Special section on ‘Automation, Algorithms, and Politics| Political Communication, Computational Propaganda, and Autonomous Agents’ in the International Journal of Communication
The European Council has recently decided on the new Trade Secrets Directive, which will further strengthen the protection of trade secrets in the European Union. An interesting, and so far little discussed question is what the directive will mean for researchers who wish to perform research into algorithms – which are arguably among the best protected trade secrets. After lengthy discussions the draft directive included some exceptions with the goal to prevent that companies can use trade secrecy protection to hide information that the public has a right to now. So far, however, the exceptions focus in the first place on journalists and the media, not researchers. So far, researchers would need to rely on the more general provisions that address situations in which trade secrets are revealed to demonstrate miss conduct, or the general public interest. These provisions do not take into account very well the specific role of researchers. To name but one example, fundamental research into the workings of algorithms can be first and foremost about understanding algorithms, without being immediately aimed at revealing miss-conduct.
interview with N. Helberger about algorithms, governance and the role of research (in German)
Source: Interview | AlgorithmWatch
AlgorithmWatch is a non-profit initiative to evaluate and shed light on algorithmic decision making processes that have s with a social relevance, meaning they are used either to predict or prescribe human action or to make decisions automatically. For more information: http://algorithmwatch.org/mission-statement/#English
Professor Mike Ananny, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, asks the New York Times to radically reconsider the role of the Public Editor given this age of social media we now live in.