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Millions of Keurigs Recalled Across the Country

Millions of Keurigs Recalled Across the Country


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Keurig is recalling 6.6 million Mini Plus Brewing Systems for overheating and spraying hot water

You may want to check if your Keurig is this specifically-dangerous model.

Keurig coffee maker systems may be the perfect gift for the holidays, but you may want to think twice before giving one. The coffee brewing system company has received 200 reports of the Keurig overheating, and of the hot liquid escaping from the system, resulting in at least 90 burn injuries, according to NBC News.

Each of the affected systems was sold online in the U.S. and Canada between 2009 and 2014, and have a “31” identification number printed on the bottom. If you believe that you are in ownership of one of the faulty systems, you are urged to call Keurig Green Mountain Inc. of Waterbury, Vermont, at 1-844-255-7886 to arrange for a free repair.

You can see the full consumer safety report here.


State paid out $6 million in fraudulent unemployment claims during the pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Throughout the pandemic, many have reported having trouble getting unemployment benefits after being laid off.

But here's a new one. A Franklin woman says the state keeps telling her she's been approved for benefits, even though she's never applied and she still has a job.

It turns out, this is a case of fraud. It's happening across the country. And here in Tennessee, it's cost taxpayers millions of dollars in the last year alone.

Helen Stem has been a bookkeeper at a Franklin CPA office for 19 years. And both she and her boss were stunned last summer when he got a notice stating that she'd applied for unemployment.

"And he immediately handed it to me and said, 'What’s going on?'" Stem recalled.

Stem told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that she's spent the last seven months trying to convince the state Labor Department that someone else is using her name and personal information to collect benefits.

She sent letters informing the state that she is still employed and has not been unemployed, writing, "This is fraud."

She also sent her pay history for the last year.

And, she called and called and called.

"There’s even a site on the Tennessee Department of labor site, a fraud line to report fraud, I even sent an email to that," Stem shared.

And yet still, her boss got word in February that Stem had been approved for unemployment benefits. He then fired off a letter asking, "I do not understand how this could be continuing. How many times do we have to notify you that you are being used by someone other than Helen Stem?"

"Is that the way it is supposed to work?" NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Jeff McCord, Commissioner of Tennessee's Department of Labor and Workforce Development which runs the state's unemployment program.

"Do you think your department is doing enough to stop this fraud?" we asked.

"What I will say is we are doing a lot and continue to do more. It’s akin to a computer virus. You are always having to adapt. You are always having to adjust. Because the bad guys are adapting and adjusting," McCord explained.

McCord said they've had more than 1.2 million new claims since the pandemic started. They've added 600 new staffers and automation. But when the federal government boosted unemployment benefits, suddenly crooks had added incentive to steal this money and unemployment offices across the country began seeing more and more fraud.

In 2020, according to the Tennessee Labor Department, there were 2,862 cases of fraud, resulting in $6,130,049 in fraudulent payments.

"So do you think you are doing a good job? Do you think you are doing enough to stop this?" we asked the commissioner again.

"I do! Our effort is amazing and we are up against a very large effort too and so yes I would say we are holding our own on the fraud," McCord replied.

But based on her experience, Helen Stem worries the state doesn't have a real handle on the problem or just how big it really is.

"How many times is this happening to other people? And maybe they don’t realize it. They get a piece of paper and say, 'That’s not me,' and throw it in the trash. That’s one of my concerns too is how much of this is going on. And you’ve got all of these people that supposed to be getting it but haven’t been able to get it," Stem said.

The Labor Department has a system that analyzes unemployment applications looking for potential fraud and that is how they identified those 2,800 cases. The Department does not keep track of how many people discover the fraud themselves like Helen Stem did and then report it.

As for that $6 million in fraudulent claims that was paid out last year, it's unlikely that much if any of that money will ever be recovered. The Commissioner said it is very hard to catch the criminals committing this fraud.


Federal government seizes $3.6 million from company that sold Maine counterfeit masks

A lawsuit seeks to have the state reimbursed for the purchase of 1.8 million fake masks late last year.

The federal government has seized $3.6 million from the bank account of a company involved in an international deal to sell the state $4.5 million in overpriced counterfeit N95 masks last December and January.

