, spurring questions and concerns among members of a civilian oversight panel and the public at a contentious meeting Tuesday. "Our challenge is to create a policy that strikes a balance, that promotes public safety, the safety of our officers and does not infringe on individual privacy rights," Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told the Los Angeles Police Commission at the packed meeting. Before outlining the guidelines, Girmala reviewed initial feedback from the community on the proposed drone initiative. An assistant chief, the police chief and two police commissioners would also be notified.

Google's comment ranking system will be a hit with the alt-right


The underlying API used to determine "toxicity" scores phrases like "I am a gay black woman" as 87 percent toxicity, and phrases like "I am a man" as the least toxic. To broadly determine what is and isn't toxic, Disqus uses the Perspective API--software from Alphabet's Jigsaw division that plugs into its system. Pasting her "Dear white people" into Perspective's API got a score of 61 percent toxicity. It's possible that the tool is seeking out comments with terms like black, gay, and woman as high potential for being abusive or negative, but that would make Perspective an expensive, overkill wrapper for the equivalent of using Command-F to demonize words that some people might find upsetting.


FOX News

Just one week after the sheriff's department in Cecil County, Md., got its brand new drone up and running, it was asked to investigate a case of stolen construction equipment. So the Cecil County Sheriff sent his Typhoon H Pro to investigate. The sheriff's department in Somerset County, N.J., hopes its drones could help it find missing people. "Years ago, when we had people wander off, we would bring out the rescue department, the fire department, fire department volunteers, K-9 if we had it and we'd search and search and search and never find the person," said Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provensano.

Police Using Technology To Fight Crime Threatens Black Neighborhoods

International Business Times

But the city's new effort seems to ignore evidence, including recent research from members of our policing study team at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, that predictive policing tools reinforce, rather than reimagine, existing police practices. Machine-learning algorithms learn to make predictions by analyzing patterns in an initial training data set and then look for similar patterns in new data as they come in. Our recent study, by Human Rights Data Analysis Group's Kristian Lum and William Isaac, found that predictive policing vendor PredPol's purportedly race-neutral algorithm targeted black neighborhoods at roughly twice the rate of white neighborhoods when trained on historical drug crime data from Oakland, California. This should start with community members and police departments discussing policing priorities and measures of police performance.

2 charged with hate crimes after black family's home is hit by Molotov cocktails and racist graffiti

Los Angeles Times

In a crime that shocked a California Delta community, a man and woman were charged with hate crimes Tuesday in connection with launching Molotov cocktails into the home of a black family in Antioch and spray-painting the residence with a swastika and racial slurs, police said. Bayer buying Monsanto, Uber's self-driving cars, a Navy commander faces attempted rape charges, and Hesperia's halfway houses might be closed. Bayer buying Monsanto, Uber's self-driving cars, a Navy commander faces attempted rape charges, and Hesperia's halfway houses might be closed. Shirley Teeter was punched while attending a Donald Trump rally on Sept. 13 in Asheville, N.C. Shirley Teeter was punched while attending a Donald Trump rally on Sept. 13 in Asheville, N.C. For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.