Meghan and Harry hire high-flying diplomat as new private secretary

Fiona Mcilwham, 45, will be joining the existing team at Buckingham Palace as their new private secretary
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Companies are adapting their artificial intelligence products with the hope that they can help schools reopen amid the pandemic. | George Frey/Getty Images This fall, AI could be watching students social distance and checking their masks. Thousands of schools nationwide will not be reopening this fall. But in Las Vegas, the private K-12 Meadows School plans to use an artificial intelligence-powered thermal screening system to keep students safe as they return to classes. As they enter school, the system scans for signs that students have elevated temperatures — a sign that they might have Covid-19 — as they enter buildings for their classes. If they’re flagged, the students will be asked to wait separately for about 10 minutes, and then their temperature is taken again. If the result is within normal range, they’re cleared to start their day. If not, they’ll be sent home. “Things are strange enough. Kids are going to be coming to school with masks. They’re going to be meeting friends with masks,” Jeremy Gregersen, the head of school at Meadows, told Recode. “They’re going to be meeting their teachers for the first time in person in strange new ways, and what we want is for kids to feel welcome and to normalize their arrival at school as early as possible.” Supplying the technology is an artificial intelligence company called Remark Holdings. The company, which also sells facial recognition systems, has been providing a thermal scanning system — which also takes attendance — to more than 100 schools in China for over a year and is now repurposing its tech to assist semi-public places reopening amid the pandemic. Remark Holdings is not the only company doing so. A slew of firms, many of which already sold surveillance products, are adjusting their technology to the pandemic. The suite of products includes everything from computer programs that can identify whether or not a student is wearing a mask to artificial intelligence that measures how well people are social distancing. Sometimes, these capabilities are sold together as a package. Ultimately, these companies and their clients hope that the return to class can be made a little safer. Although many schools have delayed their plans to restart in-person classes, some experts discourage putting too much faith in these tools when students do go back to school. “It’s important that, even perhaps before talking about the privacy concerns around some of these technologies, it’s useful and saves time to take a step back and just ask whether it works,” Amelia Vance, the director of education privacy at the Future of Privacy Forum, told Recode. Using thermal imaging to screen for temperatures is a good example. While companies like Remark defend their tech, not everyone who has Covid-19 gets a fever, and not every high temperature is caused by an illness. Vance also says the science behind the technology itself is somewhat “rocky.” Overall, while there might be some value in collecting different types of data amid the pandemic, these new technologies can also cause new problems and endanger children’s privacy. Here’s what we know so far about how schools are trying to strike a balance. Computer vision and wearables can measure social distancing One new surveillance tool being retrofitted for the pandemic is artificial intelligence that can measure social distancing by using software to recognize human beings in images and then measure how close together they are. The goal is to identify “hot spots” full of traffic, which can help school leaders adjust how they set up the flow of people. Some of that AI is being offered by companies that already have close relationships with schools. Among them is Avigilon, a company owned by Motorola Solutions that sells a wide variety of artificial intelligence-surveillance tools to schools. The company already has relationships with thousands of schools, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, and has now adjusted its video analytics to measure social distancing. Actuate is also getting into pandemic-era school surveillance. The company normally sells artificial intelligence that mines through school security video feeds for signs of a brandished weapon — an anti-gun violence measure — but is now offering AI that measures how well people are social distancing. Ben Ziomek, Actuate’s co-founder and CTO, told Recode that 900 schools are interested in the tech for when they reopen, and another 100 are interested in the tech it built specifically for Covid-19. “It’s pretty easy to have AI identify when a person is in video, and then, when we look at video footage, we extract the relative positions of the people,” he told Recode. “We use those relative positions of people to calculate: ‘Are they within 6 feet of each other?’ ‘How long were they there?’ ‘How many people are there?’ We can also count people; we can show how people move through space.” Airports and other public spaces have started using similar tech. Meanwhile, some companies are integrating wearables that are meant to stop infractions of social distancing rules. One school in Ohio is planning to pilot an electronic beacon that could measure how well people are social distancing, as well as to aid with contact tracing efforts. A potential privacy benefit to this approach is that the surveillance systems don’t always directly involve cameras. There are other wearables, however, that are already causing privacy debates. For instance, at Oakland University in Michigan, students are being offered a health monitoring device called a “BioButton” that would stick to their chest during in-person classes and track vital signs. It’s meant to alert university staff if someone seems like they might have Covid-19. Originally, the device was mandatory, but following pushback from students, the school made wearing the BioButton optional. AI hall monitors detect when people are wearing masks A slightly different implementation of AI-powered software can quickly determine whether people are wearing personal protective equipment. This technology is being offered by a wide variety of companies, including Avigilon and Remark Holdings, and it’s even being used in the Paris metro system. Now, some companies want to bring the mask-spotting tech to schools. PreciTaste, which usually sells artificial intelligence tools to the food industry, has designed a kiosk it calls an “AI Welcome Center.” The sensor-laden display offers a voice-activated health quiz and performs temperature checks. The device also uses AI to tell if the person at the kiosk is wearing a face covering. “We trained it with images of our staff wearing different assorted masks, and the algorithm can just reliably detect whether or not a masked face is present or not,” Charlie Pynnonen, an engineer at PreciTaste, told Recode. “It takes no personally identifying information.” While the system is being tested with some restaurant clients in New York and Munich, the company is hoping to install the kiosks in schools. The idea is that the system could be deployed at the entrance to dorms or other buildings. PreciTaste says it’s had interest from some schools in the United States, including a school district in Kentucky. PreciTaste PreciTaste, which sells artificial intelligence-based tools to the food industry, is now offering its mask detection systems to schools. Actuate, the company using AI to measure social distancing, is also working on similar mask-spotting tech. The idea is to measure automatically whether people are wearing masks and track mask compliance in a given location over time without the need for a human to constantly monitor several video feeds. This mask-detecting software is distinct from new facial recognition technology that’s designed to identify people while they’re wearing masks, which is an increasingly important pandemic-era feature for some security systems. Covid-19 apps are cheap and easy to deploy Amid advanced hardware like AI-powered cameras and wearables, one of the most common tools we should expect to see in the weeks to come are apps — and lots of them. Some companies are launching contract tracing apps specifically built for schools, as universities, including Columbia and Duke, are encouraging some students to download apps that allow students to report symptoms. In New York, schools are being encouraged to take periodical surveys about Covid-19 testing and recent travel history, a task that can be completed with an app. Experts warn that these new apps come with privacy concerns, and that schools and app providers often aren’t as upfront about the way data is collected by the apps as they should be. “We don’t know how that information is being protected by the company. We don’t know how it’s being used by the school,” said Vance, from the Future of Privacy Forum. “There hasn’t been a lot of transparency.” Whether all this technology works as intended is still unclear. Many schools are being encouraged to delay their reopening while others have already committed to remote learning for the foreseeable future. So while companies selling this somewhat dystopian technology stand ready and waiting, reopening many schools seems to be infeasible at the moment, and it’s hard to know just how many schools that are reopening are actually installing such devices. But that doesn’t mean some of this tech isn’t already at work. Even in empty schools, Acutate’s Ben Ziomek says his company’s artificial intelligence is measuring whether people are entering closed campuses and buildings. Usually, it’s just kids vandalizing school property. After all, they’re very, very bored, he says. They haven’t been to school in months. Open Sourced is made possible by Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists. Will you become our 20,000th supporter? When the economy took a downturn in the spring and we started asking readers for financial contributions, we weren’t sure how it would go. Today, we’re humbled to say that nearly 20,000 people have chipped in. The reason is both lovely and surprising: Readers told us that they contribute both because they value explanation and because they value that other people can access it, too. We have always believed that explanatory journalism is vital for a functioning democracy. That’s never been more important than today, during a public health crisis, racial justice protests, a recession, and a presidential election. But our distinctive explanatory journalism is expensive, and advertising alone won’t let us keep creating it at the quality and volume this moment requires. 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A police officer killed my father 27 years ago and went unpunished. It changed my life forever.
