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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st May 2018

With privacy-centric European Union legislation set to take effect soon, and on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook recently introduced anew data policy. Just when you had the old one memorized, right? Facebook says it wants to be more transparent about how its Products track almost everyone who uses the internet – even those without a Facebook or Instagram account.


We’ve gone through the policy to help you make sense of what Facebook is trying to communicate.


Facebook is collecting and using your posts, messages, photos, and other information you provide, such as the groups you belong to, the pages you visit, hashtags you use, and so on. Even if you don’t identify your religion, the site may still infer something about your identity or interests if, say, you join a Bible study group. Purchasing items through the site, spending three hours a day browsing photos on Instagram, and being active in a group, will all feed into the picture Facebook has of you.

Facebook isn’t just Facebook. It’s also Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and so on.

Facebook sucks up data on the devices you use, too — probably more than you expect. Not only does it know what kind of phone or PC you have, your operating system, and browser type, it’s analyzing how much battery you have left, and your storage space. It’s also looking at your mouse movements to see what you hover over or blaze past. If you have Facebook open in the background but aren’t using it, it’s clocking that, too.

The Facebook portfolio

Facebook isn’t just Facebook. It’s also Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and so on. The way you use these sites affects not only you but your “Friends” as well. When you comment on your sister’s post, that interaction affects the profile Facebook has of both of you. If you sync your contact data with the Messenger app, the company gets the phone numbers and email address digital black book — even if they don’t use Facebook.

1. Facebook also owns Instagram, Oculus (maker of Oculus Rift and Oculus Go), and WhatsApp.

Maybe your Facebook privacy settings are on lock down, but you’re looser on Instagram. Well, those interconnected sites are sharing amongst themselves. For example, Facebook analyzes your communications in Messenger, though it claims only for your safety (like to prevent malware). Recently, a user was upset to realize the Messenger app was logging his call history.

It knows where you are

When you gave Facebook access to your camera or photos or GPS, you were probably thinking about how it would make things convenient for you. But it’s not just that one photo it has access to — it has everything in your library.

Game apps, retailers, and all kinds of sites and companies are sharing information about you with Facebook.

The more devices you use to log on to Facebook, the more information it’s going to gather. Ditto for the company’s apps. You might want to consider limiting your Facebook use to a single device. If location privacy is important to you, you could stick to a laptop, but keep in mind that Facebook also knows your IP address and can scrape metadata from photos to get location information. Your “Friend” might tag you when she checks in at the park for your Saturday softball practice.

What about non-Facebook users?

Facebook has denied it creates “shadow profiles” of non-users, but even if you don’t have a Facebook page, you’re not anonymous to the tech giant. Game apps, retailers, and all kinds of sites and companies are sharing information with it. When you click any kind of user agreement, you’re giving away more than you bargained for.


Now that Facebook knows you were born in Iowa (as was your sister, Mary), eat at Chili’s, and listen to a lot of Cardi B (because you log into Spotify with your FB account), it can personalize your experience, the company says. It might tailor your News Feed to show something Mary hearted or commented on, because she’s your sister, and you two “Like” a lot of the same things. Maybe you’ll see a cooking site’s recipe for copycat Chili’s queso. And Ticketmaster might advertise Cardi B’s tour for you, since you have location services turned on, and she didn’t cancel her Dallas performance.

It’s about more than ads

Feeling targeted by Facebook ads is often the first people think of when the topic turns to how the site is using your data. But your whole experience is curated to what the site’s analytics think you want. And remember that it’s gathering this not just from ads you click on, but groups you’re a part of, apps you use, and sites you visit — even when you’re not logged in.

everything you need to know about facebooks new data policy facebook advertising audience infographic

Credit: Social Ads Tool

Facebook has been accused of not just including groups, but also excluding them. A makeup company might choose to exclude men over the age of 65, for example. This crosses the line into discrimination if rental companies and landlords are putting “stay-at-home moms” and “corporate moms” on the list they don’t want to advertise to, according to a lawsuit that the National Fair Housing Alliance recently filed. The company is facing another lawsuit in Illinois, which claims Facebook violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by utilizing users’ photos for its facial recognition technology without their permission.

