Artificial intelligence, racism and sexism

This 10 April 2018 video says about itself:

We’re Training Machines to be Racist. The Fight Against Bias is On

Face recognition software didn’t recognise Joy Buolamwini until she placed a white mask over her face. Now she’s leading the fight against lazily-coded [Amazon] algorithms that work for white males but struggle to recognise the faces and voices of women and people with non-white skin tones.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Can artificial intelligence be racist or sexist?

Governments use algorithms on an increasingly large scale to predict who will do something wrong, but also to determine what citizens need, the NOS reported yesterday. Something with a risk of discrimination.

But there is also a risk outside the government. Almost all self-driving cars, eg, recognize people with darker skin colour worse than people with lighter skin colour. That is the striking conclusion of a recent study. And dangerous, moreover, because cars then do not properly anticipate pedestrians of colour.

Striking, but not new, says Nieuws en Co-tech watcher Enaam Ahmed Ali. “We can no longer do without artificial intelligence, but it is full of prejudices.” …

Artificial intelligence in courts

But it goes further, says Enaam Ahmed Ali. For example, banks use it to assess whether you can apply for a loan. And in the US, for example, experiments are already being conducted with artificial intelligence in courts. And then those prejudices suddenly become really problematic.

Who is the doctor?

A well-known example, where you see those prejudices coming back, is, eg, the translation function of Google. You can do the following experiment yourself: type she is a doctor, he is a nurse and translate this into a grammatically gender-neutral language such as Turkish or Persian and translate back. Suddenly he is the doctor and she the nurse.

Black women not recognized

Ahmed Ali: “You recently saw that very well with Amazon‘s facial recognition tool. It showed that black women were not recognized as women in 37 per cent of cases. This was due to a lack of diversity in the data.”

And while the consequences of face recognition apps are small,

No, dear NOS, these consequences are not small. Eg, Amazon sells it facial recognition software to police. And in England, London police facial recognition software ‘recognizes’ 100% of innocent people as criminals. Err … maybe it is not as bad as 100%. British daily The Independent says it is ‘only’ 98% misidentifications. And a BBC report looks at this even more through rose-coloured glasses: ‘only’ 92% of innocent people ‘recognized’ as criminals

they are big in the case of self-driving cars. Ahmed Ali: “Those cars see the black people, but do not recognize them as human in all cases. For the car, for example, it may also be a tree or pole. The danger is that a tree or pole does not suddenly cross over. In this case, the car can make a wrong and dangerous decision.”

And this also works with words. If the bulk of the data speaks of male doctors, then the Google algorithm also automatically links that together.

Edward Snowden: With Technology, Institutions Have Made ‘Most Effective Means of Social Control in the History of Our Species’. NSA whistleblower says “new platforms and algorithms” can have direct effect on human behavior: here.

British spying services violate human rights, court rules

This 13 September 2018 video says about itself:

UK mass surveillance regime violates human rights, declares landmark court ruling

The UK government’s mass surveillance regime violates human rights, Europe’s highest court ruled today. In a landmark 5-2 vote, the European Court of Human Rights declared there is “insufficient oversight” and “inadequate safeguards” over the government’s ‘bulk interception’ of its own citizens’ phone records.

It also found 6-1 that the UK’s regime for obtaining communications data from service providers “was not in accordance with the law”. And judges ruled there were “insufficient safeguards” for journalistic material in the UK government’s policy.

Today’s challenge, led by the campaign group Big Brother Watch, came in the wake of revelations about surveillance tactics by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Judges found aspects of the UK policy breached two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights – Article 8 (the right to private life) and Article 10 (free expression).

Not every aspect of the challenge was successful. Judges said the operation of a bulk interception regime would not in itself breach the Convention. And there was no breach in the UK’s regime for sharing intelligence with foreign governments, judges said.

The European Court of Human Rights is separate to the EU and has more member states. The Convention was written into British law two decades ago by the last Labour government in the Human Rights act.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

British intelligence service work violated human rights

The powers of the British intelligence services went too far and were in conflict with human rights. That is what the European Court of Human Rights judges. The verdict is a victory for the civil rights movements and journalist organizations that had filed the case.

The case was filed as a result of documents that were published via the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. This contained a lot of information about the activities of the British intelligence services.

