In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing and Recognizing Fake News
After reading the horrors in Dante’s “Inferno,” Italian students will soon turn to the dangers of the digital age. While juggling math assignments, they’ll also tackle worksheets prepared by reporters from the national broadcaster RAI. And separate from the weekly hour of religion, they will receive a list of what amounts to a new set of Ten Commandments for the digital age.

Among them: Thou shalt not share unverified news; thou shall ask for sources and evidence; thou shall remember that the internet and social networks can be manipulated.

The lessons are part of an extraordinary experiment by the Italian government, in cooperation with leading digital companies including Facebook, to train a generation of students steeped in social media how to recognize fake news and conspiracy theories online.
FakeNews  education  km 
19 hours ago
Can you make it in the gig economy (uber)
simulation of the life of an uber drive
uber  simulation  game  km 
Apple gave Uber's app 'unprecedented' access to sensitive Apple features that can record iPhone screens
Uber's iPhone app has a secret back door to powerful Apple features, allowing the ride-hailing service to potentially record a user's screen and access other personal information without their knowledge.

This access to special iPhone functions — which are so powerful that Apple almost always keeps them off-limits to outside companies — is not disclosed in any consumer-facing information included with Uber's app.
uber  apple  privacy  km 
Preliminary Findings: Rent Seeking by Elsevier – The Knowledge G.A.P.
The acquisition of scholarly communications by commercials publishers
2 days ago
Verificado19S: The citizen-led disaster response system helping organize aid in Mexico's earthquake — Quartz
In Mexico City, Verificado19S also showed how civil society can in some ways be more adept at emergency management than elected officials—in particular, at preventing false information from spreading. In the most extreme case, senior Mexican officials told the media that a girl called Frida Sofia was alive under the rubble of a collapsed school, and granted the country’s biggest TV network, Televisa, access to the building. After some 24 hours of nail-biting coverage that made Frida Sofia a worldwide story, it emerged that she didn’t exist—a severe blow to the credibility of the rescue agencies and the media.

In contrast, Verificado19S has some 500 volunteer reporters on the ground, some of whom stay put at the same site for days, closely following any changes. The picture they paint is much wider, more granular, and a better reflection of reality.
ee  crowdsourcing  mapping  verification 
16 days ago
Guardians of White Innocence
A small team of engineers in Menlo Park. A panel of anonymous power users around the world. And, increasingly, you. [Good article from January 2016]
facebook  algorithms 
20 days ago
A Start-Up Slump Is a Drag on the Economy. Big Business May Be to Blame. - The New York Times
Many economists say the answer could lie in the rising power of the biggest corporations, which they argue is stifling entrepreneurship by making it easier for incumbent businesses to swat away challengers — or else to swallow them before they become a serious threat.
ee  monopoly  institution  trust 
22 days ago
Who Targets Me - Who Targets Me?
Who Targets Me tells you which political campaigns use Dark Ads and Micro-Targeting to influence your vote.

