Tagged With politics

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Worried about whether US elections are vulnerable to outside interference? On Wednesday, tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google testified that their platforms were used to spread Russian misinformation and propaganda to millions of potential voters in 2016. But here's a case that illustrates how the struggling technical systems that run elections on a local level could be just as much of a concern in the future as well.

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The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) -- a Washington D.C.-based lobby group that boasts Google, Amazon, and Microsoft among its many clients -- is telling governments to think twice about establishing laws to regulate AI. But given mounting safety, ethical, and social justice concerns, is that such a good idea?

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Twitter couldn't drop the ball any harder this year if it tried. Death threats, continual harassment and now this. By all indications, the company has taken a half-hearted, if not careless approach to dealing with its unfortunate role in the information wars enveloping it and most of social media.

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In a court hearing today, the US Department of Justice dropped its request for the names of an estimated 6000 people who "liked" a Facebook page about an Inauguration Day protest, the American Civil Liberties Union said. The ACLU challenged several warrants related to protests against President Trump's inauguration on Friday, one of which included the search, claiming they were over-broad.

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A New York Times investigation offered some unnerving news on Friday. Not only was the hacking of electoral systems during last year's US election "more extensive than previously disclosed," the paper reports, multiple sources say that nobody's really examining the the attacks on a state or local level. The reasons why are as complex as they are alarming.

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When Kevin Esvelt, an evolutionary biologist at MIT, started thinking about using genetically engineered mice to fight Lyme disease, among his first stops was a community meeting in the small Martha's Vineyard town of Chilmark. Esvelt makes regular field trips to talk to the public about his work. If the potential of tools like CRISPR to solve the problems of disease, hunger and environmental catastrophe is ever to be realised, he reasons, first the public will have to be convinced it is not about to usher in the apocalypse.

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will resign his position immediately following a landmark decision by his country's Supreme Court. Sharif has been under fire since last year, when leaked documents appeared to show his family had hidden wealth in shell companies overseas. Earlier this month, investigators revealed that crucial financial documents provided by the Sharifs used Microsoft's Calibri font but were dated from before that font was publicly released.

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Negotiations over the wording of the final communique from the G20 meeting of the world's wealthiest nations carried on late into Saturday morning. The sticking point? Disagreements over the US's preferred phrasing for the group's position on climate change and renewable energy. Bafflingly, the US wanted to state that it will help other nations with access to fossil fuels.