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine has now filed a federal civil lawsuit seeking to force the company, Med-Tech Resource LLC of Eugene, Oregon, to forfeit the money and reimburse the state for 1.8 million fake 3M respirators purchased by the Division of Procurement Services.

The complaint alleges that the $3.6 million must be forfeited because it was derived from unlawful activity, specifically wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods, according to the claim filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

The 1860 mask Photo courtesy of Maine Division of Procurement Services

Meanwhile, the former CEO of Med-Tech, who is now its sales manager, said Monday that the company has already agreed to refund the $3.6 million to Maine and will cover the remaining $1.2 million.

“We’ll do everything in our power to make everyone whole,” said Michael Modrich, listed in the complaint and on the company’s website as founder and CEO of the now 30-year-old medical supply company.

Modrich was convicted of wire fraud in May 2019 and sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison, according to the complaint. Modrich said it was an unrelated wire fraud case that he attributed to reporting errors in international trade from 2008 through 2013.

Modrich said he gave up his shares in the company in 2013 the December annual report for Med-Tech lists company members as Kendyl Modrich, Ramona Modrich and Andrew Rogers, the complaint states.

Donald Clark, acting U.S. attorney for Maine, declined to comment on the case Monday, including whether criminal charges will be brought against individuals involved in the sale of the counterfeit masks.

The administration of Gov. Janet Mills welcomed the federal action but also declined to answer questions, though a prepared statement shows officials are still trying to get a full refund.

“The Division of Procurement Services, Maine’s Office of the Attorney General, and multiple affected jurisdictions across the country continue to work closely with our federal counterparts to secure the (remaining $1.2 million),” said Kelsey Goldsmith, spokeswoman for the Department of Administrative & Financial Services.

The federal lawsuit indicates there were early signs of trouble in talks between the buyers and sellers.

The state’s procurement division purchased 1.8 million masks via four “automated clearing house” transfers totaling $4.8 million from the state’s bank, U.S. Bank in Columbus, Ohio, to the credit union account of Elevated Marketing Solutions LLC in Raleigh, North Carolina. Those transfers were made on Dec. 9, Jan. 20 and 27 and Feb. 1, according to the complaint.

Homeland Security investigators later learned that on the date of each transfer, Elevated Marketing wired nearly the same amount – a total of $4.5 million – to Med-Tech’s account with Columbia Bank in the state of Washington. The state paid about $2.67 per mask, when 3M’s suggested retail price was $1.27, the complaint states.

Between Dec. 23 and Feb. 5, Maine received 1.8 million masks shipped from Zhen Qi Trade Co. Ltd. – a Hong Kong firm that was selling masks ostensibly made by 3M in Canada or the United States, Modrich said.

“Remember, there was a pandemic going on and you couldn’t get masks in the U.S. for any reasonable price,” Modrich said.

Maine officials learned in early December that Med-Tech was part of an international supply chain providing the masks, according to the complaint.

Modrich and Neal Westphalen, who are identified as Med-Tech’s owners in the complaint, told a Maine official that the state would issue purchase orders to Elevated Marketing, which in turn would issue purchase orders to Med-Tech.

The Oregon company would then issue purchase orders to Zhen Qi in Hong Kong, “who caused the masks to be shipped to the state of Maine,” the complaint states. A company in Colombia also was involved in the deal, Modrich said.

In early February, the National Recall Alert Center notified Maine that the state had purchased masks with model and lot numbers that indicated they might be counterfeit. They were missing certain markings or approval numbers, had missing or misspelled markings by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health claimed to be approved for use by children or had ear loops instead of headbands. 3M later confirmed they were counterfeit.

On Feb. 12, the state procurement division announced that Maine had purchased fake respirators, including 161,000 masks that had been distributed to school nurses, health care facilities and state workers, who were alerted not to use them. The rest of the respirators were still in state warehouses.

The vendors who sold the masks to Maine “represented to the state that the items were NIOSH-approved, authentic 3M brand N95 respirators,” the procurement division said in a statement at the time. “Prior to ordering, the state was provided samples from the vendors, which were inspected for quality through fit testing. These samples passed the quality review.”

The federal government seized the $3.6 million on March 23 with a warrant issued by a federal magistrate. It then received a cashier’s check in Portland, where it was deposited into a “treasury suspense account” pending a decision on the forfeiture complaint.

