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Daily Archives: December 18, 2019

The dark side of Alexa, Siri and other personal digital assistants

The Conversation: “Digital assistants can be found in your office, home, car, hotel, phone and many other places. They have recently undergone massive transformation and run on operating systems that are fuelled by artificial intelligence (AI). They observe and collect data in real-time and have the capability to pull information from different sources such as smart devices and cloud services and put the information into context using AI to make sense of the situation. Although we have come a long way in the design and execution of these AI technologies, there is still more work to be done in this arena.

Much of the data that these digital assistants collect and use include personal, potentially identifiable and possibly sensitive information. Can Alexa or other personal digital assistants violate the privacy and security of our data? Possibly. There is a dark side to these virtual assistants…”

WaPo – House vote on two articles creates indelible mark on Trump’s presidency

After 11 hours of fierce argument, lawmakers voted almost entirely along party lines to impeach the president on charges that he abused his office and obstructed Congress Pelosi does not rule out not sending impeachment articles to Senate The New York Times – President Trump is the third president in history to be charged with… Continue Reading

Meet the American animals that bounced back in 2019

National Geographic – This year, a gecko, a songbird, and a minnow joined the short list of recovered American endangered species. “…The list of 27 (plus specific recovered populations of an additional five animal species) is modest when put into context. Since the Endangered Species Act took effect in 1973, 719 animal species native to… Continue Reading

99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2019

Future Crunch – If we want to change the story of the human race in the 21st century, we have to change the stories we tell ourselves. “…There were other stories out there, stories of conservation, better health, rising living standards, tolerance, peace, cleaner energy and environmental stewardship. Most of them didn’t make it onto… Continue Reading

Surveillance Net Blankets China’s Cities Giving Police Vast Powers

The New York Times – The authorities can scan your phones, track your face and find out when you leave your home. “One of the world’s biggest spying networks is aimed at regular people, and nobody can stop it. China is ramping up its ability to spy on its nearly 1.4 billion people to new… Continue Reading

London Review of Books rounds off 40th anniversary

The Bookseller: “The London Review of Books has launched a new website, rounding off its 40th anniversary celebrations with a comprehensive overhaul of the paper’s online presence, with its archive freely accessible for a month. The new website launched on Monday (16th December) with the entire LRB archive of almost 17,500 pieces—including writers such as Frank Kermode, Hilary Mantel, Oliver Sacks and Angela Carter—available… Continue Reading

UK CMA lifts the lid on digital giants

“The UK Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) has published an update in its examination of online platforms and digital advertising, uncovering new detail about how the sector’s biggest names operate. The CMA’s interim report [12/18/19] has found that: Last year, Google accounted for more than 90% of all revenues earned from search advertising in the… Continue Reading

UK to create regulator to police big tech companies [paywall – but may be accessible as free for one time viewing] – Watchdog will have power to implement enforceable code of conduct. “The UK government will create a technology regulator next year to police companies such as Facebook and Google after Brexit, according to several people who were involved in the process. The… Continue Reading

Is My Library Liable for Fake News?

American Libraries – Lawyer-librarian fields legal questions – “Libraries across the country are busy preparing for the 2020 election. The special report “Democracy in Action” in our November/December issue offers strategies and resources for advocacy, civil discourse, and media literacy. In his debut as columnist, Tomas A. Lipinski weighs in on legal considerations around election-related… Continue Reading