Civil Rights & Constitutional Law


Google's comment ranking system will be a hit with the alt-right

Engadget

The underlying API used to determine "toxicity" scores phrases like "I am a gay black woman" as 87 percent toxicity, and phrases like "I am a man" as the least toxic. To broadly determine what is and isn't toxic, Disqus uses the Perspective API--software from Alphabet's Jigsaw division that plugs into its system. Pasting her "Dear white people" into Perspective's API got a score of 61 percent toxicity. It's possible that the tool is seeking out comments with terms like black, gay, and woman as high potential for being abusive or negative, but that would make Perspective an expensive, overkill wrapper for the equivalent of using Command-F to demonize words that some people might find upsetting.


Inside Google's Internet Justice League and Its AI-Powered War on Trolls

#artificialintelligence

The 28-year-old journalist and author of The Internet of Garbage, a book on spam and online harassment, had been watching Bernie Sanders boosters attacking feminists and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now a small subsidiary of Google named Jigsaw is about to release an entirely new type of response: a set of tools called Conversation AI. Jigsaw is applying artificial intelligence to solve the very human problem of making people be nicer on the Internet. If it can find a path through that free-speech paradox, Jigsaw will have pulled off an unlikely coup: applying artificial intelligence to solve the very human problem of making people be nicer on the Internet.


Banned In China: Why Live Streaming Video Has Been Censored

International Business Times

A recent ban affecting three of China's biggest online platforms aimed at "cleaning up the air in cyberspace" is just the latest government crackdown on user-generated content, and especially live streaming. This edict, issued by China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) in June, affects video on the social media platform Sina Weibo, as well as video platforms Ifeng and AcFun. In 2014, for example, one of China's biggest online video platforms LETV began removing its app that allowed TV users to access online video, reportedly due to SAPPRFT requirements. China's largest social media network, Sina Weibo, launched an app named Yi Zhibo in 2016 that allows live streaming of games, talent shows and news.


Pew Research Center: Internet, Science and Tech on the Future of Free Speech

#artificialintelligence

They believe: Technical and human solutions will arise as the online world splinters into segmented, controlled social zones with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). They predict more online platforms will require clear identification of participants; some expect that online reputation systems will be widely used in the future. She said, "Until we have a mechanism users trust with their unique online identities, online communication will be increasingly shaped by negative activities, with users increasingly forced to engage in avoidance behaviors to dodge trolls and harassment. Public discourse forums will increasingly use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and wisdom-of-crowds reputation-management techniques to help keep dialog civil.


A collection of 13,500 insults lobbed by Wikipedia editors is helping researchers understand and fight trolls

#artificialintelligence

They say the data will boost efforts to train software to understand and police online harassment. The collaborators have already used the data to train machine-learning algorithms that rival crowdsourced workers at spotting personal attacks. When they ran it through the full collection of 63 million discussion posts made by Wikipedia editors, they found that only around one in 10 attacks had resulted in action by moderators. Wikimedia Foundation made reducing harassment among Wikipedia editors a priority last year.


How to Keep Your AI From Turning Into a Racist Monster

WIRED

Algorithmic bias--when seemingly innocuous programming takes on the prejudices either of its creators or the data it is fed--causes everything from warped Google searches to barring qualified women from medical school. Tay's embrace of humanity's worst attributes is an example of algorithmic bias--when seemingly innocuous programming takes on the prejudices either of its creators or the data it is fed. Recently, a Carnegie Mellon research team unearthed algorithmic bias in online ads. When they simulated people searching for jobs online, Google ads showed listings for high-income jobs to men nearly six times as often as to equivalent women.


How artificial intelligence can be corrupted to repress free speech

#artificialintelligence

By keeping ISPs and websites under threat of closure, the government is able to leverage that additional labor force to help monitor a larger population than it would otherwise be able to. This past July, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the administration in charge of online censorship, issued new rules to websites and service providers that enabled the government to punish any outlet that publishes "directly as news reports unverified content found on online platforms such as social media." And the Supreme Court, especially the Roberts Court, has been, on the main, a strong defender of free expression," Danielle Keats Citron, professor of law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, wrote to Engadget. "Context is crucial to many free-speech questions like whether a threat amounts to a true threat and whether a person is a limited-purpose public figure," professor Keats Citron told Engadget.


How artificial intelligence can be corrupted to repress free speech

#artificialintelligence

According to a 2016 report from internet liberty watchdog, Freedom House, two-thirds of all internet users reside in countries where criticism of the ruling administration is censored -- 27 percent of them live in nations where posting, sharing or supporting unpopular opinions on social media can get you arrested. This past July, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the administration in charge of online censorship, issued new rules to websites and service providers which enabled the government to punish any outlet that publishes "directly as news reports unverified content found on online platforms such as social media." And the Supreme Court, especially the Roberts Court, has been, on the main, a strong defender of free expression," Danielle Keats Citron, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, wrote to Engadget. "Context is crucial to many free speech questions like whether a threat amounts to a true threat and whether a person is a limited purpose public figure," Professor Keats Citron told Engadget.


How artificial intelligence can be corrupted to repress free speech

Engadget

According to a 2016 report from internet liberty watchdog, Freedom House, two-thirds of all internet users reside in countries where criticism of the ruling administration is censored -- 27 percent of them live in nations where posting, sharing or supporting unpopular opinions on social media can get you arrested. This past July, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the administration in charge of online censorship, issued new rules to websites and service providers which enabled the government to punish any outlet that publishes "directly as news reports unverified content found on online platforms such as social media." And the Supreme Court, especially the Roberts Court, has been, on the main, a strong defender of free expression," Danielle Keats Citron, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, wrote to Engadget. The popular game managed to reduce toxic language and the abuse of other players by 11 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, after LoL's developer, RiotGames, instituted an automated notification system that reminded players not to be jerks at various points throughout each match.


UK to censor online videos of 'non-conventional' sex acts

The Guardian

The proposal, part of the digital economy bill, would force internet service providers to block sites hosting content that would not be certified for commercial DVD sale by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). It is contained within provisions of the bill designed to enforce strict age verification checks to stop children accessing adult websites. Pictures and videos that show spanking, whipping or caning that leaves marks, and sex acts involving urination, female ejaculation or menstruation as well as sex in public are likely to be caught by the ban – in effect turning back the clock on Britain's censorship regime to the pre-internet era. A spokeswoman for the BBFC said it would also check whether sites host "pornographic content that we would refuse to classify".