But the ads are eerily accurate

Any site that has a Facebook “Like” button can send data, including your IP address, back to the social media company, even if you don’t click on it. Websites use Facebook’s advertising pixel to have the site target you with ads if you add flip-flops to a shopping cart — but don’t buy them — or search for “New Orleans” on a hotel-booking site. Retailers and other sites can create “Custom Audiences” from this information, then have Facebook target everyone who visited a specific URL, or watched one of their videos.

You have control over whether your posts are public or more private, but you can’t control your “Friends.”

Facebook is getting rid of its “Categories” advertising feature over the next six months, but that doesn’t mean it’s collecting less data. Data brokers like Acxiom and Experian know a lot about you, too. (You might remember the man who received a letter from OfficeMax addressed to “Daughter killed in a car crash”; the company blamed a data broker.) They gain details thanks to public records and databases like property records, loyalty card programs, surveys, voter rolls, dealership sales, and more, according to The Washington Post.

Using the profile of a person who recently bought a Camry, for example, they can use Facebook’s categories to find others who might also want to buy that car. Data brokers will continue to mine your information, and advertisers can still create targeted ad campaigns, but they have to do so using “data that they have the rights, permissions, and lawful basis to use,” Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, told The Wall Street Journal.



Call this the “What about your ‘Friends’” section. They’re having an impact on what Facebook knows about you, and they control some of the data Facebook says you own.

Your friends are spilling info on you

You have control over whether your posts are public or more private, but you can’t control your “Friends.” That video of you re-enacting Christian Bale’s iconicdance from Newsies is likely endearing, but not something you want made “public.” If they posted it, though, you can’t change its status, and may not havemuch recourse for getting it removed if it doesn’t violate the community standards. Facebook is rolling out a new appeals process, but that seems to be aimed at users who have had their content taken down unfairly.

Also, if you comment on someone’s post when it’s just among “Friends,” they can go back and make it public later. That’s important, because if you have a falling out and they block you, you can’t delete your comments or posts from their page.

What do you own?

During his testimony before Congress and the Senate, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, repeatedly said users own their information and content. But it’s using the heck out of it while it’s hosting it to give advertisers more insight into your buying preferences. The female marines who had their nude photos shared on a Facebook page without their permission probably didn’t feel like they owned that content.

The timeline and tagging settings let you prevent people from adding posts to your timeline or tagging you in their posts, but they can still upload whatever they want to their own page. Facebook’s opinion is that you should “be careful who you share stuff with.”

Another oft-repeated phrase in Zuckerberg’s testimony was that the company doesn’t sell your data to advertisers. Instead, it puts you in those buckets — mid-20s females from California who knit — and tells advertisers the types of people seeing the ads. If you give permission, though, Facebook will pass along identifying information to companies.

Facebook also points out that if the company gets a new owner, your data is part of the sale

What about apps?

Scientists and software engineers are using the treasure trove that is Facebook to investigate all kinds of things.

The Cambridge Analytica fiascohappened because Facebook used to be lax with app data. It’s since tightened up the information apps can gather about your friends, and it’s in the process of adding more restrictions. When apps or websites are integrated with Facebook, they’re getting more information out of what you’re doing. If you link a website’s app to your Facebook account and post one of its links to your page, the website will know.

The research report

Facebook shares data with research institutions, including its own. Scientists and software engineers are using the treasure trove that is Facebook to investigate all kinds of things. It’s not just feel-good experiments like finding ways of computer-generating photo descriptions for the visually impaired. Researchers are diving into the minutiae of how users act on the site, like if receiving a gift causes you to give one in return, whether you click on spam, andwhat prompts you to untag a photo.


Every project undergoes an ethics review by a research lead, according to Facebook blog post. (The research manager who wrote it points readers to another post from October, 2014, when the company “first outlined” its approach to research and review. That was a few months after users learned about what many claimed was an unethical mood-manipulation experiment.)

While the data is mostly anonymous and aggregated, some, like those involving opt-in questionnaires, isn’t.

Hitting delete

Deleting Facebook isn’t like unsubscribing from an email list. You don’t just click a button and watch your digital footprint vanish in a puff of smoke and memories. It takes the company 14 days to finally, permanently erase this part of your digital life. Before you take that step, you’ll probably want to download your information (you own it, after all), set up some sort of text group or email thread with people you actually want to hang out with, and so on.

Facebook will hand over your account information if requested via search warrant, court order, or subpoena if they “have a good faith belief that the law requires [them] to do so.”

