Of Interest

  • Digital Impact; Policy and Practice for the Non-profit Sector in 2017

    In this digital day and age we’re grappling with questions like:

    • What are the key digital policy issues that matter to nonprofits in 2017?
    • What are the most pressing challenges to nonprofits and activists?
    • What should nonprofits, foundations and community activists know about? How can they get involved? And what should they be doing to keep themselves and their communities safe?

    This event will help inform and open a conversation on this topic with our audience of foundation and nonprofit leaders, students, philanthropists and more.


  • Tool Without a Handle: "Trustworthy Tools"

    “Tool Without a Handle:  Trustworthy Tools”

    “’What is truth?’ said jesting Pilate, who did not stay for an answer.” – Francis Bacon, Of Truth (Essays, Civil and Moral (1625).

    This blog previously dealt with one flavor of “fake news”:  provocative fictions that can prompt panic and violence.  In this blog, I’ll deal with the related issue of propaganda.  My conclusion:  propaganda achieves its harmful effects by the meaning readers assign to the content.  As such, responses to propaganda should focus on the process by which readers assign meaning, and how that process leads to anxiety or anger and then, in turn, to harmful action.

  • Facebook and Falsehood

    Henry Farrell
    Publication Date: 
    January 15, 2017
    Publication Type: 
    Other Writing

    After the election, many people blamed Facebook for spreading partisan — and largely pro-Trump — "fake news," like Pope Francis’s endorsement of Trump, or Hillary Clinton’s secret life-threatening illness. The company was assailed for prioritizing user "engagement," meaning that its algorithms probably favored juicy fake news over other kinds of stories.

  • EPA Charges Against Fiat Chrysler Put Software In The Legal Spotlight

    Date published: 
    January 14, 2017

    "“Evidence and context comes into play,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a former transportation engineer who teaches technology and mobility law at the University of South Carolina Law School and is an advisor to the Transportation Dept. on automation. Are there going to be memos explaining how engineers designed the software to get around federal testing procedures? As opposed to a design decision that generates inconsistent results?

  • Devices sprout ears: What do Alexa and Siri mean for privacy?

    Date published: 
    January 14, 2017

    "For the Echo, however, it’s more complicated. “The cost of the device is not the ultimate revenue for these companies – advertising and personal information are what's at the end of the rainbow for them,” explains Albert Gidari, the director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, in an email to the Christian Science Monitor."


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