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06/11/2020
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WorkScoop

Facial recognition put in time out

Amid a national discussion over the powers of police departments, Amazon said yesterday it's suspending for one year the use of its facial recognition software, called Rekognition, by law enforcement agencies and other government entities. The software, which had been used by a handful of local police departments and federal agencies, has been criticized for violating individuals' privacy and inaccurately matching people of color with photos of criminal suspects. Earlier in the week, IBM announced it would suspend development of facial recognition technologies. But the American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued governments over their use of Rekognition, was skeptical that a short ban would change much. "This surveillance technology’s threat to our civil rights and civil liberties will not disappear in a year,” the group said. Ryan Johnston reports.


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Budgets fall, robots rise

As the states face billions in budget shortfalls, some state chief information officers are showing greater interest in technologies that can automate various administrative tasks, hoping to reduce the strains on government workforces that may soon be thinned out amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Hawaii, which is facing an estimated $1 billion budget shortfall, CIO Douglas Murdock said robotic process automation, a class of software designed to complete repetitive tasks like data entry, is becoming more attractive. “I think we’re all going to look for ways to streamline because things like RPA are going to be necessary,” he said. Colin Wood reports.


House leaders urged to fund FCC's new broadband data collection

A day after the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to use inaccurate data to distribute $16 billion in broadband expansion funding, 13 Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee urged their colleagues to give the FCC the funding to improve its data collection process. The members signed a letter imploring their colleagues in the Democratic majority to fully fund the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act, which was supposed to force the FCC to quickly adopt new data collection rules, including new verification techniques and maps to collect more granular broadband coverage data than it currently receives from telecommunications companies. But since being signed into law in March, the act has gone unfunded.   Ryan has more.


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What's next for the remote workforce?

As states reopen amid the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, governments and universities are evaluating the future of the remote workforce. In a new era dominated by social distancing, remote work might just be here to stay for the long haul. With that in mind, in this special report StateScoop and EdScoop reporters explore what’s next for the remote workforce and how things could change going forward. See the full report.


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