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A Holistic View of Future Risks

Human civilization does not tend to agree among issues such as fairness, equality, safety, security, privacy, and self-determination (for example). With COVID-19, economical well-being, health care, climate change, and other issues (some of which are considered here), if we cannot agree on the basic goals, we will never reach whatever they might have been—especially if the goals appear to compete with each other.

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sharing misinformation - Najeebah Al-Ghadban

How the truth was murdered

Instead, I’m here to point out, as others have before, that people had a choice to intervene much sooner, but didn’t. Facebook and Twitter didn’t create racist extremists, conspiracy theories, or mob harassment, but they chose to run their platforms in a way that allowed extremists to find an audience, and they ignored voices telling them about the harms their business models were encouraging.

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die with molten circuitry, illustration - Credit: dgtl.escapism

The Die is Cast

While globalization has drastically reduced industry costs by tapping inexpensive labor markets and economies of scale, it has simultaneously opened many windows of opportunity for attackers to maliciously modify hardware without the knowledge of original device manufacturers (ODMs) or their customers.

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Does Facebook Use Sensitive Data for Advertising Purposes?

Citizens worldwide have demonstrated serious concerns regarding the management of personal information by online services. Policymakers have reacted to this situation by passing or proposing new regulations in the area of privacy and/or data protection. In a recent work, we demonstrated that Facebook (FB) labels 73% of users within the EU with potentially sensitive interests (referred to as ad preferences as well), which may contravene the GDPR. First, this article extends the scope of our analysis from the EU to 197 countries worldwide in February 2019. Second, we analyze whether the enactment of the GDPR on May 28, 2018 had some impact on the FB practices regarding the use of sensitive ad preferences. Third, we discuss privacy and ethics risks that may be derived from the exploitation of sensitive FB ad preferences. Finally, we present a technical solution that allows users to remove in a simple way the sensitive interests FB has assigned them.

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four individuals and a hand holding a mobile phone, illustration - Credit: DesignPrax

Coalition of the Willing Takes Aim at COVID-19

Though privacy concerns limit the quantity of information they will be able to use, as the pandemic gradually clears, researchers will have data from the most closely tracked outbreak of its kind to gauge the effectiveness of the many strategies countries have used to tackle Covid-19. But the pandemic has reinforced the notion that there are limits to what data science can achieve, despite the clear cost-savings and efficiency that technology promises.

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