NSA spying illegal, Snowden right, court decides

This 8 May 2015 video from the USA is called Court Rules NSA Bulk Spying Illegal: New Vindication for Snowden, and Uncertainty for PATRIOT Act.

That was then. And now …

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

NSA bugging program revealed by Snowden was illegal

The large-scale wiretapping program of the US security agency NSA that was revealed in 2013 by whistleblower Edward Snowden is illegal. That is the decision of the federal court of appeal in San Francisco. Moreover, the officials who defended the program at the time did not tell the truth, the court said.

Snowden worked at the NSA and revealed seven years ago that the intelligence agency collects and stores Internet and telephone data on a large scale. According to the court, the NSA violates US intelligence law and possibly also the constitution.

Snowden’s story sparked much outrage. Before that, the intelligence service denied that information was collected on a large scale about US American citizens. Following the revelations, officials defended themselves arguing that espionage is crucial in fighting terror on US soil.

Eg, wiretaps allowed four San Diego residents to be convicted of supporting extremist Muslim groups in Somalia, according to the NSA. However, the court of appeal states that “that allegation is inconsistent with the content of the secret file in the case”. The four remain in prison …

Snowden’s response

Snowden fled to Hong Kong before making his revelations and then left for Russia, where he remains to date. In the US, he is suspected of leaking state secrets. He has previously said that he only wants to return to his home country if he gets a fair trial.

Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden on coronavirus crisis

This 8 April 2020 video says about itself:

System Update With Glenn GreenwaldEdward Snowden, Andray Domise and Cassie King

In the second episode of The Intercept’s new weekly show, host Glenn Greenwald explores the under-discussed consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Glenn interviews activist and whistleblower Edward Snowden to talk about the risk of acquiescing to more surveillance during times of peril, journalist Andray Domise of Maclean’s about how this pandemic can impact the social fabric, and to Cassie King, DxE investigator, about the relationships between animal agriculture and new diseases.

US government would kill Snowden for truth-telling

This 5 December 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Edward Snowden: If I Came Back to the U.S., I Would Likely Die in Prison for Telling the Truth

The Right Livelihood Awards celebrated their 40th anniversary Wednesday at the historic Cirkus Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, where more than a thousand people gathered to celebrate this year’s four laureates: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg; Chinese women’s rights lawyer Guo Jianmei, Brazilian indigenous leader Davi Kopenawa and the organization he co-founded, the Yanomami Hutukara Association; and Sahrawi human rights leader Aminatou Haidar, who has challenged the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara for decades.

The Right Livelihood Award is known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”. Over the past four decades, it’s been given to grassroots leaders and activists around the globe — among them the world-famous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. At Wednesday’s gala, Amy Goodman interviewed Snowden in front of the award ceremony’s live audience via video link from Moscow, where he has lived in exile since leaking a trove of secret documents revealing the U.S. government had built an unprecedented mass surveillance system to spy on Americans and people around the world. After sharing the documents with reporters in 2013, Snowden was charged in the U.S. for violating the Espionage Act and other laws. As he attempted to flee from Hong Kong to Latin America, Snowden was stranded in Russia after the U.S. revoked his passport, and he has lived there ever since. Edward Snowden won the Right Livelihood Award in 2014, and accepted the award from Moscow.

Illegal FBI mass surveillance in the USA

This 8 June 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

‘State of Surveillance’ with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith (VICE on HBO: Season 4, Episode 13)

When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked details of massive government surveillance programs in 2013, he ignited a raging debate over digital privacy and security. That debate came to a head this year, when Apple refused an FBI court order to access the iPhone of alleged San Bernardino Terrorist Syed Farook. Meanwhile, journalists and activists are under increasing attack from foreign agents. To find out the government’s real capabilities, and whether any of us can truly protect our sensitive information, VICE founder Shane Smith heads to Moscow to meet the man who started the conversation, Edward Snowden.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

FISA court documents expose illegal FBI mass surveillance

10 October 2019

In an unprecedented development, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released redacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) documents on Tuesday that disclose details of the illegal FBI electronic surveillance of US citizens.