Deactivation is less drastic, but it doesn’t have the same effect as deletion. Everything from your photos to your “Likes” is kept, and you can even still use Messenger, but your non-“Friends” shouldn’t be able to find your profile. You might still show up – with just a generic silhouette instead of your profile photo – in “Friends’” lists. Facebook will still track you per usual, as well.

Facebook directs you to your settings page to find information about deleting your account. It’s not there (though deactivation is). You can start the deletion process from here.


Facebook will hand over your account information if requested via search warrant, court order, or subpoena if they “have a good faith belief that the law requires us to do so.” That includes the laws of countries outside the U.S. This applies in suspected cases of fraud, illegal activity, and terms of service violations, and if there’s reason to believe such action would prevent someone’s injury or death.

Government requests

Governments request account information at vastly different rates, which partly has to do with the number of users per country. In some countries, social media posts criticizing the government can lead to arrest. The recently passed Cloud Act has raised some concerns that foreign governments might obtain data on their own citizens from U.S. platforms during an investigation. Police oftenmonitor social media. The American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns over some tools departments were using to track protestors. Facebook has alsoagreed to censor content in several countries.

Between January and June 2017, Facebook gave some user data in most of the cases that occurred in the following countries:

Country Total requests Percent granted Estimated number of users
India 9,853 54% 241 million
United States 32,716 85% 240 million
Brazil 2,056 57% 139 million
United Kingdom 6,845 90% 44 million
Japan 6 33% 25 million
Australia 704 77% 15 million
Sweden 317 88% 5 million

The number of users is estimated, as Facebook’s own metrics aren’t always accurate.

People often think because they have nothing to hide, data gathering is fine. But just because you’re not laundering money in your living room, doesn’t mean you’d want strangers watching your every move through a security camera. If tools become more sophisticated at catching criminals, shouldn’t they also evolve to be less invasive?

How does Facebook transfer data globally?

Facebook is a global company that transmits and stores its (your) data around the world. Before the digital privacy laws of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation go into effect May 25, Facebook is moving 1.5 billion users’ information from its Ireland headquarters to California. Accounts in countries such as Australia, Thailand, and Brazil won’t benefit from the increased security of the E.U. legislation. Facebook will adhere to this law “in spirit” across the board, Zuckerberg told Reuters.

The U.S. is playing catch up when it comes to these protections. On April 24, Senators John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) introduced the Social Media Privacy and Consumers Rights Act of 2018. It includes provisions such as requiring sites to show users information that’s collected about them and allowing social media users to opt out of data tracking. If such a law passed, it wouldn’t prevent Facebook from moving other countries’ users elsewhere.


Live in a van down by the river? Make sure you pay cash for the van and find an ad for it in a physical copy of your local newspaper. Just kidding. Here’s a guide to changing your Facebook privacy setting

Source: digitaltrends.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st May 2018

Image result for doctor patient

By James GallagherHealth and science reporter, BBC News website

26 January 2018

Artificial intelligence can identify skin cancer in photographs with the same accuracy as trained doctors, say scientists.

The Stanford University team said the findings were "incredibly exciting" and would now be tested in clinics.

Eventually, they believe using AI could revolutionise healthcare by turning anyone's smartphone into a cancer scanner.

Cancer Research UK said it could become a useful tool for doctors.

The AI was repurposed from software developed by Google that had learned to spot the difference between images of cats and dogs.

It was shown 129,450 photographs and told what type of skin condition it was looking at in each one.

It then learned to spot the hallmarks of the most common type of skin cancer: carcinoma, and the most deadly: melanoma.

Only one in 20 skin cancers are melanoma, yet the tumour accounts for three-quarters of skin cancer deaths.

The experiment, detailed in the journal Nature, then tested the AI against 21 trained skin cancer doctors.

One of the researchers, Dr Andre Esteva, told the BBC News website: "We find, in general, that we are on par with board-certified dermatologists."

However, the computer software cannot make a full diagnosis, as this is normally confirmed with a tissue biopsy.

Dr Esteva said the system now needed to be tested alongside doctors in the clinic.

"The application of AI to healthcare is, we believe, an incredibly exciting area of research that can be leveraged to achieve a great deal of societal good," he said.

"One particular route that we find exciting is the use of this algorithm on a mobile device, but to achieve this we would have to build an app and test its accuracy directly from a mobile device."