Homeland Security agents in Houston are investigating similar allegations involving Med-Tech that resulted in the seizure of more than $1.6 million from the company’s bank account, the complaint states.


This Popular Hostess Snack Is Being Recalled, FDA Says

Hostess is known for its delicious pastries (like the Twinkie), but another is the subject of a new recall because it could contain undeclared allergens. Some Hostess SnoBalls were inadvertently manufactured in the packaging for the Chocolate CupCakes, the recall notice posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) website says.

The Chocolate CupCake packaging does not list one of the ingredients in the SnoBalls, coconut, as an allergen, and if someone who is allergic or has a sensitivity to it eats the mislabeled pastry, they could have a severe reaction.

The Hostess SnoBalls involved in the recall were manufactured as single-serving sizes on March 13, 2021. The company became aware of the issue and subsequently issued the recall. They have a "Best By Date" of May 27, 2021, and a UPC code of 888109010096. The treats were sold in convenience stores, dollar stores, and shipped to distributors across the country.

Courtesy of Hostess

No illnesses or injuries have been reported, the notice says, but customers who have purchased the pastry are urged to not eat it and contact the place of purchase about a full refund. Only this batch was affected by the mislabeling.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only recall affecting big-name products that may be on your grocery list. This Major Pet Food Brand Has Just Been Recalled for Salmonella, and If You Bought This Ground Turkey, Throw It Out Now, FSIS Says.

To get all the latest grocery store news delivered right to your email inbox every day, sign up for our newsletter!


Cantaloupe

Shutterstock

Fruits and vegetables are just as susceptible to contamination as raw meat and animal by-products such as dairy and eggs. One of the biggest foodborne illnesses to date occurred in 2011 when cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado were found to be contaminated with Listeria after 147 people were sickened among 28 states. The outbreak killed 33 people and caused a miscarriage. In 2012, cantaloupes produced by Chamberlain Farms in Owensville, Indiana, were the source of a salmonella typhimurium outbreak that caused 261 people to become ill in 24 states. Of those who got sick, 94 were hospitalized and three lost their lives. Make sure to wash cantaloupes thoroughly before peeling to help prevent ingesting bacteria.


Timeline

Nasoya Founded

Nasoya’s founders make tofu in a transformed barn in Leominster, Massachusetts.

America’s #1 Tofu Brand

Nasoya moves to a new facility, begins producing more than 60,000 pounds of tofu per week, and becomes America’s #1 tofu brand.

Acquired by Vitasoy, Inc

Nasoya is acquired by Vitasoy, Inc., and expands its product range to include noodles and wraps.

Introduces Pasta Zero

Nasoya introduces Pasta Zero shirataki noodles

Nasoya Launches Tofu U

Nasoya launches Tofu U, the first of its kind tofu knowledge center which provides expert resources demystifying the healthy plant-based protein

Nasoya Launches TofuBaked

Nasoya launches TofuBaked, pre-cooked, marinated and available in two flavorful varieties, Sesame Ginger and Teriyaki

Introduces Organic Tofu Vegetable Dumplings

Nasoya expands pasta offering with Organic Tofu Vegetable Dumplings

GoBowl Noodle Bowls

Nasoya increases its Asian-style noodle offering with GoBowl noodle bowls

Introduces Toss’ables

Nasoya unveils its newest innovation, Toss’ables. Tofu that is pre-cubed, pre-marinated and baked to perfection.


The Toastie (Toasté)

The toastie is a hot dog with a snappier bite, but the focus is the bun. Sometimes brushed with melted butter and toasted, these hot dogs deliver a little bit of crispiness.

There are a variety of different places across Montreal that are famous for their toasties, such as the aforementioned Bell Centre.

When I asked Marc Dumont, special collaborator to Canadiens.com, about the Bell Centre hot dogs, he too brought up the bun first.

&ldquoThe Bell Centre&rsquos biggest value when it comes to hot dog advancement (HDA), is the grilling of the bun. You can add relish, a must in my world, onions, another must, or any of the other various condiments available. But the bun is life. All else is filler.&rdquo

From my memories of Bell Centre hot dogs, it&rsquos what I remember, too. It was the toastiness of the New England&ndashstyle bun&mdasha little buttery and not too charred, but not undercooked&mdashthat really made the hot dog stand out.

