The Defender’s Big Brother NewsWatch brings you the latest headlines related to governments’ abuse of power, including attacks on democracy, civil liberties and use of mass surveillance.
The majority of online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases in the U.S. last year took place on Facebook, according to the Human Trafficking Institute’s 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report.
“The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and they often recruit them on a number of very common social networking websites,” Human Trafficking Institute CEO Victor Boutros said on CBSN Wednesday.
“Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims in active sex trafficking cases.”
Active cases include those in which defendants were charged in 2020, as well as those in which defendants were charged in previous years and charges were still pending in trial last year or the case was on appeal.
Facebook Faces Antitrust Investigations in Europe
European regulators late last week announced two separate antitrust investigations into Facebook regarding its use of advertising data.
The probes, one from the European Commission and the other from the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), come amid sustained scrutiny over the breadth and impact of the social media giant’s data collection practices.
European Commission regulators will focus on Facebook’s “advertising data gathered in particular from advertisers in order to compete with them in markets where Facebook is active such as classified ads.”
Further assessment will be given to “whether Facebook ties its online classified ads service ‘Facebook Marketplace’ to its social network, in breach of EU competition rules,” the commissions said.
‘Condition of Employment’: Hospitals in DC, Across the Nation Follow Houston Methodist in Requiring Vaccination for Workers
Most hospitals in Washington, D.C., will require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, joining a growing number of health care systems and other businesses nationwide in opting for the controversial mandate.
The hospitals will each set a date after which vaccination will be a condition of employment, the District of Columbia Hospital Association said in a statement Tuesday.
The hospitals will comply with all federal and district laws regarding exemptions for medical or religious reasons, the statement said.
Canada Privacy Regulator Says Federal Police Broke Laws Using Facial Recognition Software
The Canadian federal police force broke the law when they used facial recognition software, the country’s top privacy regulator found in a report released on Thursday.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in February 2020 that for four months they had been using Clearview AI, a U.S.-based facial recognition software company that cross-references photos with a database compiled from photos posted to social media.
It is not clear when the RCMP stopped using the software.
Clearview AI has been barred from operating in Canada since July 2020.
Victoria Filmmaker’s Documentary Examines Sinister Side of Facial Recognition Technology
Discriminator, director Brett Gaylor’s new independent film about facial recognition software, is as close to a horror movie Hollywood has ever produced — but there’s nary a ghost, serial killer, or unexplained phenomenon anywhere in sight.
The Victoria filmmaker’s short film about how technology companies are worming their way into our lives has a doomsday quality to it, and should leave viewers an overwhelming sense of dread.
Will it? Probably not, which is a scarier proposition than much of what appears in Discrimination.
Have an Amazon Device? The Tech Giant May Help Itself to Your Wi-Fi
Do you own an Amazon smart device?
If so, odds are good that the company is already sharing your internet connection with your neighbors unless you’ve specifically told it not to.
On Tuesday, the company launched a program that forces users of many Echo smart speakers and Ring security cameras to automatically share a small portion of their home wireless bandwidth with neighbors.
The only way to stop it is to turn it off yourself.
Amazon says the program, called Amazon Sidewalk, is a way to make sure lights, smart locks and other gadgets outside the home and out of reach of a Wi-Fi connection stay working.
But some experts warn that the technology is so new that privacy and security risks remain unclear.
And almost no one seems happy that Amazon forced consumers into Amazon Sidewalk — or that many people may not know they can opt out of it.
India and Tech Companies Clash Over Censorship, Privacy and ‘Digital Colonialism’
One night last month, police crowded into the lobby of Twitter’s offices in India’s capital New Delhi.
They were from an elite squad that normally investigates terrorism and organized crime, and said they were trying to deliver a notice alerting Twitter to misinformation allegedly tweeted by opposition politicians.
But they arrived at 8 p.m.
And Twitter’s offices were closed anyway, under a coronavirus lockdown.
It’s unclear if they ever managed to deliver their notice.
They released video of their raid afterward to Indian TV channels and footage shows them negotiating with security guards in the lobby.
The May 24 police raid — which Twitter later called an “intimidation tactic” — was one of the latest salvos in a confrontation between the Indian government and social media companies over what online content gets investigated or blocked, and who gets to decide.
Published by CHD
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.