Further Reading (March 9)

  • The Pentagon Is Sitting on a Chunk of Valuable Airwaves. Why?“ – Politico. This comprehensive primer on U.S. spectrum issues points to a major stumbling block in trying to beat China in the 5G race: the Department of Defense currently controls the valuable mid-band spectrum that experts and private sector stakeholders argue is best suited for next generation communications. Worse still, China and the rest of the world are moving forward into these mid-band frequencies, meaning that unless the Pentagon develops alternatives, its ability to operate in other parts of the world may be compromised by having to share these spectrums. Finally, the Trump Administration does not have a coherent approach even as the DOD is trying to reach agreement with private sector companies like telecommunications companies.
  • Digital Edits, a Paid Army: Bloomberg Is ‘Destroying Norms’ on Social Media“ – The New York Times. Mike Bloomberg’s campaign pushed the limits of what social media platforms allow influencers and users to say about political matters without explicitly revealing their allegiance to or payment from a presidential campaign. Bloomberg has poured millions into recruiting and activating social media users to advocate for his campaign, far outpacing rivals for the Democratic nomination and possibly suggesting a playbook for the eventual Democratic nomination. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram struggled to keep up with a number of the Bloomberg campaigns moves.
  • Facial-Recognition Company That Works With Law Enforcement Says Entire Client List Was Stolen” – Daily Beast.“Clearview AI’s Massive Client List Got Hacked“ – WIRED; “The world’s scariest facial recognition company is now linked to everybody from ICE to Macy’s” – Recode; “Clearview’s Facial Recognition App Has Been Used By The Justice Department, ICE, Macy’s, Walmart, And The NBA” – BuzzFeed; and “Clearview AI Reports Breach of Customer List” – Motherboard. The company that has scraped the images of people from multiple websites for use with artificial intelligence facial recognition technology has gotten much more recognition lately, most of it scrutiny the company would just as likely want to avoid. After a breach of its client list (including a number of law enforcement agencies), numerous entities denied being client, claimed they only tried the service, or asserted they would never use the service. These reports come amidst statements by multiple governments they will investigate the company’s practices. Among the law enforcement agencies that are likely using Clearview AI are: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)I, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Interpol, and many local police departments. 
  • Suckers List: How Allstate’s Secret Auto Insurance Algorithm Squeezes Big Spenders” – The Markup. One insurer tried to convince a state regulator to increase supposedly outdated car insurance premiums and was required to submit voluminous additional information. Maryland ultimately turned down Allstate, in large part because the analysis of the underlying algorithm showed it was designed to inflict the largest increases on those willing to pay much more. This is not the first instance of differential pricing and with algorithms and big data, more is almost certainly on the way.
  • Europe’s bid to stay world’s digital cop fizzles to life” – Politico. This piece questions how much impact the European Union (EU) will have in trying to compete with the U.S. and China in shaping the future of technology and accompanying policy.
  • Justice Department faults Google for turning over evidence too slowly in antitrust probe, hinting at possible legal action” – The Washington Post. The Department of Justice sent a letter to Google possibly threatening legal process to get documents the company is producing too slowly or not at all. This document request will likely inform the agency’s larger antitrust investigation into big technology companies.

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