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Welcome to Hitting the Books. With less than one in five Americans reading just for fun these days, we've done the hard work for you by scouring the internet for the most interesting, thought provoking books on science and technology we can find and delivering an easily digestible nugget of their stories.
Ring's effort to cozy up with law enforcement agencies and launch a citizen-installed surveillance state is undoubtedly a danger to our civil liberties but the doorbell camera company is far from the first corporation willing to leverage its technology to the US government in the name of "fighting crime" -- really just a pseudonym for enforcing America's tradition of racial segregation.
As the excerpt from Black Software by Charlton D. McIlwain illustrates, law enforcement technology has long served as unofficial cover for local and federal officers in their efforts to protect White Americans from their single biggest existential threat: black neighbors.
If you thought Stop and Frisk was wrong, wait until you see how Civil Rights-era Kansas dealt with the prospect of a "suspicious" black person even existing in a predominantly white neighborhood. Because it sure sounds familiar.
The President's Crime Commission report in 1968 had recommended that the federal government invest massive amounts of resources into what were later dubbed Criminal Justice Information Systems. It invested millions of dollars to design and build them. The growing and persisting fear of crime was its underlying rationale. But the commission's long list of use cases for these systems ultimately proved most persuasive.
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