Incredible advances in machine-learning have already led to AI beating one of humanity's best Go players.

And a team of doctors in London have trained AI to predict when the heart will fail.

Dr Jana Witt, from the charity Cancer Research UK, said: "Using artificial intelligence to help diagnose skin cancer is very interesting, as it could support assessments by GPs and dermatologists.

"It's unlikely that AI will replace all of the other information your clinician would consider when making a diagnosis, but AI could help guide GP referrals to specialists in the future."

Brett Kuprel, another researcher on the project, added: "The end-to-end training and transfer learning approaches we used can be applied to many problems in healthcare, provided there is a large enough dataset.

"It could transform treatment in ophthalmology, dermatology, and radiology."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st May 2018

Image result for teresa may

The diagnosis of cancer and other diseases in the UK can be transformed by using artificial intelligence, Theresa May is to say.

The NHS and technology companies should use AI as a "new weapon" in research, the PM will urge in a speech later.

Experts say it can be used to help prevent 22,000 cancer deaths a year by 2033 while aiding the fight against heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

High-skilled science jobs will also be created, Mrs May is to pledge.

Speaking in Macclesfield, Mrs May will say: "Late diagnosis of otherwise treatable illnesses is one of the biggest causes of avoidable deaths.

"And the development of smart technologies to analyse great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than is possible by human beings opens up a whole new field of medical research."

The prime minister wants to see computer algorithms sifting through patients' medical records, genetic data and lifestyle habits to spot cancer.

BBC health and science correspondent James Gallagher says Mrs May's plans do chime with excitement within medical science about the potential of using data and AI.

But our correspondent added there are many challenges ahead including creating the right infrastructure within the health service, separating hype and genuine innovation and ensuring the public's highly personal data is used responsibly.

More personalised treatment

Cancer Research UK says halving the number of lung, bowel, prostate and ovarian cancers diagnosed at an advanced stage could prevent thousands of deaths a year.

The prime minister will also unveil a new strategy to help older people remain healthy

Sir Harpal Kumar, chief executive officer of Cancer Research, described the government's plans as pioneering but added: "We need to ensure we have the right infrastructure, embedded in our health system, to make this possible."

Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Using artificial intelligence to analyse MRI scans could spot early signs of heart disease which may be missed by current techniques.

"This could lead to a quicker diagnosis with more personalised treatment that could ultimately save lives."

Mrs May will also use her speech to announce a new target to ensure that five more years of people's lives will be healthy, independent and active by 2035.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st May 2018


Image result for child on pc

Schools are to be given advice on how to disable a glitch that allows pupils sitting online spelling tests to right-click their mouse and find the answer.

It follows the discovery by teachers that children familiar with traditional computer spellcheckers were simply applying it to the tests.

The Scottish National Standardised Assessments were introduced to assess progress in four different age groups.

The government said the issue had only affected a "small number" of questions.

A spokesman said the issue was not with the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) but with browser or device settings on some machines.

Former head teacher George Gilchrist tweeted about the issue after it emerged primary seven pupils were using the online spellchecker on the test.

He wrote: "SNSA P7 spelling. Pupils asked to correct spelling of words. P7 pupils worked out if you right click on your answer, the computer tells you if it is correct! Brilliant! 😂"

Skip Twitter post by @GilchristGeorge

George Gilchrist@GilchristGeorge

SNSA P7 spelling. Pupils asked to correct spelling of words. P7 pupils worked out if you right click on your answer, the computer tells you if it is correct! Brilliant! 😂

12:29 PM - May 16, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post by @GilchristGeorge

Introduced in 2017, the spelling test asks children to identify misspelt words.

However, on some school computers the words were highlighted with a red line. Pupils who right-clicked on the words were then able to access the correct spelling.

he web-based SNSA tool enables teachers to administer online literacy and numeracy tests for pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3, which are marked and scored automatically.

Education Secretary John Swinney said they would give teachers "objective and comparable information" to help them identify pupils' specific needs.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "A small number of questions in the P4, P7 and S3 writing assessment were affected by this issue.

"Advice is being given to schools about how to disable the spellchecking function.

"There is no pass or fail in the assessment, which is one element in a range of evidence a teacher will gather on a child or young person's progress."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st May 2018

File:Mark Zuckerberg at the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville 018 square.jpg

Mr Zuckerberg previously answered two days of questions from US lawmakers

In a change of plan, the public will be able to watch Mark Zuckerberg's response to European Parliament leaders' privacy concerns.