The court ruled that intelligence services are allowed to collect private information on a large scale, but that there was too little oversight.


In addition, too little attention was paid to protecting confidential information of journalists. There were not enough guarantees to ensure that this information was kept safe.

On another point, the complainants did not get what they wanted. According to the court there was nothing wrong with the information exchange with other countries.

British spooks breached citizens’ right to privacy: here.

PRIVATE DATA from human rights organisation Privacy International (PI) was captured and read by Britain’s intelligence agencies, MI5 admitted yesterday. MI5 said the data was collected as part of its Bulk Communications Data (BCD) and Bulk Personal Datasets (BPD) programmes, which “hoover up” public information: here.

Torture victims unlawfully excluded by Home Office‘s new definition, High Court hears, by Sam Tobin in London.

Trump’s Big Bother anti-immigrant witch-hunt

This video from the USA says about itself:

ICE Teams Up With Big Brother

7 June 2018

ICE is watching you. Ana Kasparian, Kim Horcher, and Mark Thompson, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has signed a $2.4 million contract with a little-known surveillance company that mines communications data and provides “real-time” tracking.

Data published on the U.S. government’s spending website shows the Department of Homeland Security contracted Pen-Link Ltd. (PenLink), a software company that develops communications surveillance collection systems, on June 4 with ICE listed as the contracting subagency.

PenLink provides software that allows enforcement bodies to collect and analyze “massive amounts of social media and internet communications data”, as well as collect wiretap intercepts “in real-time” for “tracking” and “live monitoring”, according to its website.

Julian Sanchez, a privacy and surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, said the company appears to specialize in telephone data analysis and geolocation data mining and tracking that could potentially determine where people are “within a block” of a cell tower.”

Read more here.

On Tuesday, some 200 agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) carried out Gestapo-style raids on two workplaces in northern Ohio. The heavily armed border agents arrested 114 people, including children and US citizens. Shocked and outraged co-workers shouted at the border police to let the arrested workers go, to no avail. By a single act of mass terror, the US government shattered the lives of hundreds of parents, children, spouses and siblings: here.

Trump administration, more NSA spying

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Admin Puts Warrantless NSA Spying On Steroids

8 May 2018

The National Security Agency collected more than 530 million U.S. call records in 2017, representing a dramatic increase over the previous year.

According to an annual transparency report released Friday, the spy agency collected 534 million call records in 2017, more than three times the 151 million collected in 2016. The new statistics were first reported by Reuters.

The report, released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is mandated by the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in 2015 that aimed to restrict and boost oversight of the spy agency’s surveillance program.

Read more here.

US House votes down amendment to block NSA collection of the personal communications of American citizens: here.

New Facebook privacy scandal

This video says about itself:

Snowden’s Message on Facebook’s data leak scandal with Cambridge Analytica

23 March 2018

Whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks on Facebook’s data leak scandal with Cambridge Analytica within his recent interview on March 11, 2018. Snowden gives realistic understanding on the format of using user’s data by social networks, such as Facebook. So Snowden technically joined the #DELETEFACEBOOK movement.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

United States Facebook accused of harvesting Android users’ data

FACEBOOK faced new questions today about collecting phone numbers and text messages from Android devices.

The revelations are embarrassing following the US-based internet giant’s apologies in US and British newspapers for exposing users’ data to Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy firm which worked with the Donald Trump campaign in the US …

The website Ars Technica reports that Android users who checked data gathered by Facebook on them found that it had years of contact names, numbers, call lengths and text recipients.

Messages were left on Sunday seeking comment about security from Google officials, who make the Android operating system.

Reports of the data collection came as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took out ads in multiple US and British Sunday newspapers to apologise for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The ads say the social media platform doesn’t deserve to hold personal information if it can’t protect it.

According to the ads, a quiz app built by a Cambridge University researcher leaked Facebook data of millions of people four years ago.

Cambridge Analytica got the data from a researcher who paid 270,000 Facebook users to complete a psychological profile quiz in 2014. But the quiz gathered information on their friends as well, bringing the total number of people affected to about 50 million.

The Trump campaign paid the firm $6 million (£4.2m) during the 2016 election.

Why Facebook’s scandals won’t go away.

Why people are staying on Facebook despite it’s obvious awfulness.

Britain: Police ‘hoovering up’ personal data from innocent’s mobile phones: here.