Expanding the reach of the white supremacist police state and taking away our rights undermines our democracy.

Image for post
Image for post
Image by Joshua Koblin: A black lives matter protester holding a sign that says “History will repeat Itself unless we stop it!”

How the US acts in response to crisis sets precedents that we live with well beyond the moment. Fear during a crisis often compels rapid, ill-advised action. Many of the worst tools used by those who seek to undermine our democracy were born in the aftermath of 9/11, with the hasty consent of Congress.

Crisis is a test of us as a country — and historically we have failed. We are now on the cusp of a slower-moving, but no less dire crisis than the Capitol riot: the crisis of squandering momentum in shortsighted action. …


Verizon’s Skyward subsidiary had sought to test drones with military applications on the Willamette River in North Portland, a proposal that met vigorous disapproval from locals.

Image for post
Image for post
Protesters assembling on the Willamette as a part of efforts that halted Verizon’s plan to test drones over the river.

Last week, the Port of Portland announced it would cancel a pending lease with Verizon for seven acres of riverfront property in one of Portland, Oregon’s most diverse neighborhoods. Verizon and their Portland-based subsidiary Skyward had sought to lease this area to test drones on Verizon’s 5G network along the Willamette river.

“We appreciate the Port responding in support of community members and organizations who organized quickly to oppose this facility,” said Cassie Cohen (she/her), Executive Director of the Portland Harbor Community Coalition. “It’s now time for impacted communities to determine a more appropriate purpose for this sacred land, and other river-front parcels like it — including potential zoning changes. …


Residents are planning a rally 11/1 to oppose a drone testing facility in one of Portland’s most diverse neighborhoods, citing environmental justice, racial justice, social justice, and quality of life concerns.

Image for post
Image for post
Concerned community members assemble as Art McConville, NiiMiiPuu (Nez Perce/Cayuse), who serves on the executive steering committee of the Portland Harbor Community Coalition, says a prayer in front of Skyward’s headquarters.

Verizon’s subsidiary Skyward is seeking a land use permit and a lease to build a drone testing facility on the Willamette river. Residents of North Portland, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Oregon’s largest city, say they were informed of the planned facility only in the past several weeks.

A coalition of neighborhood associations, nonprofits, and local activists are demanding that the City of Portland deny the permits for the facility due to the lack of regulations protecting people, privacy, and wildlife from emergent drone technology, and the murky impacts of the facility both at home and abroad. …


Social media influencers just might determine the outcome of the 2020 elections

Image for post
Image for post
Jeff Goldblum has used the power of social media to get out the vote in 2020 while other celebrities have stayed silent

On September 28th, Kylie Jenner posted a bikini pic to her Instagram account with a simple message: “But are you registered to vote? click the link in my bio.. let’s make a plan to vote together.” The link in Jenner’s bio directed her followers to Vote.org’s voter registration tool, which instantly saw a massive increase in traffic and an 80% boost in voter registration on the popular website. …


Students and leading national organizations are calling for a ban on a controversial technology that the Dean of Students said was used to identify peaceful student protesters.

Image for post
Image for post
Image of UMiami Student Protest via @UMESAMiami

On the heels of the University of Miami’s conflicting answers as to whether they used facial recognition on students protesting for better COVID-19 protection for contract employees, 20+ civil liberties and human rights organizations have signed an open letter to the administration and the Board of Trustees. The letter supports student demands for a ban on facial recognition, and meetings to address surveillance on campus as well as COVID-19 safety concerns.

Many of the organizations signed on represent diverse groups who are harmed by invasive, racially biased facial recognition, including Color of Change, Mijente, Mpower Change, and United We Dream, as well as Miami Law’s own SWANALSA — South/West Asian & North African Law Students Association.


Image for post
Image for post
Students and faculty protested conditions at the University of Miami during a September 4 “die-in.” Photo by Ally Gaddy/The Miami Hurricane

Students at University of Miami are outraged after learning that university police used recognition technology to target and intimidate students protesting the administration’s insufficient COVID-19 safety precautions. Last month, the Dean of Students called a group of students into his office to reprimand them for protesting in an “unapproved” manner by laying in a courtyard alongside faculty and staff to demand greater protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. When a student asked how the list of those called to the Dean’s office had been assembled, the Dean told them that they had been identified using facial recognition technology.

Yesterday, Fight for the Future learned that a University of Miami spokesperson is flat out denying that the school uses facial recognition. Here’s a screenshot of the statement sent by the university’s Executive Director of Communications and Public…


Students at CUNY will be required to submit to invasive home, biometric, and personal device surveillance under the institution’s pending deals with remote proctoring providers. Student governments at multiple campuses are organizing to halt the agreement.

Image for post
Image for post

Students at the City University of New York (CUNY), a public institution that serves many low income and BIPOC students, are organizing to stop what they say is an “atrocious” privacy violation. The students have collected over 27,000 signatures via a change.org …


Sex workers and supporters braved the hazardous air to project their message on Oakland City Hall last night, specifically calling out Senator Kamala Harris for voting to advance the EARN IT Act to the Senate floor. The bill threatens Internet freedom and the safety of sex workers while failing the issues it claims to address.

Image for post
Image for post
Sex workers brave the air at Oakland City Hall. Photo by Cammy Leone.

Last night, Oakland City Hall lit up with messages protesting the EARN IT Act while sex workers donned respirators and took to the square. Insiders have told Fight for the Future that the bill’s sponsors may try to rush the bill through the Senate this week. …


Customs and Border Protection are on the streets in Portland and making international headlines for abducting peaceful protesters in unmarked vehicles at the behest of President Trump. They are also aiming to weaken what would otherwise be the gold standard of citywide public and private facial recognition bans.

Image for post
Image for post
Graffiti on the Justice Center in downtown Portland, visible during a vigil to protest federal law enforcement’s presence in the city.

After extensive research and review, Portland, OR is poised to consider the most aggressive facial recognition ban in the nation — on both public and private use of the racially biased surveillance technology that police in other cities have used to punish Black Lives Matter protesters.

But, in a letter shared with Fight for the Future and embedded below, Emerald Bogue, the director of Regional Government and Community Affairs for the Port of Portland, is requesting an exemption for “air carrier passenger processing” on behalf of airlines, specifically Delta. This exemption would be made to allow airlines to run both domestic and international passengers through a facial recognition system connected to Customs and Border Protection’s database. …


Image for post
Image for post

Boston City Council is expected to vote THIS WEDNESDAY, June 24th on whether to ban the use of facial recognition surveillance by police and government agencies.

The cities of Somerville, Cambridge, Brookline, and Springfield have already banned the use of this invasive, racially biased, and ineffective software. City Councils across the US are taking steps to rein in police surveillance as protests demanding justice sweep the country. But we are hearing Mayor Marty Walsh may threaten to VETO this ordinance and allow face surveillance to continue. We can’t let that happen.

We need everyone to email and call the city council so that we can pass this ordinance with a veto proof majority. Tell them to BAN FACE SURVEILLANCE IN BOSTON!

About

Fight for the Future

We believe there's hardly anything as important as ensuring that our shared future has freedom of expression and creativity at its core.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store