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06/17/2020
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WorkScoop

Cops try to avoid bias with license plate readers

As the public has become increasingly concerned with the bias creeping into technologies like facial recognition, some police departments are opting instead to install license plate readers that authorities say sidestep bias concerns and can reduce the likelihood of violent encounters. Officers interviewed said one of the reasons for this claim is that LPR technology simply collects information from passing cars, rather than individuals: If the system returns an alert, it’s simply because the license plate is connected to a crime. But critics, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation warns that LPR data is “gathered indiscriminately, collecting information on millions of ordinary people" and can be used in unfair predictive policing tactics. Colin Wood reports.


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NYPD to release more body-cam footage

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday ordered the New York Police Department to make available to the public all video and audio footage from officers’ body-worn cameras from incidents in which an officer shoots, kills or seriously injures an individual. De Blasio made the order as he and the NYPD continue to face criticism about the department’s treatment of black New Yorkers and the city’s response to recent protests, including multiple violent encounters between officers and demonstrators. Going forward, all footage from violent officer-involved encounters will be published within 30 days; previously, footage was only released at the discretion of the NYPD commissioner. Officials did not say if this new policy will be applied to the many recent instances of police violence against demonstrators. Benjamin Freed has more.


DHS says this tool can track coronavirus decay

The Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security hopes to inform coronavirus response efforts nationwide with a web-based tool that calculates how fast the novel coronavirus breaks down after it becomes airborne, FedScoop's Dave Nyczepir reports. The tool, developed by S&T's National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, is intended to help federal, state and local health officials make decisions on minimizing person-to-person transmission by projecting how quickly the virus would spread under various conditions. Users can adjust for temperatures, humidity rates and the ultraviolet index. Read more on FedScoop.


Seattle distributes $345,000 to digital literacy organizations

Since 1997, Seattle’s IT department has managed a yearly contribution to improving digital equity throughout the city. On Tuesday, the city council announced that Seattle’s Technology Matching Fund will contribute $345,000 to 15 community organizations promoting technology access and digital literacy training. The groups awarded this year include several aimed at boosting internet connectivity in the city's immigrant and low-income communities. “The dual crises of COVID-19 and systemic racism in our region and our country are bringing into sharp relief the continued need for meaningful, intentional investments in our low-income communities and communities of color,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told StateScoop. Ryan Johnston reports.


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Remote Workforce — A StateScoop & EdScoop Special Report

Amid the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, government and universities made the rapid transition to telework. Now, as those same entities look toward whatever the future holds, remote work might just be here to stay. In this report, StateScoop and EdScoop reporters explore how government agencies have maintained resiliency, highlight CIO takeaways from the pandemic and look at how governments and universities will move forward. See the full report.


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