The disclosures—contained in 20 documents published on the website of the ODNI—show that since 2017 the FBI has been violating provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as well as the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans by searching through their e-mail, text messages and phone calls.

The ODNI document release stems from a FISC order on April 5, 2018, which found that the FBI’s procedures concerning the “querying of United States persons” were insufficient, resulting in violations of federal law. The Trump administration appealed the decision to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISC-R), which then affirmed on July 12, 2019, the original 2018 ruling.

The portion of the FISA law that was found to be violated by the FBI is known as Section 702, which grants authority to US intelligence and law enforcement to search the online communications of non-Americans located outside the US under very specific conditions. Section 702 was adopted in 2008 as part of the FISA Amendments Act that modified the original FISA law adopted in 1976 and it specifically bars the targeting of US citizens for warrantless electronic surveillance.

In one episode reported in the FISC documents, in March 2017 the FBI queried the database of e-mail, texts and phone calls of more than 70,000 FBI employees or contractors. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The bureau appeared to be looking for data to conduct a security review of people with access to its buildings and computers—meaning the FBI was searching for data linked to its own employees.” The documents say that the agency did so against the advice of its general counsel.

In another example from April 2018, the FBI queried the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of 57,000 US individuals. In both instances, the FBI claimed the searches were necessary as part of an effort to uncover foreign intelligence information.

Several other incidents involved querying the data of specific individuals instead of the batch queries. In these cases, the FISC court of Judge James E. Boesberg determined that the FBI had not provided sufficient justification for its belief that the queries would yield foreign intelligence information.

It should be pointed out that the FISC rulings and documents released by ODNI take as a given the existence of the NSA database of e-mail, text messages and phone calls of everyone. The reprimand of the FBI is that the agency did not properly utilize the database, document its reasons for querying it and dispose of the information obtained after it was collected.

This discrepancy was noted by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden in a tweet on Tuesday: “The worst part? The government argues the existence of a warrantless, internet-scale mass surveillance program isn’t the problem, merely the lawless way the FBI uses it against Americans, [because] ‘of course’ the other 93-97% of the human population have no rights.”

Secret US government data collection of e-mail and phone call data has been going on at least since the days following the events of September 11, 2001. The exposures made by Snowden showed that this data collection takes two forms: upstream and downstream (also known as PRISM).

Upstream collection is the interception and storage of communications as they pass through the fiber-optic backbone and infrastructure of the global telecommunications system. This involves the collection of a large mass of data that is filtered based on IP addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses and made available to indexing and analysis based on the queries of targeted individuals.

Downstream collection involves government access to the servers of the telecommunications service providers and tech companies such as Verizon, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Apple and copying the data that resides there. These companies are prohibited from telling their customers that their data has been retrieved by the government.

In describing the 2018 FISC order and its 2019 FISC-R affirmation, the ODNI says, “The Government subsequently submitted amended FBI querying procedures to address the issues, and the FISC found that the amended procedures were sufficient.”

However, this is not the first time that the American people have been told—after secret surveillance of the public was exposed—that the government has stopped violating constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In March 2013, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied during congressional testimony when he said that the NSA did not collect any data on American citizens. Three months later, a massive NSA program that was gathering the electronic communications of everyone was exposed by Snowden.

In March 2014, President Barack Obama promised to end the NSA data collection and surveillance programs only to seek subsequently to reauthorize them multiple times. The Trump administration reauthorized the mass surveillance program in January 2018 and has called for the program to be permanently activated when it expires at the end of this year.

The publication of the FISC documents by the ODNI exhibit some features of the intensifying warfare between the Trump administration and the Democratic Party and US intelligence community in Washington, D.C.

