Chinese subway stations now let you pay for tickets by scanning your face

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Facial recognition technology is used across China for everything from identifying criminals to measuring students’ attention in class. Now, it has debuted a system in its subway that lets you use your face as a ticket. A report from South China Morning Post suggests the subway system in the southern city of Shenzhen has started using facial recognition technology to let folks over 60 years of age register themselves for free subway rides. Other cities such as Jinan, Shanghai, Qingdao, Nanjing, and Nanning are currently experimenting with this system. The technology in Shenzen has been deployed to 18 stations with 28 automatic gate machines and…

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Emmys 2019: Billy Porter, Phoebe Waller-Bridge reap honors

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LOS ANGELES — “Fleabag” leaped over formidable competition early in Sunday’s Emmy Awards with three awards, including the best comedy actress award and a writing trophy for series star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Waller-Bridge and her dark comedy about a dysfunctional woman, which also won a directing award, blocked “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus from setting a record as the most-honored performer in Emmy history.

“Nooooo!” said a shocked-looking Waller-Bridge. “Oh, my God, no. Thank you. I find acting really hard and really painful. But it’s all about this,” she said, her acting trophy firmly in hand.

In accepting the writing award earlier, she called the recognition proof that “a dirty, pervy, messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys.”

Bill Hader won his second consecutive best comedy actor award for the hitman comedy “Barry.”

The show made history when Billy Porter won the best drama actor award, becoming the first openly gay man to take the honor.

“God bless you all. The category is love, you all, love. I’m so overjoyed and so overwhelmed to have lived to see this day,” said an exuberant Porter, resplendent in a sequined suit and swooping hat.

Quoting the late writer James Baldwin, Porter said it took him many years to believe he has the right to exist. “I have the right, you have the right, we all have the right,” he said.

Peter Dinklage, named best supporting actor for “Game of Thrones,” set a record for most wins for the same role, four, breaking a tie with Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad.”

“I count myself so fortunate to be a member of a community that is about nothing but tolerance and diversity, because in no other place I could be standing on a stage like this,” said Dinklage, a little person.

“Ozark” star Julia Garner won the best supporting drama actress trophy against a field including four actresses from “Game of Thrones.”

The auditorium erupted in cheers when Jharrel Jerome of “When They See Us,” about the Central Park Five case, won the best actor award for a limited series movie.

“Most important, this is for the men that we know as the Exonerated Five,” said Jerome, naming the five wrongly convicted men who were in the audience. They stood and saluted the actor as the crowd applauded them.

It was the only honor for the acclaimed Netflix series of the evening; “Chernobyl” won the best limited series honor.

Streaming hit new Emmy heights, powered by Amazon Prime winners “Fleabag,” ”The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and a “Very English Scandal,” and Netflix’s “Bandersnatch (Black Mirror),” honored as best movie. But HBO again showed its strength, including with the trophies for “Chernobyl,” ”Barry” and John Oliver’s best variety-talk win.

Michelle Williams, honored as best actress for her portrayal of dancer Gwen Verdon in FX’s limited series “Fosse/Verdon,” issued a call to arms for gender and ethnic equality.

She thanked the network and studio behind the project for “supporting me completely and paying me equally because they understood … when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. And where do they put that value, they put it into their work.”

“And so the next time a woman and, especially a woman of color, because she stands to make 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart, tells you what she needs in order to do her job, listen to her,” Williams said.

Patricia Arquette won the trophy best supporting limited-series or movie actress for “The Act.” She paid emotional tribute to her late trans sister, Alexis Arquette, and called for an end to prejudice against trans people, including in the workplace.

Ben Whishaw took the category’s supporting actor trophy for “A Very English Scandal,” admitting in charming British fashion to a hangover.

Alex Borstein and Tony Shalhoub of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won best supporting acting awards at the ceremony, which included early and varied messages of female empowerment after the hostless ceremony.

“I want to dedicate this to the strength of a woman, to (series creator) Amy Sherman-Palladino, to every woman on the ‘Maisel’ cast and crew,” Borstein said, and to her mother and grandmother. Her grandmother survived because she was courageous enough to step out of a line that, Borstein intimated, would have led to her death at the hands of Nazi Germany.

“She stepped out of line. And for that, I am here and my children are here, so step out of line, ladies. Step out of line,” said Borstein, who won the award last year.

Shalhoub added to his three Emmys which he earned for his signature role in “Monk.”

