Our focus at CaSMa tends to be on safeguarding the rights of the individual in a world where digital innovation is changing the status quo. While we are accustomed to think of privacy or personal property on an individual based level, the extension of these concepts at the collective or non-human level is usually at the crux of copyright issues. This week marked an individual’s moral victory on the issue over in America: the ruling in an eight year old trial stated that holders must respect the right of fair use of copyrighted material.
This week Facebook launched its bid for capturing and building the market in personal digital assistant services (for now only available to select groups of people in San Francisco). Facebook’s ‘M‘ interacts with the user via the Facebook Messenger app, but as with the competitors Siri (Apple), Now (Google), Cortana (Microsoft) and Echo (Amazon), the serious work is done through cloud services.
Following a presentation about “Societal Responsibility in Internet business Innovation” I recently gave at the Responsible Innovation Conference 2015, a fellow attendee at the conference drew my attention to the NY Times “When Algorithms Discriminate”, from July 9th 2015. This article briefly summarized the results from a number of studies each of which exposed race, gender or other discriminatory biases in search engine results.
A mysterious online message reading, “Hey Noel, you can admit it’s real now” may be unlikely to immediately instil fear into many of us non-Noels. However, as of this afternoon, things have got more than a little uncomfortable for Avid Life Media’s CEO, Noel Biderman, and quite possibly 37.5 million other individuals across the world.
Many of the most well known internet platforms and apps such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Reddit, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. are fundamentally dependent on user generated content. Without it, they have nothing to offer to attract or retain users. On the face of it, this would suggest that the balance of power between the companies running the platforms/apps and the users should skew towards the users.
On June 24th a Dutch court sided with environment campaigners, ruling that the state has a “duty of care” for its citizens which requires it to “mitigate as quickly and as much as possible” the risks of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of failures to each strong international commitments. What might the implications of such a ruling be for other areas of social-economic policy such as the issues of privacy and citizen rights in the digital economy?
‘Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have Internet access.’ Continue reading Internet.org, affordable internet access at what cost?
What use would a digital bill of rights be?
The Liberal Democrats have been a lone voice among the parties calling for a digital bill of rights governing our growing use of the internet. But is it the right solution for the problem in hand?
Surveys suggest that the bill should pique the interest of at least a few floating voters, with almost three-quarters of British adults in one survey concerned over unauthorised access to their private information online.
It’s been a busy week in the world of digital rights. On April 11th the UK’s Liberal Democratic party decided to put digital rights on the election campaign agenda by launching a proposal for a Digital Bill of Rights. On April 15th, the Global Commission on Internet Governance released a statement titled “Towards a Social Compact for Digital Privacy and Security” in the run up to the 2015 Global Conference on Cyber Space in the Hague, which culminated with the launch of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise.
On March 30th, Martha Lane Fox delivered the annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture on BBC with an eloquent and passionate call for the creation of a new civic institution charged with making the UK the “most digital nation on the plant”. The institution she envisaged, and provisionally named “Dot Everyone”, would boost the needs of the civic, public and non-commercial side of the internet while simultaneously providing the infrastructure, skills and training which private companies are desperately looking for.