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Category Archives: Congress

Why the Most Educated People in America Fall for Anti-Semitic Lies

The Atlantic [read free] “By now, December’s congressional hearing about anti-Semitism at universities, during which the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT all claimed that calls for the genocide of Jews would violate their university’s policies only “depending on the context,” is already a well-worn meme. Surely there is nothing left to say about this higher-education train wreck, after the fallout brought down two of those university presidents and spawned a thousand op-eds—except that all of the punditry about diversity and free speech and criticism of Israel has extravagantly missed the point. The problem was not that Jewish students on American university campuses didn’t want free speech, or that they didn’t want to hear criticism of Israel. Instead, they didn’t want people vandalizing Jewish student organizations’ buildings, or breaking or urinating on the buildings’ windows. They didn’t want people tearing their mezuzahs down from their dorm-room doors. They didn’t want their college instructors spouting anti-Semitic lies and humiliating them in class. They didn’t want their posters defaced with Hitler caricatures, or their dorm windows plastered with F##k Jews. They didn’t want people punching them in the face, or beating them with a stick, or threatening them with death for being Jewish. At world-class American colleges and universities, all of this happened and more. I was not merely an observer of this spectacle. I’d been serving on now–former Harvard President Claudine Gay’s anti-Semitism advisory committee, convened after the October 7 Hamas massacre in Israel and amid student responses to it. I was asked to participate because I am a Harvard alumna who wrote a book about anti-Semitism called People Love Dead Jews. As soon as my participation became public, I was inundated with messages from Jewish students seeking help. They approached me with their stories after having already tried many other avenues—bewildered not only by what they’d experienced, but also by how many people dismissed or denied those experiences…”

The impact of generative AI in a global election year

Brookings – Valerie Wirtschafter: “The influence of the online ecosystem in shaping democratic discourse is well-documented, with the expanded reach of generative artificial intelligence (AI) representing a novel challenge in a historic election year. Generative AI enables the creation of realistic images, videos, audio, or text based on user-provided prompts. Given the potential exploitation of… Continue Reading

Wyden Reveals Phone Data Used to Target Abortion Misinformation at Visitors to Hundreds of Reproductive Health Clinics

“U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., revealed today that an anti-abortion political group used mobile phone location data to send targeted misinformation to people who visited any of 600 reproductive health clinics in 48 states. In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission, Wyden urged the government to act quickly to… Continue Reading

Social Media Posts Have Power, and So Do You

Rand – Stop the Spread of False and Misleading Information During Voting Season by Alice Huguet, Julia H. Kaufman, Melissa Kay Diliberti – “In a healthy democracy, having accurate information is crucial for making informed decisions about voting and civic engagement. False and misleading information can lead to knowledge that is inaccurate, incomplete, or manipulated.… Continue Reading

Understanding the Privacy Practices of Political Campaigns: A Perspective from the 2020 US Election Websites

024 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP) Understanding the Privacy Practices of Political Campaigns: A Perspective from the 2020 US Election Websites Year: 2024, Pages: 91-91, DOI Bookmark: 10.1109/SP54263.2024.00091. Kaushal Kafle, William & Mary, USA ;  Prianka Mandal, William & Mary, USA  ; Kapil Singh, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA ; Benjamin Andow,… Continue Reading

Biden invested big in more tax audits. A new IRS analysis claims it’s working.

Vox: “In 2021, Americans owed about $625 billion in taxes that they never paid. This number, called the “tax gap,” represented some 13.7 percent of all taxes due, and, had it been collected, it would have reduced the deficit by nearly one-quarter. Getting more of that number collected is naturally an obsession of many tax… Continue Reading

Buying Spying: How the commercial surveillance industry works and what can be done about it

Google: “Spyware is typically used to monitor and collect data from high-risk users like journalists, human rights defenders, dissidents and opposition party politicians. These capabilities have grown the demand for spyware technology, making way for a lucrative industry used to sell governments and nefarious actors the ability to exploit vulnerabilities in consumer devices. Though the… Continue Reading

13 percent of AI chat bot users in the US just want to talk

“Two new Consumer Reports surveys explore the use of and attitudes toward text-based generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots by consumers in the United States. Artificial intelligence is being used every day across the country and is increasingly being integrated in the lives of Americans, from customer service to online medical advice. CR conducted two separate… Continue Reading

Every Awful Thing Trump Has Promised to Do in a Second Term

Rolling Stone: “Donald Trump reportedly did not expect to win the presidency in 2016, which isn’t surprising considering how ill-prepared he and his team were to take control of the country. He appointed established conservatives to key positions before learning some had personal principles that extended beyond indulging the president’s ego. Trump wreaked havoc on… Continue Reading

AI in Politics Is So Much Bigger Than Deepfakes

The Atlantic [read free]: “…Up to this point, much of the attention on AI and elections has focused on deepfakes, and not without reason. The threat—that even something seemingly captured on tape could be false—is immediately comprehensible, genuinely scary, and no longer hypothetical. With better execution, and in a closer race, perhaps something like the… Continue Reading

Updated calendar of Trump’s upcoming court dates

Vox: “Donald Trump breezed through the first two contests on the 2024 primary calendar. The question, though, is whether he can sustain his momentum through a primary season — and then general election — interrupted by his many upcoming court dates. The former president is fighting a multifront legal war that has consumed millions of… Continue Reading

Wyden Releases Documents Confirming the NSA Buys Americans’ Internet Browsing Records

“U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., released documents confirming the National Security Agency buys Americans’ internet records, which can reveal which websites they visit and what apps they use. In response to the revelation, today Wyden called on the administration to ensure intelligence agencies stop buying personal data from Americans that has been obtained illegally by… Continue Reading