“We’re counting on your support,” students wrote in an open letter to Angela Merkel’s government. Under new pandemic rules, international students face expulsion from the US if their schools offer online-only classes.
Sounds cool but can also feed vigilantism.
The New York Times explains why Chris Larsen installed over a thousand surveillance cameras around San Francisco to monitor 135 city blocks:
It sounds sinister. A soft-spoken cryptocurrency mogul is paying for a private network of high-definition security cameras around the city. Zoom in and you can see the finest details: the sticker on a cellphone, the make of a backpack, the color of someone’s eyes… While violent crime is not high in the city, property crime is a constant headache. Anyone who lives here knows you shouldn’t leave anything — not a pile of change, not a scarf — in a parked car… locals are tired of the break-ins.
So how do they reconcile “defund the police” with “stop the smash and grabs”? Mr. Larsen believes he has the answer: Put security cameras in the hands of neighborhood groups. Put them everywhere. He’s happy to pay for it…. Here is what he is doing: Writing checks for nearly $4 million to buy cameras that record high-definition video of the streets and paying to have them maintained by a company called Applied Video Solutions. The rest is up to locals in neighborhood coalitions like Community Benefit Districts, nonprofits formed to provide services to the area. Here is how the project works: Neighbors band together and decide where to put the cameras. They are installed on private property at the discretion of the property owner, and in San Francisco many home and business owners want them. The footage is monitored by the neighborhood coalition. The cameras are always recording…
As proponents of Mr. Larsen’s network see things, they get the safety of a surveillance state without the state… It is arguably more compelling evidence in court because the video is monitored by a third-party intermediary who can testify that it is a continuous feed. It is time stamped. And because the network covers many blocks, the footage can tell a broader story than a single camera about an event that might be moving from block to block, in the case of, for example, a fight…. “This has underscored the importance of not just cameras but of communitywide camera coverage,” Mr. Larsen said.
“Body cams show some pretty core weaknesses because we don’t have universal access to police body cam footage, and there’s a fundamental conflict of interest if the video shows something bad for the department.” The answer is more cameras, he said, and then keep that footage in the hands of citizens. He argued that trust will come in the form of full city camera coverage, so police can play a smaller, more subtle role. Individual vigilantism will not work, he argued, but strong neighborhoods with continuous video feeds on every corner will. “That’s the winning formula,” Mr. Larsen said. “Pure coverage.”
The locally-stored footage is erased after 30 days. Thought it’s not covered by the city’s newly-enacted ban on facial recognition software, Larsen says “We’re strongly opposed to facial recognition technology. Facial recognition is too powerful given the lack of laws and protections to make it acceptable.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Reports of an internal CDC memo warn that “fully reopening schools and universities remained the ‘highest risk’ for the spread of the coronavirus.” [ more › ]
Trump’s latest abuse of power is so flagrant that Republicans should want to punish him for their own self-preservation. But they won’t.
Source: Commuting Roger Stone’s Sentence Should Get Trump Impeached – Bloomberg
Croatia makes wearing face masks obligatory in most closed public spaces from next week as the number of COVID-19 cases keeps rising.
Over the past 13 days, hospitalizations in Miami-Dade County have gone up by 74%, the number of beds in intensive care units being used has increased by 88% and the use of ventilators has soared by 123%, according to the latest data from the county government.
Source: Florida publicly discloses hospitalizations as the US breaks another case record – CNN
Some 4,000 people have so far registered to take part in coronavirus vaccination trials at Germany’s University Hospital in Tübingen, near the southwestern city of Stuttgart. Researchers say the large number of potential volunteers came as a surprise, as they normally struggle to find enough people to take part in medical studies. “It’s a real luxury situation, unlike usual clinical trials,” study director Peter Kremsner told the dpa news agency. “Normally we have trouble coming up with enough test subjects.”
Researchers say they are surprised at the number of people who have offered to take part, as they usually struggle to find enough guinea pigs. The study will test the success of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by CureVac.