Installing the browser extension helps us monitor election campaigns and call for greater digital transparency.
browserextension  elections  politics  advertising  km 
4 weeks ago
Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won't Tell Me How
What makes the results so unsettling is the range of data sources—location information, activity on other apps, facial recognition on photographs—that Facebook has at its disposal to cross-check its users against one another, in the hopes of keeping them more deeply attached to the site. People generally are aware that Facebook is keeping tabs on who they are and how they use the network, but the depth and persistence of that monitoring is hard to grasp. And People You May Know, or “PYMK” in the company’s internal shorthand, is a black box.
algorithms  privacy  facebook  km 
4 weeks ago
Researchers use facial recognition tools to predict sexual orientation. LGBT groups aren’t happy.
Privacy advocates have long warned about the potential for facial recognition technology to be abused. Law enforcement agencies and private companies already quietly collect and analyze huge troves of...
AI  facialrecognition  lgbt  km  from notes
5 weeks ago
The Human Cost of Monitoring the Internet - Rolling Stone
In 2016, Soto and his co-plaintiff Greg Blauert, who worked with Soto in content moderation, filed a lawsuit against Microsoft. The complaint for damages filed by their lawyers detail a horrifying reality, where Blauert and Soto spent hours each day reviewing graphic content, without adequate psychological support.
secondary  trauma  contentblocking  moderation  microsoft  ee 
5 weeks ago
Lexicon of Lies: Terms for Problematic Information || Data & Society
Whether "post-fact" or propaganda, the public sphere is inundated with problematic information. Lexicon of Lies is an essential guide by Data & Society Postdoctoral Scholar Caroline Jack that covers terms and concepts for information that is inaccurate, misleading, inappropriately attributed, or altogether fabricated.
manipulation  propaganda 
5 weeks ago
Ethan Zuckerman et al., The Decentralized Web
In this report, we explore two important ways structurally decentralized systems could help address the risks of mega-platform consolidation: First, these systems can help users directly publish and discover content directly, without intermediaries, and thus without censorship. All of the systems we evaluate advertise censorship-resistance as a major benefit. Second, these systems could indirectly enable greater competition and user choice, by lowering the barrier to entry for new platforms. As it stands, it is difficult for users to switch between platforms (they must recreate all their data when moving to a new service) and most mega-platforms do not interoperate, so switching means leaving behind your social network. Some systems we evaluate directly address the issues of data portability and interoperability in an effort to support greater competition.
5 weeks ago
Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me [Updated]
Google never challenged the accuracy of the reporting. Instead, a Google spokesperson told me that I needed to unpublish the story because the meeting had been confidential, and the information discussed there had been subject to a non-disclosure agreement between Google and Forbes. (I had signed no such agreement, hadn’t been told the meeting was confidential, and had identified myself as a journalist.)

It escalated quickly from there. I was told by my higher-ups at Forbes that Google representatives called them saying that the article was problematic and had to come down. The implication was that it might have consequences for Forbes, a troubling possibility given how much traffic came through Google searches and Google News.
But the most disturbing part of the experience was what came next: Somehow, very quickly, search results stopped showing the original story at all. As I recall it—and although it has been six years, this episode was seared into my memory—a cached version remained shortly after the post was unpublished, but it was soon scrubbed from Google search results. That was unusual; websites captured by Google’s crawler did not tend to vanish that quickly.
antitrust  censorship  Google 
6 weeks ago
Bretibart: Protecting American Sovereignty Against Big Tech’s Globalist Corporate Power

So now we live in a country where the big tech companies can pretty much do as they please.  Let us count the ways: They don’t pay much in the way of U.S. taxes, preferring to stash their cash offshore; they often pay only serf wages, even as they trample the middle class and Main Street; they agitate against heartland industries;  they disdain U.S. sovereignty; they have even been accused of shielding terrorists and child pornographers, even as they have sought to reject anti-jihad groups.

And most recently, they have been accused of helping steer the politically correct posse that seeks to censor—or worse—the authentic voices of many Americans.  In fact, the tech companies needn’t be accused of this censorship, because they proudly proclaim that they do it.

Thus we can see: The hard-won freedoms of the American tradition, including those of the First Amendment, don’t mean much if some billionaire geek can simply delete them. <...>

Indeed, as we drill down on the dangers of corporate monopoly, we can observe that the worst offenders are Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. We might even turn those four companies into an acronym, GAFA. And yes, GAFA is the antithesis of MAGA—Making America Great Again.
antitrust  alt-right  platforms 
7 weeks ago
Slate: The alt-right wants to build its own internet.
After Charlottesville, Nazis, white supremacists, and the alt-right have become a lot less welcome on the web. So they’re building their own.
7 weeks ago
New America Foundation’s Barry Lynn booted under pressure from Google - Vox
All businesses lobby on behalf of their interests, and in recent years that lobbying has increasingly expanded to include more focus on things like think tanks and other aspects of the “deep” influence game.

