Body Count Points to a Mexican Military Out of Control - The New York Times
The Mexican authorities say the nation’s soldiers are simply better trained and more skilled than the cartels they battle.

But experts who study the issue say Mexico’s kill rate is practically unheard-of, arguing that the numbers reveal something more ominous.

“They are summary executions,” said Paul Chevigny, a retired New York University professor who pioneered the study of lethality among armed forces.
statistics  humanrights  ee  mexico 
4 days ago
Government agencies keep sacrificing cash to zombie IT systems, GAO finds | Ars Technica
A new Government Accountability Office report has called out some of these systems as being so archaic that they're consuming increasingly larger portions of agencies' IT budgets just for operation and maintenance. As the breach at the Office of Personnel Management demonstrated, old systems are also a security risk—particularly when they've been "updated" with now-unsupported versions of Windows Server and Internet and database components that were end-of-life'd by their creators years ago.
software  GAO  UnitedStates  security 
4 days ago
Website Meant to Connect Neighbors Hears Complaints of Racial Profiling - The New York Times
Nextdoor, founded in 2010, is not the first neighborhood-based platform accused of becoming a haven for racially charged suspicions.
ee  racial_profiling  race 
12 days ago
Lev Ponomarev: "Flight or Prison" - Human Rights in Russia
In this different reality, for any report or ‘like’ of a picture that the anti-extremism police of Centre-E don’t like, you will immediately be sent to prison. Without any ‘half-measures’ such as compulsory work or a fine. For example, in February this year a single mother from Ekaterinburg, Ekaterina Vologzheninova, was sentenced to compulsory work for reposting a cartoon - and the court ordered her laptop was destroyed. Now the only possible form of punishment under ‘extremist’ articles of the criminal code (282, 282.1, 282.2, 282.3) will be imprisonment. The number of trials for extremism in recent years has increased at a remarkable speed — from 2011 to 2015 the number of people convicted of ‘extremist’ offences went up threefold.

In this reality any adolescent over 14 years will be considered criminally liable for failing to tell their friend, or, let’s say, their uncle (the bill introduces a new article into the Criminal Code: ‘failure to report a crime’ - 205.6, for which criminal liability begins at 14 years of age). In other words, it’s not enough that in our country young people of 14 and over are put in prison, for example if they steal something worth over 2,000 roubles. Now they will be put in prison for ‘failing to report’. We are returning to the ideas of Pavlik Morozov.
ee  russia  extremism  freedom_of_speech 
14 days ago
Эхо Москвы :: Блоги / Или бегство, или тюрьма
В этой реальности любой подросток старше 14 лет будет привлечен к уголовной ответственности за недонесение на своего приятеля или, скажем, дядю (законопроектом вводится новая статья УК РФ «несообщение о преступлении» — 205.6, по которой уголовная ответственность начинается с 14 лет). То есть, мало того, что у нас с 14 лет садятся, скажем, за кражу свыше двух тысяч рублей. Теперь будут садиться и за «несообщение» — возвращаемся к идеалам Павлика Морозова.
ee  russia  extremism  freedom_of_speech 
14 days ago
From global outcast to benign ruler: Narendra Modi on Twitter, Est. 2009 — Quartz
“Thoughtful construction of messages on Twitter has helped Modi build a powerful online brand, allowing him to transcend a problematic past and emerge as a techno-savvy global leader who speaks directly to his electorate,” the paper authored by Joyojeet Pal, Priyank Chandra and V G Vinod Vydiswaran, said.
twitter  brand  ee  human_rights 
24 days ago
Proof of Existence
Use our service to anonymously and securely store an online distributed proof of existence for any document. Your documents are NOT stored in our database or in the bitcoin blockchain, so you don't have to worry about your data being accessed by others.

All we store is a cryptographic digest of the file, linked to the time in which you submitted the document. In this way, you can later certify that the data existed at that time. This is the first online service allowing you to publicly prove that you have certain information without revealing the data or yourself, with a decentralized certification based on the bitcoin network.
bitcoin  ee 
25 days ago
About PARI
PARI: the text collection includes a resources section where we aim to make resident in full text every report/study on or significantly connected to rural India.