Another vote for Team Toastie came from Anthony Kinik, a writer and food blogger originally from Montreal.

&ldquoThat&rsquos one of the things that&rsquos relatively unique about Montreal hot dogs&mdashyou have the option of having the bun (and dog) griddle-fried. The steamie style is fine, but I prefer the textures that come with a toasté,&rdquo Kinik said.

As I mentioned, toasties can also use the same all-dressed toppings as their steamie cousins. Kinik put it best: &ldquoI&rsquod say, without this combo, what&rsquos the point?&rdquo


What do the polls show?

Newsom’s job approval rating among California voters has suffered, according to two independent political polls released in February. The surveys found that roughly half of voters gave Newsom good marks, down from 64% earlier in the year.

In a Public Policy Institute of California poll released in March, 56% of voters said they opposed the recall, 40% supported it and the remainder were undecided. The percentage of those who favored ousting Newsom was slightly above the support for former President Trump in California in the November election, when he received 34% of the vote.

California has seen major improvements in the COVID-19 fight in recent months and is rapidly reopening the economy.

Some experts said continued progress could help Newsom overcome the recall push.

“Its fate today looks much less possible than it did when this recall drive began in earnest,” said UC San Diego political scientist Thad Kousser. “But if there’s anything we’ve learned last year it is that things could change dramatically in another four months.”

The spectacle of the 2003 recall election fascinated people across the country, who were intrigued by California’s reputation as a far-out haven for sun-baked dreamers, celebrities and Hollywood wannabes — and political absurdity. More than 130 candidates hoping to replace Davis crammed the ballot, among them Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt, former Major League Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington and “Diff’rent Strokes” star Gary Coleman.

Whether this recall will have the same appeal remains a question.

The perils of parenting through a pandemic

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Phil Willon covers Gov. Gavin Newsom and California politics for the Los Angeles Times. Willon grew up in Southern California and previously worked for the Tampa Tribune and the Capital in Annapolis, Md.

Taryn Luna covers Gov. Gavin Newsom and California politics in Sacramento for the Los Angeles Times.

Seema Mehta is a reporter who covered the 2020 campaign, the fourth presidential race she has written about for the Los Angeles Times. She started at the Times in 1998 and recently completed a Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan.

John Myers joined the Los Angeles Times as Sacramento bureau chief in 2015 and has spent more than two decades covering California politics, state government and elections.


Recalled infant sleepers

Every day, millions of kids are dropped off at child care facilities across the country by parents and caretakers who are looking forward to seeing them safe and sound at the end of the day. But new research found some dangerous recalled products are still in use at child care facilities across the country.

In April of 2019, Consumer Reports revealed at least 32 infants had died in the popular Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper and at least four more in the Kids II Rocking Sleeper. After the report, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and relevant companies issued a warning to parents and caretakers to ensure the inclined sleepers were used properly. But further analysis revealed these products were unsafe, prompting a full recall of nearly 5.4 million infant products just days later.

If you haven’t heard about this recall, don’t be surprised. Our recall system usually relies on consumers to see news coverage, sign up for alerts at SaferProducts.gov, or hear about recalls through word of mouth. That probably explains why Fisher-Price expected to only get a small percentage, potentially as low as 5 percent, of the 4.7 million deadly sleepers back.

Between June 20th and July 10th, U.S. PIRG and Kids In Danger (KID) contacted more than 600 child care facilities through emails and phone calls about whether they were using the recalled sleepers in their child care facilities.

One in 10 of the 376 survey respondents that have children under one indicated they were using at least one of these dangerous sleepers in the child care facilities. The survey covered states that banned these products such as Wisconsin and Texas, and those without any state law, such as Georgia. And we found these dangerous products still in use at some facilities despite the state bans.

Even one dangerous sleeper is one too many for parents to be comfortable.

A 2016 analysis of child care regulations found only 18 states completely ban recalled children products from child care facilities including toys, furniture, cribs, and other infant and children products.

Those bans rely on child care facilities receiving timely information and take appropriate action. Some states, such as Arkansas and Michigan, require child-care centers to maintain a log of recalls that are available for parents. Pennsylvania requires owners to affirm recalled products were removed.

In other cases, regulations relied on vague statements, not even mentioning the word recall, or suggesting some items do not need to be removed.