Google has been especially an especially aggressive player at deep influence. The Wall Street journal reported in July, for example, that they’ve spent millions of dollars subsidizing academic research that backs Google policy positions, often mapping out the thesis to be proven and then shopping to find the scholar to do the work. Google’s money, not always disclosed, has backed donations to think tanks across the ideological spectrum as well as more prosaic forms of influence peddling like campaign contributions.
platforms  antitrust 
7 weeks ago
AccuWeather caught sending user location data, even when location sharing is off
A security researcher has found that the popular weather app sends private location data without the user's explicit permission to a firm designed to monetize user locations.
security  location  apps  km 
7 weeks ago
Sunil Abraham: Now that privacy is a fundamental right, Parliament must define contours of SC ruling | opinion | Hindustan Times
How do we resolve the competing imperatives of privacy and national security, privacy and scientific innovation, etc? First by converting some of these tensions from zero-sum games to optimisation problems
privacy  India 
7 weeks ago
Dear Elon–Forget Killer Robots. Here’s What You Should Really Worry About
Panicking about killer robots is foolish when you have many more immediate problems, writes columnist Caroline Sinders.
AI  ethics 
7 weeks ago
'Rough Translation': What Americans Can Learn From Fake News In Ukraine : NPR
What Americans Can Learn From Fake News In Ukraine
August 21, 2017

Ukraine is where some of Russia's fake news tactics were first developed. We go to Eastern Ukraine to find out how the information war has changed how people watch the news and talk to each other.

Ukraine is at war with Russia and fake news has been coming across the border in heavy doses for years. Russian TV stations routinely spread hoaxes that rile up Ukraine's large Russian-speaking minority, deepening divisions. Other stories just sow doubt and mistrust. It's a war on truth meant to divide Ukrainians, to turn residents against their government.

Gregory Warner investigates how Ukrainians have learned to adapt and how they've been fighting back. At first, volunteers start fact-checking Russian news and making counter-programming. But as the war wears on, these methods begin to seem inadequate.
disinformation  FakeNews  cyberpolitics  Russia  Ukraine 
7 weeks ago
Ethan Zuckerman: Mistrust, Efficacy and the New Civics – a whitepaper for the Knight Foundation | … My heart’s in Accra
The paper I wrote – “Mistrust, efficacy and the new civics: understanding the deep roots of the crisis of faith in journalism” – served two purposes for me. First, it’s a rough outline of the book I’m working on this next year about mistrust and civics, which means I can pretend that I’ve been working on my book this summer. Second, it let me put certain stakes in the ground for my discussion with my friends at Knight. Conversations about mistrust in journalism have a tendency to focus on the uniqueness of the profession and its critical civic role in the US and in other open societies. I wanted to be clear that I think journalism has a great deal in common with other large institutions that are suffering declines in trust. Yes, the press has come under special scrutiny due to President Trump’s decision to demonize and threaten journalists, but I think mistrust in civic institutions is much broader than mistrust in the press.