PARI is both a living journal and an archive. It will generate and host reporting on the countryside that is current and contemporary, while also creating a database of already published stories, reports, videos and audios from as many sources as we can. All PARI’s own content comes under the Creative Commons ( and the site is free to access. Also, anyone can contribute to PARI. Write for us, shoot for us, record for us — your material is welcome so long as it meets the standards of this site and falls within our mandate: the everyday lives of everyday people.It means an undertaking unprecedented in scale and scope, utilising myriad forms of media in audio, visual and text platforms. One where the stories, the work, the activity, the histories are narrated, as far as possible, as far as we can manage, by rural Indians themselves.
india  urbanization  ee  data 
27 days ago
Documenting India's Villages Before They Vanish - The Atlantic
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sees this transformation as inevitable. Expressing scorn for programs like his predecessors’ rural-employment guarantee, which helped the poor survive but kept them on the farm, he has promised to create 300 million jobs in “industrial corridors” through schemes like “Make in India,” which reduces or removes caps on foreign investment in various business sectors. But critics like farm-policy analyst Devinder Sharma say desperation is pushing people out of the countryside far faster than industry can create jobs for them in cities and towns. Among the hot-button issues in India at the moment is an executive order by Modi that allows the government to force farmers to sell their land for infrastructure projects without seeking their consent.
urbanization  landrights  india  modi  ee  tech_jobs 
27 days ago
Liudmila Alekseeva: General Tatiana Moskalkova's career makes her 'entirely unsuitable' for human rights work - in English
in April last year she suggested renaming the Interior Ministry the Cheka [the name of the former Soviet security service – trans.].

She also suggested giving police the “appropriate powers for restoring order and preserving peace and security” in times of crisis.

It is entirely likely that the appointment of such a person as Human Rights Ombudsperson is intended as an unambiguous message to human rights activists and the democratic part of society.

Moskalkova has already declared that “there are no political prisoners in Russia”.
Russia  human_rights  ombudsman  ee 
27 days ago
major conference for early career researchers on OA, OER, and Open Data, organized by OSF grantee, the Right to Research Coalition - for digest
OA  OER  conference 
4 weeks ago
Regulators Must Get Up To Speed On Financial AI - Law360
The report from law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP said that while banks have been putting such machines — which have the capacity to learn from new data in a way that is similar to what humans do — to work in trading, credit approvals, risk detection and other aspects of their operations, industry representatives believe regulators are not at this point capable of monitoring the machines that will soon be making many decisions in place of people.
ee  robots  finance  financialdata 
4 weeks ago
Perry Anderson · Crisis in Brazil · LRB 21 April 2016
A long, magisterial overview of the background to the crisis.
5 weeks ago
Innovative Companies Get Their Best Ideas from Academic Research — Here’s How They Do It
Highlights the importance of federally funded research to business innovation, but mistakenly states that all federally funded research is openly available.
OA  Harvard  Business  Review 
5 weeks ago
You Pay to Read Research You Fund. That’s Ludicrous | WIRED
Opinion piece in Wired on Open Access by Ryan Merkley of Creative Commons
OA  Creative  Commons  Wired 
5 weeks ago
Automating power: Social bot interference in global politics | Woolley | First Monday
Over the last several years political actors worldwide have begun harnessing the digital power of social bots — software programs designed to mimic human social media users on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Increasingly, politicians, militaries, and government-contracted firms use these automated actors in online attempts to manipulate public opinion and disrupt organizational communication. Politicized social bots — here ‘political bots’ — are used to massively boost politicians’ follower levels on social media sites in attempts to generate false impressions of popularity. They are programmed to actively and automatically flood news streams with spam during political crises, elections, and conflicts in order to interrupt the efforts of activists and political dissidents who publicize and organize online. They are used by regimes to send out sophisticated computational propaganda. This paper conducts a content analysis of available media articles on political bots in order to build an event dataset of global political bot deployment that codes for usage, capability, and history. This information is then analyzed, generating a global outline of this phenomenon. This outline seeks to explain the variety of political bot-oriented strategies and presents details crucial to building understandings of these automated software actors in the humanities, social and computer sciences.
publicsphere  censorship 
6 weeks ago
EU action plan for Open Science
Outcome of EU meeting on Open Access
7 weeks ago
Forget Apple vs. the FBI: WhatsApp Just Switched on Encryption for a Billion People | WIRED
Mountain View is home to WhatsApp, an online messaging service now owned by tech giant Facebook, that has grown into one of the world’s most important applications. More than a billion people trade messages, make phone calls, send photos, and swap videos using the service. This means that only Facebook itself runs a larger self-contained communications network. And today, the enigmatic founders of WhatsApp, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, together with a high-minded coder and cryptographer who goes by the pseudonym Moxie Marlinspike, revealed that the company has added end-to-end encryption to every form of communication on its service.
encryption  security  WhatsApp  facebook  moxin_marlinspike  ds 
7 weeks ago
Super-rich caught out by children’s Instagram accounts 
They found the hidden money and assets by monitoring the location of his children’s social media posts.