We recommend the following policy solutions:

  1. The CPSC should work with recalling companies to include child care facilities in any corrective action plans for toys and nursery products. In addition, the CPSC must work with state agencies to ensure that all child care facilities are automatically notified of recalled children’s products and have instructions on how to participate in the recall.
  2. Mattel and Kids II should redouble their efforts to reach any known users of these deadly sleepers and encourage participation in the recall.
  3. States should pass legislation or institute rules banning the use of recalled products in child care facilities and provide a robust process to get information to each provider and ensure compliance.

We surveyed child care facilities between June 20 and July 10, 2019 through online and phone outreach. Our survey primarily focused on Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin after looking at 21 states across the country.

We chose these states for a few reasons. First, the states provided information on whether a facility served children under one and provided complete contact information including email addresses for most facilities. Second, we wanted to include states that required removal of recalled products (Wisconsin, Texas) and those lacking laws (Georgia). Finally, they provided some geographic diversity to the survey.

In addition, we sent out surveys through the organizations’ social media, email lists and coalition partners. These additional surveys accounted for a small fraction of total surveys.

To limit bias in survey responses, our emails and calling scripts did not note that the products were recalled. Instead, we identified ourselves as a research group, U.S. PIRG, and that we were doing a product use survey.

Email surveys were sent to everyone who provided an email. Phone survey targets were chosen by assigning a random number to all facilities that indicated they served children under one year old. Calls were made by U.S. PIRG and KID interns and staff. Our analysis excluded any time a child care facility didn’t know whether they were using a recalled sleeper. If child care providers indicated sleepers were only used to help children calm down, we marked that as a yes, as it’s still a recalled product. We noted the full response in either case in the "notes" section.

If a child care facility used both products, that only counts as facility for the purposes of this analysis.


Chesa Boudin supporters have outraised the recall campaign. Here's who donated the most

Supporters of District Attorney Chesa Boudin have outraised a campaign to recall the San Francisco district attorney.

Paul Chinn/The Chronicle 2020

A political action committee created to keep San Francisco top prosecutor Chesa Boudin in office now appears to be financially outpacing a recall effort against him, new campaign finance records show.

Financial disclosures made public Monday show the camp supporting Boudin edged out the district attorney&rsquos foes by about $20,000.

The San Franciscans Against the Recall of Chesa Boudin committee raised a total of $160,000, while the Committee Supporting the Recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin raised about $139,800 by the most recent filing deadline.

Anti-recall supporters got sizable boosts from criminal-justice reform advocates, including $100,000 from the Real Justice political action committee, a national organization that supports electing progressive prosecutors and $15,000 from the Smart Justice California Action fund, which supports criminal justice reform policies.

Boudin has also created a political action committee, which has raised just over $41,000, according to a draft financial filing viewed by The Chronicle.

The recall campaign is based on the belief that Boudin&rsquos policies intended to stem mass incarceration have made the city less safe. Boudin, a national figure in a growing progressive prosecutor movement, has ended cash bail, gang enhancements and use of a three-strikes rule &mdash all policies that reform advocates say have excessively ratcheted up time behind bars.

Boudin supporters point to police data that show crime has largely fallen over the past few years, including in 2020, the first year Boudin was in office.

The largest donation to the pro-recall campaign came from Daniel O&rsquoKeefe, a Chicago investor for Artisan Partners who contributed $50,000. David Sacks, a San Francisco tech investor, handed over $25,000 during the last reporting period.


Column: Millions of faces scanned without approval. We need rules for facial recognition

The powers that be at UCLA thought it was a good idea at the time — using state-of-the-art technology to scan students’ faces for gaining access to campus buildings. Students thought otherwise.

“The implementation of facial recognition technology would present a major breach of students’ privacy and make students feel unsafe on a campus they are supposed to call home,” the Daily Bruin said in an editorial last year.

UCLA dropped the facial recognition plan a few weeks later. “We have determined that the potential benefits are limited and are vastly outweighed by the concerns of our campus community,” officials declared.

I recalled that fracas after the Federal Trade Commission announced the other day that it had reached a settlement with a San Francisco company called Everalbum, which offered online storage of photos and videos.

The company, via its Ever app, scanned millions of facial images without customers’ knowledge and used the data to develop facial recognition software for corporate clients, the FTC said.