The awards opened without a host as promised, with an early exchange pitting Ben Stiller against Bob Newhart.

“I’m still alive,” Newhart told Stiller, who introduced him as part of a wax museum comedy hall of fame that included Lucille Ball and George Burns.

Kim Kardashian West and Kendall Jenner drew some mocking laughter in the audience when they presented their award after Kardashian West said their family “knows firsthand how truly compelling television comes from real people just being themselves.”

An animated Homer made a brief appearance on stage until he was abruptly crushed, with Anderson of “black-ish” rushing in to, as he vowed, rescue the evening. He called “Breaking Bad” star Cranston on stage to tout the power of television from its beginning to the current golden age.

“Television has never been bigger. Television has never mattered more. And television has never been this damn good,” Cranston said.

The early honors for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag” came on a night that could belong to HBO’s “Game of Thrones.

HBO’s fantasy saga headed into the ceremony with a record 32 nominations, collecting 10 awards at last weekend’s creative arts ceremony for technical and other achievements.

If the series adds three more wins on Sunday, it will break its own record for most awards in a season, 12, which it earned in 2015 and again in 2016. If it claims the top drama trophy, it will be its fourth and make it one of a handful of series to achieve that tally. It could also build on its record of the most Emmys ever for a drama or comedy series, now at 57.

The series is competing in six categories besides best drama, including directing, writing and acting — with stars Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington vying for lead acting honors for the first time, and Peter Dinklage seeking his fourth supporting actor award.

Clarke’s competition includes Sandra Oh of “Killing Eve,” who would be the first actress of Asian descent to win the Emmy, along with Oh’s co-star Jodie Comer and past winner Viola Davis of “How to Get Away with Murder.” A win for Clarke or any of the four “Game of Thrones” actresses competing for a supporting trophy would be the first for a woman on the show.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is defending the top comedy award it captured last year, when three-time winner “Veep” was on hiatus. As with “Game of Thrones,” the political satire is entered for its final season and could benefit from voter sentiment as well as evident respect.

Associated Press Writer Beth Harris and AP Entertainment Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.

Caldara: #MeToo replacing due process in the press

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This column is not about “blaming the victim,” though many will say it is. It is about the inequity in the real-world when someone is accused of sexual abuse.

The Denver Post published a story about a University of Colorado Boulder student arrested on sexual assault. The headline read, “CU Boulder student accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting woman while she slept.”

The sub-head was more shocking, “Conner Shaver, 21, facing three counts of sexual assault on a physically helpless victim.”

Raping a physically helpless victim?! It is truly stomach turning. Horrifying. For those who skim the headlines in search of other stories they want to dive into, meaning most readers, they’d miss the details of the alleged crime.

Those details should spur many questions.

The first thing we learn is that Shaver and the victim knew each other for three years — hardly unusual in rape cases. It is a misconception that most assaults are done by strangers.

Next, we learn that the two have had consensual sex in the past. This throws the incident into a different category. The situation is instantly blurry, maybe changing it to date rape.

But here is where eyebrows raise. The victim says she was assaulted after drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana then going to sleep wearing only her underwear in the bed of the man she accuses of attacking her. I wish we could live in a world where it was completely safe for a college student to get drunk and stoned with a young man that she previously had sex with, then crawl into bed with him in only her underwear and still have every reasonable expectation of complete safety. We don’t live in such a world. And we won’t anytime soon.

The line that got me scratching my head was, “The next day, the woman said the same thing happened, and at this point she became suspicious Shaver was having sex with her while she was asleep.”

If this woman believed she was assaulted why would she drink, smoke pot and spend another night with the attacker and put herself at risk again?

And why would she do it for a third — yes, a third — night?

According to the article on the third night, she made a point of not getting drunk or stoned and expressly told him she did not want to have sex with him when she got into his bed, with him.

We used to hold as cherished American principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. In fact, it was the political left that guarded that value. Those liberals are now silent.

Today the political left is assuming guilty until proven innocent. Colorado’s new red flag gun law for instance, unlike other states’ red flag laws, strips away the presumption of innocence when someone who has had their gun seized is attempting to get it back.

And what if Conner Shaver is wholly exonerated? It doesn’t matter. The 21-year-old engineering student is already punished, likely for life.

Every potential employer running even a simple Google search will read the headline, “three counts of sexual assault on a physically helpless victim.” Next applicant, please.

Not just employers, but thanks to technology and connectivity everyone who will ever know him in the future can easily learn of his Scarlet Letter, including women interested in dating him.

