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Nicolas Collignon

Facebook has 60 people working on how to read your mind


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Nicolas Collignon

Who are the new jihadis?

A great reflexion about who the modern jihadis really are. (from The Guardian Long Read - which I cannot recommend enough!)

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Nicolas Collignon

AI programs exhibit racial and gender biases, research reveals | #Technology

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An artificial intelligence tool that has revolutionised the ability of computers to interpret everyday language has been shown to exhibit striking gender and racial biases.

The findings raise the spectre of existing social inequalities and prejudices being reinforced in new and unpredictable ways as an increasing number of decisions affecting our everyday lives are ceded to automatons.

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Nicolas Collignon

Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove

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That conversation led Mr. Ballmer to pursue what may be one of the most ambitious private projects undertaken to answer a question that has long vexed the public and politicians alike. He sought to “figure out what the government really does with the money,” Mr. Ballmer said. “What really happens?”

This will probably yield fascinating (and depressing?) results! Click on the title for details.

Nicolas Collignon

How Bulk Interception Works – Privacy International

[In 2016], Privacy International, together with nine other international human rights NGOs, filed submissions with the European Court of Human Rights. Our case challenges the UK government’s bulk interception of internet traffic transiting fiber optic cables landing in the UK and its access to information similarly intercepted in bulk by the US government, which were revealed by the Snowden disclosures. To accompany our filing, we have produced two infographics to illustrate the complex process of “bulk interception.”

Read the article + complete infographics by clicking on the title.

Nicolas Collignon

Nicolas Collignon

Nicolas Collignon

Cambridge Analytica Explained: Data and Elections – Privacy International

To read the actual article, click on the title.

This company's activity shows us why we should be worried about all the data we disseminate in our daily lives, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.

The main take-away about this, in my opinion: these algorithms can find out information about you that you never gave away, just by analysing the massive data trail you leave behind you at all times by using connected devices and browsing the web. These programs know more about you than you know yourself. And people are willing to profit from that, instead of using the data for good, for a more functional, open, collaborative society.

And this is not a fatality. We could, for example, stop using services that don't respect our privacy, and push forward solutions that do. Alternatives do exist!

Privacy by design should be the rule!

Nicolas Collignon

Spying on Students - School-issues devices and student privacy [EFF Study - PDF]

PDF report cited in the previous post.

The EFF’s (Electronic Frontier Foundation) report pulls together two years’ worth of research and data trying to find out whether educational technology (ed tech) companies are protecting students’ privacy. The answer is, unfortunately, largely not.

Nicolas Collignon

Your Kids’ School-Owned Devices Are Spying On Them, Report Finds

As adults, we all kind of have at least a vague peripheral sense that the devices and software we use are probably up to some kind of shenanigans with our personal data. Kids, however, are probably not thinking as closely about what they tell the devices they use, and what data those devices then share — especially if they’re school-owned tools. And yet, a new report finds, some of the learning technology schoolchildren are required to use every day are some of the worst when it comes to explaining and protecting users’ privacy.

The EFF’s new “Spying on Students” report [PDF] pulls together two years’ worth of research and data trying to find out whether educational technology (ed tech) companies are protecting students’ privacy. The answer is, unfortunately, largely not.

To read more, click on the title.

Nicolas Collignon

Mimicking an impact on Earth’s early atmosphere yields all 4 RNA bases | Ars Technica

There aren't a lot of individual experiments that have ended up being staples of high school textbooks, but Stanley Miller and Harold Urey did one of them. Miller and Urey are the people who sealed up a mixture of gases meant to model the Earth's early atmosphere and jolted the gas with some sparks. What emerged was a complex mix of chemicals that included amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

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Nicolas Collignon

How Hackers Hijacked a Bank’s Entire Online Operation

The traditional model of hacking a bank isn’t so different from the old-fashioned method of robbing one. Thieves get in, get the goods, and get out. But one enterprising group of hackers targeting a Brazilian bank seems to have taken a more comprehensive and devious approach: One weekend afternoon, they rerouted all of the bank’s online customers to perfectly reconstructed fakes of the bank’s properties, where the marks obediently handed over their account information.

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Nicolas Collignon

Europe’s dire dependency on Microsoft – Investigate Europe

All across Europe, from Finland to Portugal, Ireland to Greece, the information technology (IT) of government administrations is based on Microsoft programmes. But because digital systems are constantly growing in both size and importance, countries are becoming ever increasingly dependent on this single corporation. What consequences does this “lock-in” have, as it is called in technical jargon? What risks does it pose? And what can governments do to counter it? Investigate Europe, a team of journalists, explored this question for three months, interviewing economists, computer scientists, IT managers, security experts and politicians from twelve European countries, as well as the EU Commission and EU Parliament. The results are alarming.

Read more by clicking on the title.


Nicolas Collignon

A New Era of Mass Surveillance is Emerging Across Europe | Just Security

The same political leaders and legislators that once rebuked the NSA on the ethics of its mass surveillance practices, seem to now be taking a page out of the NSA’s playbook. This post surveys these three national legal frameworks, highlighting their troubling similarities, with the aim of showing how legislators from these countries are treading a dangerous line of surveillance expansion and overreach, paving the way for more European countries to follow in their footsteps. Indeed, European countries are increasingly chiming in to an ever-growing chorus of supporters for wholesale global surveillance in the name of perceived security. This rhetoric finds especially fertile ground in modern-day Europe, which has been engulfed by populist messaging surrounding the refugee crisis, immigration and heightened security threats. However, rushed and vague mass surveillance laws, while they might increase public approval ratings in the short term, are not a true panacea to the fundamental flaws in European intelligence cooperation that were exposed by the recent attacks.

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Nicolas Collignon

Al Jazeera Investigations - Spy Merchants

In "Spy Merchants", a new investigation by Al Jazeera, our undercover reporter worked for four months posing as a buyer for clients from countries including Iran and South Sudan - subjects of international sanctions - purchasing the kinds of surveillance systems that ensnared critics.

The investigation exposes illegal trade dealings that could put millions of citizens at risk of privacy violation today, as well as putting dissidents in vulnerable positions.