Like the impeachment drive that is narrowly focused on Trump’s political skullduggery during one phone call, when the Republican President has violated the constitution multiple times on other issues such as the treatment of immigrants, the claim that the FBI’s misuse of the procedures for “querying United States persons” is a violation of the Fourth Amendment pales in comparison to the NSA’s mass system of surveillance.

Meanwhile, differences of opinion over the meaning of the ODNI revelations have been expressed in the Congress. An anonymous congressional aide told the Washington Post that the FBI’s violations were not “not particularly alarming,” while Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon) said, “Today’s release demonstrates how baseless the FBI’s position was.”

Given its record of lying about spying on the public, nothing published by the ODNI should be accepted at face value and without a very high degree of skepticism. Under the FISA law, the FISC court—which has undergone a significant transformation since its establishment following the exposure of criminal activities by then-President Richard Nixon in the 1970s—operates in complete secrecy as an arm of US military-intelligence.

Many questions remain as to why, when the secret court approves 99.967% of the surveillance requests that come before it, the FISC has chosen to rebuke the FBI for violating procedures.

Edward Snowden on his new book

This video from the USA says about itself:

Edward Snowden On His New Book “Permanent Record

October 05, 2019 C-SPAN News

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden talked about exposing the U.S. government’s mass surveillance program and having to go into exile as a result. Mr. Snowden appeared on the ACLU’s “At Liberty” podcast, hosted by ACLU executive director Anthony Romero.

The memoir Permanent Record by the former intelligence contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden is an important account of the life of the man behind the exposure of secret global electronic surveillance programs run by the NSA and CIA: here.

Governments of the USA, UK, and Australia want to force Facebook to destroy the last vestiges of privacy, Snowden says.

Edward Snowden, MSNBC TV interview

This video from the USA says about itself:

Full Interview: Edward Snowden On Trump, Privacy, And Threats To Democracy | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

On the eve of his memoir ‘Permanent Record’ being published, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden talked at length from Moscow with MSNBC’s Brian Williams in an exclusive interview. This is their discussion in its entirety, edited down slightly for clarity.

Aired on 9/17/2019.

Did Philips help NSA spying on Mandela?

This 13 December 2013 video from the USA says about itself:

“One of Our Greatest Coups”: The CIA & the Capture of Nelson Mandela

As South Africa prepares to hold a state funeral for Nelson Mandela, we look at how the CIA helped the South African [apartheid regime] track down and capture Nelson Mandela in 1962.

In 1990, the Cox News Service quoted a former U.S. official saying that within hours after Mandela’s arrest a senior CIA operative named Paul Eckel admitted the agency’s involvement. Eckel was reported as having told the official, “We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be. They have picked him up. It is one of our greatest coups.”

Several news outlets have reported the actual source of the tip that led to the arrest of Mandela was a CIA official named Donald Rickard. On Thursday, Democracy Now! attempted to reach Rickard at his home in Colorado. On two occasions, a man who picked up the phone hung up when we asked to speak with Donald Rickard. The activist group RootsAction has launched a campaign to urge the CIA to open its files on Mandela and South Africa and the media watchdog group Fairness in Accuracy in Reporting has questioned why corporate media outlets have largely ignored the story. We speak to journalist Andrew Cockburn who first reported on the CIA link to Mandela’s arrest in 1986 in the New York Times.

Translated from Dutch weekly De Groene, 7 August 2017:

Investigation: How Philips made a Dutch pocket telex “spyable” for the NSA

Encrypted, but not for America

Intelligence services fear that China will gain access to our secrets thanks to built-in back doors in Huawei equipment. The USA has had those back doors for a long time. At the end of the last century, for example, Philips made a difficult to crack pocket telex “spyable” for the NSA. A reconstruction.