The body's president, Antonio Tajani, has tweeted that tomorrow's 75-minute meeting would be livestreamed.

Earlier, news that the Facebook chief's meeting with the parliament's political group leaders would be in private, had been criticised.

The arrangement had been unfavourably compared to his Washington testimony.

I have personally discussed with Facebook CEO Mr Zuckerberg the possibilty of webstreaming meeting with him. I am glad to announce that he has accepted this new request. Great news for EU citizens. I thank him for the respect shown towards EP. Meeting tomorrow from 18:15 to 19:30

9:01 AM - May 21, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post by @EP_President

"It is disgraceful how Zuckerberg promises more transparency, but does not want to make public statements in the European Parliament. Facebook operates a public platform and therefore has to publicly take responsibility for its actions," said an online petition launched by the German Green Party's MEP Sven Giegold.

"Like the American citizens, we are entitled to a public hearing of Zuckerberg as well."

More than 30,000 people had signed support for his Change.org campaign.

"Pressure works!" Mr Giegold posted in response to the U-turn.

However, some politicians remain unhappy that the meeting is not open to more MEPs.

"This is not enough. We don't want a show, we need scrutiny by competent MEPs. This is how parliamentarism works," posted Austrian MEP Josef Weidebholzer., vice-president of the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

Facebook has repeatedly declined to allow British MPs to quiz Mr Zuckerberg about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which millions of users' personal data was shared with a political consultancy in breach of the social network's rules.

The data breach affected over one million UK Facebook users," tweeted Damian Collins - chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee - over the weekend.

"I think [we] should be able to question Mark Zuckerberg about this."

The European Parliament's webstream is due to be broadcast on the European Parliament's website between 18:15 and 19:30 local time (17:15 to 18:30 BST) on Tuesday.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

But AMD Rx580s, Vega 56s and Vega 64s are still a bit pricey

Nvidia graphics cards are finally back in stock at normal prices

Graphics cards are back on the menu!

Nvidia has confirmed that its range of PC graphics cards are finally back in stock and at (more or less) normal prices. 

For months, graphics cards bearing both Nvidia and AMD GPUs were either out of stock or available only at eye-watering prices because cryptocurrency miners were buying them in bulk, in some cases, straight from the factory gates. 

That left PC makers, enthusiasts and PC gamers with little choice but to either shell out or wait for prices to come back down to Earth. 

Writing on social media, the company announced that the 10-Series GeForce GTX GPUs are now available for ordinary buyers around the world.

"Inspired. Innovative. In-stock. GeForce GTX 10-Series GPUs are back on shelves at MSRP! #MadeToGame," the company wrote in a Tweet.

Depending on the model, the cards are now selling for manufacturer suggested retail prices and costing from $150 for the GTX 1050 to $800 for top-of-the-range GTX 1080s

Customers can purchase some of these cards straight from Nvidia. For instance, theForce GTX 1070 costs $449 and comes with immediate shipping.

However, the shipping dates of other models vary. While the Founders Edition is now selling for $549, it could take up to a week to ship. It is the same situation with the 6GB GTX 1060, which is priced at $299.

But buyers do have the option to purchase the cards from other retailers, with stocks at the usual places - Aria, eBuyer, Novatech, Box, Overclockers, Scan and others - returning to normal. 

For UK customers, the GTX 1070 costs £379 from Nvidia, with the 1080 costing £529. That is a saving of hundreds compared to the prices during March. 

However, not all customers are satisfied, noting that next-generation graphics cards from Nvidia are due out imminently. One Twitter user complained: "GPU prices are still above MSRP and it's close to next-gen launching."

However, it seems that the prices of AMD's Radeon Cards - which are arguably more popular among cryptocurrency miners - have not fallen quite so dramatically.

In the UK, prices for the AMD RX Vega 56 range between £500 to £600, while the price of RX 580 graphics cards average £300, compared to a launch price last year of just over £200. 

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

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Facebook says it deleted or added warnings to about 29 million posts that broke its rules on hate speech, graphic violence, terrorism and sex, over the first three months of the year.

It is the first time that the firm has published figures detailing the scale of efforts to enforce its rules.

Facebook is developing artificial intelligence tools to support the work of its 15,000 human moderators.