Everalbum also promised users it would delete their photos and videos from its cloud servers if they closed their account. However, the company “retained them indefinitely,” the agency said.

“Using facial recognition, companies can turn photos of your loved ones into sensitive biometric data,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

“Ensuring that companies keep their promises to customers about how they use and handle biometric data will continue to be a high priority for the FTC,” he said.

Be that as it may, there’s a lot of money to be made with such cutting-edge technology. Experts tell me consumers need to be vigilant about privacy violations as some of the biggest names in the tech world — including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple — pursue advances in the field.

“Since there aren’t federal laws on facial recognition, it seems pretty likely that there are other companies using this invasive technology without users’ knowledge or consent,” said Caitlin Seeley George, campaign director for the digital rights group Fight for the Future.

She called Everalbum’s alleged practices “yet another example of how corporations are abusing facial recognition, posing as much harm to people’s privacy as government and law enforcement use.”

Facial recognition technology took center stage after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Law enforcement agencies nationwide have been using facial recognition systems to identify participants from photos and videos posted by the rioters.

That’s creepy, to be sure, but it strikes me as a legitimate use of such technology. Every rioter in the building was breaking the law — and many were foolishly bragging about it on social media. These people deserve their comeuppance.

In the absence of clear rules, however, some of the big dogs in the tech world have adopted go-slow approaches to facial recognition, at least as far as law enforcement is concerned.

Microsoft said last year that it wouldn’t sell its facial recognition software to police departments until the federal government regulates such systems. Amazon announced a one-year moratorium on allowing police forces to use its facial recognition technology.

But law enforcement is just one part of the equation. There’s also the growing trend of businesses using facial recognition to identify consumers.

“Consumers need to know that while facial recognition technology seems benign, it is slowly normalizing surveillance and eroding our privacy,” said Shobita Parthasarathy, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan.

Not least among the potential issues, researchers at MIT and the University of Toronto found that Amazon’s facial recognition tends to misidentify women with darker skin, illustrating a troubling racial and gender bias.

Then there’s the matter of whether people are being identified and sorted by businesses without their permission.

Facebook agreed to pay $550 million last year to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the company violated an Illinois privacy law with its facial recognition activities.

The Everalbum case illustrates how facial recognition is spreading like poison ivy in the business world, with at least some companies quietly exploiting the technology for questionable purposes.

“Between September 2017 and August 2019, Everalbum combined millions of facial images that it extracted from Ever users’ photos with facial images that Everalbum obtained from publicly available datasets,” the FTC said in its complaint.

This vast store of images was then used by the company to develop sweeping facial recognition capabilities that could be sold to other companies, it said.

Everalbum shut down its Ever app last August and rebranded the company as Paravision AI. The company’s website says it continues to sell “a wide range of face recognition applications.”

Paravision “has no plans to run a consumer business moving forward,” a company spokesman told me, asking that his name be withheld even though he’s, you know, a spokesman.

He said Paravision’s current facial recognition technology “does not use any Ever users’ data.”

Emily Hand, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, said facial recognition data “is a highly sought-after resource” for many businesses. It’s one more way of knowing who you are and how you behave.

Hand said that “for every company that gets in trouble, there’s 10 or more that didn’t get caught.”

Seeley George at Fight for the Future said, “Congress needs to act now to ban facial recognition, and should absolutely stay away from industry-friendly regulations that could speed up adoption of the technology and make it even more pervasive.”

She’s not alone in that sentiment. Amnesty International similarly called this week for a global ban on facial recognition systems.

I doubt that will happen. With the biggest names in Silicon Valley heavily invested in this technology, it’s not going away. What’s needed are clear rules for how such data can be collected and used, especially by the private sector.

Any company employing facial recognition technology needs to prominently disclose its practices and give consumers the ability to easily opt out. Better still, companies should have to ask our permission before scanning and storing our faces.

“Today’s facial recognition technology is fundamentally flawed and reinforces harmful biases,” Rohit Chopra, then an FTC commissioner, said after the Everalbum settlement was announced.

“With the tsunami of data being collected on individuals, we need all hands on deck to keep these companies in check,” he said.

Chopra has since been appointed by President Biden to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

We can all recognize that as a positive step.

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David Lazarus is an award-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He also appears daily on KTLA Channel 5. His work runs in newspapers across the country and has resulted in a variety of laws protecting consumers.



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