My mother took a photo of my father, Paul, holding me during my first doctor’s visit in 1993. This is our only photo together. | Courtesy of Montinique Monroe It took his resurfaced racist posts for me to tell my father’s story. A familiar numbness occupied my body when I learned George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, had asked her mom why people were saying her daddy’s name. I was relieved to know she wasn’t given the graphic details of Floyd’s death. But I knew one day, she’d find out exactly what happened and would be forced to face the trauma that comes with losing a father to police violence. I was once in her shoes. When I was just 4 months old, my father was killed by a white police officer. To protect my innocence, my family spared me the truth until I was around Gianna’s age. I’ll never forget how fast my breath escaped my body when I learned what really happened. I was confused and unable to decipher what it meant that the police, the people I’d grown up thinking were here to protect me, had taken my father’s life. My views of safety were shattered. Beyond that, I couldn’t bring my father back. I was left with a space that would remain unfilled. My mother Jackie holding me as we viewed my father during his wake at King Tears Mortuary, in Austin, Texas, on April 22, 1993. As I grew older, this emptiness became fear, avoidance, anxiety, anger, and sometimes self-pity. Today, it fuels me. He is unable to speak for himself, so I’ll speak for both of us. Steven Deaton forever changed my life when he shot and killed my father 27 years ago on April 15, 1993. Deaton, who’d been an officer with the Austin police for two and a half years, was dispatched to the scene of an alleged armed robbery with two other officers. When they arrived at Quail Run Apartments, they suspected my 23-year-old father, Paul Monroe, was involved. According to an incident report my family obtained from the Austin Police Department, the officers approached my father as he walked toward them. They gave him directions to drop a duffle bag. He dropped the bag. After he was told to get on the ground, Deaton shot him in the abdomen. Another officer handcuffed my father as he lay helpless in his own blood until the ambulance came. My father asked for water but his request was denied. When EMS arrived, they had to request he be unhandcuffed to treat him. He was rushed to the hospital and after losing too much blood, he died in the ICU the next morning.The medical examiner ruled his death as a homicide. Eleven days after Deaton fatally shot my father, a Travis County grand jury decided against indicting him, claiming the shooting was justified. “Until the moment I pulled the trigger, it was another police call,” Deaton said in a 1993 Austin American Statesman article about killing my father. “It’s something I’m going to have to think about for the rest of my life.” Deaton may have been stuck with the memory, but I’ve had to live with the actual consequences of his actions. I’ve lived my whole life without my dad. Twenty-seven birthdays, countless holidays, basketball games, father-daughter dances, and graduations — that’s what Deaton took from me the day he fired the bullets that claimed my father’s life. My father, Paul Monroe, in 1989. I’ve longed to say “Dad” and hear a reply from my father, to know the sound of his voice, embrace him, hear him laugh, or simply just see his face. But unfortunately, all I have to rely on is my imagination and frequent reminders from my family about the amazing father he would’ve been if he was here. My only way of knowing him has been through the eyes of others. His friends and family say he was highly respected in his East Austin community, taking care of youth who didn’t have families. He was a funny guy and a hustler who would give the shirt off his back at the drop of a dime. His proudest accomplishment was being my father. He called me his “star.” Knowing this gives me endless comfort and happiness I can’t explain. Yet, when I think about him, I always find myself drifting back to the fear he must have felt in his final moments. His last recorded words — “you shot me, I need water, I can’t see, I can’t feel my legs” — show he was scared and confused. His life was more than tragedy and death, but for me the most unforgettable image of my father is of him lying in a casket. I stumbled upon this photo as a teen who spent hours occupied in storage closets, fumbling my way through boxes and boxes of family scrapbooks and photo albums, reflecting on happy family memories. One day, I found an album dedicated to my father, chronicling his life from birth to death. Scattered among his memorial photos were news clips: “Man’s death brings confusion” and “When police officers fire, lives are changed forever.” I remember reading and re-reading Deaton’s chilling words — “The thing about the shooting, it was instinct, it was what the police academy trained you for” — over and over again before closing the album. I didn’t visit the album again until years later. My father with his mother, my granny Joyce, in Dale, Texas, on Christmas Day in 1990. My father (middle) and his younger brothers Patrick (left) and Kelvin (right) after a nighttime fishing trip in 1990. Pallbearers carrying my father’s casket outside of St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, on April 23, 1993. But I had always had a desire to tell my father’s story — in fact, I chose to become a journalist so I