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How Facebook Breeds Civil Conflict and Hatred Around the World

Brief #66 – Technology Policy
By Stephan Lherisson

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, leaked Facebook internal documents to the press, federal regulators, and Congress. The content of those documents showed how the social media platform uses potentially damaging algorithms to drive up use by its users while disregarding the negative effects of those algorithms including polarizing attitudes and divisiveness. Such attitudes have been proven to contribute to violence in places like Myanmar, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, and India.

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Surveillance Technology: A Useful Tool or a Threat to Our Security

Brief #65 – Technology
By Stephan Lherissen

Cities around the nation are adopting legislation that puts limits on the use of surveillance technology by their respective police forces. These cities are at the forefront of policy that could be adopted nationally by the federal government. These laws are being considered by some and established by others in response to growing criticism that these technologies do not respect the rights and privacy of citizens.

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The Facebook Files Follow-Up: Facebook’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Brief #64 – Technology
By Scout Burchill

Frances Haugen, the whistleblower behind the Wall Street Journal’s hugely-consequential Facebook Files (see Brief #64 for more details) took center stage earlier this month, revealing her identity in a primetime interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes before testifying in front of Congress in a series of high-profile hearings. Haugen’s revelations, coupled with an hours-long complete blackout of all Facebook-owned platforms, added up to one of Facebook’s worst weeks ever.

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The Facebook Files: A Clarion Call for Real Accountability and Transparency

Brief #63 – Technology
By Scout Burchill

A remarkable investigative series published last month by the Wall Street Journal reveals the profound, and deeply disturbing, ways Facebook is warping our society. The Facebook Files, as they are called, expose bombshell revelations about the harms the biggest social media company in the world knowingly perpetrates. While much ink has been spilled on this topic before, the Facebook Files are already shaping up to be the most damning scandal to rock the company since Cambridge Analytica.

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Apple’s New Child Sexual Abuse Material Detection System: Responsible Prevention or Dangerous Precedent?

Brief #62 – Technology
By Scout Burchill

Earlier this month, Apple announced three new features to protect children and crack down on child sexual abuse material (CSAM). While these new features, which will be rolled out on all iPhone and iPad devices in the coming months, may be well-intentioned, a number of security researchers and civil rights groups are raising the alarm about their potential to open the floodgates to increasing government and corporate surveillance.

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No One is Safe From the Data Brokerage Industry

Brief #22 – Technology
By Scout Burchill

While you may not be familiar with the shadowy world of the data brokerage industry, there’s a good chance that it knows a lot about you. Data brokers are the unsavory middlemen in our rampant, unregulated surveillance economy. In short, they collect, purchase and aggregate our personal data from the smartphone applications we use and then refine, re-package and sell it for profit. A recent scandal involving the outing of a closeted Catholic priest validates critics’ worst fears about this predatory industry: no one is safe.

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Star Wars: The Weaponization of Space

Brief #60 – Technology
By Henry Lenard

Even as space commerce soars to new heights, it appears the world continues to gird itself for the inevitability of warfare in the heavens. At the official opening of the new UK Space Command on July 30, two top British military officers directly criticized China and Russia for their “reckless” behavior in space, such as using weapons to destroy satellites. That activity has left a trail of dangerous space debris in Earth’s orbit.
The two commanders also left open the possibility that the UK could develop its own weapons to defend assets in space for the first time.

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