Saturday, April 23, 2016

Last Call For The App Police

Shouldn't reporting a crime in 2016 be as efficient as calling a car, ordering a pizza or checking your bank balance, especially when personal safety could be at risk? Crime is everywhere; where's the app for that?

In New Orleans, a wealthy real estate developer teamed up with the local police to launch a new app called French Quarter Task Force, an app where you can upload photos of possible criminals or "suspicious" people and get an officer from a special task force immediately dispatched to investigate.

To use the app, you tap "report a crime," choose your neighborhood, choose options like "aggressive solicitation" or "prostitution" and upload a photo.

But who are these "suspicious" people that could end up the subjects of a disproportionate number of reports?

Luckily, the immense capacity for abuse is exactly where the article goes.

In the past few years, there's been a slow parade of tone-deaf apps that try to fight crime and poverty by asking communities to report people to the police based on their appearances, regardless of whether they've committed a crime.

When a pair of New Yorkers launched an app called SketchFactor, which mapped reports of anything "sketchy" so people could avoid those areas, they were criticized for creating a hub for exercising casual racism. They remain adamant that "sketchy" isn't just a veiled slur for "black people who scare me."

Another data engineer from New York created an app so city officials could find concentrations of homeless people to round up.

"It just seems to be everywhere you go," the app's creator told the New York Post
Even apps meant for simple group coordination and communication can become hotbeds of prejudice. Some say NextDoor, a social network for local communities, often devolves into a community space for racial profiling. In Georgetown, in Washington, D.C., GroupMe chats meant to help local businesses report suspicious customers were shut down for disproportionately targeting black people.

Even while the motive — preventing crime and making policing more efficient — is sometimes well-intentioned, asking people to publish reports based on their fears and suspicions doesn't just open the door for prejudice, it justifies and encourages prejudice.

This is absolutely true.  We live in a country where tens of millions think black, gay, Hispanic, anyone darker than a paper bag or different from them need to be removed from their America.

I've had cops, apologetic and some very forcefully, ask me to leave stores or areas because people thought I was suspicious.  They didn't feel safe. I appreciate also living in a world where people are hurt and killed because there are dangerous people around them and they feel they have no recourse other than something like an anonymous app to summon help.

But 99% of it is going to be used to harass people of color.

And tech companies don't see any problems with trying to help the former group while protecting the latter.

Trump Cards, Con't

The GOP's big donors are moving to try to save the Senate rather than try to salvage the upcoming Trump/Cruz meltdown as the RNC is already pulling money from vital swing states a full seven and a half months before the election.

Committee officials outlined detailed plans in written “playbooks” distributed this year in the most competitive states about how they intended to assist Republican campaigns up and down the ballot with money and manpower. By July 1, Florida was to have 256 field organizers and Ohio another 176, for example, according to a state party chairman in possession of the strategy books who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. 
But Sean Spicer, the R.N.C.’s chief strategist, acknowledged this week that the committee had begun informing state parties and statewide campaigns that fulfilling such plans would now be “slower.” He said the pledges had been made with the assumption that Republicans would have “a presumptive presidential nominee by now.” 
Just as revealing, the party is also taking steps to create a separate fund-raising entity dedicated to Senate races, an acknowledgment that many of the wealthiest contributors are increasingly focused on protecting Republican control of Congress rather than a presidential campaign they fear is lost. 
Taken together, the party’s financial difficulties illustrate the considerable fallout Republicans are facing from a nominating contest that could last through mid-July and that features two leading candidates, Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, who are deeply troublesome to many leading Republican donors. 
“I think everything is up in the air,” said Matt Borges, the chairman of the Republican Party in Ohio, which in addition to being a perennial, and perhaps the pre-eminent, swing state is also home to a competitive Senate race this year. 
That sense of uncertainty, along with ample apprehension, loomed this week over the party’s spring meeting here along the Atlantic coast. What is typically an organizational gathering and convivial reunion for Republican state chairmen and chairwomen and other committee members has been subsumed by an explosive presidential race in which the front-runner is waging open war against the party and its longstanding nomination rules.

This race was supposed to be over by now for the GOP.  But Trump and Cruz have burned it all down, and Kasich has no chance of being the savior.  Jeb, Marco, and the rest are all gone.

There's nobody left.

More worrisome to many veteran Republicans than Mr. Trump’s complaints about the delegate-selection process, though, is what his eventual nomination could mean for the party’s prospects across the board this fall. Mr. Trump has no high-dollar donor network and has given little indication that he is willing to tap into his fortune to give the party the hundreds of millions of dollars it will require to finance a robust campaign. In the 2012 campaign, the R.N.C. raised more than $409 million. 
The party has accumulated $135 million so far this election, but what is deeply concerning to many Republican candidates, contributors and strategists is that it only had a little over $16 million on hand, along with nearly $2 million in debt, at the end of March. Mr. Spicer stressed that this was partly because the committee had already begun paying to send staff members to battleground states, well ahead of the corresponding time four years ago. 
But the party’s modest cash availability underscores how much hangs in the balance with its nominee. 
The minute Trump gets the nomination, the party is going to have to raise another three or four hundred million,” said Al Hoffman, a Florida-based Republican donor. “Trump should pay for it himself.”

Nobody wants to give Trump hundreds of millions to run a race he's going to lose by 20 points.  The big GOP donors threw their money away on McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan.  They're not going to do the same with The Donald.

They know Trump is going to lose.  They're trying to preserve the Senate, and that's not going to work either.

The GOP is going to get wiped out in November, and the big money guys know it.

A Mess Of Carolina BBQ, Con't

The fate of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game has been up in the air for a while now, with the NBA expressing its disappointment with GOP Gov. Pat McCrory over HB2 initially and then the NBA denying rumors that it was going to move the All-Star Game last week.

Well, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver put all that to rest in a big way with a very unambiguous statement to McCrory and the NC GOP this week: Change the law, or lose the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, period.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that if North Carolina’s LGBT law remains unchanged, the 2017 All-Star Game would have to be moved from Charlotte
Silver’s comments on the state’s controversial House Bill 2 came at the Associated Press Sports Editors’ commissioner meetings Thursday, according to attendees. Earlier in the day, Silver again called the law “problematic” for the league as it stands, but he said he’s confident state lawmakers will “do the right thing.” 
“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” Silver said at the APSE event. 
And speaking on ESPN’s Mike & Mike morning radio show, Silver said the NBA is more interested in working with local businesses and governments to effect change in the law, rather than in setting ultimatums about the 2017 All-Star Game, which is to take place in Charlotte. 
“They know what’s at stake in terms of the All-Star Game. But at least at the moment, constructive engagement on our part is the best way to go as opposed to putting a gun to their head and saying ‘do this or else,’” Silver said. 
It’s the same message he had last week following the NBA board of governors meetings in New York, when Silver said no decisions had been made about moving the game from Charlotte.

Your move, NC GOP.  But hey, losing the All-Star Game will only cost the state and businesses tens of millions, and I'm really sure that'll look good in November when you're up for re-election.

Good luck with that, guys.

Read more here:

Read more here:
Related Posts with Thumbnails