But the report suggest the software struggles to spot some types of abuse.

For example, the algorithms only flagged 38% of identified hate speech posts over the period, meaning 62% were only addressed because users had reported them.

By contrast, the firm said its tools spotted 99.5% of detected propaganda posted in support of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other affiliated groups, leaving only 0.5% to the public.

The figures also reveal that Facebook believes users were more likely to have experienced graphic violence and adult nudity via its service over the January-to-March quarter than the prior three months.

But it said it had yet to develop a way to judge if this was also true of hate speech and terrorist propaganda.

"As we learn about the right way to do this, we will improve the methodology," commented Facebook's head of product management, Guy Rosen.

Violent spike

Facebook broke down banned content into several categories:

  • graphic violence
  • adult nudity and sexual content
  • spam
  • hate speech
  • fake accounts

On the latter, the company estimates about 3% to 4% of all active users on Facebook are fake, and said it had taken 583 million fake accounts down between January and March.

The figures indicate graphic violence spiked massively - up 183% between each of the two time periods in the report.

It said that a mix of better detection technology and an escalation in the Syrian conflict might account for this.

Graphic violence graphic

A total of 1.9 million pieces of extremist content were removed between January and March, a 73% rise on the previous quarter.

That will make promising reading for governments, particularly in the US and UK, which have called on the company to stop the spread of material from groups such as Islamic State.

Terrorist propaganda graphic'Hate speech button' causes confusion

"They're taking the right steps to clearly define what is and what is not protected speech on their platform," said Brandie Nonnecke, from University of California, Berkeley's Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

But, she added: "Facebook has a huge job on its hands."

'Screaming out of the closet'

The complexity of that job emerges when considering hate speech, a category much more difficult to control via automation.

The firm tackled 2.5 million examples in the most recent period, up 56% on the October-to-December months.

Hate speech graphic

Human moderators were involved in dealing with the bulk of these, but even they faced problems deciding what should stay and what should be deleted.

"There's nuance, there's context that technology just can't do yet," said Alex Schultz, the company's head of data analytics.

"So, in those cases we lean a lot still on our review team, which makes a final decision on what needs to come down."

To demonstrate this, Mr Schultz said words that would be considered slurs if used as part of a homophobic attack had different meaning when used by gay people themselves. So, deleting all posts using a certain term would be the wrong choice.

Facebook said that 2.2 billion people used its service at least once a month as of March

"But how do you know I'm gay if you're reviewing my profile?" he asked.

"For me, I put it at the top of the profile - I've come screaming out of the closet, I am very openly gay.

"But that isn't true of everyone, and we can't know that. This is a very difficult problem."

Staggering samples

In an attempt to discover what it may have missed, the social network carried out random sampling.

It took an unspecified number of posts that had been viewed on Facebook, and made a note of how often a piece of content was in violation of its policies.

The results were troubling.

According to the sample, as many as 27 posts in every 10,000 contained some form of graphic violence. Given the 1.5 billion daily users of the service, that could means tens of millions of violent posts go unchecked every day.

The same technique estimated between seven to nine posts in every 10,000 contained adult nudity or sexual content.

The amount of terrorism-related material was too small to sample in this way, Mr Schultz said. And on hate speech, he said, the company lacked any "reliable data" on total volume.

"We can't currently measure how prevalent hate speech violations were on Facebook, because when we're asking our representatives to go and look, 'Is this hate speech, is this not?', it is very difficult to score that.

"We're making mistakes and we're trying to get better at measuring it."

'Privilege payroll'

But Dottie Lux, an event organiser in San Francisco, who campaigns against Facebook's perceived failure to combat the targeting of minority groups, said difficulty was no excuse.

 Dottie Lux is unconvinced by Facebook's efforts

"I'm running out of sympathy for 'This is really hard,' because it's really not new," she said.

"They find time to release dating apps and they find time to attach to my bank account, but they don't find time to figure out who their users are."

Ms Lux, who described herself to me as a "gay Jewish lady with a gay Jewish perspective", said relying on user reports to police hate speech was fundamentally flawed because it could be abused to silence others.

"You just give people with malicious intent the ability to act maliciously," she said.

Facebook spam graphic

Moderation army

Facebook remains coy about the make-up of its human moderation team.

It said it did try to make sure US-based workers handled incidents where an understanding of American culture was beneficial - likewise for incidents in other countries.

