EFF and more than 70 human and digital rights groups are calling on Mark Zuckerberg to add real transparency and accountability to Facebook’s content removal process. Specifically, the groups demand that Facebook clearly explain how much content it removes, both rightly and wrongly, and provide all users with a fair and timely method to appeal removals and get their content back up.
While Facebook is under enormous—and still mounting—pressure to remove material that is truly threatening, without transparency, fairness, and processes to identify and correct mistakes, Facebook’s content takedown policies too often backfire and silence the very people that should have their voices heard on the platform.
“Facebook is way behind other platforms when it comes to transparency and accountability in content censorship decisions,” said EFF Senior Information Security Counsel Nate Cardozo. “We’re asking Mr. Zuckerberg to implement the Santa Clara Principles, and release actual numbers detailing how often Facebook removes content—and how often it does so incorrectly.”
“We know that content moderation policies are being unevenly applied, and an enormous amount of content is being removed improperly each week. But we don’t have numbers or data that can tell us how big the problem is, what content is affected the most, and how appeals were dealt with,” said Cardozo. “Mr. Zuckerberg should make transparency about these decisions, which affect millions of people around the world, a priority at Facebook.”
We've launched a virtual reality (VR) experience on our website that teaches people how to spot and understand the surveillance technologies police are increasingly using to spy on communities.
“We are living in an age of surveillance, where hard-to-spot cameras capture our faces and our license plates, drones in the sky videotape our streets, and police carry mobile biometric devices to scan people’s fingerprints,” said EFF Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass. “We made our ‘Spot the Surveillance’ VR tool to help people recognize these spying technologies around them and understand what their capabilities are."
Spot the Surveillance, which works best with a VR headset but will also work on standard browsers, places users in a 360-degree street scene in San Francisco. In the scene, a young resident is in an encounter with police. Users are challenged to identify surveillance tools by looking around the scene. The experience takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
EFF and MuckRock have filed hundreds of public records requests with law enforcement agencies around the country to reveal how data collected from automated license plate readers (ALPR) is used to track the travel patterns of drivers. We focused exclusively on departments that contract with surveillance vendor Vigilant Solutions to share data between their ALPR systems.
We've released records obtained from 200 agencies, accounting for more than 2.5-billion license plate scans in 2016 and 2017. This data is collected regardless of whether the vehicle or its owner or driver are suspected of being involved in a crime. In fact, the information shows that 99.5% of the license plates scanned were not under suspicion at the time the vehicles’ plates were collected.
The EU’s “Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive” is closer than ever to becoming law in 28 European countries, and the deep structural flaws in its most controversial clauses have never been more evident. The directive is in the final leg of its journey into law: the "trilogues," where the national governments of Europe negotiate with the EU's officials to produce a final draft that will be presented to the Parliament for a vote.
We're disappointed to see how little progress the trilogues have made in the months since they disappeared behind their closed doors. The lack of progress suggests that the forces pushing for Articles 11 and 13 have no idea how to fix the unfixable, and are prepared to simply foist them on the EU, warts and all.
Despite igniting controversy over ethical lapses and the threat to civil liberties posed by its tattoo recognition experiments the first time around, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently completed its second major project evaluating software designed to reveal who we are and potentially what we believe based on our body art.
Unsurprisingly, these experiments continue to be problematic. The latest experiment was supposed to be limited to images collected by law enforcement, but NIST went a step further and used the Nanyang Technological University Tattoo Database, which was compiled from images taken from Flickr users, for further research.
We celebrated the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank this year. Alice made clear that generic computers do not make abstract ideas eligible for patent protection. Following the decision, district courts across the country started rejecting ineligible abstract patents at early stages of litigation. Unfortunately, Alice’s pro-innovation effects are already in danger.
Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Chrome routinely leads the pack in features for security and usability, most recently helping to drive the adoption of HTTPS. But when it comes to privacy, specifically protecting users from tracking, most of its rivals leave it in the dust.
Join Portland's Techno-Activism for a happy hour in November for some great conversations around the normal TA3M topics or whatever else you'd like to discuss. A local organization in the Electronic Frontier Alliance (not EFF) will host this event.
Join us on December 11 to celebrate the release of The End of Trust (McSweeney's Issue 54), which features more than 30 writers and artists investigating surveillance in the digital age, including many EFF staff members. There will be a reading and panel discussion with EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn and Special Advisor contributor Cory Doctorow.
We're seeking a designer with a strong background in web and graphic design. A successful candidate will have a good understanding of the principles of web design, a portfolio demonstrating their skills, and experience collaborating with web developers.
We're looking for a smart and motivated person with excellent organization and communication skills to provide administrative support for EFF’s Executive Team.
We're now accepting applications for our 2019-2021 Frank Stanton Fellowship. Applicants should be recent law school graduates or law students who will be graduating no later than Spring 2019, and have an interest in developing an expertise in First Amendment issues implicated by new technologies.
Use this incredible interactive tool to explore how automated license plate readers allow Atlanta police to track a single vehicle across the city. (knightlab)
Data scientist Cathy O'Neil on risk assessments in The New York Times Opinion Section: "It’s tempting to believe that computers will be neutral and objective, but algorithms are nothing more than opinions embedded in mathematics.” (New York Times)
Despite experts’ consensus that doing so would endanger all our security, Cy Vance still insists that encryption backdoors are a good idea. TechDirt’s Tim Cushing takes apart Manhattan DA’s anti-encryption report. (TechDirt)
"Now that everything has a microphone or a sensor, the amount of data [available] is just so many orders of magnitude greater," says EFF Senior Information Security Counsel Nate Cardozo about the growing use of Internet of Things devices. (Washington Post)