How YouTube shields advertisers (not viewers) from harmful videos

The difference between the protections YouTube offers its advertisers and those it provides consumers is stark. 

Jonas Kaiser notes that YouTube faces questions of censorship and freedom of speech when it comes to what videos are permitted on the platform. “The relationship YouTube has with advertisers is more straightforward,” he says, adding that YouTube protects itself from suffering financially by working to remove ads from harmful content. 

Read more from Quartz

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

One State May Become the First to Ban Law Enforcement Use of Genealogy Databases

A state lawmaker in Utah wants police to stop using consumer genealogy databases to help them find criminals.

Jasmine McNealy, faculty associate, said that law enforcement accessing personal data held by third parties is not a new legal debate. “We’ve seen this problem with banking and cell phone data for a long time,” she said. “But with DNA we immediately see the implications. It needs a higher privacy standard.”

Read more from Route Fifty


Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The Smart Enough City

The “smart city,” presented as the ideal, efficient, and effective for meting out services, has captured the imaginations of policymakers, scholars, and urban-dwellers. But what are the possible drawbacks of living in an environment that is constantly collecting data?

Ben Green joins Jasmine McNealy to discuss his book The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future.

Listen to the New Books in Technology Podcast

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Digital Public Infrastructure… and a few words in defense of optimism

Ethan Zuckerman contributed to a series of essays from the Knight First Amendment Institute called “The Tech Giants, Monopoly Power, and Public Discourse.”

“At these moments of technological shift, it’s easy to assume that the business models adopted by technological innovators are inevitable and singular. They are not.”

Read the essay from the Knight First Amendment Institue, Zuckerman’s summary on medium, and more from Nieman Lab.

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

We’re Banning Facial Recognition. We’re Missing the Point.

In a world where our data allows us to be consistently identified over time, bans on facial recognition aren't enough writes Bruce Schneier.

“Today, facial recognition technologies are receiving the brunt of the tech backlash, but focusing on them misses the point,” says Schneier. “We need to have a serious conversation about all the technologies of identification, correlation and discrimination, and decide how much we as a society want to be spied on by governments and corporations — and what sorts of influence we want them to have over our lives.”

Read more in The New York Times

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It

Faculty associate Woodrow Hartzog spoke to The New York Times about the harrowing consequences of facial recognition

“We’ve relied on industry efforts to self-police and not embrace such a risky technology, but now those dams are breaking because there is so much money on the table,” Hartzog said. “I don’t see a future where we harness the benefits of face recognition technology without the crippling abuse of the surveillance that comes with it. The only way to stop it is to ban it.”

Read more from The New York Times

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The Justice Department’s new quarrel with Apple

The deadly December shooting of three U.S. sailors at a Navy installation could reignite a long-simmering fight between the federal government and tech companies over data privacy and encryption.

“They’re just public shaming and asking nicely,” said Bruce Schneier. “Hurting everybody’s security for some forensic evidence is a dumb tradeoff.”

Read more from The Washington Post

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Meta analysis shows AI ethics principles emphasize human rights

One of the trends that came into sharp focus in 2019 was, ironically, a woeful lack of clarity around AI ethics. The AI field at large was paying attention to ethics, creating and applying frameworks for AI research, development, policy, and law, but there was no unified approach.  A team of researchers from BKC recently released a white paper and visualization that mapped AI principles and guidelines to find consensus. 

Read more from Venture Beat

Read additional coverage from Unite.AI

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Who is right about political ads, Twitter or Facebook?

evelyn douek joined a virtual panel of experts to weigh in on the two approaches:

“I don’t think this issue is going to be solved by platitudes about free speech or categorical statements about the difficulty of defining truth. I’m much more interested in empirically informed ideas somewhere in between.”

Read more from the Columbia Journalism Review

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Danielle Citron and evelyn douek on Deep Fakes

evelyn douek spoke with law professors Bobby Chesney and Danielle Citron about deep fakes on the Lawfare Podcast—with recently circulated, doctored video of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and presidential candidate Joe Biden, they talked about how the issue hasn't gone away, as well as the distinction between deep fakes and other less sophisticated forms of editing.

Listen to the Lawfare Podcast


Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The Evil List: Which tech companies are doing the most harm?

BKC fellow Mutale Nkonde responded to Slate with her views on Alphabet:

“Unless we have strong privacy protections in place, Google can use our personal data to build advanced technological systems, which, if they are built using datasets with in-built bias, will have a discriminatory impact on traditionally marginalized groups.”

Read more on Slate

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

How To Spot Fake News

Joan Donovan participated in a panel of scholars who study media manipulation, digital resources, and the spread of misinformation on how to spot “fake news” in an age of disinformation.

Watch a recording of the panel from WGBH

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Answering impossible questions

“The governance of online platforms has unfolded across three eras – the era of Rights (which stretched from the early 1990s to about 2010), the era of Public Health (from 2010 through the present), and the era of Process (of which we are now seeing the first stirrings),” write John Bowers and Jonathan Zittrain. “In the era of Process, platforms, regulators, and users must transcend this stalemate between competing values frameworks, not necessarily by uprooting Rights-era cornerstones like CDA 230, but rather by working towards platform governance processes capable of building broad consensus around how policy decisions are made and implemented.”

Read more in the HKS Misinformation Review

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

YouTube and Radicalization

Joan Donovan talks with Mathew Ingram of Columbia Journalism Review’s Galley forum. Donovan discusses technological determinism and why getting data from YouTube wouldn’t be enough for researchers.

“Researchers have to be more like investigative journalists to get at independent and verifiable data, which might include developing different tools entirely than hoping for a tranche of platform data,” Donovan says.

Read more from Columbia Journalism Review

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

China Isn’t the Only Problem With 5G

“The network has plenty of other security weaknesses, including ones the United States doesn’t want to fix since they help its own surveillance efforts,” writes Bruce Schneier.

Read more in Foreign Policy

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Over-sharing Your Kids In The Social Media Age

Faculty associate Leah Plunkett joins The Jefferson Exchange to discuss the problems with parents creating a digital dossier that could follow their kids for life.

Listen to the program from Jefferson Public Radio

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Applications and Ethics of AI with Chinmayi Arun

Chinmayi Arun in conversation about the applications of AI and the ethical debates surrounding its use on the podcast Interpreting India.

Listen to the podcast from Carnegie India


Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Tech companies tried to help us spend less time on our phones. It didn’t work.

Ethan Zuckerman adds to the discussion about whether concerns about “time well spent” are overblown. 

“Every time new tech comes out, there’s a moral panic that this is going to melt our brains and destroy society,” says Zuckerman. “In almost every case, we sort of look back at these things and laugh.”

Read more on Vox

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Facebook just banned deepfakes, but the policy has loopholes

Danielle Citron advised Facebook on the new policy and sees it as fair, but would like to see more policies banning misleading videos in the future. 

“This is indeed a step in the right direction … We need to leave breathing room for satire and parody,” Citron said. “I would have liked the policy to have included manipulated deceptive media showing someone acted in ways they didn’t.”

Read more on Business Insider Singapore

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The Future of Politics Is Robots Shouting at One Another

They’ll be controlled by foreign actors, domestic political groups, even the candidates themselves. And you won’t be able to tell they’re bots, says BKC fellow Bruce Schneier.

Read more on The Atlantic

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy


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