But Ms Lux feels the company needs to be more open.

"If you are hiring people who don't exist in certain social circles, different cultures, it's not going to be effective," she said.

"It's just going to perpetuate the same issue."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

Across the UK, small businesses are in something of a panic over GDPR. And among those worried about whether they will be ready for the new data protection laws are 650 firms based in Westminster.

I am talking about MPs - and there is worrying evidence that they and their staff may be getting poor advice.

The issue was raised in the Commons yesterday by Labour MP Chris Bryant.

He tweeted this: "Just raised a point of order on the ludicrous exaggerated advice to MPs on the General Data Protection Regulation that we should delete all casework information from before June 2018."

Mr Bryant told me that his staff had attended a GDPR training session organised by the House of Commons. It seems they were informed that the new law meant that they could not keep any information about constituency cases that had been completed. They came away with the impression that all data from before the last general election would have to be deleted.

The MP said this would make it impossible to do his job properly, comparing it to a doctor getting rid of all previous files on patients. "My constituents expect me to have their previous details when they visit."

It seems staff in some MPs' offices have already deleted old casework data, having been told that "all MPs are doing this".

But this morning, the Speaker responded to Chris Bryant's concerns, telling the House of Commons that it was not at all clear that the trainers had advised deletion of data.

MP Chris Bryant

"Despite vigorous inquiry yesterday by the House Authorities and the contractor commissioned by the House Authorities to support Members and their staff, no trace has been found by those responsible of such advice having been given."

Earlier, one Conservative MP told me that his staff had not seen any need for mass deletion. He showed me a letter from the chairman of the Commons Administration Committee relaying what seems like more measured advice from the information commissioner.

The letter includes this line: "The impact of the GDPR should be limited if you are compliant with the current laws and regulations."

That should be comforting, although I suspect some MPs will be nervously asking their staff to just check what their data policy has been over the years.

While the advice on issues such as how to respond to requests from constituents to erase data is reasonably complex, the letter quotes the Information Commissioner's Office as saying they are "not going to be looking at perfection, we're going to be looking for commitment".

Nevertheless, many MPs may have been tempted to take a safety first approach - just like all those firms that have sent you an email asking for your consent to remain on their mailing lists, when it probably was not necessary.

You may say that the very people who have been examining the data protection legislation should be better informed. But they are among many small businesses still struggling to make their way through the fog of confusing advice.

There have been plenty of warnings about the huge fines awaiting those who fall foul of GDPR - perhaps that message from the information commissioner about not looking for perfection straight away needs to be reinforced.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 16th May 2018

Image result for school

The government has halted researchers and others from accessing personal information about UK schoolchildren, it has emerged.

The Department for Education said the step was a temporary move to modify the national pupil database's approval process.

It told the BBC that the step was required to be compliant with a shake-up of EU data privacy rules.

The law gives children and others new rights and comes into force on 25 May.

"The department takes the use of personal information and the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation very seriously," the DfE said in a statement.

"We've temporarily paused applications for data from the national pupil Database ahead of the implementation of the GDPR."

The national pupil database is designed to help experts study the effect of different educational strategies over time.

Access was "paused" on 1 May, and the DfE has said it expects to provide further information in June.

Campaigners have raised concerns that many parents are unaware that data on millions of English schoolchildren can be shared with academics and businesses.

Applicants can request different levels of access, with the highest level includingindividual children's names, addresses, ethnicities and disabilities, among other factors.

A recent survey by the data privacy campaign Defend Digital Me suggested most parents (69%) did not know about the data-sharing.

Currently, parents and children are not allowed access to their data.

Gender, ethnicity, exam performance and reasons for absence can all be accessed by third parties under certain rules.

Defend Digital Me is calling for a change in how the data is managed.

Prof Ross Anderson - a leading cyber-security expert at the University of Cambridge - has also raised concerns, despite the fact that other researchers at the institution have made use of the data.

"The government is forcing schools to collect data that are then sold or given to firms that exploit it, with no meaningful consent," he blogged on Monday.

"There is not even the normal right to request subject access so you can check whether the information about you is right and have it corrected if it's wrong.

"Our elected representatives make a lot of noise about protecting children; time to call them on it."

Academic research

English records in the national pupil database have been kept since 1998 and include more than 21 million named English schoolchildren.

