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Category Archives: Digital Rights

Clearview AI Banned From Selling Facial Recognition Database Access to Companies

EPIC: “A legal settlement filed in ACLU v. Clearview AI will prohibit Clearview from selling access to its facial recognition database to companies and private individuals. The case was brought under Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which allows private right of actions. EPIC previously filed an amicus brief before the 9th Circuit defending an individual’s right to sue companies who violate BIPA and other privacy laws. An EPIC Freedom of Information Act lawsuit has obtained thousands of pages of documents related to ICE’s use of Clearview and other facial recognition services, including documents that suggest ICE at least considered using facial recognition to track people who it thought threatened their agents.

ZDNET: “In a landmark settlement, facial recognition company Clearview AI, known for downloading billions of user photos from social media and other websites to build a face-search database for use by law enforcement, has agreed to cease sales to private companies and individuals in the United States. Filed in Illinois’ federal court on Monday, the settlement marks the most significant action against the New York-based company to date, and reigns in a technology that has reportedly been used by Ukraine to track “people of interest” during the ongoing Russian invasion.  The lawsuit was brought by the non-profit American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Mujeres Latinas en Acción, among others, in 2020 over alleged violations of an Illinois digital privacy law, with the settlement pending approval by a federal judge. Adopted in 2008, the Illinois law, known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), has so far led to several key tech-privacy settlements, including a $550 million settlement from Facebook related to its facial recognition use. Although Clearview AI has agreed to stop selling its services to the Illinois government and local police services for five years, the company will continue to offer its services to other law enforcement and federal agencies, and government contractors outside of Illinois. Despite this, Linda Xóchitl Tortolero, president and CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, a Chicago-based non-profit, claimed in a statement that the settlement was a “big win for the most vulnerable people in Illinois”…”

Librarian’s lament: Digital books are not fireproof

ZDNet – Chris Freeland is a librarian and Director of the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program: “The disturbing trend of school boards and lawmakers banning books from libraries and public schools is accelerating across the country. In response, Jason Perlow made a strong case last week for what he calls a “Freedom Archive,” a digital repository of… Continue Reading

The West already monopolized scientific publishing. Covid made it worse.

Quartz: “The coronavirus pandemic triggered a torrent of academic papers. By August 2021, at least 210,000 new papers on covid-19 had been published, according to a Royal Society study…Of the 720,000-odd authors of these papers, nearly 270,000 were from the US, the UK, Italy or Spain. Scientists have paid to publish their covid-19 research—sometimes as… Continue Reading

Libraries, Publishers Battle Over Terms for E-Books’ Use

Bloomberg Law: “States that want to give libraries a better deal on e-books are watching a publishers’ suit against Maryland, the first state to set terms for how digital books are distributed for public borrowing. Library associations, including the American Library Association and several state groups, have been pushing for state laws to require publishers… Continue Reading

Digitized Data as a Political Object

“Digitized data is used as a powerful tool: national security actors see it as a surveillance tool, and the Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) sector treats it as an economic commodity with great financial value. Fundamental to the findings in this book, data is now tied to your personal identity, and is therefore worthy of… Continue Reading

Mozilla guide to help you shop for safe, secure connected products

CNET – “Santa isn’t alone in keeping an eye on you this holiday season. Nearly a third of the 151 popular connected gifts analyzed by the Mozilla Foundation as part of its annual “Privacy Not Included” shopping guide didn’t meet basic standards for digital security and privacy, the digital rights group said Tuesday. Among the… Continue Reading

Giant, free index to world’s research papers released online

Nature – Catalogue of billions of phrases from 107 million papers could ease computerized searching of the literature.  In a project that could unlock the world’s research papers for easier computerized analysis, an American technologist has released online a gigantic index of the words and short phrases contained in more than 100 million journal articles… Continue Reading

The Library Technology Market’s Failure to Support Controlled Digital Lending

The Scholarly Kitchen – The Library Technology Market’s Failure to Support Controlled Digital Lending – This article is by Nathan Mealey, Michael Rodriguez, and Charlie Barlow. Nathan is Associate University Librarian for Discovery & Access at Wesleyan University. Michael is Collections Strategist at the University of Connecticut Library. Charlie is the Executive Director of the… Continue Reading

Nonprofit Websites Are Riddled With Ad Trackers

New on LLRX – Nonprofit Websites Are Riddled With Ad Trackers – Enterprise reporter Alfred Ng and Investigative Data Journalist Maddy Varner detail how many non profit organizations that often deal in sensitive issues, like mental health, addiction, and reproductive rights—are feeding data about website visitors to corporations. Continue Reading

I Set Out to Build the Next Library of Alexandria. Now I Wonder: Will There Be Libraries in 25 Years?

TIME – Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. Member, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Internet Hall of Fame< “When I started the Internet Archive 25 years ago, I focused our non-profit library on digital collections: preserving web pages, archiving television news, and digitizing books.… Continue Reading

Amazon Publishing, DPLA Ink Deal to Lend E-books in Libraries

Publishers Weekly: “The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) today announced that it has signed a much-anticipated agreement with Amazon Publishing to make all of the roughly 10,000 Amazon Publishing e-books and digital audiobooks available to libraries, the first time that digital content from Amazon Publishing will be made available to libraries. In a release… Continue Reading