Lack of transparency

09 Jun 2020
As the mounting infection numbers and deaths took Brazil to second-worst affected in the world, the country took down the website on which it had been publishing daily, weekly, and monthly figures non infections and deaths in Braziliant states. A newspaper that supports president Jair Bolsonaro
22 Aug 2017
In August 2017, it was reported that a researcher scraped videos of transgender Youtubers documenting their transition process without informing them or asking their permission, as part of an attempt to train artificial intelligence facial recognition software to be able to identify transgender
21 Nov 2017
Before and after the Italian election on 4 March 2018, concerns were raised about the spread of misinformation, disinformation and inflammatory content through a network of news sites and Facebook pages. In November 2017, in the run up to the election, Buzzfeed reported on links between a large
04 Apr 2019
The Five Star Movement, a populist party, which is currently in power along with the League in Italy initially grew out of Il Blog delle Stelle (formerly Beppe Grillo’s blog). The Five Star Movement was founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, along with Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist in 2009. As
19 Feb 2019
In February 2019, Twitter announced it would expand the political campaigning policy it launched in the US in May 2018 to all EU member states, Australia, and India, commencing March 11. Once the policy is live, only certified advertisers would be allowed to run political campaign ads on the service
06 Feb 2019
In January 2019, Facebook announced that as of February 28 the site would add more information to that displayed when users click on the "Why am I seeing this?" button that appears next to ads on the service. Along with the brand that paid for the ad, some of the biographical details they'd targeted
27 Jan 2019
In January 2019, the British transparency NGO WhoTargetsMe, Mozilla, and the US investigative journalism site Pro Publica reported that recent changes in the social network's code were restricting their ability to monitor political ads on Facebook. The company said the changes were part of a
22 Nov 2018
In the run-up to the May 2019 European Parliament elections, Google announced it would launch a new set of transparency tools to combat voter manipulation. Before being allowed to buy advertising on Google platforms, campaigns will be required to verify their identity, and approved ads will be
21 Nov 2017
Following a 2016 hack including names, emails, adresses, and phone numbers of 57 millions Uber users and drivers, the company has paid 100,000 USD to hackers hoping that the data collected would be deleted. This decision was in line with Uber's strategy to try to keep the breach quiet while limiting
01 Nov 2018
Days before the US November 2018 midterm elections, ProPublica discovered that an organisation called Energy4US spent $20,000 to run ads on Facebook pushing conservatives to support the Trump administration's reversal of fuel emission standards. On closer scrutiny, Energy4US appeared to be a front
10 May 2018
In May 2018, researchers in the US and China demonstrated that they could send commands that activate Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant but that are inaudible to the human ear. The researchers were able to make smartphones and smart speakers dial phone numbers and open websites; the
20 Apr 2018
In April 2018, the Austrian cabinet agreed on legislation that required asylum seekers would be forced to hand over their mobile devices to allow authorities to check their identities and origins. If they have been found to have entered another EU country first, under the Dublin regulation, they can
14 Sep 2018
In September 2018, a number of people whose Google Pixel phones, Essential Phone, OnePlus 6, Nokia handsets, and other devices running Android 9 Pie discovered that the devices had, apparently autonomously, activated the software's Battery Saver feature. Google later explained that an internal
07 Jul 2018
In a 2018 interview, the Stanford professor of organisational behaviour Michal Kosinski discussed his research, which included a controversial and widely debunked 2017 study claiming that his algorithms could distinguish gay and straight faces; a 2013 study of 58,000 people that explored the
16 Dec 2017
In December 2017, it was revealed that the large telco Bharti Airtel made use of Aadhaar-linked eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) to open bank accounts for their customers without their knowledge or consent. eKYC is a way of using data in the UIDAI database as part of the verification process
Designed for use by border guards, Unisys' LineSight software uses advanced data analytics and machine learning to help border guards decide whether to inspect travellers more closely before admitting them into their country. Unisys says the software assesses each traveller's risk beginning with the
Car companies have long collected data about the consumers who buy their cars. Now, they hope to aggregate and sell customer preferences to outside vendors for marketing purposes much as online tech giants like Google and Facebook already do. The companies say that exploiting this data will help
Reporter Kashmir Hill tested life in a smart home by adding numerous connected devices. The self-heating bed gave her daily reports on whether she'd reached her "sleep goal". She liked the convenience of the voice-activated lights, coffee maker, and music, the ability to convey a message to a
In a study of COMPAS, an algorithmic tool used in the US criminal justice system , Dartmouth College researchers Julia Dressel and Hany Farid found that the algorithm did no better than volunteers recruited via a crowdsourcing site. COMPAS, a proprietary risk assessment algorithm developed by
21 Feb 2018
In 2017, Facebook introduced two mechanisms intended to give users greater transparency about its data practices: the "why am I seeing this?" button users can click to get an explanation of why they're being shown a particular ad, and an Ad Preferences page that shows users a list of attributes the
25 Nov 2017
A recent study from the Yale Privacy lab and Exodus Privacy founds dozens of invasive trackers hidden in common Android apps. However, the method the researchers used, which involved writing code to expose the internal workings of the devices they tested, is legally barred under the US Digital
12 Oct 2017
Some of the Google Home Mini units distributed before release to the tech press and at "Made By Google" events had a defective touch panel. The devices were meant to turn on recording only when the owner woke it up with "OK, Google" or applied a long press to the centre of the touch panels. Instead
24 Apr 2017
Widespread controversy resulted when users discovered in April 2017 that the little-known data company Slice Intelligence was passing anonymised data derived from scanning users' email inboxes to the ride-hailing company Uber. The story illustrates both the power of anonymous data and the complex
Websites have long used third-party analytics scripts to collect information about how visitors use their sites. In November 2017, researchers at Princeton found that an increasing number of sites use "session replay" scripts that collect every action the user performs while on the site, including
Among the friends Facebook recommended to Kashmir Hill as people she might know was Rebecca Porter, to the best of her knowledge a total stranger. Because Hill was studying how the "black box" of Facebook recommendations worked, she contacted Porter to ask what the connection might be. To her