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Alarm over Thailand soldiers being given police powers

Al Jazeera

Rights groups have condemned a new law issued by Thailand's military-led government that gives the country's soldiers police powers, warning it could lead to troops committing human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Commission of Jurists were among six groups that released a joint statement on Tuesday calling for the legislation to be rescinded. On March 29, the country's armed forces, including paramilitary units, were given wide-ranging powers to detain suspects without arrest warrants for up to a week for several crimes. The military said a crackdown on "mafia figures" was needed because of the lack of police officers to do the job. But the rights groups said the move was a judicial power grab that would give troops immunity from prosecution and may lead to abusive acts such as torture and enforced disappearances.

China condemns protection of corrupt officials in name of human rights

The Japan Times

BEIJING – The top anti-graft body in China, which is pushing for the extradition of corruption suspects who have fled abroad, condemned "some people" who protect corrupt officials in the name of human rights but did not name the targets of its ire. China has sought increased international cooperation in its "Fox Hunt" campaign to track down officials and business executives suspected of corruption who have fled overseas. But Western nations have been reluctant to sign extradition treaties with China, where mistreatment of criminal suspects remains a problem, and courts are not independent of the ruling Communist Party. They say China has not provided sufficient proof of suspects' crimes. "Some people internationally use human rights and the law as excuses," the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in an online statement on Sunday.

Privacy Protection Essential to Shield Human Rights, Says Microsoft's Smith


Microsoft President Brad Smith said on Wednesday a "new wave" of data privacy protection and other security measures was needed to safeguard people's rights at a time when "everything has gone digital". Speaking at Lisbon's Web Summit, Europe's largest tech conference, Smith said it was important to protect privacy, something he sees as a "fundamental human right" and one of the next decade's most critical issues. "It's why I believe we will not only need a new wave of technology but a new wave of privacy protection as well, a new wave of security protection, a new wave of measures to protect the ethics and human rights associated with artificial intelligence (AI)," he said. He gave no details of any concrete measures he was proposing. Tech companies such as Microsoft and rival company Apple have been under mounting pressure to do more to protect users' data.

The Campaign to Preserve Massachusetts' Trans Protections Was Successful Because It Centered Trans People


This post is part of Outward, Slate's home for coverage of LGBTQ life, thought, and culture. The outcome of a Massachusetts ballot measure may offer a glimpse of what comes next for transgender rights nationwide. Yesterday, roughly 68 percent of respondents in the state said "yes" to Question 3, upholding existing nondiscrimination protections on the basis of gender identity. The vote marked the first time trans rights have come up for a statewide referendum--and a rare success in the face of the "bathroom predator" myth that has plagued the community for years. While Massachusetts has a strong record on LGBTQ rights, people and organizations on both sides of the battle over Question 3 took nothing for granted.

Emphasis on Human Rights: AI Ethics Principles


As artificial intelligence or AI keeps on discovering its way into our everyday lives, its propensity to interfere with human rights just gets progressively extreme. There are a few lenses through which experts examine artificial intelligence. The utilization of international human rights law and its well-created standards and organizations to examine artificial intelligence frameworks can add to the conversations already occurring, and give a universal vocabulary and forums set up to address power differentials. Moreover, human rights laws contribute a system for solutions. General solutions fall inside four general classifications: data protection rules to ensure rights in the data sets used to create and encourage artificial intelligence systems; special safeguards for government uses of artificial intelligence; safeguards for private sector use of artificial intelligence systems; and investment in more research to keep on looking at the future of artificial intelligence and its potential interferences with human rights.