Data after death and pseudo anonymity – Info Gadgets
Welcome to The Web This Week, a weekly rundown of stories our team has been reading. Want to share it with a friend? They can sign up here.
The future of the web depends on people like you. Can you help us fight for digital equality?
More regulation, please– This week Microsoft called for greater government regulation of facial recognition software, arguing that AI’s potential influence is so significant that tech companies shouldn’t be trusted to regulate themselves on the matter (Washington Post).
AI for good– Top AI minds, including Elon Musk and Demis Hassabis from Google’s DeepMind, have signed a pledge to never support the development of autonomous weapons (The Register). The pledge was created by the Future of Life Institute and you can read it here.
Match me– Google just launched a new AI experiment that creates a personalised GIF to match how you move (The Next Web). The experiment, called Move Mirror, maps your joints and then searches through its library of over 80,000 videos and GIFs to create one just for you. If you’re up for it, test it out.
Data after death– Germany’s highest court has ruled that the parents of a teenage girl who passed away in 2012 can have access to the content of her Facebook account, arguing that digital content should be passed onto heirs, the same way that letters, books and diaries are (Quartz).
The end of anonymity– Data that has been anonymised is actually not anonymous at all. The Guardian’s Olivia Solon looks at how easy it is to use other publicly available data to re-identify individuals in ‘anonymous’ datasets, and learn our health to their purchase history and tipping practices.
Data to go– Tech powers Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter today announced that they’re teaming up for a new initiative called the Data Standards Project, an open source initiative to improve data portability and allow users to transfer their data directly from one service to another (The Verge).
#SpyPolice no more– Privacy International is calling for legal regulation of the UK police’s use of facial recognition technology, which has been previously deployed at protests and public events, even without any clear legal basis.
Android advantage– The European Commission this week fined Google a record $5.1 billion for violating antitrust laws by bundling its search engine and Chrome in all Android operating systems (New York Times). The Guardian’s Samuel Gibbs spoke to industry analysts who believe that the Commission’s move will actually punish consumers more than Google.
Highway to privacy– Uber has heeded consumer calls for improved privacy protection and have hired both a privacy chief and a data protection officer(Reuters). Users are hoping Uber’s history of spotty data protection, including a data breach of 57 million users in 2016, will be taken more seriously.
Free speech, by the government– Egypt’s parliament has passed a controversial law that defines social media users with over 5,000 followers as media outlets, and therefore subject to regulation by the state. The move, which critics say will allow authorities to limit free speech and dissent, is the latest in a worrying trend of African governments (including Uganda, Ethiopia, Chad, Cameroon & Algeria) blocking social media during anti-government protests or elections (Quartz).
Speed up for what?– New data shows that Madagascar has the fastest broadband speeds in Africa — speeds faster than even the UK, France and Canada. (Quartz) But, with just 2% of the country’s population online, unstable connectivity, and a poverty rate of nearly 78%, some might question whether this speed really means much to many.
For the record– Through a Right to Information request, India’s SFLC has uncovered 21 previously unreported internet shutdowns in the country between August 2017 and May 2018. This new revelation makes 2018 the worst year on record for internet shutdowns in India, surpassing even the 70 reported internet shutdowns in 2017 (The Quint).
One more vote– This past Tuesday, US Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado said he would support efforts to force a vote on net neutrality, making him the first Republican in the House of Representatives to do so and the 177th member of the 435-member House to sign the petition (Reuters).
In the works– India’s government is in the process of creating a regulatory framework to implement net neutrality after the Telecom Commission approved new rules on July 11th (Times of India). Until now, Indian citizens have had censored access to the web.
UN Secretary General António Guterres last week announced a new High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation which the Web Foundation’s Digital Equality Advocacy Manager, Nanjira Sambuli has been invited to join (Standard Media). Also covered in Face to Face Africa.
Nanjira was also quoted in a BBC story about Google’s Project Loon soon to be deployed in Kenya to bring a connection to underserved areas. Nanjira referenced A4AI’s “1 for 2’ affordability target which was adopted by the UN Broadband Commission. Also mentioned in My Joy, the Daily Nation and Kenyan News.
The Washington Times ran an article about the implementation of Uganda’s social media tax, mentioning the Web Foundation and A4AI position against the tax. A4AI’s graphic on Ugandan broadband affordability was also embedded in BBC’s article on the same topic.
In reference to tech giants recently establishing new offices in Africa, Senior Digital Rights Advisor Renata Avila said there needs to be regulation to keep African consumers from being exploited as these companies aim to connect more Africans (Business Day, Daily Mail, Yahoo Finance India, Japan News).
After receiving the 2016 A.C. ACM Turing Award, our founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee gave a Turing Lecture in May titled “What is the World Wide Web and what is its future? What could it be, what should it be? What is the Web we want?”. The full video has been published here.
Article Prepared by Ollala Corp