(Photo via iStock)

Pittsburgh police are investigating correspondence between Clearview facial recognition and police staff

The Pittsburgh police bureau is investigating contact between police staff and Clearview AI following inquiries by PublicSource about the bureau’s involvement with the facial recognition company. 

According to a recent story from Buzzfeed News, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police made between 101 and 500 searches on Clearview between 2018 and February 2020. Using data provided by a confidential source, along with public records and interviews, Buzzfeed News compiled a list of over 1,800 publicly funded agencies across the country that used Clearview, including 63 in Pennsylvania. Cara Cruz, a spokesperson for the Pittsburgh police, confirmed to PublicSource that members of the bureau received emails from Clearview and said the bureau is still investigating the extent of correspondence between Clearview and police staff. Any correspondence between Clearview and bureau staff occurred without the approval or knowledge of police command staff, Cruz wrote in an email to PublicSource, adding that the bureau has not and does not approve of the use of private facial recognition technologies. The bureau has a policy prohibiting its use.

Episode 8, Season 2: Sweat equity — A conversation with Pittsburgh activist Dena Stanley

In this episode, you’ll hear Dena Stanley, activist and executive director of TransYOUniting PGH, on the emotional and mental labor it takes to defend equity and the protection of human rights for the Black and trans community. We discuss how protests inform community organizing, how she feels about her “radical” reputation and the vulnerabilities of being a visible public defender of human rights in Allegheny County. TRANSCRIPT
 

Jourdan: Representative John Lewis' philosophy on activism with simple. If you see something that's not fair, that ain't right, say something, do something, get in some trouble over it, get in good trouble over it in Allegheny County. Dena Stanley is doing all three of those things and more in defense of your human rights. 

Dena:  I just go, I was I was put here for a reason.

Urban Ecologist and Professor, Dr. Marijke Hecht shares how design patterns influenced by systemic racism affect green space and the plant and pest variety in cities across the country and Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Courtesy photo)

Better nature, better relationship, better planet — A conversation with a Pittsburgh urban ecologist

Are discussions about the non-human natural world relevant to folks outside of climate change and environmentalist circles? After listening to Pittsburgh urban ecologist Marijke Hecht, you’ll understand how everyone plays a role in creating the environment. For episode 6, we’re reviewing a Science Magazine article on how design patterns influenced by systemic racism affect green space and the plant and pest variety in your neighborhood. Do you see more weeds or butterflies where you live? Hecht discusses her work as an urban ecologist and how community design, race and mental health are all related in Pittsburgh’s environmental ecosystem.

Microplastics found in waterways across PA, including 7 in Allegheny County. Why it’s dangerous and what you should know.

Microplastics were found in major waterways across Pennsylvania, according to a study released on March 3 by PennEnvironment. Researchers found microplastics, which are fragments of plastic less than 5 millimeters in length, in all 300 water samples taken from 53 waterways in the state, including seven waterways in Allegheny County. The study found microfibers from clothing and textiles in all of the waterways sampled. Microfilm from flexible plastics like bags or packaging was found in 94% of samples, and 87% of the waterways had microfragments present from harder plastic products. One body of water had microbeads from cosmetic products. 

In Allegheny County, five of the waterways — the Allegheny River, Nine Mile Run, Ohio River, Sewickley Creek and Turtle Creek — had fiber, fragment and film microplastics present.

A fuzzy photo of a computer screen with multiple people in a video meeting.

Racist ‘Zoombombing’ attacks have marred virtual events. Here’s how to protect your virtual space.

A historically Black sorority at Slippery Rock University saw its virtual poetry workshop in February overtaken by unknown users who hurled racist imagery and slurs into the Zoom space. Other groups in the region were victims of similar attacks while trying to host Black History Month events. Commonly referred to as “Zoombombings,” the intrusions are a national trend that began as colleges and schools moved classes to Zoom in March 2020. Platform providers and meeting organizers are still unable to reliably prevent them a year on. Zoombombings can go beyond disruption and cause physical and mental harm to traditionally marginalized communities.