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May 21, 2019updated 20 May 2019 4:13pm

San Francisco to ban use of facial recognition in policing / Honor launches new flagship smartphone / Researchers unveil robot-drone hybrid

By Luke Christou


Good morning, here’s your Tuesday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

San Francisco to ban use of facial recognition technology in policing

San Francisco will today become the first US city to ban the use of facial recognition by police forces and government agencies.

The Stop Secretive Surveillance ordinance will ban authorities from using the technology or retaining information collected through such software.

The document suggests that the use of facial recognition technology could “endanger civil rights and civil liberties”, which “substantially outweighs its purported benefits”.  There are also fears it could “exacerbate racial injustice” and lead to “continuous government monitoring”.

The ordinance was approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last week, who voted 8-1 to proceed with the ban. It will go through a second reading at the Board of Supervisors meeting today, but there are unlikely to be any last-minute challenges to its implementation.

Honor launches new flagship smartphone

Honor, a sub-brand of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, will today release a new series of flagship smartphones, the Honor 20 and the Honor 20 Pro.

Details have been kept under wraps ahead of a London launch event, which will see George Zhao, president of Honor, unveil the latest device. However, sample photos released ahead of launch displayed the model’s impressive 48 megapixel camera.

Rumours suggest that the Honor 20 line will be powered by Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 980 chipset, contain 6GB+ RAM and storage space of 128GB up.

The Honor 20 launch event is taking place in London, United Kingdom, starting at 2pm local time.

Researchers unveil robot-drone hybrid

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) will today unveil an autonomous robot-drone hybrid that can fly, drive across difficult surfaces, and squeeze through small gaps.

Known as the hybrid flying sprawl-tuned autonomous robot (FSTAR), the machine is capable of moving at speeds of up to 5.5mph, and can switch between walking and flying modes as and when required. Researchers believe the FSTAR robot presents a number of potential commercial uses, including package deliveries and search and rescue operations, due to its ability to switch its approach.

The FSTAR robot will be unveiled at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2019 in Montreal, Canada, today.

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