Facial recognition…

July 9, 2020

Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier, Wendy Gillis and Kate Allen
Clearview AI to pull out of Canada and stop working with RCMP amid privacy investigation

Clearview is the US Company selling the access and use of their facial recognition software, currently used by the RCMP and formerly by other provincial and municipal police forces.  Critics have long insisted that the software mistakes the subject more than it accurately recognizes the persons, especial people of colour.  “Clearview AI has advised Canadian privacy protection authorities that, in response to their joint investigation, it will cease offering its facial recognition services in Canada,” said a statement from the Office of the Privacy Commission of Canada on Monday…The announcement comes amid an ongoing joint investigation by Canadian privacy regulators into whether Clearview’s artificial intelligence technology, called “reckless” and “invasive” by critics, breaks Canadian privacy laws.”  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/07/06/clearview-ai-to-pull-out-of-canada-and-stop-working-with-rcmp-amid-privacy-investigation.html      Related article: CBC News – Claire Loewen   Montreal police’s new street check policy draws criticism – Despite calls for a ban, police force says street checks are an ‘important activity’    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-police-street-check-policy-1.5640656

The Feminist on Cellblock Y

This is a 75 minute video of a program operating in Soledad prison in California called Success Stories – designed, facilitated and delivered to fellow prisoners on the subject of toxic masculinity and its influences on the lives and behaviour of the prisoners.  There are some powerful sub-themes also running through the presentations and discussions but ultimately the focus remains on how to unplug the emotional life from the twisted early childhood learnings.  Clearly, as well, the role of the children of the prisoners is a manifest motivation for transformational change.  This is a powerful educational video available on CNN.    https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/04/18/the-feminist-on-cellblock-y-doc-orig.cnn   Related article:  Medium.com  –  The Good Men Project – Dyanne Brown   Why Weaponizing the Police Is Troubling and Potentially Deadly for Black Men  https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/why-weaponizing-the-police-is-troubling-and-potentially-deadly-for-black-men-a33ddb70a10d

Marshall Project (US) – Kathryn Joyce
She Said Her Husband Hit Her. She Lost Custody of Their Kids

The link offers a critical perspective on the issue of how domestic violence allegations impact the court process for determining the custody decisions of children in divorce.  Most observers would opine that the court will favour the mother but this article is suggesting that the courts have a built in proclivity for denying the mother who charges domestic abuse.  https://longreads.com/2020/07/08/domestic-violence-custody-family-court-disputes/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Crime Prevention (Ottawa) – Scheduled Webinars

July 13, 2020   12:00 noon – 1:00 pm  CPO Virtual Speaker Series

Understanding Systemic Anti-Black Racism: How did we get here? Some of the “shapes” it takes on. What must be done?
The brutal killing by Minneapolis police officers of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd has precipitated outrage and global protest. It has exposed, on a world stage, a reality that racialized Black people, have known and experienced for a very long time: systemic anti-Black racism. The presentation will help participants be better informed on topics such as: the European invention of the myth of “race”, a brief history of Canada’s racist policies including the enslavement of indigenous and Black peoples for over 200 years, evidence of the systemic nature of ongoing anti-Black racism, white privilege and what constructive steps we can take together.  Presenter: Rev. Dr. Anthony Bailey, Minister, Anti-Black Racism Trainer
Register: To ask questions during the Q & A, you must register and participate in the Zoom webinar.
July  20, 2020   12:00 noon – 1:00 pm

Anti-Indigenous Racism In Canada: They Couldn’t Make  Us Disappear

Beginning with Confederation, Canada has systematically attempted to make “the Indian problem” disappear.  Ed Buller will share his knowledge of how Canada’s racist legislation and policies since1867 have systematically eroded Indigenous culture, spirituality and resources in efforts to “civilize” Indigenous peoples to fit within general Canadian society.  In spite of these efforts, they failed although it has resulted in an unsustainable level of incarceration of Indigenous men and women in prisons, marginalization of Indigenous people and persistent run-ins with police.

This presentation will examine federal legislation, such as Treaties and the Indian Act, policies that made Indigenous peoples “wards of the State”, residential schools and the ’60s Scoop.  Ed Buller will show that, in spite of everything there continues to be a slow and growing renaissance of Indigenous culture and spirituality.  Presenter on Anti-Indigenous Racism: Ed Buller    Register: To ask questions during the Q & A, you must register and participate in the Zoom webinar. 

If you don’t wish to register and participate, you may view the session live on CPO’s Facebook page.


Rachel Barkow (US) Twitter

Barkow, an NYU law professor, is the author of a new book called Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration offering a political take on mass incarceration.  The link is to a string of tweets which focus on elements of prison reform possible now without any legislations.  In particular she is challenging long sentences and charging practices.  A N.Y. Times review of the book was in the last issue of communiqué. https://twitter.com/RachelBarkow/status/1281188533093482496

WFSU (Florida) – Blaise Gainey
The Fight to Vote Part 4: The Disenfranchisement of Women

The link, the fourth part of a series, is offering specific commentary on the high increased rate of imprisonment for women and the connection to the voting disenfranchisement as well as the social and economic fall-out.  “A hundred years after women earned the right to vote, they’re now the fastest-growing group of people losing it. Part 4 of this series examining felon disenfranchisement looks at how and why women are being incarcerated in record numbers, and how the issue affects Black women in particular.”   https://news.wfsu.org/state-news/2020-07-03/the-fight-to-vote-part-4-the-disenfranchisement-of-women?_amp=true&__twitter_impression=true

Toronto Star – Betsy Powell
Toronto police face growing calls to reform. Some 360 people have signed up to tell them how

With both the chief of police and the head of the Toronto police union on the verge of retirement, there seems no shortage of people with advice about what is needed for police reform, and it’s only the first of four such gatherings.  “People are feeling frustrated because despite many promises of transformation and reform very little has actually changed, or is changing,” said Danica Izzard, from the Toronto Labour Council, who is on the speakers’ list.”  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/07/09/toronto-police-face-growing-calls-to-reform-some-360-people-have-signed-up-to-tell-them-how.html

The Atlantic – Derecka Purnell
How I Became a Police Abolitionist – When people dismiss abolitionists for not caring about victims or safety, they tend to forget that we are those victims, those survivors of violence.

Purnell, a civil rights lawyer who grew up witnessing uncontrolled violence from police in her neighbourhood, thinks that if you reform police you get polite police managers of inequality whereas if you abolish police you make both police and inequality obsolete.  Most victims of the inequality supported by police, she says, do not die and become well-known celebrities in death.  They suffer injury and continued inequality.  “Policing is among the vestiges of slavery, tailored in America to suppress slave revolts, catch runaways, and repress labor organizing.”  She says she did not arrive at these conclusions quickly or easily.  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/how-i-became-police-abolitionist/613540/?utm_term=2020-07-06T11%3A00%3A32&utm_content=edit-promo&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=the-atlantic&utm_medium=social

Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham
Hunger strike ends at Milton jail ends after three days

Milton Provincial Jail is the third in recent time to endorse a hunger strike.  The usual provocation for tension inside is poor food but the summer heat wave adds to the problem, especially when the guards invoke repeated lockdowns for as many as six days at a time, paralleling solitary.  Previously the jails in Ottawa and Lindsay both had hunger strikes.  There is a dispute between what the Ministry officials are saying and what the prisoners are reporting.  All three jails cater to a large number of remands.  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/07/09/hunger-strike-ends-at-milton-jail-ends-after-three-days.html