Updates | 11.02.16

11.2: weapons of math destruction; infrastructure; calls


updates and ideas from the D&S community and beyond

—ongoing calls—
We are hiring a Director of Communications; apply by Nov 21.
And we are hiring two to four postdoctoral scholars for 2017-18; apply by Dec 6.
IJOC Call for Papers: Special Section on “Privacy at the Margins”; abstract deadline: Dec 6.

Around the Institute

Data & Society reads Weapons of Math Destruction
The Data & Society community is reading Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (and hosted her excellent Databite talk [video] last week), and we’re publishing our responses. Up so far: Models in Practice by Angèle Christin; On criminal justice and “Civilian Casualties” by Ravi Shroff; Safety Checklists for Sociotechnical Design by Mark Ackerman; Shining a light on the darkness by Mark Van Hollebeke; and Sausage, politics, and data predictions? by Anne L. Washington.

The internet apocalypse map hides the major vulnerability that created it
“October 21st, 2016 is a day that may or may not not live in cyberwar infamy, but the DDoS was unexpectedly successful in uniting the community of mostly unnoticed and often forgotten people who work on maintenance of core internet infrastructure.” —Ingrid Burrington

Principled Data Processing [video]
Patrick Ball (Human Rights Data Analysis Group) came to D&S and gave a talk about principled data processing — a “geeky,” fun discussion for people who are doing data analysis or interested in methods. So, all of us. Enjoy!

Around the Around

Broadband Providers Will Need Permission to Collect Private Data
“By a 3-to-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission clearly took the side of consumers. The new rules require broadband providers to obtain permission from subscribers to gather and give out data on their web browsing, app use, location and financial information. Currently, broadband providers can track users unless those individuals tell them to stop.” —Cecelia Kang

ProPublica: “Facebook Lets Advertisers Exclude Users by Race”
Julia Angwin and Terry Parris Jr. uncover a mechanism that allows advertisers using Facebook to exclude users by “ethnic affinity.” The Congressional Black Caucus has since sent a letter asking Facebook to address the issue. Bonus: J. Nathan Mathias, a PhD student at the MIT Center for Civic Media, sketched the difficulties of regulating Facebook’s “ethnic affinity” measures.

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