"We monitored social media, particularly for his children, who were in their 20s, and found a lot of posts from the same geo-tagged sites," said Mr Beckett.

"Cross-referencing that with land registry and other similar bodies overseas, we found half a dozen properties that were registered in the name of this person
opendata  ee  socialmedia  corruption 
7 weeks ago
Can a Dress Shirt Be Racist? — Backchannel — Medium
“The algorithm doesn’t care what you really are,” he told me. “It matters what you choose, and what you think you are.”
ee  consumers  diversity  ethnic_profiling  algorithms 
8 weeks ago
Social Media Predator: How to Hack an Election
Mind boggling Bloomberg piece with the confessions of Colombian political hacker Andrés Sepúlveda, in which he claims to have done dirty campaign work for right-wing politicians across the region, including Mexico's Enrique Peña Nieto, Guatemala's PAN, and the Venezuelan opposition. "As for Sepúlveda, his insight was to understand that voters trusted what they thought were spontaneous expressions of real people on social media more than they did experts on television and in newspapers. He knew that accounts could be faked and social media trends fabricated, all relatively cheaply. He wrote a software program, now called Social Media Predator, to manage and direct a virtual army of fake Twitter accounts. The software let him quickly change names, profile pictures, and biographies to fit any need. Eventually, he discovered, he could manipulate the public debate as easily as moving pieces on a chessboard—or, as he puts it, 'When I realized that people believe what the Internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything.'" (See Geoff Ramsay's Post on Sepúlveda's arrest in 2014 for illegally gathering information on the peace talks in Havana.)
platforms  elections  politics 
8 weeks ago
Knowledge Unbound | The MIT Press
Peter Suber's new book on OA, containing selected writings from 2002-2011.
Peter  Suber  OA 
8 weeks ago
Should All Research Papers Be Free? -
News analysis by NYT on imbalance of the scholarly publishing industry w/quotes from leading OA advocates.
OA  SciHub 
11 weeks ago
How economic theory can help stop sexual assault | PBS NewsHour
the concept of "information escrow" to challenge the first mover disadvantage in reporting or accusing assault.
information  ee  information_escrow  data  building_blocks  empowerment 
11 weeks ago
Former Google CEO Schmidt to head new Pentagon innovation board | Reuters
Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive officer of Google, has agreed to head a new Pentagon advisory board aimed at bringing Silicon Valley innovation and best practices to the U.S. military, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday.

Carter is due to discuss the new Defense Innovation Advisory Board with Schmidt during the annual RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco. Schmidt is now the executive chairman of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), the parent company of Google.
government  industry  pentagon  Google  eric_schmidt  cybersecurity  ds 
12 weeks ago
Brazilian police arrest Facebook's Latin America vice-president | Technology | The Guardian
Police in São Paulo have detained the regional vice-president of Facebook for failing to provide information requested by a criminal investigation. Diego Dzodan was taken into custody at Garulhos airport on Tuesday and is now being questioned about Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp’s alleged non-compliance with a court order. According to the court, WhatsApp had been ordered for more than a month to reveal messages relating to a suspected drug-trafficking ring.
whatsapp  facebook  brazil  data_requests  ds 
12 weeks ago
How to hold governments accountable for their algorithms.
Algorithms determine prison sentences and Social Security benefits. So we need to know how they work.
algorithms  foi  transparency  government  accountability  ds 
12 weeks ago
New Weapon in Day Laborers’ Fight Against Wage Theft: A Smartphone App -
noteworthy for the details about the inclusivity of its development, implementation; q re safety and privacy, interaction with legal environment
ee  app  labor  inclusive-developer  civichacking 
march 2016
Forget Trump and Clinton: IBM's Watson is running for president | PCWorld
Would we be better off with an algorithmically controlled overlord? If company CEOs can be replaced by computers, why not the president of the United States? That, in fact, is exactly what's been proposed for IBM's Watson.
Watson has already made quite a name for itself, of course, dating back to its 2011 victory on Jeopardy. Since then, it's gone on to make medical predictions, critique written text and offer insight on product performance, among other accomplishments.
Now, a group called The Watson 2016 Foundation -- which "has no affiliation with IBM," according to its Watson for President website -- has emerged to help promote the cognitive computer's presidential prospects.
algorithms  watson  ibm  public_opinion  ds 
february 2016
Watson for President 2016
The Watson 2016 Foundation is an independent organization formed for the advocacy of the artificial intelligence known as Watson to run for President of The United States of America. It is our belief that Watson’s unique capabilities to assess information and make informed and transparent decisions define it as an ideal candidate for the job responsibilities required by the president.
algorithms  public_opinion  ibm  watson  ds 
february 2016
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