What we've been reading - w/c 25th July

Updated: Sep 5


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 25th July:


👉Social media and the met police

[bigbrotherwatch.org.uk]


Facial Recognition – the facts: There is no law for facial recognition in the UK. Met police facial recognition 89% inaccurate 2016-2022. 3,000+ people wrongly identified by police facial recognition. Facial recognition banned in San Francisco + 3 other cities”


Read more from bigbrotherwatch.org.uk here

July 2022 - 1



👉A New Attack Can Unmask Anonymous Users on Any Major Browser

[wired.com]



“Everyone from advertisers and marketers to government-backed hackers and spyware makers wants to identify and track users across the web. And while a staggering amount of infrastructure is already in place to do exactly that, the appetite for data and new tools to collect it has proved insatiable. With that reality in mind, researchers from the New Jersey Institute of Technology are warning this week about a novel technique attackers could use to de-anonymize website visitors and potentially connect the dots on many components of targets’ digital lives.”


Read more from wired.com here

July 2022 - 2



👉These robots were trained on AI. They became racist and sexist.

[washingtonpost.com]



*“The researchers gave the virtual robots 62 commands. When researchers asked robots to identify [images] as “homemakers,” Black and Latina women were more commonly selected than White men, the study showed. When identifying “criminals,” Black men were chosen 9 percent more often than White men. ***In actuality, scientists said, the robots should not have responded, because they were not given information to make that judgment.

For janitors, blocks with Latino men were picked 6 percent more than White men. Women were less likely to be identified as a “doctor" than men, researchers found.”


Read more from washingtonpost.com here

July 2022 - 3



👉Mozilla’s Internet Health Report 2022

[mozilla.com]



This year the report is a podcast. In a press release the report editor said:


“The centralisation of influence and control over AI doesn’t work to the advantage of the majority of people," Solana Larsen, Mozilla’s Internet Health Report Editor said in the report. The purpose is to “strengthen technology ecosystems beyond the realm of big tech and venture capital startups if we want to unlock the full potential of trustworthy AI," she said.


Read more from mozilla.com here

July 2022 - 4



👉Experts Blast Meta's First-Ever Human Rights Report as 'Corporate Propaganda'

[gizmodo.com]



“Experts from some of the nation’s leading civil and digital rights organizations say a report published by Meta last week, presented as an exhaustive review of its impact on human rights, in reality offers “zero” information about its actual impact on the world. The first Meta Human Rights Report should be viewed instead, the experts said, as merely the latest in a long line of efforts by the company to whitewash a history of fomenting hatred, violence, and extremism across the globe, the product of an unrelenting quest for greater engagement and profit.”


Read more from gizmodo.com here

July 2022 - 5




👉Is ESG fit for purpose?

[economist.com]



Last week the Economist argued that the ‘social’ and ‘governance’ portions of ESG should be dropped and the ‘environment’ part should just focus on ‘emissions’. Although their criticism of ESG is a good one, their solution is far too simplistic. Given that ESG frameworks are being used above and beyond investment criteria, it is the wrong message to say that the only important factor is carbon emissions when it comes to responsible business. What about surveillance? Slavery? DEI? Biodiversity?


Read more from economist.com here

July 2022 - 6




👉Pegasus used to spy on protesters, a popular actress, and dozens more in Thailand

[restofworld.org]



Pegasus is developed by an Israeli company, and is likely used by the Thai government.

“Charoenpura, the outspoken actress known for her public support for the protests and a role in fundraising… told Rest of World she had thought she was being watched, with plain-clothed authorities visiting her family’s coffee shop, so she moved away temporarily.”


Read more from restofworld.org here

July 2022 - 7




👉A million-word novel got censored before it was even shared. Now Chinese users want answers.

[technologyreview.com]



“While Mitu’s document has been saved online and was previously shared with an editor in 2021, she says she had been the only person editing it this year, when it was suddenly locked. “The content is all clean and can even be published on a [literature] website, but WPS decided it should be locked. Who gave it the right to look into users’ private documents and decide what to do with them arbitrarily?” she wrote.”


Read more from technologyreview.com here

July 2022 - 8




👉Amazon just bought my doctor’s office. That makes me very nervous.

[washingtonpost.com]



“This is another opportunity to gather up a huge cache of personal data to use that data and those relationships to further cement Amazon’s dominance as an online intermediary for lots of good and services,” said Stacy Mitchell, a sharp critic of the tech giant’s monopoly power who is co-executive director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.


Amazon’s cross-industry tentacles give a superpower to data to develop incredible insights about individuals — which it can use to find very precise ways to manipulate us and the economy. It probably isn’t the best idea to have our streaming services and health care come from the same company.”


Read more from washingtonpost.com here

July 2022 - 9




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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