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Collaborating Authors

Mathematical Foundations for Social Computing

Communications of the ACM

Yiling Chen (yiling@seas.harvard.edu) is Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Arpita Ghosh (arpitaghosh@cornell.edu) is an associate professor of information science at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Michael Kearns (mkearns@cis.upenn.edu) is a professor and National Center Chair of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Tim Roughgarden (tim@cs.stanford.edu) is an associate professor of CS at Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Jennifer Wortman Vaughan (jenn@microsoft.com) is a senior researcher at Microsoft Research, New York, NY.


Palantir Knows Everything About You

#artificialintelligence

High above the Hudson River in downtown Jersey City, a former U.S. Secret Service agent named Peter Cavicchia III ran special ops for JPMorgan Chase & Co. His insider threat group--most large financial institutions have one--used computer algorithms to monitor the bank's employees, ostensibly to protect against perfidious traders and other miscreants. Aided by as many as 120 "forward-deployed engineers" from the data mining company Palantir Technologies Inc., which JPMorgan engaged in 2009, Cavicchia's group vacuumed up emails and browser histories, GPS locations from company-issued smartphones, printer and download activity, and transcripts of digitally recorded phone conversations. Palantir's software aggregated, searched, sorted, and analyzed these records, surfacing keywords and patterns of behavior that Cavicchia's team had flagged for potential abuse of corporate assets. Palantir's algorithm, for example, alerted the insider threat team when an employee started badging into work later than usual, a sign of potential disgruntlement. That would trigger further scrutiny and possibly physical surveillance after hours by bank security personnel. Over time, however, Cavicchia himself went rogue. Former JPMorgan colleagues describe the environment as Wall Street meets Apocalypse Now, with Cavicchia as Colonel Kurtz, ensconced upriver in his office suite eight floors above the rest of the bank's security team. People in the department were shocked that no one from the bank or Palantir set any real limits.


Bipartisan law would force Internet giants including Google and Facebook to reveal search algorithms

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Google, Facebook and other internet giants would disclose the algorithms they use to return search results under new legislation proposed by US law makers. The bipartisan Filter Bubble Transparency Act also would require the online companies to offer users an unfiltered search option that delivers results without any algorithmic tinkering. Senator John Thune, a Republican from North Dakota, filed the bill on Friday. The legislation was co-sponsored by Republican senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Marsha blackburn of Tennessee, as well as Democrats Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Mark Warner of Virginia. Senator John Thune, a Republican from North Dakota, filed the bipartisan'Filter Bubble Transparency Act,' which would require internet companies to reveal algorithms used to determine online searches The online firm, owned by Alphabet, like other internet companies relies on algorithms - a highly-specific set of instructions to computers - that track users' behavior and location Thune says the legislation is needed because'people are increasingly impatient with the lack of transparency,' on the internet, reports the Wall Street Journal.


Podcast: How Russia's everything company works with the Kremlin

MIT Technology Review

Russia's biggest technology company enjoys a level of dominance that is unparalleled by any one of its Western counterparts. Think Google mixed with equal parts Amazon, Spotify and Uber and you're getting close to the sprawling empire that is Yandex--a single, mega-corporation with its hands in everything from search to ecommerce to driverless cars. But being the crown jewel of Russia's silicon valley has its drawbacks. The country's government sees the internet as contested territory amid ever-present tensions with US and other Western interests. As such, it wants influence over how Yandex uses its massive trove of data on Russian citizens. Foreign investors, meanwhile, are more interested in how that data can be turned into growth and profit. For the September/October issue of MIT Technology Review, Moscow-based journalist Evan Gershkovich explains how Yandex's ability to walk a highwire between the Kremlin and Wall Street could potentially serve as a kind of template for Big Tech.


New York county says it won't enforce Cuomo's limit on Thanksgiving gatherings

FOX News

Fox News correspondent Kevin Corke has the latest from the White House on'Special Report' A county in New York is refusing to comply with one of Gov. Cuomo's coronavirus orders, citing mass depression and stress resulting from a "constant barrage" of regulations. Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino announced the decision in a scathing Facebook post Saturday, which added to already-growing tension over the state's restrictions. Cuomo's order, which limits Thanksgiving gatherings to 10 people, has already faced pushback from Staten Island Republican Joe Borelli, who appeared to mock the restriction earlier this month. Giardino said on Saturday: "With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents." "Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle. And as a Sheriff with a law degree I couldn't in good faith attempt to defend it Court, so I won't," he added.