Senate bill would ban deceptive data collection by internet giants

If American legislators have their way, tech companies will have to face more than negative publicity if they collect your data in a less-than-sincere fashion. Senators Mark Warner and Deb Fischer have introduced a bill, the DETOUR Act (Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction), that would bar internet firms with over 100 million monthly active users from tricking you into handing over personal data. Companies wouldn’t be allowed to develop interfaces with the “substantial effect” of preventing you from making an informed decision. They also wouldn’t be allowed to divide users into groups for experiments without consent, and couldn’t develop compulsive experiences targeted at kids under 13 years old (such as auto-playing videos).

via Senate bill would ban deceptive data collection by internet giants

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Ashley Judd On Georgia’s Abortion Ban: ‘I Would’ve Had to Co-Parent With My Rapist’

In March, Judd signed a letter in protest of the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, a bill recently passed by the Georgia House of Representatives that bans abortion after six weeks, well before many even realize they’re pregnant. While Georgia’s bill would make bad on Governor Brian Kemp’s promise to make Georgia the most difficult place in America to obtain a legal abortion, it’s just one of many Republican-led attempts to restrict abortion access. A similar bill in Mississippi bans abortion after 15 weeks. Meanwhile, a Texas lawmaker has put forth a bill that would classify abortion as homicide, making it punishable by death. The bill has virtually no chance of passing, but as Esther Wang points out, it is pretty indicative of the mindset of many anti-abortion groups.

via Ashley Judd On Georgia’s Abortion Ban: ‘I Would’ve Had to Co-Parent With My Rapist’

Katie Bouman: the 29-year-old whose work led to first black hole photo | Science | The Guardian

Katie Bouman was a PhD student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when, three years ago, she led the creation of an algorithm that would eventually lead to an image of a supermassive black hole at the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, some 55m light years from Earth, being captured for the first time.

via Katie Bouman: the 29-year-old whose work led to first black hole photo | Science | The Guardian

Senate bill would make tech companies test algorithms for bias

The senators saw this as a civil rights issue and pointed to recent incidents as examples. Facebook is still facing a charge of housing discrimination after it let advertisers exclude people in ways that could be racist or sexist, while Amazon shut down an automated recruiting tool after it was found discriminating against women. Facial recognition also has bias problems. It’s a modern form of practices like “real estate steering” (where black couples were discouraged from getting homes in some neighborhoods), Sen. Booker said, but more insidious as it’s “significantly harder to detect.” In theory, this would prevent companies from ignoring the potential for bias.

via Senate bill would make tech companies test algorithms for bias

Here's Every 2020 Democrat's History on LGBTQ Rights

Democratic presidential hopefuls will face off in a public forum on LGBTQ issues this fall. The event, slated for National Coming Out Day on October 10, marks the first time Democratic candidates have debated queer issues since 2008, when Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Barack Obama faced off in a Human Rights Campaign Foundation forum.

A lot has changed in the past 11 years. For one thing, there’s an openly gay candidate in the race now (South Bend, IN, mayor Pete Buttigieg), reflecting the dramatic shift in attitudes toward LGBTQ people symbolized most prominently in the legalization of same-sex marriage. Whereas only one candidate in 2008—Kucinich, then an Ohio congressman—spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage, there is little apparent daylight between the 2020 candidates’ current stances on LGBTQ rights. There has also been a major cultural awakening around transgender rights and gender identity.

via Here's Every 2020 Democrat's History on LGBTQ Rights

Democrats Introduce Bill Requiring Tech Companies To Check Algorithms For Bias

Machine learning and artificial intelligence already powers a deceptively wide sweep of crucial processes and tools like facial recognition, self-driving cars, ad targeting, customer service, content moderation, policing, hiring, and even war. It’s a huge list, and sometimes it’s fun to sit back and marvel at how different all those uses are.

Exactly how those decisions are made and whether or not they’re fair, however, is often opaque or unknowable. That problem has led lawmakers to this attempt to pry open the “black box.”

The new bill would task the Federal Trade Commission with crafting regulations making companies conduct “impact assessments” of automated decision systems to assess the decision making systems and training data “for impacts on accuracy, fairness, bias, discrimination, privacy and security.”

via Democrats Introduce Bill Requiring Tech Companies To Check Algorithms For Bias

Queerbaiting – exploitation or a sign of progress? – BBC News

Ariana Grande stands accused of manipulating her gay fans by suggesting in one of her songs that she may be bisexual. So what is so-called queerbaiting?
Grande’s new song, a collaboration with friend Victoria Monét called Monopoly, claimed the number one spot on the iTunes chart 24 hours after its release.
But a particular lyric, in which Grande sings of liking “women and men” has added scrutiny to the customary buzz that now follows the American singer.
Some fans have celebrated it as an expression of bisexuality. Others, however, have levelled charges of queerbaiting, which is the practice of using hints of sexual ambiguity to tease an audience.

via Queerbaiting – exploitation or a sign of progress? – BBC News

Why UK child poverty targets won’t be met – BBC News

If someone asked you what poverty was, you might think about how far someone’s pay packet goes. Can they afford their household bills? Can they ever go on holiday?
But rather than looking at how someone is making ends meet, the main way poverty is assessed is by using a relative measure – “relative poverty”.
It’s calculated by taking the median income in the country – that’s the midpoint where half of the working population earn more than that amount and half earn less. It was £569 a week in 2018.

via Why UK child poverty targets won’t be met – BBC News

New Jersey Judge John F. Russo, Jr. Suspended

A New Jersey judge with some worthless opinions on sexual assault prevention faces a three month suspension after allegedly asking a woman seeking a restraining order if she “closed her legs” in order to prevent an assault, among other abuses of authority.

At a May 2016 hearing, in which an unnamed woman appeared in court hoping to get a restraining order against a man she claimed sexually assaulted her, threatened her life, and made “inappropriate comments” to their child, Ocean County, New Jersey superior court judge John F. Russo, Jr. reportedly had the following condescending and absolutely wrong things to say:

via New Jersey Judge John F. Russo, Jr. Suspended

Suicide on the Job Site – MEL Magazine

hankfully, my dad’s experiences haven’t been as negative. The site he currently works on, the A14 Integrated Delivery Team — the U.K.’s biggest road construction project — even runs a peer-based support network of mental health ambassadors who actually work on the job site. These are staff members in all positions who are trained in mental health first aid. This training, delivered by Mental Health First Aid England, aims to give those who undertake it a deeper understanding of mental health, helping them to understand the signs and triggers of mental health issues so that they can direct them to the right services.

via Suicide on the Job Site – MEL Magazine