Risk Zones

State Dept. promoting Mar-a-Lago; a heat map of white collar crime; and more.


  • Trump watch: The State Department is promoting the “winter White House” Mar-a-Lago on its website and on Facebook, Kyle Griffin points out on Twitter.

  • Opposition watch: After Congress nixed federal regulations protecting user information from ISPs, some state legislatures began rushing to enact their own consumer protection laws, James Willcox reports for Consumer Reports.

  • Michelle Goldberg reports on “Georgia’s Progressive Renaissance” for Slate.

  • London calling: U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May hired President Obama’s former deputy chief of staff Jim Messina for her election campaign, Timm Ross reports for Bloomberg. Messina was also part of the team that let David Cameron to victory in 2016, and “was credited with playing a critical role for the Conservatives by targeting messages at specific voters who could be persuaded to switch from the Liberal Democrats,” as Ross writes.

  • Future policing: Yesterday Jin Hee Lee, deputy director of litigation of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. and Joo-Hyun Kang, director of Communities United for Police Reform, went on The Brian Lehrer Show to discuss their concerns regarding the NYPD’s body camera pilot program, which is supposed to start this week. Among other problems, the policy as-is allows officers to review recordings before making a statement about what happened.

  • The New Inquiry has published a heat map of White Collar Crime Risk Zones, by using machine learning to predict where financial crimes are most likely to occur in the U.S. As authors Brian Clifton, Sam Lavign, and Francis Tseng explain in the accompanying white paper, “Police departments, and predictive policing systems, have historically focused their efforts on reducing “street crimes”. However, the development of novel machine learning techniques presents law enforcement with an opportunity to expand their policing efforts into a new domain: high level financial crime.”

    In the conclusion, they note their plans “to augment our model with facial analysis and psychometrics to identify potential financial crime at the individual level. As a proof of concept, we have downloaded the pictures of 7000 corporate executives whose LinkedIn profiles suggest they work for financial organizations, and then averaged their faces to produce generalized white collar criminal subjects unique to each high risk zone. Future efforts will allow us to predict white collar criminality through real-time facial analysis.”

  • The fight against fake news: Jimmy Wales explains his new endeavor, Wikitribune, which will marry the work of professional journalists and citizen journalist, to Wired editor Greg Williams. Wales plans on crowdfunding the money needed to launch the project; the number of journalists he is able to hire will depend in part on the success of that campaign.

  • The Department of Defense and private sector companies are spending millions to show robots aren’t going to take all the jobs, Daniel Moore reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  • Opportunity knocking: The Emerging City Champions fellowship program is looking for civic innovators between the ages 19 – 35. Winning fellows will receive $5,000 to fund their project idea. The deadline to apply is tomorrow—you can learn more here.

  • Jobs: 18F is looking for backend software developers. Learn more about the position and apply here.

  • Events: The Civic Hall member #GreenLiving show-and-tell is tonight starting at 6pm. All of the presenters work on issues around sustainability, environmental protection, and green initiatives. Learn more and RSVP here.

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