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The Man Behind San Francisco’s Facial Recognition Ban Is Working on More. Way More.

SAN FRANCISCO — As San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors prepared to vote Tuesday on an ordinance forbidding city agencies to use facial recognition technology, some proponents of the measure were uncertain if they had the necessary support. Two of the legislators who were for it had called in sick.But Brian Hofer, a paralegal who had drafted the ordinance, seemed unfazed. Sitting in the back of a chamber in City Hall, he wrote and rewrote a draft of a post for Twitter in which he would proclaim victory after the ban passed.Mr. Hofer, 41, had reason to feel confident. Over the past five years, he has drafted 26…

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How the Promise of a $120 Billion Uber I.P.O. Evaporated

Last September, Uber’s top executives were pitched by some of Wall Street’s biggest banks, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.The bankers’ presentations calculated Uber’s valuation almost identically, hovering around one particular number: $120 billion.That was the figure the bankers said they could convince investors Uber was worth when it listed its shares on the stock market, according to three people with knowledge of the talks. Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, and chief financial officer, Nelson Chai, listened and discussed the presentations, these people said. Then they hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to take the company public — and to effectively make the $120 billion valuation a reality.Nine…

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Trump Administration Balks at Global Pact to Crack Down on Online Extremism

PARIS — The Trump administration said on Wednesday that it would not sign an international accord intended to pressure the largest internet platforms to eradicate violent and extremist content, highlighting a broader divide between the United States and other countries over government’s role in determining what content is acceptable online.Citing free speech protections, the administration said in a statement that “the United States is not currently in a position to join the endorsement.” It added that “the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech.”The statement coincided with President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand meeting in Paris to sign…

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Facial Recognition’s Many Controversies, From Stadium Surveillance to Racist Software

The long-raging debate around facial recognition software, with all the privacy worries it brings with it, has taken on new urgency as the technology has improved and spread by leaps and bounds.On Tuesday, San Francisco became the first major American city to block police and other law enforcement agencies from using the software.Here is a look back at some of the many controversies over facial recognition and its use.The 2001 Super BowlIn January 2001, the city of Tampa, Fla., used a facial recognition surveillance system as it hosted Super Bowl XXXV.It was an early real-world example of how the technology could be used and prompted a backlash…

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Teen suspects in Colorado school shooting formally charged; case sealed

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (Reuters) - Two teenagers accused of fatally shooting a classmate and wounding eight others at a Denver-area high school last week were charged with murder and attempted murder on Wednesday. Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, are accused of opening fire on fellow students in two classrooms at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) charter school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on May 7. McKinney, who identifies as male, was listed on the court docket as Maya Elizabeth McKinney. Douglas County District Judge Theresa Slade has put the charges along with the entire case file under seal, banning the public from seeing it.…

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Helicopter crashes into Hudson River in New York, injuring two

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A helicopter crashed into the Hudson River in New York City on Wednesday shortly after taking off from Manhattan, causing minor injuries to the pilot and a dockworker, police and fire officials said. Dramatic video footage of the incident shot by witnesses and posted on social media showed the helicopter spinning seemingly out of control over the Hudson near 30th Street, before plummeting into the water. “Relieved to report there were no deaths or serious injuries after a helicopter incident on the Hudson river. Thank you to our first responders for your quick action,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter,…

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Wall St. ends higher as trade worries ease

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks closed higher on Wednesday as reports that U.S. President Donald Trump would hold off on imposing tariffs on imported cars and parts eased growth concerns even as economic data disappointed investors. All three major U.S. indexes saw their second straight day of gains following Monday’s steep sell-off, but the S&P 500 remained more than 3% below its all-time high reached just over two weeks ago. The prospect of a six-month postponement of tariffs on imported autos and auto parts, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s remarks that he expects trade talks to resume soon in China, was welcome news to investors,…

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Trump to propose plan to make U.S. immigration more merit-based

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will outline on Thursday a plan to harden border security and overhaul the legal immigration system to favor applicants who speak English, are well-educated and have job offers, senior administration officials said. FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to workers during a visit to the Cameron LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Export Facility in Hackberry, Louisiana, U.S., May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Leah MillisTrump’s immigration proposal, the product largely of senior advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller and economic aide Kevin Hassett, is an effort to rally Republicans on an issue that has often divided them. While its chances of approval…

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Buffett’s Berkshire unveils $861 million Amazon stake

(Reuters) - Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc said it owned $860.6 million of Amazon.com Inc shares at the end of March, after the billionaire admitted to underestimating the online retailer and its Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, Jan. 19, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File PhotoThe size of the investment was disclosed in a regulatory filing detailing Berkshire’s U.S.-listed stocks as of March 31. Wednesday’s filing includes investments by Buffett and his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, but does not say who bought and sold what. Buffett told CNBC this month that the…

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Trump order clears way for barring Huawei from U.S. telecommunications networks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk, paving the way for a ban on doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co. FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is seen at a bus stop in Mexico City, Mexico February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File PhotoThe executive order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the United States. The order directs the Commerce Department, working with other government agencies,…

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