Because mistrust is broad-based, press-centric solutions to mistrust are likely to fail. This is a broad civic problem, not a problem of fake news, of fact checking or of listening more to our readers. The shape of civics is changing, and while many citizens have lost confidence in existing institutions, others are finding new ways to participate. The path forward for news media is to help readers be effective civic actors. If news organizations can help make citizens feel powerful, like they can make effective civic change, they’ll develop a strength and loyalty they’ve not felt in years.
misinformation  cyberpolitics  ethan_zuckerman  journalism 
8 weeks ago
How Palantir, Peter Thiel's Secretive Data Company, Pushed Its Way Into Policing | WIRED
A Backchannel investigation reveals the difficult issues police and communities face when they adopt Palantir's secretive data-scooping software.
big_data  palantir  predictive_policing  algorithms 
8 weeks ago
Just Business | Library Babel Fish
nice thought piece from a librarian on the implications of Elsevier's acquisition of Bepress
OA  mh 
8 weeks ago
Computer scientists reveal the hidden architecture of tax havens—and how to beat them — Quartz
Using a global dataset that tracks the relationships between more than 98 million companies, the researchers used algorithms to build a network that identified the relationships between corporate subsidiaries, tracing the flow of tax-free money from country to country through these corporate chains.
This technique allowed them to make a key distinction, between offshore financial centers that act as conduits from major markets, and their final destinations, offshore financial centers that act as sinks for capital.
transparency  tax_justice 
10 weeks ago
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? - The Atlantic
More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.
mobile  youth 
10 weeks ago
You Are The Product
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu, ‘Chaos Monkeys’ by Antonio García Martínez and ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ by Jonathan Taplin · LRB 17 August 2017
long but excellent review essay - very interesting speculation on how Facebook's monopoly could be countered towards the end
cyberpolitics  disinformation  must_read  anti-trust  antitrust 
10 weeks ago
Has our attention been commodified? – The Economist
(This 7-minute segment is the best summary I've come across of Tim Wu's argument in "The Attention Merchants", which meshes with the thinking of James Williams [see podcast flagged just before this] and Tristan Harris.)
Has our attention been commodified?
If you’re not paying for it, you might be the product
When media is free to read, watch or listen to, does that make you the product?
According to Professor Tim Wu, author of “The Attention Merchants: How Our Time and Attention Are Gathered and Sold”, our eyes and ears have been commodified by newspapers, TV channels, search engines and social media platforms at the expense of our public sphere and our individual efficiency. We interviewed Mr Wu on our Babbage podcast, where his segment starts at 7.35:
attention_economy  cyberpolitics  disinformation 
10 weeks ago
'Are digital technologies making politics impossible?' Talking Politics podcast
This week we talk to James Williams, winner of the inaugural Nine Dots Prize, which offered $100,000 for the best answer to the question: 'Are digital technologies making politics impossible?'  James used to work at Google and he channeled his experiences for his prize-winning entry.  He tells us what he learned there and what it means to live in the attention economy.  Plus we discuss how Trump has managed to monopolise the attention of the entire world.  Along with the money, James now has to write a book with his answer - we'll be checking in with him along the way to see how he's getting on.  With David Runciman and John Naughton. (JULY 28, 2017)
attention_economy  cyberpolitics  disinformation 
10 weeks ago
How startup Kite tried to ruin two open source communities
Kite hired a key developer on the popular open source project Minimap (Cédric Néhémie) and either hired or influenced the key developer on autocomplete-python (@sadovnychy). In the former case, almost immediately upon his hire Néhémie implemented a new feature ("Implement kite promotion") that managed to infuriate the Minimap developer community even as it allowed Kite to push ads into the Minimap user experience. There was no way to disable it, something developers deemed "simply obnoxious," though Kite finally backed down and disabled the "feature" in July.
open_source  advertising  km 
10 weeks ago
Let’s Get Excited About Maintenance! -
When Americans talk about technology, they often use “innovation” as a shorthand. But “innovation” refers only to the very early phases of technological development and use. It also tends to narrow the scope of technology to digital gadgets of recent vintage: iPhones, social media apps and so on. A more expansive conception of technology would take into account the diverse array of tools, including subways and trains, that we humans use to help us reach our goals.

While innovation — the social process of introducing new things — is important, most technologies around us are old, and for the smooth functioning of daily life, maintenance is more important.
ee  intermediary  maintenance  technology 
12 weeks ago
Zebras Unite
“Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break” calls for a more ethical and inclusive movement to counter existing start-up culture. We believe creating an alternative to this status quo is a moral imperative.
ee  maintenance  dazzle  data  entrepreneur  investing 
12 weeks ago
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