We presented our research on the impact of algorithmic design on diversity of the output at the 3rd International Conference on Computational Social Science in Cologne. Algorithms preform a lot better than we expected, at least when they select articles from a broadsheet newspaper.
Damian and Judith gave a talk at Bessensap, an annual event organized by the Dutch Science Foundation, where scholars present their work to science journalists. In their talk, they gave an overview over their finished and ongoing research, highlighting the discrepancy between popular beliefs about around filter bubbles and algorithmic news recommendation and empirical evidence.
Together with colleagues from IViR, Frederik, published a new study, “An assessment of the Commission’s Proposal on Privacy and Electronic Communications” (by Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius, Joris van Hoboken, Ronan Fahy, Kristina Irion, and Max Rozendaal).
This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, appraises the European Commission’s proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation. The study assesses whether the proposal would ensure that the right to the protection of personal data, the right to respect for private life and communications, and related rights enjoy a high standard of protection. The study also highlights the proposal’s potential benefits and drawbacks more generally. The proposed ePrivacy Regulation aims to protect privacy on the internet, and includes rules on, for instance, online tracking.
Read the full study here.
Frederik presented the preliminary results at the European Parliament. A video is available here (from 26:00 minutes on).
Earlier this year, Frederik also spoke at the European Parliament about the ePrivacy proposal, video here.
Damian wrote a blogpost in which he comments on the current debate on the role of algorithms. He argues that – while there are valid reasons to be concerned – critics who see algoritms as evil or scary per se, miss the point and hinder a constructive debate.
Het fascinerende spookbeeld: Hoe irrationele argumenten het debat over kunstmatige intelligentie bemoeilijken
Researchers from the Personalised Communication project presented various papers at TILTing Perspectives 2017: Regulating a connected world, a conference organized by Tilburg University from 17-19 May. The conference brought together researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and civil society at the intersection of law and regulation, technology, and society, and provided a great opportunity to exchange ideas and make new connections.
Marijn presented a paper on mobile health apps, privacy and autonomy. Frederik chaired several panels, among which a panel on price discrimination. A paper cowritten by Bálazs, Frederik, Kristina, Judith, Natali, and Claes was presented, discussing the technological, legal, ethical, and organizational infrastructures of research into algorithmic agents. Another paper presented was written by Balázs, Judith, and Natali, and concerned the conditions under which people accept news personalization. Sarah presented her paper on how news personalization affects the right to receive information.
How He Used Facebook to Win
Sue Halpern June 8, 2017
Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive Campaigning and the Data of Democracy by Daniel Kreiss Oxford University Press, 291 pp., $99.00; $27.95 (paper)
Hacking the Electorate: How Campaigns Perceive Voters by Eitan D. Hersch Cambridge University Press, 261 pp., $80.00; $30.99 (paper)
Donald Trump; drawing by James Ferguson
Not long after Donald Trump’s surprising presidential victory, an article published in the Swiss weekly Das Magazin, and reprinted online in English by Vice, began churning through the Internet. While pundits were dissecting the collapse of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the journalists for Das Magazin, Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus, pointed to an entirely different explanation—the work of Cambridge Analytica, a data science firm created by a British company with deep ties to the British and American defense industries.According to Grassegger and Krogerus, Cambridge Analytica had used psychological data culled from Facebook, paired with vast amounts of consumer information purchased from data-mining companies, to develop algorithms that were supposedly able to identify the psychological makeup of every voter in the American electorate. The company then developed political messages tailored to appeal to the emotions of each one. As the New York Times reporters Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim described it: A voter deemed neurotic might be shown a gun-rights commercial featuring burglars breaking into a home, rather than a defense of the Second Amendment; political ads warning of the dangers posed by the Islamic State could be targeted directly at voters prone to anxiety….Even more troubling was the underhanded way in which Cambridge Analytica appeared to have obtained its information. Using an Amazon site called Mechanical Turk, the company paid one hundred thousand people in the United States a dollar or two to fill out an online survey. But in order to receive payment, those people were also required to download an app that gave Cambridge Analytica access to the profiles of their unwitting Facebook friends.
Source: How He Used Facebook to Win | by Sue Halpern | The New York Review of Books
Kristina gave a talk on COMMUNICATION AND USER RIGHTS at the National Day of Communication congress 2017. This year it took place on the 17th of May on the campus of the University of Twente in Enschede.
At the center of all communications is the user but accounts about them vary: Are users exploited netslaves, or are they creative prosumers, or probably mixture of both? In her talk she discussed various communication users’ rights arising in the landscape of online services, such as the right to privacy, the right to be forgotten, the right to receive information, and the right not to be discriminated against. She acquainted the participants with users who have made an entry into the story of modern communication rights. She closes with a call for respect of user rights online which ultimately benefits all, individuals, business and society at large.
In de 56e aflevering van de podcast Onder Mediadoctoren spreken dr. Linda Duits en dr. Vincent Crone met dr. Sophie Boerman over in welke mate adverteerders kunnen inzoomen op de consument, of reclames altijd als zodanig worden herkend en welke rol ethiek hierbij speelt.
De podcast kan hier bekeken en geluisterd worden:
Afl 56: Persoonstargeting
Bekijk ook aflevering 50, met daarin dr. Sanne Kruikemeier over filterbubbels:
Ein großer Teil der Inhalte, die wir täglich im Internet konsumieren, werden von den Algorithmen der marktmächtigen Plattformen und sozialen Netzwerken zusammengestellt und sortiert. Künstliche Intelligenz spielt bei der Auswahl der Inhalte in den Feeds der Nutzer eine immer größere Rolle. An welcher Stelle können Regulierungsmaßnahmen und Verbraucherschutz ansetzen, um Nutzerautonomie, Transparenz und Zugang zu sichern? Wie können wir Meinungsvielfalt und Auffindbarkeit gewährleisten? Sollen Plattformen die Entscheidungen allein treffen oder müssen Datenschutz, Kartellrecht und Rundfunkrecht Grenzen setzen? Kann man Algorithmen überhaupt regulieren? Müssen wir etwas gegen Filter Bubbles tun?
Source: Vielfalt statt Filter. Digitale Plattformen im Fokus der Regulierung | re:publica & Media Convention Berlin
On Tuesday, Damian gave a lecture “Big Data: Why social scientists should care” at the Amsterdam Research Initiative, discussing the role of Big Data in society as well as in research. He argued that social scientists on the one hand have to observe the role of so-called Big Data as a societal phenomenon, but on the other hand also can make use of these techniques to answer social-scientific research questions. Directly before, he had given a two-day workshop on the use of Python to answer social-scientific research questions at Radboud University Nijmegen.