Back in February, we joined forces in this post to draw attention to the wide array of dangers to individuals and to society posed by advances in “deepfake” technology (that is, the capacity to alter audio or video to make it appear, falsely, that a real person said or did something). The post generated a considerable amount of discussion, which was great, but we understood we had barely scratched the surface of the issue.
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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA), on behalf of two human rights organizations, the Internet Archive, and two individual plaintiffs. FOSTA creates a loophole in the immunity granted to internet platforms for third-party content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: under FOSTA, websites can be held liable for promoting or facilitating prostitution. Plaintiffs seek to declare the law unconstitutional under the First and Fifth Amendments.
On May 25, the European General Data Protection Regulation becomes law in all EU member states, repealing and replacing the EU Data Protection Directive. The GDPR aims to harmonize data-protection standards for digital personal data across Europe. However, while companies and regulators are scrambling to comply with the regulations by this date, this week is hardly the finish line.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress this week for over ten hours, but he had very little new to say.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. featuring testimony from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Read his prepared testimony here and watch the hearing live:
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee are holding a joint hearing on Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. featuring testimony from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (read his prepared testimony). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, delivered opening remarks.
Watch the hearing live:
On Monday morning, the House Energy and Commerce Committee published the following prepared statement by Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and chief executive of Facebook, in advance of his testimony before that committee on Wednesday:
The shocking misuse of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, actively facilitated by Facebook, was a preventable harm. Hundreds of thousands of individuals who thought they were participating in an academic research project were used as seed corn for a large-scale, unethical profiling scheme. Tens of millions more then had their personal data swept into broad, profit-making political experimentation that gave unscrupulous advertisers the ability to target messages based on highly sensitive personality properties.
FOSTA: The New Anti-Sex-Trafficking Legislation May Not End the Internet, But It’s Not Good Law Either
Amid the chaos of the last week, one of the most significant pieces of internet legislation of the last two decades went relatively unnoticed.
These days, stories about the use of facial recognition software (FRS) are legion. One of us wrote in January about the Chinese government’s extensive use of FRS. Just this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection began testing facial recognition technology at around a dozen U.S. airports.