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Surveillance Technology

San Diego council committee unanimously approves ordinances targeting surveillance technology

Photo courtesy of John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune

A City Council committee on Wednesday unanimously approved two proposed ordinances geared at governing surveillance technologies in the city, an action sparked by sustained pushback from activists and others who were surprised and upset last year when it was revealed that San Diego had quietly installed cameras on streetlights throughout the city.

Lilly Irani, an associate professor at UC San Diego (and Design Lab faculty) who specializes in the ethics of technology, called the vote “a win for better governance in the long term.”

Irani helped draft the ordinances and assisted the organized opposition dubbed the TRUST San Diego coalition, which focuses on responsible surveillance in the region. The coalition was born out of concerns about one specific technology — so-called smart streetlights — and ultimately landed a seat at the table to draft the proposals.

“Without Councilmember Monica Montgomery championing this... there would be no table,” Irani said.
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Drones Law Enforcement

Chula Vista PD Approved For Broader Use Of Drones In Law Enforcement

Photo courtesy of Shalina Chatlani

The Chula Vista Police Department has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to broaden its use of drones.

Still, some academics say drones can be seen as a form of surveillance. And that having a video doesn’t necessarily mean that officers are making neutral decisions.

"Say you’re getting a call from someone acting erratic … like what would a drone be able to see that would discern a person screaming and waving their hands around as someone who needs intervention by the police, versus a mental health team?" said Lilly Irani, a professor of communication and technology at UC San Diego (and Design Lab faculty).

Even if officers are using video to see whether a situation is dangerous, human bias doesn’t just go away, she said.

"OK, so what type of visual symbols are you going to look for to discern the difference between dangerous and nondangerous?" Irani said.
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Ucsd San Diego

Civic Design – DSGN 160: Open Enrollment

This studio course explores how to design products, services, and policies for complex socio-technical systems. The class will follow a human-centered design process that includes user research, concept generation, prototyping, pitching, and alliance building. Students will work in teams to design solutions to civic challenges affecting people in the San Diego region. This will be a good course for intermediate to advanced design students who want to build up their portfolio and to practice their skills with sketching, storyboarding, prototyping, and evaluating services for real-world problems.

As part of this class, teams will enter the Design for San Diego 2020 challenge (D4SD.org) and interact with other innovators, experts, and mentors throughout the city to address problems related to Mobility, Health, Environment, and Housing. Top teams will have an opportunity to present their work and win prizes at events in downtown San Diego!
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Pizza

How pizza could save the world

On a recent Hawaiian vacation, Don stayed at a truly luxurious resort. It wasn’t his style. He couldn’t help but notice the contrast with the poorer sections of the island where locals lived and tourists rarely ventured. Is this the planet’s future? Two distinct cultures, one of isolated wealth and excess, the other of poverty? When we discussed this question, Don couldn’t help but mention he’d also found amazing pizza on the island.
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