Freedom of Information (FoI) requests made by Defend Digital Me also found data on 1.2 million Scottish children had been collected since 2007, though in that case the pupils were not named.

The information, collected by the DfE, is generally gathered via school censuses.

Country Number of children Year data collection started Named?
England 21,230,000 1998 Yes
Scotland 1,265,501 2007 No
Wales 1,034,907 2003 Yes
Northern Ireland 327,122 2006 Yes

Source: Defend Digital Me

Records of who has accessed the data and why are available on the DfE's website.

Requests from academic researchers make up the majority of data extract applications processed by the DfE.

Many relate to projects studying education in the UK, for example.

Academic researchers' use of personal datasets has faced scrutiny recently - notably after it was revealed that data gathered by a Cambridge University researcher had been passed to Cambridge Analytica.

There is no suggestion that Cambridge Analytica had accessed national pupil database records.

Presentational grey line

Who accesses data on school children?

Besides academic researchers, there are also requests from private companies, which use the data to aid education policy consulting services to local authorities.

The Home Office has requested data on schoolchildren under its immigration control and Syrian resettlement programmes - though the latter request has yet to receive approval.

The BBC's Newsnight programme also requested data, in March 2017, when it was producing a package on the English school system. It was given tier-two access, which includes pupils' ages and ethnicities but not names or home addresses.

The DfE records that Newsnight later destroyed the data in accordance with rules around access.

Defend Digital Me has said that the government does not currently allow parents or children the right to see records relating to them or to have them corrected if inaccurate.

According to the group's survey of 1,004 English parents - carried out by Survation - 79% would choose to see the records if they were able to.

"Defend Digital Me is campaigning to have that changed, and wants the government to respect children's subject access rights... in the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]," the report said.

Jen Persson, the group's director, told the BBC: "As a mother with three children in primary school four years ago, I didn't know there was a national pupil database at all or that my children's personal data were stored at named level, given away to commercial third parties."

'Parents unaware'

She said that everything she had since discovered, thanks to research and FoI requests, was "not widely known at all".

The research by Defend Digital Me "raises serious questions", said Ailidh Callander, a legal officer at civil liberties group Privacy International.

"It is important that data practices in the education sector are examined thoroughly - particularly given the sensitivity of children's data," she told the BBC.

Defend Digital Me has also investigated the use of web monitoring software on computers used at school

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that it had engaged with the DfE about its processing of pupil data in the past "and continues to do so".

"The GDPR requires that personal data is processed fairly, lawfully and transparently, as well as enhancing people's rights," she said.

"We understand that the DfE is reviewing its processing of pupil data as part of its GDPR preparations. And the ICO will continue to engage with the DfE on this."

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 15th May 2018

When Paul Curtis designed an app for his running club, he had no idea it would become a big hit across the country.

Freelance designer Paul, from Coventry , joined Massey Ferguson Running Club in 2016. He saw an opportunity to help his fellow club members get easier access to news and personal best records – and so he designed an app.

It was such a success, other clubs came calling – and now the My Running Club app has been made available across the UK.

“I put together the app just to help out and make sure everyone could easily keep on top of what was going on, stay in contact with each other and share their successes all in one place,” Paul explained.

“It was put together over the course of a year and after we started using it, word must have spread because we had other clubs getting in touch to see if there was a version they could use.”

Margaret Bull with Paul Curtis

Paul took his original idea to the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce , and received help and support via the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.

“The actual design part of the app was something that I am very familiar with, but the ideas on how to push My Running Club as a business was where the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce really helped,” he said.

“I worked with a mentor at the Chamber, Margaret Bull, who assisted me in marketing and pricing and where we might also add in extra services to help the business grow.”

The app has now expanded and can be used to monitor track and field events and triathlon races.

“You can now customise the app in terms of its design to suit your running club and we have more than 10 clubs across the country taking part,” Paul adds. “The feedback has been great and of course I still get feedback from members of the Massey Ferguson Running Club.”

Margaret Bull, business adviser at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce , said: “Paul came to us with his app technically completed, so the main emphasis was on developing his marketing strategy and defining his client profile.

“It’s very often the case that people have a great idea but it’s actually the business side where help is needed – and that’s where we can assist.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council , Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils.

Free trials of the app are available. Contact hello@myrunningclub.net

Source: coventrytelegraph.net
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