When US marshals shot and killed a 32-year-old Black man named Winston Boogie Smith Jr. in a parking garage in Minneapolis’s Uptown neighborhood on June 3, 2021, the city was already in a full-blown policing crisis.
Around 300 officers had quit over the previous two years amid near-constant protests and public criticism in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a member of the police force in May 2020. Intense debates over the Minneapolis Police Department’s budget raged, and some Minneapolis council members were elected after campaigning on a platform of defunding the police. Adding yet more strain to the shorthanded department, homicides had increased almost 30% across the US in 2020. Vital services were starting to fail—in the first half of 2021, response times to 911 calls in Minneapolis increased by 36%.
Minneapolis had been at the vanguard of activism on policing and racial justice since Floyd’s death. After Smith’s killing, protests reignited all over the city—not only at public spaces, like the intersection where Floyd was murdered, but also in private ones, like the parking garage where Smith was shot. As demonstrations spread from the streets into shopping districts and parking lots, the cops couldn’t keep up.
Into the void stepped private security groups. The number of new companies applying for licenses from the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services ballooned from 14 in 2019 to 27 in 2021. Beginning in 2020, many Minneapolis property owners hired these private security organizations, ostensibly to prevent property damage. But the organizations often ended up managing protest activity—a task usually reserved for police, and one for which most private security guards are not trained.
According to documents obtained by MIT Technology Review through public records requests, there are 13 private security guards for every one police officer in downtown Minneapolis. There are currently 172 security groups and individual detectives with active licenses in Minnesota, from private investigators to companies with sophisticated surveillance operations and thousands of employees. They offer a range of services focused on the protection of property and privately owned assets. Some are heavily armed, some rely on open-source intelligence, and many have relationships with police departments.
And while the Minneapolis Police Department maintains public-facing policies for First Amendment activities like demonstrations and protests, there is no such requirement for private security groups. Similarly, police are accountable for their actions to the city government, and voters, whereas private groups are not.
The Secret Police: An MIT Technology Review investigation
This is the fifth story in a series that offers an unprecedented look at the way federal and local law enforcement employed advanced technology tools to create a total surveillance system in the streets of Minneapolis, and what it means for the future of policing.You can find the full series here.
In our look at over 400 documents, we found that during the protests after Smith was shot, several private organizations were providing security services at and around the parking garage where the killing took place, including We Push for Peace and W&W Protection. One company, Conflict Resolution Group, came up repeatedly.
The documents reveal that Conflict Resolution Group (CRG) regularly provided Minneapolis police with information about activists that was at times untrue and politicized. CRG also intimidated activists and revealed the identity of protesters; anonymous protest has been consistently upheld by the Supreme Court as a constitutionally protected activity. The Minneapolis Police Department referred the group to other businesses, despite concerns within the department about its behavior.
The city of Minneapolis, like many cities, maintains ties with many private security groups. A public-private partnership through the city’s Downtown Improvement District connects private security groups with police departments and businesses, and provides information-sharing infrastructure like radio equipment and regular meetings.
But CRG stands out for the prominent and controversial role it has played in the city’s reckoning with racism and police violence. From July through at least December 2021, the organization maintained a presence at the garage where Smith was killed, which had become a frequent protest site. The group’s tactics caused some protesters to fear for their personal safety. On its website, the group publicly touts its military-style operation, stating that it “specializes in all facets of high threat protection operations, surveillance, social media tracking and drone operations that were learned and honed on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and in high threat permissive environments
By: Tate Ryan-Mosley, Sam Richards
Title: The secret police: A private security group regularly sent Minnesota police misinformation about protestors
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/07/1055508/secret-police-private-security-group-minnesota-misinformation-protestors/
Published Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2022 13:00:00 +0000
LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.
This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.
The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.
“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México
Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.
The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000
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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.
Some new developments underway at EXMO:
Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.
EXMO’s new logo
The rationale for the re-brand:
“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding
The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000
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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country.
The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already.
Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.
The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines.
If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.
The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.
The case of Texas
The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.
One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more.
These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.
The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts. Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.
Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures
By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000
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