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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Here’s how to check your phone for Pegasus spyware using Amnesty’s tool

The Verge: “Amnesty International — part of the group that helped break the news of journalists and heads of state being targeted by NSO’s government-grade spyware, Pegasus — has released a tool to check if your phone has been affected. Alongside the tool is a great set of instructions, which should help you through the somewhat technical checking process. Using the tool involves backing up your phone to a separate computer and running a check on that backup. Read on if you’ve been side-eyeing your phone since the news broke and are looking for guidance on using Amnesty’s tool. The first thing to note is the tool is command line or terminal based, so it will take either some amount of technical skill or a bit of patience to run. We try to cover a lot of what you need to know to get up and running here, but it’s something to know before jumping in It will take some amount of technical skill or a bit of patience The second note is that the analysis Amnesty is running seems to work best for iOS devices. In its documentation, Amnesty says the analysis its tool can run on Android phone backups is limited, but the tool can still check for potentially malicious SMS messages and APKs. Again, we recommend following its instructions…”

Justice by Algorithm: Are Artificial Intelligence Risk Assessment Tools Biased Against Minorities?

Conklin, Michael and Wu, Jun, Justice by Algorithm: Are Artificial Intelligence Risk Assessment Tools Biased Against Minorities? (June 30, 2021). Available at SSRN: or “This is a review of Katherine B. Forrest’s new book When Machines Can Be Judge, Jury, and Executioner. The book does an excellent job discussing issues of fairness and… Continue Reading

How Fear of Government Surveillance Influences Our Behavior

Literary Hub: “If surveillance doesn’t make us act differently, explain this: The psychology department’s coffee room at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom offers coffee and tea on the honor system: users put their money in a box. The department decided to rotate different price list signs as part of a research study. One week… Continue Reading

How a ‘periodic table’ of animal intelligence could help to root out human bias

Aeon: “Over the past several decades, issues of animal rights have transformed from something of a niche cause to a mainstream concern in much of the world. It’s no coincidence that this increased consciousness has occurred amid a flurry of research detailing how nonhuman animals thrive, suffer, emote and process information in ways quite similar… Continue Reading

Forensic Methodology Report: How to catch NSO Group’s Pegasus

Amnesty International: “NSO Group claims that its Pegasus spyware is only used to “investigate terrorism and crime”  and “leaves no traces whatsoever”. This Forensic Methodology Report shows that neither of these statements are true. This report accompanies the release of the Pegasus Project, a collaborative investigation that involves more than 80 journalists from 17 media… Continue Reading

Over 10,000 Amazon rainforest species risk extinction, landmark report warns

CBC CA: “More than 10,000 species of plants and animals are at high risk of extinction due to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest — 35 per cent of which has already been deforested or degraded, according to the draft of a landmark scientific report published on Wednesday. Produced by the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA),… Continue Reading

Statue of Liberty’s ‘little sister’ takes up residence in Washington, DC

CNN Politics: “One hundred and thirty-five years after the Statue of Liberty was formally unveiled in New York Harbor, her “little sister” has taken up residence in front of the French ambassador’s home in Washington, DC. The miniature Lady Liberty will be officially inaugurated in a ceremony with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and… Continue Reading

Machines Learning the Rule of Law

Sümeyye Elif Biber – Verfassungsblog: EU Proposes the World’s first Artificial Intelligence Act. “On 21 April 2021, the European Commission (EC) proposed the world’s first Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA). The proposal has received a warm welcome across the EU as well as from the US, as it includes substantial legal provisions on ethical standards. After… Continue Reading

ALA Committee on Diversity Scorecard for Library and Information Organizations

ALA Committee on Diversity: “The DEI Scorecard for Library and Information Organizations, developed by theALA Committee on Diversity, is an evaluative tool that centers accountability and transparency in determining organizational effectiveness in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of people of color. Additionally, the Scorecard includes areas that impact these… Continue Reading

Online Gender Based Violence and Abuse

Report by the Tech Policy Lab / Online Gender Based Violence and Abuse Outcomes and Recommendations – “Help us end gender-based abuse online. As part of the Web Foundation’s commitment to tackle digital inequality, the Web Foundation’s Gender and Data Rights team has created a dedicated workstream focused on developing solutions to online gender-based violence… Continue Reading

The world’s social media giants admit they can’t protect women online

Quartz: “Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube made their first joint commitment to curb the harassment women face on their platforms, according to The World Wide Web Foundation. The social media giants pledged on July 1 to give users more granular control over who interacts with their posts and improve their reporting processes—for example, by giving… Continue Reading