Thursday, November 24, 2022

Empowering social media users to assess content helps fight misinformation

 PUSHBACK:  More than 1,000 professors sign on to ‘Stanford Academic Freedom Declaration.’

Empowering social media users to assess content helps fight misinformation - MIT Technology News: “When fighting the spread of misinformation, social media platforms typically place most users in the passenger seat. Platforms often use machine-learning algorithms or human fact-checkers to flag false or misinforming content for users.

 “Just because this is the status quo doesn’t mean it is the correct way or the only way to do it,” says Farnaz Jahanbakhsh, a graduate student in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). She and her collaborators conducted a study in which they put that power into the hands of social media users instead.

 They first surveyed people to learn how they avoid or filter misinformation on social media. Using their findings, the researchers developed a prototype platform that enables users to assess the accuracy of content, indicate which users they trust to assess accuracy, and filter posts that appear in their feed based on those assessments…”

2022 APS Employee Census results

AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not

“Google agreed to pay $391.5M to settle a lawsuit with 40 U.S. states over allegations that the tech giant was tracking user location data even when users had opted outA 2018 Associated Press (AP) investigation found that the tracking issue affected as many as two billion people using Google Android devices and hundreds of millions more who used Google Maps.


  • The initial claims made by the AP were confirmed by research conducted by Princeton computer scientists.
  • State officials involved in the suit against Google said that the company used illicitly-gained location information to target consumers with advertisements.
  • State attorney generals claimed that Google misled users about location tracking practices since 2014, violating consumer protection laws.
  • As part of the settlement, Google agreed to make those practices more transparent to users by showing them more information when they adjust location tracking settings.
    • It will also provide a website that allows users to see what data Google is collecting about them.”

EFF’s Atlas of Surveillance Database Now Documents 10,000+ Police Tech Programs

EFF: “This week, EFF’s Atlas of Surveillanceproject hit a bittersweet milestone. With this project, we are creating a searchable and mappable repository of which law enforcement agencies in the U.S. use surveillance technologies such as body-worn cameras, drones, automated license plate readers, and face recognition. It’s one of the most ambitious projects we’ve ever attempted.   Working with journalism students at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), our initial semester-long pilot in 2019 resulted in 250 data points, just from the counties along the U.S. border with Mexico. When we launched the first nationwide site in late summer 2020, we had reached just more than 5,000 data points.  

The Atlas of Surveillance has now hit 10,000 data points. It contains at least partial data on approximately 5,500 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states, as well as most territories and districts…However, this milestone sadly also reflects the massive growth of surveillance adoption by police agencies. High-tech spying is no longer limited to well-resourced urban areas; even the smallest hamlet’s police department might be deploying powerful technology that gathers data on its residents, regardless of whether those residents are connected to a criminal case. We’ve seen the number of partnerships between police and the home surveillance company Ring grow from 1,300 to more than 2,000. In the two years since we first published a complementary report on real-time crime centers — essentially police tech hubs, filled with wall-to-wall camera monitors and computers jacked into surveillance datasets — the number of such centers in the U.S. has grown from 80 to 100.”

IEEE Spectrum: “Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole. To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. 

Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning - IEEE Spectrum

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