FYI Miami: January 2, 2020
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
COUNTY FACES JOIN SYSTEM: Miami-Dade will add its entire mugshot library to the largest and most powerful – albeit controversial – facial recognition network in the nation. County commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, sponsored by Commissioner Joe Martinez, to include the photos and secure permanent access to the Florida Facial Recognition Network. The network, which uses a technology called FACES (Face Analysis Comparison and Examination), has been used by Miami-Dade police forensics personnel since 2003, county forensics artist Samantha Steinberg told commissioners in committee last month.”The plan was to create a database where law enforcement could run images of unidentified people against book photographs to try to identify them,” she said. But the system has also been scrutinized for misuse, false positives and alleged lack of oversight and transparency, including a study by the Center for Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University that found it ran 8,000 monthly searches of Florida driver’s licenses – a rate of frequency greater than that of the FBI’s face recognition unit – without requiring officers to show reasonable suspicion beforehand.
CITY OPPOSES TOLLS: A pocket legislative item from City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez urges members of the state legislature to prohibit tolls and express lanes on the Palmetto Highway and to remove those now in place. The commission unanimously approved the legislation. State legislators Rep. Bryan Avila and Sen. Manny Díaz Jr. introduced the bills in their respective chambers.
ZONING WHENEVER: The City of Miami Commission will now be able to hear planning and zoning matters at any commission meetings. Previously, in most months such items were to only be heard on the second meeting of the month.
SURFSIDE CLIMATE CRISIS: Commissioners in Surfside have approved an early version of the town’s Climate Crisis Report and Climate Action Plan and declared a climate emergency, a move that a city release said “publicly acknowledges the scientific evidence of global climate change and urges the US Congress and the State of Florida legislature to take immediate action.” The first edition of the climate crisis report, which the town commission OK’d Dec. 10, focuses on the current and expected effects of climate change on the coastal town and includes calls for action to shore up its vulnerabilities to those effects in 12 key areas, including land use and the built environment, public health, commitment to funding and public outreach.