Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Minority-owned Southern businesses get back on their feet post-pandemic with a fund's help; President Biden says don't panic over the new COVID variant; and eye doctors gauge the risk of dying from COVID.


U.S. Senate is back in session with a long holiday to-do list that includes avoiding a government shutdown; negotiations to revive the Iran Nuclear Deal resume; and Jack Dorsey resigns as CEO of Twitter.


South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Portland's Facial-Recognition Ban Seen as Model for U.S.


Thursday, September 9, 2021   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A year ago today, Portland passed one of the most sweeping bans of facial-recognition technology in the country.

The ban includes public and private uses and was pushed because of the technology's discrimination against people of color, women and other groups, which has been documented across the country.

Lia Holland, campaigns and communications director at the digital rights group Fight for the Future and a Portland resident, said the resolution inspired other parts of the country.

"Portland's ban on both public and private use of facial-recognition technology has served as the gold standard for organizers and activists over the past year as they've pushed for similar legislation in their own cities, states and on the national scale," Holland asserted.

Holland pointed out a resolution in Congress borrows language from Portland's ban. The prohibition went into effect in January.

Chris Bushick, executive director of PDX Privacy, said it is hard to tell how effective the ban has been because of the pandemic, which has kept many people inside.

She noted no city bureaus were using the technology as of an assessment in April, and added on the private side, someone has to take legal action in order to prove facial recognition is being used.

"So instead we have to look for violations that did happen and that would mean lawsuits or other complaints," Bushick outlined. "So far, we haven't seen any of those in Portland yet."

She pointed out it does not necessarily mean there has not been any use of the technology, just that no lawsuits have been filed.

Holland argued there still are gaps in the ban, and emphasized it is possible Portland Public Schools, which were not affected by the ban, were sold a temperature-scanning technology used to discriminate against a girl in Michigan.

"This technology is the exact same technology that misidentified a 14-year-old Black girl at a roller rink outside of Detroit," Holland reported. "And had her kicked out onto the street because they thought she was someone else, because the computer said so."

A study from 2020 found the algorithm driving facial-recognition technology is least accurate for Black women between the ages of 18 and 30.

get more stories like this via email
The proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge is key habitat to the federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly. (Eric Porter/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


HEMET, Calif. -- Public-lands groups are asking Congress to support the proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge, a 500,000-acre swath …

Social Issues

PRINCETON, Minn. -- President Joe Biden is expected to visit Minnesota today to tout passage of the new federal infrastructure bill. Those working …

Health and Wellness

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Advocates for access to mental-health services are holding a Behavioral Health Summit today at the Augusta Civic Center. They are …

Experts say eye exams do more than just help patients find the right prescription for glasses. (Dario Lo Presti/Adobestock)

Health and Wellness

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Eye exams can help determine your risk of dying from COVID, according to experts, because optometrists are often the first …

Health and Wellness

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- In a few weeks, Kentucky lawmakers will convene the General Assembly, and health advocates are calling for new policies to address …

Conservationists say the Recovering America's Wildlife Act could support improvements to water quality in the Ozarks, including the Buffalo National River. (Adobe Stock)


ST. JOE, Ark. -- More than a decade of restoration efforts in a section of Northern Arkansas' Ozark National Forest have led to 40 new species of …

Social Issues

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Legislature will consider three possible redistricting maps for the House and Senate when it meets for a special …

Social Issues

HOUSTON, Texas -- Minority-owned businesses across the South are benefitting from a program designed to help them get back on their feet post-…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021