UK Police Want Rape Survivors to Hand Over Their Phones

According to the Associated Press, law enforcement will now ask victims of crimes, including rape survivors, to sign a consent form that asks for their permission to seize their electronic devices in order to access mobile data that might be relevant to the investigation.

“If you refuse permission for the police to investigate, or for the prosecution to disclose material which would enable the defendant to have a fair trial then it may not be possible for the investigation or prosecution to continue,” the form states, according to the AP.

via UK Police Want Rape Survivors to Hand Over Their Phones

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BFI female film season sparks misogyny row – BBC News

The British Film Institute (BFI) is facing accusations of misogyny over the title of a forthcoming season dedicated to “fierce females”.
The programme includes films featuring “some of the most wickedly compelling female characters on screen”.
But a letter signed by more than 300 academics and critics argued that the title “uncritically parrots” misogyny.
The Playing the Bitch season was programmed by Anna Bogutskaya, who said she hoped to “start a conversation”.
In a blog explaining the project, Ms Bogutskaya said she realised the word had “powerful connotations” that made it “offensive to many”.

via BFI female film season sparks misogyny row – BBC News

Astra Taylor & Natasha Lennard on Anti-Fascism, Women's Protest

It makes a perverse kind of sense that the election of a gleeful, pussy-grabbing misogynist to the highest office in the land would cause a feminist backlash at the grassroots. Since the 2016 presidential election, women have been rising up: marching in the streets, mobilizing their communities, running for office, and winning a whole lot of them. And many have been explicit about their intention to pull this country’s political center to the left. The two democratic socialists to win congressional seats in the 2018 midterm election were not white guys shaped by the old-school mold of Bernie Sanders, but young women of color, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, who defy the alleged division between economics and identity politics with every breath. They, along with Ihlan Omar, point the way toward a forward-looking, appealing, and effective radicalism that we can only hope will continue to catch on.

via Astra Taylor & Natasha Lennard on Anti-Fascism, Women's Protest

Homeland Security to Start DNA Testing Asylum Seekers as It Tries to Back Up ‘Fake Families’ Scare Tactic

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will start using Rapid DNA tests on some asylum seekers at the U.S.–Mexico border next week, according to a new report from CNN. The tests are intended to determine whether adults and children who are traveling together are actually family members.

The Rapid DNA tests involve a cheek swab and will be deployed at two ports of entry starting the week of May 6. Results from the test take about 90 minutes.

These new Rapid DNA tests are supposed to catch immigrants who are lying about being related, but it’s unclear how DHS can establish familial ties through DNA alone. Obviously, DNA relations aren’t the only thing that define a family.

via Homeland Security to Start DNA Testing Asylum Seekers as It Tries to Back Up ‘Fake Families’ Scare Tactic

Sterling Jewelry Expose Alleges Sexual Harassment, Wage Discrimination

The New York Times Magazine has published a lengthy expose into the corporate culture of Sterling Jewelers Inc, a corporation which dominates the mall jewelry business with brands like Jared and Kay. It is not pretty.

The Washington Post initially broke the story of employees’ widespread harassment allegations back in 2017, and there is a large class-action lawsuit over the company’s pay practices currently winding its way through the courts. Now Taffy Brodesser-Akner has a new feature for the New York Times Magazine detailing the company’s apparently rotten culture over the decades, alleging gender discrimination in wages and sexual harassment and providing a thorough accounting of how a toxic workplace is created and maintained. She writes about the mountain of sworn statements collected for the lawsuit, which after years is still stalled in litigation:

via Sterling Jewelry Expose Alleges Sexual Harassment, Wage Discrimination

Artificial intelligence is on the brink of a ‘diversity disaster’

The consequences of this issue are well documented, from hate speech-spewing chatbots to racial bias in facial recognition. The report says that these failings — attributed to a lack of diversity within the AI sector — have created a “moment of reckoning.” Report author Kate Crawford said that the industry needs to acknowledge the gravity of the situation, and that the use of AI systems for classification, detection and predication of race and gender “is in urgent need of re-evaluation.”

Indeed, the report found that more than 80 percent of AI professors are men — a figure that reflects a wider problem across the computer science landscape. In 2015 women comprised only 24 percent of the computer and information sciences workforce. Meanwhile, only 2.5 percent of Google’s employees are black, with Facebook and Microsoft each reporting an only marginally higher four percent. Data on trans employees and other gender minorities is almost non-existent.

via Artificial intelligence is on the brink of a ‘diversity disaster’

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

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