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Dia Mirza Wows At Environmental Summit In San Francisco

Actress-activist Dia Mirza, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India, flew to San Francisco earlier this week to participate in an all-women's panel discussion on the environment at the Steve Jobs Theatre.

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Dia Mirza
Dia Mirza. (Wikimedia Commons)

Actress-activist Dia Mirza, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India, flew to San Francisco earlier this week to participate in an all-women’s panel discussion on the environment at the Steve Jobs Theatre.

Dia brainstormed on stage with three distinguished women — Vien Troung (CEO of Green For All organisation), Alexandra Cousteau (globally recognised for her work on water-related issues) and Lisa Jackson (Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiative).

Dia said: “Thankfully, my world is expanding and I am getting to do, meet and be a part of incredible change. On Friday (April 27), I was in San Francisco participating in an all-women panel environmental discussion at the Steve Jobs Theatre. It was an immensely rewarding experience.”

Back home, Dia who was formerly a beauty pageant winner, is distressed by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s comments on beauty queens.

Also Read: Diana Penty happy for doing versatile stories

“What can one say of a man who claims Internet existed in ancient India? He seems to have a resource of information that the rest of us are not privy to,” Dia sighed.

Deb had reportedly said in Agartala that international beauty contests were a farce as the results were all predetermined. He also said he failed to understand the “process of judgement” of the crowning of the Miss World contest in 1997, in which Diana Hayden was crowned.

Earlier, Deb was widely trolled for saying that Internet existed during Mahabharata era.  BollywoodCountry

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Oakland Becomes Second City to Ban Facial Recognition Technology

However, some other organizations supporting the technology argued that the ban would hurt the law-enforcing capabilities of police officers when they are called for help

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A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate (Representational image). VOA

The city of Oakland in Northern California has become the second Bay Area city to outlaw the use of facial recognition technology by municipal agencies following a unanimous vote by its council to approve the ban.

The City Council of Oakland passed unanimously an ordinance to prohibit municipal agencies including city police from acquiring or using facial technology in law enforcement. A final vote on the legislation, which is widely seen as procedural, will take place in September this year.

Rebecca Kaplan, President of Oakland City Council, who introduced the ordinance, said in a tweet on Wednesday that she appreciated everyone’s effort to join “together in working to block flawed technology that invades privacy and worsens racial disparities in policing,” Xinhua news agency reported.

The latest legislation made Oakland the second Bay Area city to forbid the controversial technology after San Francisco adopted a similar ban in May 2019. Oakland is also the third US city to declare facial technology illegal following a decision by Somerville city in Massachusetts to join the rank of San Francisco in June.

The ordinance called facial recognition technology “an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying or verifying an individual based on an individual’s face”.

Kaplan said the powerful technology runs the risk of making Oakland residents less safe because it is often inaccurate, invasive and lacks established ethical standards with high possibilities of being abused by government agencies.

An Apple employee demonstrates the facial recognition feature of the new iPhone X at the Apple Union Square store in San Francisco. VOA

On Tuesday, a California rights advocacy group urged Oakland city to ban the use of facial technology, which it claimed would “lead to new violations of civil rights”.

The Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nationwide non-profit fighting for individual rights, wrote a letter to the members of the Oakland City Council, urging the city to pass the ordinance to protect Oakland residents from “dangerous, invasive, and biased systems that endanger their civil rights and safety.”

Also Read: Government Seeks Reply From TikTok, Asks to Answer Queries or Face Ban

The ACLU of Northern Northern California on Wednesday welcomed Oakland’s legislation. Matt Cagle, the organization’s civil liberties attorney, said Oakland’s decision indicated how “democracy can work to protect civil rights”.

“Decisions about surveillance technology are being made by the public and impacted communities through their elected representatives — not by police or vendors acting alone and in secret,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

However, some other organizations supporting the technology argued that the ban would hurt the law-enforcing capabilities of police officers when they are called for help. (IANS)