By Huub Jaspers and Marcel Metze

Spring 2014. In a family restaurant in the woods around Eindhoven we find a source, let’s call him “Frank Molenaar”. The case on which he is going to provide us with information played in the mid-nineteen eighties. Yet he still wants to remain anonymous. The conversation takes place in a private dining room, without viewers or listeners. “What we are talking about was state secret at the time”, he explains, “public disclosure was punishable by imprisonment.” Is that still true? The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) believes that the issue must remain secret for more than thirty years after that date. It rejects a request for disclosure. The then deputy director Marc Kuipers writes: “One of the (…) grounds for refusal is that the provision of the requested data must not harm national security. (…) The AIVD must be able to keep its sources, its working methods (…) and its current level of knowledge secret.”

This answer makes the story of “Frank Molenaar” all the more fascinating. It is about the NSA and how the US American eavesdropping service called in Philips to remove an encrypted pocket telex from the market. That pocket telex – a text device avant la lettre – was developed by the Dutch small business Text Lite. The encryption program that Text Lite had built in was difficult to crack even for the NSA. Something had to be done about it, the Americans thought.

What makes the issue even more fascinating is that the ANC would have used the pocket telex to transfer secret messages from Nelson Mandela – who was then imprisoned on Robben Island – from Zambia to London. Dutch activist Connie Braam had given the device to the ANC. This raises the question: has Philips helped the NSA to intercept Mandela?

Philips had been in contact with the NSA for some time. Subsidiary USFA – an abbreviation for Ultra Sonore Manufacturing Department – built cryptographic devices intended for sending and receiving encrypted diplomatic and military communications. But the development costs were high and sales outside the Netherlands were limited. That changed in 1977. That year, a USFA employee traveled to the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, not far from Washington. What he discussed is unknown. What is certain is that it did not end with this one visit and that Philips USFA has since been on a leash of the NSA.

In addition to spying, the NSA also dealt with the development and construction of cryptographic machines and associated software. Shortly after the visit of the USFA employee, the NSA chose Philips as a subcontractor. The Dutch corporation was allowed to build a license for an NSA device for encrypted data transmission for the European NATO countries. Of course, that device contained an encryption program developed by the NSA itself, the so-called Walburn algorithm. Philips also installed another NSA encryption (Saville, developed by the NSA and the British GCHQ) in its new communication equipment for the Dutch army.

Since the alliance with the NSA, USFA had done significantly better commercially. So when the Americans presented themselves with a special request, Philips was open to that. According to “Frank Molenaar” – who was involved in the case in an undefined role – a secret meeting took place somewhere in the Netherlands in December 1984 where employees of both Philips and the NSA were present. The official language was English. The subject: a new encryption program for the PX-1000, the pocket telex that Text Lite had launched in 1983.

It was quickly clear to the Philips cryptographers that the new encryption was weaker than the encryption that Text Lite had built into the device, and would therefore be easier for the Americans to crack. They also understood the reason for this: a eavesdropping service must be able to eavesdrop, and therefore it is not in the interests of citizens and businesses to use devices that make it all that difficult.

The PX-1000 measured approximately twenty by ten centimeters and was equipped with a small display and a keyboard. You could type messages and send them as beeps via a normal telephone line to another PX-1000, which then made them text again – provided the owner had the correct encryption key. The device cost around a thousand guilders and would now be worth around 860 euros. By the time the NSA got wind of it, Text Lite had already sold quite a few of it, including to the Turkish army, in the Middle East and to Israel.

