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News Briefs
18 October, 2019
Breaking up Facebook is getting traction in politics

A few years ago, it might have seemed unlikely that a disagreement about content moderation would be a memorable moment in the U.S. presidential debate. But amidst the techlash and a Twitter-happy American president, that’s exactly what happened earlier this week. It was kind of an awkward moment in Westerville, Ohio, though, where Senator Kamala

16 October, 2019
China’s digital Little Red Book could access all your data

In China, disinformation and authoritarian tech have created a digital hydra in the form of an app called Study the Great Nation. The app is a propaganda tool that encourages users to play games and keep updated on President Xi Jinping’s ideology. It’s been dubbed the digital version of Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book. But

9 October, 2019
Russian cyber criminals offer fake news campaigns to companies worldwide

A new report underlines how we have to be vigilant about what we find on the internet as not only political misinformation runs rampant, but so does corporate disinformation. As governments across the world battle massive disinformation campaigns on social media and elsewhere, cyber criminals seem to have discovered that there’s quite a lot of

3 October, 2019
As the impeachment inquiry gathers pace in the US, experts say Russia seeks advantage

Over a week after the speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the start of the impeachment inquiry related to President Donald Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate a leading political rival, the fast escalating investigation has given Russian broadcasters a fresh line of attack. With the war in Donbas in its fifth year,

New app brings facial recognition to in-person networking

Let’s say you’re attending a Silicon Valley reception and find yourself talking to an important-seeming person; you begin to wonder: am I just wasting my time, or am I talking to an investor who can bankroll my dumb startup idea? Well, now there is an app that can answer your question. If you download AngelFace,

26 September, 2019
In a partial victory for Google, court limits ‘right to be forgotten’ to the EU

When is the last time you Googled yourself? Did you like what you saw? If you’re in Europe, you could get some of those bad links removed from the results. But it’s long been unclear if that rule applies globally. Now, after years of debate, the European Court of Justice made a decision on Tuesday:

23 September, 2019
Google ads are funneling money into disinformation sites

The online disinformation industry is booming — and unless a number of key measures are implemented, it’s only set to get more lucrative, a new report warns. Around a quarter of a billion dollars in ad revenue is funding disinformation, according to estimates in the study by the Global Disinformation Index, a London nonprofit. The

20 September, 2019
Inside Ecuador’s massive data leak

Earlier this week, the publication ZDNet and trade publication vpnMentor revealed that Ecuador’s entire population — including former citizen Julian Assange — had highly personal data leaked because a government contractor did almost nothing to keep it secure. After the report came out, Ecuador officials opened an investigation, arrested the head of the data company,

11 September, 2019
A few philosophers walk into a tech conference

Berlin’s annual IFA consumer electronics conference is not, generally, a political affair. Walk past its nearly 2,000 exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors and you’ll be greeted with “innovation engines,” calls to “do your laundry #LikeABosch” and demonstrations of advanced air conditioners (I didn’t feel a difference). At one of many “cooking shows,” presenters

6 September, 2019
The business of projecting climate change

In the aftermath of America’s disastrous 2017 hurricane season, some media outlets became interested in the people who were going to profit. One of these people was Albert Slap, CEO of Coastal Risk Consulting. “[He] would rather not be profiting from other people’s misfortune,” wrote Bloomberg. “But his business, determining the flood risk facing specific

30 August, 2019
Data collaboratives try to make data collection work for public good

When you take an Uber ride, information about your trip may be stored and shared with governments. But it’s not fed into a controversial mass surveillance system or security apparatus; instead, the data is anonymized and analyzed by cities, to help with problems like traffic flow and congestion. It’s called “Uber Movement,” and is like

28 August, 2019
Polio cases are surging in Pakistan because of false rumors and disinformation

While Nigeria recently celebrated  three years without a single case of polio, Pakistan is facing an alarming surge in new cases. Pakistan has seen over 50 cases of polio this year, kicking off various mass awareness campaigns and a mass immunization program across the country that will give drops to 8.6 million children in 48

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