In the real-world, by publishing his name, the press has passed judgment and sentenced him in a case that is complex to even try to describe, let alone prosecute.

And if this is a false allegation altogether? Does the woman pay a similar price? Her name appears nowhere in the news story. Whoever she is, she faces no such life-long penance.

In a court of law, you may face your accuser. In a trial of newspaper headlines that last forever in the searchable internet ether, your accuser is forever anonymous.

In the real-world Conner Shaver has no right to due process. He is guilty for the rest of his life whether he did it or not.


Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a libertarian-conservative think tank in Denver.

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Two Colorado police departments already partner with a popular doorbell camera company — and more are considering

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Thousands of self-installed home security cameras across the Denver area record the daily comings and goings of their neighbors and visitors on their streets, and police are increasingly attempting to partner with camera companies for easier access to the footage.

A doorbell device with a built-in ...
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

A doorbell device with a built-in camera made by home security company Ring is seen on Aug. 28 in Silver Spring, Md.

The Denver Police Department and the tiny southern suburb town of Columbine Valley already work with Ring, a camera company owned by Amazon, to access the business’s app and more easily request surveillance videos. At least three more departments in the Denver metro area have meetings scheduled with the company to discuss potential partnerships.

Police and the company say the agreements allow residents to help police, make their neighborhoods safer and foster engagement between people and officers.

But privacy experts and civil rights advocates are wary. While Ring says police can’t access footage from the cameras without permission, privacy experts said the partnerships are ripe for expansion and raise concerns about racial profiling. The company’s privacy policy also appears to allow Ring to provide content to law enforcement without consent, or even a warrant.

“I would be skeptical of any law enforcement agency or company telling me there’s no other way to get access to this,” said Margot Kaminski, a professor at University of Colorado Boulder’s law school and director of the Privacy Initiative at Silicon Flatirons.

Ring’s app, called Neighbors, allows people to anonymously post recordings captured by their cameras. Videos posted recently in Denver show suspected package thefts, break-ins, the theft of a flower pot and videos of unknown people knocking on a front door labeled as “suspicious” and “creepy.” The app also posts alerts from a “news team” about crimes that happen, citing police radio traffic or local news outlets.

“The concern is that it’s more than the sum of its parts,” Kaminski said. “This is becoming a database, and that database is analyzable.”

Current agreements

The Denver Police Department and the Columbine Valley Police Department are the only two Colorado agencies with a Ring agreement — for now. More than 400 agencies across the country have signed agreements since spring 2018, according to The Washington Post.

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen in June signed a memorandum of understanding with Ring so that his officers could access the company’s phone app through a specialized portal designed for law enforcement. The agreement allows police to look at any videos or information posted to the app and to communicate with people there. Officers can also send an email to residents on the app in the event of a reported crime asking that they share their videos from a certain time period. Residents can decline the request or ignore it.

The agreement between police and the company state that Ring won’t provide customer information or video footage to police without the resident’s consent or “properly issued legal process that complies with federal and state law, as applicable.”

Commander Rick Kyle said the police department approached the company to discuss a partnership and that no money was exchanged between Ring and the city as part of the agreement. Ring has conducted in-person and webinar trainings for 120 of the department’s officers.

The agreement states that the police department and Ring would work together to write a news release about the partnership, but Denver police never sent one.

The department does not have access to a list of addresses that use the cameras and all users’ names are hidden from police, Kyle said.

“It’s neighborhood watch for the 21st century,” Kyle said, echoing Ring’s slogan for the app. “It’s just another use of social media to reach out to our community.”

Kyle said he hadn’t heard any negative feedback about police joining the app. Comments on a post in the app announcing the addition of Denver police were mostly supportive of the idea.

“Yay! DPD we need you,” wrote one poster, who lives in one of the safest neighborhoods of Northwest Denver. “Have you seen previous posts, especially this summer? Yikes. Feels like my neighborhood has been Crime Central.”

Kyle dismissed the idea that the app could disproportionately increase a perception of danger.

“Not knowing creates fear more than knowing what’s going on,” he said. “It’s important for the neighborhood to be connected and to be aware of what’s actually going on.”

Columbine Valley town administrator J.D. McCrumb and the town’s police chief declined multiple requests for an interview regarding the city’s partnership with Ring. Columbine Valley is a statutory town of about 1,400 near Littleton.