The company was still young, it was set up in 1981 as a producer of light newspapers – light bars with current advertising texts. The PX-1000 was an idea of technical director Hugo Krop. Krop had added ‘a very naughty feature’ to the PX-1000 on his own initiative, he said a few months before his death, in 2018. “Not because someone asked for it, but simply because it was possible.” In a hacker magazine from the USA he had read ‘how you could make the official Data Encryption Standard from America in about 1 K (1000 bits)’. There was just room for such a mini-file on the PX-1000 chip. …

Krop’s co-director Arie Hommel remembered how after the introduction of the PX-1000, Text Lite received signals that people in security circles were not happy with their beautiful device. “Occasionally someone from England came over from Scotland Yard to ask why and to whom we sold those things. They seemed to be bothered by it because they could not listen to them. And they were not the only ones. ”

The NSA was also not happy. The Americans did not contact Text Lite themselves, but engaged Philips for that job. Neither Hommel nor Krop remembered the date of the phone call from Eindhoven, but that must have been somewhere in 1984, before Text Lite went public (that happened in December, via a listing on the Amsterdam parallel market). Hommel: “We were asked to come to a Van der Valk hotel near Utrecht. That’s where the Philips people said extremely harshly: you have a product that contains encryption and we want to get rid of that. ”

According to Krop, their conversation partners were USFA employees. He confirmed Hommel’s description of the conversation: “They presented themselves with a proposal: a) how much money do you want, b) do you want to track down and buy back all devices and c) we will give you a new, at least as good, encryption key and then go we distribute that device. And by the way: this is not an offer that you can refuse. You just have to do it.” According to Arie Hommel, it was not clear that this offer was inspired by the NSA, but Hugo Krop suspected it. During a conversation with the radio program Argos, he spontaneously dropped: “Yes, if the NSA wants something, they will always get it done.”

The Text Lite directors agreed – partly enticed by an amount that according to Hommel was somewhere between thirty and forty million guilders. Philips took over the PX-1000 and tried to trace as many unsold copies as possible. It is not known whether copies have been retrieved that had already been sold. In 1990 the anti-militarist action group Onkruit occupied the USFA complex and thereby seized internal documents. It turned out that Philips resold twelve thousand PX-1000s, along with another twenty thousand chips with the DES-algorithm, to the American company Reynolds – which can no longer be traced and, according to various anonymous sources, has probably been a cover for the NSA. The selling price was around 16.5 million guilders – which roughly corresponds to the retail value.

It was a sad moment in Philips history. The corporation had once set up USFA at the request of the Dutch government. It had been warned in 1944 by its top cryptologist Colonel J. A. Verkuijl that the US had almost reached the point where it could crack the Swiss Hagelin coders used by the Netherlands.

Immediately after the war, Philips had advised the government to build its own cryptographic devices. That would reduce the chance of American hacks. By developing high-quality cryptographic technology itself, the Netherlands would also have the chance to be admitted to the exclusive group of countries that shared secret intelligence: the US, the United Kingdom and Canada (this club was later expanded to include Australia and New Zealand and became known under the nickname Five Eyes). …

The first secret telex was not ready for production until 1957. In 1962, USFA had won a NATO bid with its Ecolex IV telex, so that success seemed within reach. But competition from German (Siemens, AEG), British, Swedish / Swiss (Hagelin), Norwegian (SATK) and American sides was fierce. It had taken until 1977 – the year of the NSA alliance – for USFA to once again win a NATO bid, this time with the secret telex Aroflex. What had begun as an attempt to prevent American eavesdropping had ended in cryptological dependence on those same Americans.

Thanks to the stories of ‘Frank Molenaar’, from a few other anonymous sources and from the Text Lite directors Krop and Hommel, it is clear how the NSA, with the help of Philips, removed the overly encrypted PX-1000 from the market and replaced it with a new version PX-1000Cr. What they could not answer were two other questions: how much weaker was the new encryption of the PX-1000, and did the ANC actually use the device in communication between Mandela and ANC-London?

It took five years before we found the answers to those questions. Marc Simons and Paul Reuvers helped us analyze the weakened algorithm in the PX-1000Cr. They are the owners of a software company in Eindhoven and have set up a virtual “cryptomuseum” in their free time. They also collect as many old crypto devices as possible. Simons and Reuvers had copies of the original PX-1000 and the weakened PX-1000Cr. They succeeded in reading out the memories and schematically drawing out the encryption algorithms in both versions.

