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German officials say Facebook could be fined over hate speech posts

The Guardian

German officials are stepping up their criticism of Facebook, saying the social network is doing too little to stop hate speech and could face stiff fines unless it deletes illegal content faster. In an interview, justice minister Heiko Maas said his ministry was checking whether it would be possible to make social networking sites legally liable for posts. "Of course in the end, we also have to think about fines, if other measures fail to work," Maas told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. "That would be a strong incentive to act quickly." Facebook's plan to tackle fake news raises questions over limitations Germany has seen a sharp increase in vitriolic posts on social media in recent years amid a heated public debate over the arrival of more than a million migrants since the start of 2015.

NSW government turns to Microsoft for procurement monitoring


The New South Wales government has announced signing Microsoft to help it commercialise its data science capabilities, initially focusing on the state's AU$30 billion procurement spend. Big data is transitioning from one of the most hyped and anticipated tech trends of recent years into one of the biggest challenges that IT is now trying to wrestle and harness. We examine the technologies and best practices for taking advantage of big data and provide a look at organizations that are putting it to good use. The NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC), stood up in August 2015, will work with the local arm of Microsoft to offer data-related products both inside and outside of government, and "turbo-charge" the government's digital and data agenda. Under the arrangement, DAC data scientists are using Microsoft Azure and a range of Azure cognitive services to build a machine learning neural network to categorise how the NSW government's AU$30 billion annual procurement budget is allocated each year.

NSW government playing Big Brother with citizens' data


The New South Wales government is currently undertaking a data analytics project in South Sydney to determine who lives where and with whom. The project falls under the scope of the newly created NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC), with Dr Ian Oppermann assuming the role of DAC CEO in late 2015. Speaking in Sydney on Wednesday, Oppermann said the urban renewal project is the only one that genuinely frightens him from a technology perspective. "Here we're just trying to answer the question of who lives where with whom, and believe it or not, that's a very difficult question to answer and it's difficult because we rely on census data as the baseline for understanding," he said. With urban planning the tagline for the project, Oppermann said those that are charged with planning transport, schools, water, and electricity need to know accurate residency information in order to make their plans.

A data driven future


Data is referred to as the oil or even the soil of the 21st century. Either analogy is apt as they both illustrate the importance of data and how it will power or feed the world economy in the digital age. Data is the fuel of the future as well as the rich soil which everything will grow. Its ubiquity already spreads far and wide ranging from the consumer data story such as knowledge of our online search history, financial transactions and social media interactions. More widely, data drives the analysis of whole industries, small businesses or traffic patterns.

Fake news could cost Facebook dearly in Germany


Fake news and hate speech are sadly unavoidable on social media, but that might change soon... in Germany, anyway. Late last week, Thomas Oppermann -- chairman of the German Social Democratic Party -- proposed a stringent law meant to hold companies like Facebook responsible when fake news makes the rounds. As reported by Der Spiegel (and translated by Deusche Well), Oppermann's plan would require Facebook to actively combat fake news all day, everyday. Here's the fascinating bit: if a fake news item pops up and Facebook can't address it within 24 hours, it would be subject to a €500,000 (or $522,575) for each post left untouched. Facebook and other "market-dominating platforms" would be required to to have teams in Germany dedicated to fielding reports of fake news and hate-filled posts.