Five small reminders on Human Rights Day...

 

…that your life depends on how software is used AROUND you.

Five small reminders on Human Rights Day... /img/algorithms-everywhere.jpg

Your [human] rights and the quality of your life depend every year more on how software is used AROUND you. That is my professional slogan, and today is a good day to very quickly remind some reasons why it becomes every year more true.

To begin with, spying on Internet activities is not only much, much more invasive than spying on phones. It is even much easier, with tools like “the NSA’s Google for Intercepted Data”.

In the second place, human rights in a digital age are deeply intertwined with copyright. Or, at least, the way copyright is embarrassingly abused to preserve unjustified monopolies and enable censorship at the same time.

In the third place, artificial intelligence is NOT artificial. It is just technology configured and used by humans in order to discriminate more efficiently, without visible human oversight or responsibility.

Fourth, who is actively pushing all this is the “democratic” “First” world. Inside itself, and everywhere else. A good example, from exactly one year ago, is the now aborted Google censored search engine for China. This tool, codenamed “Dragonfly” was supposed to link users’ searches to their personal phone numbers, thus making it easier for the Chinese government to:

  • monitor people’s queries
  • replace weather and air pollution data with information provided directly by Beijing

Public confirmation that Dragonfly had ended only arrived in July 2019.

Fifth, there has never been a better moment to keep automated digital monitoring and shaping of public attention as far as possible from political elections.

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