could. Working for my university’s independent student-run newspaper in 2014, I’d given myself an assignment to cover the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri. I was motivated by the national anger over police brutality, hopeful that the movement could spur outrage about the way my father was executed too. However, I knew that to the mainstream media nothing was newsworthy about a Black man who was killed by a white police officer decades ago. It’s hard to convince an industry that is so heavily driven by, and consumed through, a white lens of the importance of telling stories like mine outside of fires, shattered glass, and national unrest. But five years later, in August 2019, I received a text message from my mother with a link to an article with the headline “Texas sheriff who stars on reality show fails to publicly address sexist images posted on Facebook by one of his top officers.” “Isn’t this the cop who killed your father?” her text read. I sped to the next red light and frantically scrolled up and down, past the graphic images throughout the story. It was as eerie as it was gut-wrenching. The article, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, reported that Deaton had shared racist photos in a Facebook post depicting a Black football player figurine lying in a pool of blood, his knees amputated by a white Santa elf doll with a chainsaw, while an American flag dangles above them. Deaton’s post, a reference to Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against Black people, was captioned: “And here’s the start…...Our Patriotic elf grew angrier all season. He finally snapped and decided to show the NFL how he goes about taking knees for not standing during our national anthem. #thankavet.” Here was my father’s killer so boldly and fearlessly expressing his discontent with protests of police brutality. And that wasn’t even the only sickening post he had shared. Other photos depicted elf dolls sexually assaulting Barbies. A survivor of sexual assault who lived in the city his department serves reported she was retraumatized by his posts. As I looked at Deaton’s grin in the photo at the top of another news article, I too was blanketed by a sense of anxiety. This familiar feeling surfaces at the sight or sound of anything involving law enforcement — a repercussion of losing a loved one to police violence. It comes up during the simplest of times, while driving or even walking past a police officer in public. I tell myself: Don’t speak, don’t make eye contact, don’t make any sudden moves. An officer might “fear for their life,” and I’ll be next. But I couldn’t help but notice that in the coverage of the Facebook posts there was no reporting on the fact that he’d killed my father. If my father didn’t make it into the news, what other countless stories might not have been reported? Like many officers who kill and get away with it, Deaton’s career thrived after he shot my father. He stayed with Austin police for 26 years, rising to the rank of assistant chief. Despite other widely publicized inappropriate behavior and departmental violations, he was able to move to Williamson County Sheriff’s office, where he served until he resigned after the Facebook posts. Seeing my father’s killer share imagery and rhetoric that encouraged violence against Black people confirmed my belief about his lack of remorse and concern for the life he took from me 27 years ago. It confirmed my belief about his complete removal from the pain and suffering of victims of police brutality and their families. It shows what likely was in his heart the moment he fired the bullets that killed my father, and it proved what my family and I have believed all along — he murdered my father. My granny’s photo of me at age 6, next to my father’s gravesite in Mount Olive Cemetery in Cedar Creek, Texas, on Father’s Day in 1998. I’ve fought for so long to tell my father’s story. Unfortunately, there are so many others like me who never will. There are countless children who were sat down and told their father, or their mother, was killed for reasons they couldn’t quite comprehend, unaware that this truth would impact them throughout their entire lives. I’m not sure I have the right words to comfort them. But I know this much: Our stories matter. Every day when we wake up and look in the mirror, we see a reflection of the parents who were taken from us. We are their legacies. Montinique Monroe is a photojournalist in Austin, Texas. Will you become our 20,000th supporter? When the economy took a downturn in the spring and we started asking readers for financial contributions, we weren’t sure how it would go. Today, we’re humbled to say that nearly 20,000 people have chipped in. The reason is both lovely and surprising: Readers told us that they contribute both because they value explanation and because they value that other people can access it, too. We have always believed that explanatory journalism is vital for a functioning democracy. That’s never been more important than today, during a public health crisis, racial justice protests, a recession, and a presidential election. But our distinctive explanatory journalism is expensive, and advertising alone won’t let us keep creating it at the quality and volume this moment requires. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will help keep Vox free for all. Contribute today from as little as $3.
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