Imagine going out to dinner with your wife on a Saturday night. She orders a nice bottle of pinot noir. You pour yourself a splash, but just half a glass since you’re driving. Your wife, who had a long day, drinks the rest. After dinner, you drive home, park the car, and go inside. While watching Bird Box, you knock back a couple Scotches to catch up. The movie done, the two of you begin to retire upstairs when there’s a knock at the door. It’s the police. Someone reported seeing you driving erratically, they say, and they want you to take a breathalyzer. You decline to blow, but relent when officers threaten to arrest you. The machine says your blood alcohol concentration is 85 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood, .085 percent. The night ends with you in handcuffs, arrested for drunk driving. Police can stop any driver, anywhere, for any reason and demand their sample. This scenario sounds far-fetched, but it would be perfectly legal under Canada’s new drunk driving laws, which the federal government recently revised to reduce traffic fatalities.
Human Rights Coalition urges Amazon, Microsoft & Google not to sell face recognition tech to government
A coalition comprised of more than 85 of civil, immigrants’ and human rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, is urging Google, Microsoft and Amazon not to sell facial recognition technology to the U.S. government. Why? In letters sent to the companies, the protesters argue that facial recognition technology will make it dangerously easy for the government to surveil the public, especially immigrants and minority groups. “History has clearly taught us that the government will exploit technologies like face surveillance to target communities of color, religious minorities, and immigrants,” said Nicole Ozer, Technology and Civil Liberties director for the ACLU of California. “We are at a crossroads with face surveillance, and the choices made by these companies now will determine whether the next generation will have to fear being tracked by the government for attending a protest, going to their place of worship, or simply living their lives.”
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Wednesday defended the Trump administration’s proposal to scale back tailpipe emissions standards and held out hope for an agreement with California on a national program that would make compliance less costly for automakers. Wheeler told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which held a hearing on his nomination to be the permanent EPA chief, that he has met with California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols three times in his office and held numerous other conversations with her to try to align the federal and California emissions programs. Technical staff on both sides also have been in frequent contact. “Nobody wants a 50-state deal more than I do,” he said. “I haven’t given up hope on that yet. But we’re also looking at the calendar, and we know we need to finalize our proposal by March 30.”
Metropolis interviews Seleta Reynolds, general manager of L.A.’s Department of Transportation (LADOT), about modernizing transit and making cities more equitable.
At today’s meeting of L.A. Metro’s Congestion, Highway and Roads Committee, UCLA professor Michael Manville made a convincing case for implementing congestion pricing. Last month, the board heard from CEO Phil Washington that congestion pricing would be one approach to raising the revenue needed to accelerate projects for the 2028 Olympics. Metro staff estimate that congestion pricing could raise between $12-$100+ billion through 2028. Manville’s presentation emphasized congestion pricing’s many important benefits, even before any revenue is spent. He likened the current under-priced road congestion to Black Friday crowds every day. When a valuable resource is provided for free to users, then it will be in short supply. Manville explained the well established fundamental law of road congestion: road widening doesn’t reduce congestion. When a road is widened – or even when new transit opens (drawing some people who formerly traveled by car) – driver speed increases, at first. Faster speed means less time cost for driving, hence effectively the speed means driving is cheaper. This then draws drivers from other routes, other times, and other modes – in what Manville called a triple convergence. Within a few months, the widened road returns to its original level of congestion.