The police department in March posted that it joined the Ring app. The tweet encouraged people to “join us” and download the app through a unique link that includes the town’s name.

More agreements likely

Other Colorado towns are considering agreements with Ring. Representatives of Littleton, Arvada and Westminster said they were in talks with the company.

Arvada police already have received free samples of Ring cameras to use as an example in crime prevention presentations, said Officer Sara Horan, a department spokeswoman. The company sent the cameras to the department without being asked, she said. The department is scheduled to meet with Ring next month to discuss further partnerships.

Although the second-biggest police department in the metro area does not have an agreement with Ring, Aurora police worked with the company in December to create an elaborate operation meant to catch package thieves.

The Aurora Police Department received 15 free cameras from the company and then gave the cameras to “volunteers” from the community, Officer Anthony Camacho, a department spokesman, said. Those people then installed the cameras and police placed fake packages on those doorsteps that contained GPS trackers. Police and the company hoped to catch someone in the act so they could “showcase” an arrest, emails obtained by VICE show, but nobody was arrested.

The operation — internally dubbed Operation Grinch Grab — was a crime prevention effort, Camacho said.

The department is not considering an agreement to gain access to the app, Camacho said.

“There are concerns voiced about privacy issues, and we totally understand that,” Camacho said.

Slippery slope

Kaminski, the law professor, said it makes sense for police to pursue partnerships that give them access to footage. But she warned consumers from believing everything espoused by Ring and police.

The company’s privacy policy states that the company collects users’ names, phone numbers, addresses, the geolocation of users’ cell phone, internet history, information collected from Facebook or other social media accounts linked to a Ring account. The company also collects video and audio recordings from cameras and states it can use any information to develop new products and improve Ring’s business.

The policy also says the company may disclose personal information if required to do so by a court order or subpoena. But it also allows the company to provide information without those steps. The policy states Ring can do so “in response to requests by government agencies, such as law enforcement authorities” or “in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual illegal activity.”

The company has said it wouldn’t comply with government requests unless required to do so by law.

The privacy notice also allows users to enable the cameras to use facial recognition software. Ring’s parent company, Amazon, already sells facial recognition software to law enforcement.

“If you choose to activate this feature, we obtain certain facial feature information about the visitors you ask your Ring product to recognize,” the policy states. “We require your explicit consent before you can take advantage of this feature.”

Denver police spokesman Doug Schepman said the department does not use facial recognition software and does not plan to in the immediate future. The department tested facial recognition software starting in 2017 but Pazen ended the program after taking the department’s top post in July 2018.

Beyond privacy concerns, Kaminski also said the app could promote racial profiling because the actions of people of color are more likely to be flagged as suspicious, she said.

It’s ironic that an app called “Neighbors” promoted as a way to enhance collaboration also encourages residents to record each other, Kaminski said.

“Maybe it reflects a more go-it-alone sense of citizenship,” she said. “Every person in their own castle.”

Vista PEAK Prep soundly defeats Gateway 42-21

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Gateway couldn’t quite keep up with a potent Vista PEAK Prep squad, losing by a score of 42-21.

Both teams will go on the road in their next contest, with Vista PEAK Prep heading to play Aurora Central and Gateway taking on Monarch.

No team or player statistics have been reported for this contest.

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This story was created with technology provided by DataSkrive using information that was available at the time of publication.

Yuma proves too much for Crowley County, win 32-0

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Yuma easily handled Crowley County by a score of 32-0.

Both teams will stay at home in their next contest, with Yuma hosting and Crowley County taking on Rocky Ford.

No team or player statistics have been reported for this contest.

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This story was created with technology provided by DataSkrive using information that was available at the time of publication.

Dakota Ridge holds off Vista Ridge, 41-21

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Dakota Ridge earned a win when they beat Vista Ridge 41-21.

Vista Ridge quarterback Brayden Dorman led the passing attack with 188 yards through the air, tossing one touchdown and two interceptions. Brayden Dorman’s most reliable receiver in the contest was Keyon Burris, who caught six passes for 70 yards and one score. Kyshawn Bridges got involved in the passing game as well, reeling in five passes for 54 yards.

Kayon Lacy paced the Vista Ridge rushing attack by running for 47 yards in the game, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

Next up for each team, Vista Ridge will stay home and play Rampart, while Dakota Ridge will travel to play Ponderosa.

Dakota Ridge has not reported any team or player statistics from this contest.

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This story was created with technology provided by DataSkrive using information that was available at the time of publication.