Bart Jacobs, professor of cyber security in Nijmegen, found an interested student, who only needed three months to come to the conclusion that the original version indeed contained the decryption algorithm. A second student would continue the research, but was offered a job even before graduating. The only man who could give a definitive answer is Cees Jansen, a mathematician and cryptographer who worked at USFA in the 1980s. However, he did not want to go into detail. After some insistence, Jansen appeared willing to look more closely at the algorithm scheme of the weakened PX-1000CR, as made by the men of the cryptomuseum, together with professor Bart Jacobs.

In an Argos radio broadcast, Jansen described this algorithm as “clearly weaker” and confirmed that the NSA should have been able to crack it much faster than the DES-algorithm in the original PX-1000. Our anonymous source “Frank Molenaar” had told us that this weakening amounted to a halving of the number of bits per encryption block: that made use of 64-bit blocks, the NSA backdoor used 32-bit blocks. Professor Bart Jacobs explains that this amounts to a weakening of 2 to power 32, or a factor of more than four billion. That is huge. Suppose the NSA computer had taken a year to crack a DES-message, that time would have been reduced to 0.007 – or seven thousandth – seconds via the weakened back door.

In 2010, the TV program Andere tijden dedicated a broadcast to Operation Vula. It had set up the ANC in the mid-1980s to steer diverted ANC fighters back into South Africa and to set up a communication line with Nelson Mandela. Mandela was still imprisoned on Robben Island at the time, but his release was already expected (eventually it only came in 1990). Andere tijden revealed that the Dutch anti-apartheid movement had played a role in Operation Vula in all sorts of ways.

Activist Connie Braam, eg, had acquired some copies of the original PX-1000 and gave them to the ANC. Were they used too? The man who knows all about this is the white South African writer Timothy Jenkin. At the time, he was responsible for the secret communication within the ANC. His famous escape in 1979 from a heavily guarded prison in Pretoria is currently being filmed with Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe in the lead role. Jenkin confirms by telephone that the ANC has used the PX-1000. But only within Europe: “For communication between London and Amsterdam, and later also between London and Paris.” The PX-1000 turned out to be unsuitable for communication between Zambia and London and was therefore not used for messages from Mandela, says Jenkin. High-quality and interference-free lines were required to transfer the encrypted audio signals via the telephone without error. “We tested it. It worked well from a quiet hotel room, but not from public telephone booths.”

Has the NSA intercepted and cracked the ANC European PX-1000 communication? We do not know. Perhaps the answer will one day come from declassified NSA archives. And has the NSA benefited from the “back door” that Philips put in it? That too remains a mystery. Not long after the acquisition, Philips launched the new version of the PX-1000 in 1985 with the addition of “Cr” (for crypto) and the new, weaker algorithm. Text Lite took care of the production and also developed a successor: PX-2000 (1985), which was “backward compatible” with the PX-1000 and probably also contained the back door. The devices were also sold under license and under different brand names (Siemens, Alcatel, Ericsson) in a number of European countries, such as Germany, England, France, Austria and Sweden. It is not clear whether the back door was in it, it is possible that the manufacturers involved have replaced this with their own encryption algorithms. There was also a version for the Dutch government. The weakened algorithm was not there, the government had its own encryption developed for which the details are unknown to date.

In any case, one conclusion remains: since Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, we know that the NSA goes very far in monitoring global electronic communications. The story of the PX-1000 is not very important on a global scale. But it is significant that the NSA also spent quite a bit of money and energy back then to ensure that electronic communication devices could be monitored. There is no reason to believe that the service has stopped that.

One last question remains: who actually made that weakened algorithm, that back door in the PX-1000? At the end of the conversation in the family restaurant in the woods near Eindhoven, “Frank Molenaar” leans towards us. “I would just like to emphasize that this algorithm did not come from Philips,” he says. “It came from the USA, it came from the NSA.”

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.