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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Immigration Court’s Active Backlog Surpasses One Million

Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse: “The Immigration Court’s active backlog of cases just passed the million case mark. The latest case-by-case court records through the end of August 2019 show the court’s active case backlog was 1,007,155. If the additional 322,535 cases which the court says are pending but have not been placed on the active caseload rolls are added, then the backlog now tops 1.3 million. During the first eleven months of FY 2019, court records reveal a total of 384,977 new cases reached the court. If the pace of filings continues through the final month of this fiscal year, FY 2019 will also mark a new filing record. While much in the news, new cases where individuals have been required to “Remain in Mexico” during their court processing currently make up just under 10 percent (9.9%) of these new filings. These MPP cases comprise an even smaller share – only 3.3 percent — of the court’s active backlog. As of the end of August, a total of 38,291 MPP cases had reached the court, of which 33,564 were still pending. For the full report – including links to online query tools where readers can drill into countless additional details covering all 4.5 million court filings since FY 2001, the recent MPP component of these filings, and the court’s over 1 million active case backlog – go to https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/574/

Deepfakes Deserve Policymakers’ Attention, and Better Solutions

Center for Data Innovation: “Deepfakes—realistic-looking images and videos altered by AI to portray someone doing or saying something that never actually happened—have been around since the end of 2017, yet in recent months have become a major focus of policymakers. Though image and video manipulation have posed challenges for decades, the threat of deepfakes is… Continue Reading

How deepfakes undermine truth and threaten democracy

TED Talk: “The use of deepfake technology to manipulate video and audio for malicious purposes — whether it’s to stoke violence or defame politicians and journalists — is becoming a real threat. As these tools become more accessible and their products more realistic, how will they shape what we believe about the world? In a… Continue Reading

The Dark Web: A guide for business professionals

“The Dark Web is used to sell stolen data, drugs, and weapons—but it’s also used by legitimate outfits, like news organizations and the UN. This ebook looks at what the Dark Web is and how it affects you. The Dark Web is a network of websites and servers that use encryption to obscure traffic. Dark… Continue Reading

How does Apple (privately) find your offline devices?

Matthew Green – Cryptography Engineering Blog: [June 5, 2019] Apple announced a cool new feature called “Find My”. Unlike Apple’s “Find my iPhone“, which uses cellular communication and the lost device’s own GPS to identify the location of a missing phone, “Find My” also lets you find devices that don’t have cellular support or internal… Continue Reading

Real-time maps warn Hong Kong protesters of water cannons and riot police

Quartz – The “Be Water” nature of Hong Kong’s protests means that crowds move quickly and spread across the city. They might stage a protest in the central business district one weekend, then industrial neighborhoods and far-flung suburban towns the next. And a lot is happening at any one time at each protest. One of… Continue Reading

More Than Half of U.S. Adults Trust Law Enforcement to Use Facial Recognition Responsibly

But the public is less accepting of facial recognition technology when used by advertisers or technology companies: “The ability of governments and law enforcement agencies to monitor the public using facial recognition was once the province of dystopian science fiction. But modern technology is increasingly bringing versions of these scenarios to life. A recent investigation… Continue Reading

Guide to the people, books and sites that you should be following to keep ahead of the rise of white extremists

Zach D. Robert – “A woefully incomplete guide to the people, books and sites that you should be following to keep ahead of the rise of white extremists. “Everytime there is another white extremist-related incident, or arrest I am reminded that the major news publications and cable networks are out of their depth. CNN just… Continue Reading

Study finds Big Data eliminates confidentiality in court judgements

swissinfo: “Swiss researchers have found that algorithms that mine large swaths of data can eliminate anonymity in federal court rulings. This could have major ramifications for transparency and privacy protection. This is the result of a study by the University of Zurich’s Institute of Law, published in the legal journal “Jusletter” and shared by Swiss… Continue Reading

Source Hacking: Media Manipulation in Practice

Data & Society – “Online media manipulators often use specific techniques to hide the source of the false and problematic information they circulate. Joan Donovan and Brian Friedberg label this strategy “source hacking.” Typically used during breaking news events, source hacking targets journalists and other influential public figures to pick up falsehoods and unknowingly amplify… Continue Reading

On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Bot

“Brian Friedberg is an investigative ethnographer whose work focuses on the impacts that alternative media, anonymous communities and popular cultures have on political communication and organization. Brian works with Dr. Joan Donovan, who heads one of the world’s leading teams focused on understanding and combating online disinformation and extremism, based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on… Continue Reading