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Sessions stands by Russia probe recusal in face of Trump criticism, says he made 'right decision'

Fox News (Politics) - Fri, 07/28/2017 - 19:15
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an interview Thursday with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, stood firmly by his recusal from the FBI’s Russia investigation – saying he made “the right decision,” despite the criticism he faces from President Trump.

US orders diplomats' relatives to leave Venezuela ahead of controversial vote

Fox News (Politics) - 1 hour 34 min ago
The State Department Thursday ordered relatives of American diplomats to leave Venezuela ahead of an election that could end in the rewriting of that country's constitution.

Russia sanctions bill heads to Trump after Senate approval

Fox News (Politics) - 1 hour 55 min ago
The Senate voted decisively on Thursday to approve a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, sending the popular bill to President Donald Trump for his signature after weeks of intense negotiations.

Sessions stands by Russia probe recusal in face of Trump criticism, says he made 'right decision'

Fox News (Politics) - 2 hours 4 min ago
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an interview Thursday with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, stood firmly by his recusal from the FBI’s Russia investigation – saying he made “the right decision,” despite the criticism he faces from President Trump.

Acting ICE director wedgies ‘sanctuary city’ cheerleaders in front of WH press corps

Michelle Malkin - 2 hours 54 min ago

**Written by Doug Powers

Immigration & Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tom Homan kicked off Thursday’s WH briefing and he commanded the space like an M-80 in a mailbox. “Sanctuary City” mayors nationwide must still be chaffing after this wedgie, and don’t think some mainstream media stenographers weren’t thinking of making a run for the nearest safe space:

Entire video here.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Dolphins ex-cheerleader, lawyer getting divorced -- and Trump's a factor

Fox News (Politics) - 3 hours 19 min ago
A husband and wife in Florida are calling it quits partially due to conflicting support for President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Obama official made 'hundreds of unmasking requests,' GOP chairman says

Fox News (Politics) - 3 hours 34 min ago
An Obama official made “hundreds of unmasking requests” during the final year of the previous administration, according to a letter from a top Republican who raised new concerns that officials sought the identities of Trump associates in intelligence reports for “improper purposes.”

Anthony Scaramucci uses vulgar language to lash out at Priebus, make fun of Bannon in interview

Fox News (Politics) - 3 hours 55 min ago
Newly-appointed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci is using vulgar language to lash out against Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and make fun of Senior Adviser Steve Bannon in a new interview.

Conservative watchdog group files lawsuit for metadata of Comey memos

Fox News (Politics) - 4 hours 43 min ago
Conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch has filed suit against the Department of Justice asking for the metadata of the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey.

House GOP passes $788B bill for Pentagon, border wall

Fox News (Politics) - 4 hours 54 min ago
The House passed a $788 billion spending bill Thursday that combines a $1.6 billion down payment for President Donald Trump's controversial border wall with Mexico with a whopping budget increase for the Pentagon.

Trump honors 1st responders of congressional baseball attack

Fox News (Politics) - 6 hours 18 min ago
President Donald Trump presented the Medal of Valor on Thursday to five of the first responders who were injured in a shooting on a congressional baseball practice last month that critically wounded Rep. Steve Scalise.

Senate health bill: Marathon vote spree to determine fate of ObamaCare repeal

Fox News (Politics) - 6 hours 31 min ago
The Senate was poised late Thursday to launch into a marathon “vote-a-rama” on health care as part of Republican leaders' bid to pass some version of an ObamaCare repeal amid intense disagreements inside the party.

Sessions calls Trump criticism over Russia recusal 'kind of hurtful' in 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' interview

Fox News (Politics) - 6 hours 49 min ago
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has admitted that President Trump's criticism over his recusal from the Russia investigation has been "kind of hurtful," but insists he will continue in the job.

House votes for $1.6B down payment on border wall

Fox News (Politics) - 6 hours 58 min ago
The GOP-controlled House has given tentative approval to a $1.6 billion down payment for President Donald Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sanders won't say whether Trump has confidence in Priebus amid Scaramucci feud

Fox News (Politics) - 6 hours 59 min ago
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wouldn’t say Thursday whether President Trump has lost confidence in his chief of staff Reince Priebus amid an escalating and public feud with new communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

The process is the problem

Fox News (Politics) - 7 hours 18 min ago
Is there no way to fix it?

Boy Scouts apologize for 'political rhetoric' in Trump speech

Fox News (Politics) - 7 hours 32 min ago
The head of Boy Scouts of America issued an official apology Thursday for the “political rhetoric” included in the speech President Trump delivered to scouts earlier this week.

Trump's 'Russia, if you're listening' remark one year ago today still dogging him

Fox News (Politics) - 8 hours 53 sec ago
One year ago today, then-candidate Donald Trump raised the issue of Russian election meddling in remarks that had critics crying treason and apparently landed him on the radar of the FBI.

Watchdog: Pentagon almost gave fake cops $1M in guns, bombs

Fox News (Politics) - 8 hours 44 min ago
The Pentagon nearly gave over $1 million worth of rifles, pipe bombs and other military hardware to a fake police department -- set up as part of a government watchdog's sting operation, a new report reveals.

