Feb 28, 2017
In this episode, we discussed:
How Algorithms Can Impact Civil Rights Movements blog post by Taylor Moore (CDT, 2017)
Many Americans Believe Fake News is Sowing Confusion by Michael Barthel, Amy Mitchell, and Jesse Holcomb (Pew, 2016)
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (Ecco, 2016)
A Gentleman of Moscow by Amor Towles (Viking, 2016)
Google announced number of public interest research and initiatives last week.
The Google subsidiary Jigsaw has developed, along with the help of The New York Times, a new app that allows site operators to weed out hate speech and other harmful speech in comment sections. The app is called Perspective and is available for free for a limited time.
Google.org also announced last week that the company is investing $11.5 million in 10 organizations focused on racial justice. Five million will go to the Center for Policing Equity in New York, a think tank focused on research around how to improve interactions between the police and their communities.
Also, a Google team in collaboration with a Dutch research team, cracked the cryptographic technology known as SHA-1, which has long been central to internet security.
For full reports on these stories, check out Daisuke Wakabayashi's story in the New York Times, Sara O'Brien at CNNTech, and Robert McMillan at the Wall Street Journal.
In November of 2015, in Bentonville, Arkansas, Victor Collins was found dead, lying face-up in a hot tub belonging to a man named James Andrew Bates. Bates has an Amazon Echo, speaker that hooks up to a Alexa, a digital personal assistant that accepts voice commands. Now, Bates is the suspect, and the police want Amazon to release records of Bates' Echo comnunications. Amazon is challenging the warrant, saying that being forced to turn over those communications would violate Bates' First Amendment rights. Ashley Carman has the story in The Verge.
Kara Swisher reported for Recode that Salesforce has joined Apple and Google in opposing Donald Trump's repeal of federal guidelines regarding transgender bathroom use in public schools.
On Valentines Day, Free Press delivered 200,000 petitions from its members asking the FCC to defend net neutrality. But last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai demonstrated that their love is unrequited, begnning what he promised: taking what he termed a "weed whacker" to the net neutrality rules. In a 2-1 vote along party lines, the FCC ruled that it would go ahead and exempt net neutrality reporting requirements regarding fees and data caps for broadband providers with fewer than 250,00 subscribers. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn noted that smaller ISPs owned by larger carriers with billions of dollars in capital would also be exempted. Ali Breland has the story in the Hill, as well as Jon Brodkin in Ars Technica.
Despite the Trump administration's crack down immigration from majority-Muslim countries as well as Mexico, the FCC's Media Bureau gave two Australian citizens 100% ownership in radio stations licensed in America. Just last month, foreign owners were only allowed to own 49% of Univision, up to 40% of which would be by Mexico-based Televisa. Jon Eggerton has the story in Broadcasting & Cable.
Remember back in December when the FBI figured out how to hack into the iPhone of one of the San Bernadino shooters, thus bypassing Apple's refusal to do it? Well, the Associated Press, Vice Media and Gannett have now submitted a court filing asking the judge to require the FBI and Justice Department to disclose which third party they worked with or how much it cost, which the agencies have thus far refused to do. Eric Tucker has the story in the Associated Press.