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Dispatches Human Race

Russians get a little too cozy out in space

CINDI-CNOFS Satellite (NASA)

Pursued

Like a pair of high-tech Bond villains, two Russian satellites appear to be following an American one. U.S. Space Force commander Gen. John “Jay” Raymond said the Russian spacecraft have several times in the past few months come within 100 miles of the U.S. orbiter, which is used to gather intelligence. “This is unusual and disturbing behavior and has the potential to create a dangerous situation in space,” he said in a statement to Business Insider. Russia had earlier labeled the spacecraft “inspector satellites,” according to Raymond, who added that the United States has raised diplomatic concerns about the incident. Supporters of the new Space Force said the incident proves the need for the new agency. The White House requested $15 billion for the Space Force in its latest budget proposal.

Sued

Facebook announced it will pay $550 million to settle a lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology. Facebook users in Illinois brought the case, claiming that the company’s service, Tag Suggestions, violates the Illinois biometric privacy law. The law states that all companies must receive written permission to collect a person’s facial scan or other biological identifiers. Facebook’s Tag Suggestions uses face-matching software to identify the names of people in photos. The Illinois case claims this data was taken without users’ permission and without any information on how long Facebook would keep the data. Facebook denies the claims but agreed to settle the lawsuit.

Loosened

The Trump administration will likely be loosening restrictions on the use of land mines in the near future. More than 160 countries have banned the weapons because of the danger to civilians. Previously, the U.S. military had banned all use of land mines, except on the Korean Peninsula. The president made the decision to change this policy after the completion of a Pentagon review. According to CNN, the review found that prohibiting land mines increased “risk to mission success.” The Pentagon’s new policy is expected to allow the use and production of land mines only if they have a self-destruction feature.

Captured

The U.S. Coast Guard on Feb. 10 unloaded about 20,000 pounds of cocaine it seized while pursuing drug runners in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. It took the drug haul—which has an estimated street value of nearly $340 million—to Naval Base San Diego. U.S. ships intercepted cartel boats in eight operations off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America between ­November and mid-January.