Don't Sacrifice Privacy on the Altar of Convenience

Cato Recent Op Eds - 9 hours 40 min ago

Matthew Feeney

We all hate long lines, whether we’re at train stations, airports, or grocery stores. Researchers and governments are hard at work to ease frustrating line congestion via facial recognition technology. Facial scanners may reduce time spent standing in boring lines, but they also threaten our privacy, which we shouldn’t sacrifice on the altar of convenience.

In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking steps to implement facial scanning systems at airports. Facial scan trials are already underway in six airports, with more deployments planned by early next year at “high-volume”international airports. The scanners are part of a biometric entry-exit plan that aims in part to confirm the identity of travelers leaving the U.S.

Two airlines—Delta and JetBlue—allow travelers to use facial scanners at select airports. From the Associated Press:

DHS officials hope to defray costs through partnerships with airlines that are incorporating biometrics to boost efficiencies. Two airlines in the pilot program—Delta and JetBlue—tout identity-verification technology’s convenience for other ends: Delta for speeding baggage handling, JetBlue for eliminating boarding passes. Both carriers say they will not retain customers’ face scan files.

In their privacy impact assessment for the facial scanning scheme DHS bluntly states, “the only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling.” The same assessment also points out that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can share facial recognition information with state, local, and federal agencies.

Shorter lines, no ticket turnstiles, and stores without checkouts sound great, but they come at a significant cost when they rely on facial recognition.

Although CBP does mention that all newly captured photos will be deleted after 14 days it’s worth keeping in mind that CBP could extend this time period in the wake of a terrorist attack or other emergency

In the United Kingdom, government-backed facial recognition technologycould be used to ease congestion at London Underground stations. The goal is for participating passengers to simply walk by cameras rather than wait at cumbersome ticket turnstiles. The technology, built by Bristol Robotics Laboratory, is reportedly accurate enough to distinguish between identical twins. According to Bristol Robotics Laboratory’s Professor Lyndon Smith, the technology could be commercially available in 2019.

The United Kingdom is one of the most surveilled countries in the developed world, and the data collected as part of this proposed scheme will be in the hands of Transport for London, a local government body. We shouldn’t be surprised if London Underground’s facial recognition data finds its way into the hands of law enforcement.

Such data sharing between Transport for London and London police would hardly be unprecedented. A 2014 report from London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) stated that Transport for London sends MPS license plate data for national security purposes:

The Mayor’s Crime Manifesto, published in April 2012, made a commitment to make Transport for London Automatic Number Plate Recognition data available to the Metropolitan Police Service for the purposes of preventing and detecting crime.

[Transport for London] collects [Automatic Number Plate Recognition] data from the central London Congestion Charging Zone and the London-wide Low Emission Zone camera networks and processes it for the purpose of enforcement and traffic monitoring. This data is already transferred to the MPS for the purposes of National Security.

In May 2015, the London mayor announced that MPS had access to license plate data for criminal—not only national security—investigations:

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has more than doubled the number of high-tech cameras used by the Police (MPS) to help identify criminals and bring them to justice. Around 2,300 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are now in use for policing purposes in London after the MPS were granted access to 1,300 Transport for London cameras which were developed to enforce the Congestion Charge Zone and the Low Emission Zone. Each camera takes a digital reading of passing traffic, allowing speedy identification and collecting real-time data on the precise whereabouts of stolen cars or vehicles involved in crime. This vital information enables the police to detect more criminals, and deter and disrupt criminality on London’s streets. The move to incorporate Transport for London’s ANPR cameras into the Met’s network was one of the Mayor’s 2012 Manifesto pledges and part of his drive to bear down on crime in the capital.

A similar access policy will no doubt be in place once the London Underground’s facial recognition system is up and running.

Chinese companies are developing facial recognition technology that can not only identify people but may one day be able to predict crimes. A Singaporean company, Xjera Labs, has built surveillance technology that can identify vehicles as well as people. It also allows users to search CCTV footage for particular activity, such as a street fight. Xjera Labs’ technology is used by police in Singapore as well as Chinese schools. This may strike some as creepy and intrusive, but many people see benefits. Chinese researchers have built ATMs that use facial recognition to determine identity. Thanks to facial recognition, one cafe owned by the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba does not need self-checkout kiosks, let alone human check-out assistance.

These innovations from the United Kingdom and China or others like them will find their way to the United States, where around half of adults are already part of a facial recognition network.

Shorter lines, no ticket turnstiles, and stores without checkouts sound great, but they come at a significant cost when they rely on facial recognition.

The increased use of facial recognition will enable law enforcement to more easily track your lawful movements. When merged with CCTV, body camera, and drone technology facial recognition will allow law enforcement to identify law abiding citizens. The widespread use of facial recognition will open the door for increased tracking and surveillance as well as the stifling of First Amendment-protected activities.

We shouldn’t think of facial recognition as a necessarily nefarious technology. It would be great to live in a world where there are fewer airport and shopping lines and our privacy is protected. And we could, provided that lawmakers take steps to limit the facial recognition data government collect and citizens don’t hurry to sacrifice their privacy for convenience.

Matthew Feeney is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

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