What we've been reading - w/c 8th August

Each week, Alice puts together a round-up of interesting articles from the world of technology ethics. We post these on our social channels as well as sharing them on our blog.

Here’s her pick from w/c 8th August:

👉The Chinese state-owned CCTV firm with one million cameras in the UK


An excellent 7 minute explainer looking at CCTV cameras in the UK, how they encourage human rights abuses elsewhere and how surveillance impacts on freedom.

Watch more here

August 2022 - 1

👉Climate bill and impact on rare earth mining


Moving towards carbon neutrality is undoubtedly a good direction for the US. But we must keep our eyes on rare earth mining when recycling batteries is still not mainstream practice. Rare earth mining leads to all sorts of environmental harms and yet is vital for the AI and renewable energies and they forma critical part of microchips and rechargeable devices.

Read more from politico.com here

August 2022 - 2

👉Survey Reveals Extent that Cops Surveil Students Online — in School and at Home


Many surveillance measures were put in place during the pandemic. Now that students are back in schools, few of them are being reversed.

“Since the pandemic began, Baltimore City Public Schools officials have tracked students’ online lives with GoGuardian, a digital surveillance tool that promises to identify youth at risk of harming themselves or others. When GoGuardian flags students, their online activities are shared automatically with school police, giving cops a conduit into kids’ private lives — including on nights and weekends.”

Read more from the74million.org here

August 2022 - 3

👉A Cyberattack Illuminates the Shaky State of Student Privacy


“The software that many school districts use to track students’ progress can record extremely confidential information on children: “Intellectual disability.” “Emotional Disturbance.” “Homeless.” “Disruptive.” “Defiance.” “Perpetrator.” “Excessive Talking.” “Should attend tutoring.”

Now these systems are coming under heightened scrutiny after a recent cyberattack on Illuminate Education, a leading provider of student-tracking software, which affected the personal information of more than a million current and former students across dozens of districts — including in New York City and Los Angeles, the nation’s largest public school systems.”

Read more from nytimes.com here

August 2022 - 4

👉Kids Are Back in Classrooms and Laptops Are Still Spying on Them


“As the post-Roe era underscores the risks of digital surveillance, a new survey shows that teens face increased monitoring from teachers—and police.”

Read more from wired.com here

August 2022 - 5

👉Singapore is using a computer model to understand how best to cool the city


“Mr. Chow and his team are part of Cooling Singapore, a multi-institutional project that was launched in 2017 with funding from the Singapore government. The project’s current goal is to build a computer model, or “digital urban climate twin,” of Singapore, which would allow policymakers to analyze the effectiveness of various heat mitigation measures before spending money on solutions that might not work. It is research that the Singapore government hopes can be replicated around the world.”

Read more from nytimes.com here

August 2022 - 6

👉TikTok’s biggest rival in South America is pushing creators to make videos about domestic abuse


“In Arena’s experience, the algorithm has preferences and parameters that creators do not entirely understand. For instance, the software seems to promote videos showing domestic violence. But creators say they also might face bans if the algorithm deems their videos to be too crude.”

“For Arena, who lives 50 kilometers from Buenos Aires City, Kwai has been a lifeline that “has helped me to face the consequences of the pandemic and war [in Ukraine],” he said. If keeping a particularly picky algorithmic director happy is part of his road towards traditional stardom, then Arena is happy as well.”

Read more from restofworld.org here

August 2022 - 7

👉The overworked humans behind China’s virtual influencers


Proponents of AI systems believe that AI saves human labour, but in reality, the labour is just shifted somewhere else where it is invisible.

“The thinking went that virtual stars would stay on-message at all times, avoiding the burnout or controversy human influencers might be susceptible to. But at their core, virtual idols typically rely on a single human: an actor or actress wearing a motion capture suit who lends their voice, movements, and facial expressions to bring them to life in real time. When Akuma laughs, that’s the laugh of the actor who plays him; when Luo waves, it’s because a real person is waving. And when they go off-script to complain about exhaustion, overwork, or low pay, that’s a real person complaining about their actual working conditions – underscoring that virtual celebrities are subject to the same concerns and issues as human influencers.”

Read more from restofworld.org here

August 2022 - 8

If you think we should be reading anything else please email hello@hattusia.com, and finally, thank you for reading, Sophie Ryan.

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