Op-ed: India's 'fake news' solution should be rethought

(Mar 21, 2019) An op-ed for Bloomberg Opinion reflects on the growing concerns surrounding “fake news” in India and the recently published set of draft regulations, the Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018, which it notes would impose “drastic if not impossible obligations on platforms.” Pointing to specific areas of the proposed regulation, the article highlights how platforms would be required to break end-to-end encryption protections and automatically moderate content d... Read More

YouTube disables comments on videos featuring minors

(Mar 1, 2019) The Verge reports that after discovering ads were playing alongside predatory comments on YouTube channels featuring children, several major corporations decided to pause pre-rolling advertising on the platform. In response, YouTube announced it will begin temporarily removing the comment section from most channels featuring children and will monitor those channels with comment sections for safety. The platform also announced it has introduced an algorithm to automatically “identify and remove p... Read More

The human toll of content moderation

(Feb 26, 2019) The Verge reports on the emotional trauma associated with being a content moderator for Facebook. Interviewing a dozen current and former employees of professional services company Cognizant, a vendor contracted to outsource content moderation in the U.S., the article depicts the challenges tied to being a “process executive” and raises concern over the long-term toll on moderators' mental health. With those interviewed describing secondary traumatic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder, th... Read More

UK report finds online platforms should be regulated for news content

(Feb 12, 2019) A recent U.K government report found that online platforms should be regulated by a government entity in how they distribute news content, CNBC reports. “This task is too important to leave entirely to the judgment of commercial entities,” the report stated. Commissioned in 2018 by Prime Minister Theresa May, the report was designed to investigate “sustainability of the production and distribution of high-quality journalism” and recommended that the “government must take steps to ensure the posi... Read More

Monitoring report finds tech companies responding to flagged content

(Feb 7, 2019) In the latest monitoring report on the voluntary Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, the European Commission said that tech companies have improved how fast they are able to remove content but can expand transparency around their decisions, TechCrunch reports. On average, 89 percent of tech companies are able to attend to flagged content within 24 hours. Speaking on the findings, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová said, “Let me be ... Read More

Perspectives: Privacy law and 'deepfakes'

(Jan 30, 2019) So-called "deepfake" technology is growing more sophisticated, getting the attention of some lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine. The concept of using artificial intelligence to superimpose a person's face onto another person's face will supercharge "fake news" and online misinformation, but it will also violate people's privacy. "Deepfakes raise questions of personal reputation and control over one's image on the one hand and freedom of expression on the other," writes former Wes... Read More

Privacy law and resolving 'deepfakes' online

(Jan 30, 2019) In the aftermath of a high school shooting in Florida in early 2018, a pro-gun-control movement called the March for Our Lives seized political and media attention across the U.S. During that time, an image of one of the movement’s leaders, Emma Gonzalez, ripping up the U.S. Constitution roared through anti-gun-control social media accounts. It was seen by some as proof that the movement and its leaders were hostile to American freedoms and, by implication, the current American social order. In ... Read More

Facebook releases draft charter for content moderation board

(Jan 29, 2019) In a company blog post, Facebook released a draft charter for how the company will address content decisions. After establishing a vision for how people could appeal content decisions to an independent body, the company has begun imagining how content will be governed and enforced and what an independent board would reflect. “As we build out the board we want to make sure it is able to render independent judgment, is transparent and respects privacy,” Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs an... Read More

Rusbridger reflects on changing journalism, Snowden leaks

(Jan 25, 2019) The New York Times reviews a new nonfiction book by Alan Rusbridger, the former editor-in-chief of the Guardian. His 20 years as chief of the British newspaper, from 1995 to 2015, "parallel a period of dramatic transformation in the newspaper industry, arguably the most dramatic since the invention of the printing press," the review states. That time period included 9/11, the rise of the internet and social media, and paywall wars, among others, but perhaps most relevant for the privacy professi... Read More

Vietnam accuses Facebook of violating new cybersecurity laws

(Jan 10, 2019) In what is regarded as the first enforcement against a foreign technology group after Vietnam enacted its new cybersecurity law, the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information has accused Facebook of violating the law for failing to manage online content, advertising and tax liabilities, the Financial Times reports. “We have a clear process for governments to report illegal content to us, and we review all these requests against our terms of service and local law,” Facebook stated. “We... Read More