Law


2020: The Year of Robot Rights

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Several years ago, in an effort to initiate dialogue about the moral and legal status of technological artifacts, I posted a photograph of myself holding a sign that read "Robot Rights Now" on Twitter. Responses to the image were, as one might imagine, polarizing, with advocates and critics lining up on opposite sides of the issue. What I didn't fully appreciate at the time is just how divisive an issue it is. For many researchers and developers slaving away at real-world applications and problems, the very notion of "robot rights" produces something of an allergic reaction. Over a decade ago, roboticist Noel Sharkey famously called the very idea "a bit of a fairy tale."


AI must have human oversight, MEPs recommend

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However, according to the resolution, "humans must always be ultimately responsible for, and able to overrule, decisions" that are taken by new technologies, especially in medical, legal and accounting professions. For the banking sector, the committee calls for a regulatory framework that ensures independent supervision of automated decision-making systems by qualified professionals in cases where the public interest is at stake. This framework should also make it possible for consumers to seek human review when mistakes appear as a result of using this type of new technologies. Likewise, automated decision-making systems should only use high-quality and unbiased data sets and "explainable and unbiased algorithms" to guarantee trust and acceptance, the resolution states. "We have to make sure that consumer protection and trust is ensured and that the data sets used in automated decision-making systems are of high-quality and are unbiased," said Belgian MEP Petra De Sutter (Greens/EFA), who chairs the IMCO committee.


From AI to 5G connectivity to big data; Can technology help tackle climate emergency?

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The raging Australian and Amazon wildfires have raised a burning question for all of us - why the very technology, that has been a major facilitator to human evolution and growth could not predict, manage or control its destruction? To those of us who are in the business of technology, it is time to ask a few tough questions in our boardroom meetings and take ownership of solving the problem. After all, what is growth worth if the planet itself is in peril? As someone who has witnessed the digital revolution unfold, I may not have a full-proof plan to address the climate emergency, in fact, we don't even have the visibility of all evolving technologies that may be required to solve the climate emergency. But, I am clear and convinced that we have to start now and start with the available technologies which in their own right are very powerful and transformational.


New Jersey state attorney general prohibits police from using facial recognition software

Daily Mail - Science & tech

New Jersey's attorney general, Gurbir S. Grewal, has instructed prosecutors across the state to stop using Clearview AI, a private facial recognition software. Clearview AI's tools allow law enforcement officials to upload a photo of an unknown person they'd like to identify, and see a list of matches culled from a database of over 3 billion photos. The photos are taken from a variety of controversial sources, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even Venmo. New Jersey attorney general Gurbir S. Grewal told the state's prosecutor's to stop using Clearview AI, private facial recognition software that he worried might compromise the integrity of the state's investigations Clearview says that anyone can submit a request to the company to have a photo of them removed from its databases, but they must first present proof they own copyright to the photo. Grewal decided to issue the ban after seeing Clearview had used footage from a 2019 sting operation in New Jersey promoting its own services, something even he hadn't been aware of at the time.



40 groups call for US moratorium on facial recognition technology

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The news: US government use of facial recognition technology should be banned "pending further review," according to 40 organizations that signed a letter calling for a recommendation to be made to the president. The letter, drafted by the privacy advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, cites the recent New York Times investigation of a facial recognition service used by more than 600 law enforcement agencies in the US. The company, Clearview AI, scraped public photographs from Facebook, YouTube, and other websites to create a database of more than three billion images. Such technology, the letter argues, not only risks being inaccurate for people of color but could be used to "control minority populations and limit dissent." The letter was signed by organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Color of Change, Fight for the Future, and the Consumer Federation of America, and sent to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, an agency within the executive branch.


40 groups call for US moratorium on facial recognition technology

#artificialintelligence

The news: US government use of facial recognition technology should be banned "pending further review," according to 40 organizations that signed a letter calling for a recommendation to be made to the president. The letter, drafted by the privacy advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, cites the recent New York Times investigation of a facial recognition service used by more than 600 law enforcement agencies in the US. The company, Clearview AI, scraped public photographs from Facebook, YouTube, and other websites to create a database of more than three billion images. Such technology, the letter argues, not only risks being inaccurate for people of color but could be used to "control minority populations and limit dissent." The letter was signed by organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Color of Change, Fight for the Future, and the Consumer Federation of America, and sent to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, an agency within the executive branch.


Bosses using tech to spy on staff is becoming the norm, so here's a realistic way of handling it

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Workplace surveillance sounds like the stuff of nightmares, but we are having to get used to it. In a sign of the times, the European Court of Human Rights has just ruled that a supermarket in Barcelona was entitled to fire employees after catching them stealing on CCTV cameras that they didn't know were installed. This overturned a decision by the court's lower chamber that the cameras had breached the employees' human rights. Yet hidden cameras are almost quaint compared to some of the ways in which employers are now monitoring their staff. They are resorting to everything from software that digitally scans workers' emails to smart name badges that track their whereabouts.


Controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI facing legal claims after damning NYT report

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Clearview AI, an artificial intelligence firm providing facial recognition technology to US law enforcement, may be overstating how effective its services are in catching terrorist suspects and preventing attacks, according to a report from BuzzFeed News. The company, which gained widespread recognition from a New York Times story published earlier this month, claims it was instrumental in identifying a New York suspect from video footage who had placed three rice cookers disguised as explosive devices around New York City last August, creating panic and setting off a citywide manhunt. BuzzFeed News found via a public records request that Clearview AI has been claiming in promotional material that law enforcement linked the suspect to an online profile in only five seconds using its database. But city police now say this is simply false. "The NYPD did not use Clearview technology to identify the suspect in the August 16th rice cooker incident," an NYPD spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.


"Hey, Update My Voice" Exposes Cyber Harassment.

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The "Hey, Update My Voice" movement, in partnership with UNESCO, was born out of this context with the goal of teaching respect towards virtual assistants and, in addition, asking tech companies to update their assistants' responses. Because if that happens to them, imagine what happens in real life to real women. Every day around the world, virtual assistants suffer abuse and harassment of all kinds. In Brazil, for example, Lu, the virtual assistant of Magazine Luiza stores, has been victimized by this sort of violence. Worldwide, cases have been reported involving Siri and Alexa, among others.