December 29, 2019

SOCIAL LISTENING: A TOOL FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ORGANIZATIONS


Mar 26, 2019
 https://www.uscpublicdiplomacy.org/blog/social-listening-tool-public-diplomacy-organizations

by

   The Swedish Institute—a public diplomacy organization working under the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)—has worked with digital media tools that monitor social media and other digital conversations about Sweden since 2016. The purpose of what is more commonly referred to as social listening is for organizations to stay updated on relevant discussions, articles and other digital posts that are relevant to, in our case, Sweden.

Social listening tools garner data from the stream of open-source platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, forums such as Reddit, news sites and other platforms.

There are at least three reasons for public diplomacy organizations to incorporate social listening in their work:

  1. Perceive long-term trends in the digital discussions concerning a specific country;
  2. Track conversations in real time in order to stay updated on current discussions, articles and posts; and
  3. Identify communicative opportunities.

1. Perceive long-term trends

Social listening is a good tool for analyzing trends and volumes related to a specific country over long periods of time.

Since the start of the Swedish Institute’s work with social listening, we have followed discussions about Sweden in four languages: English, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. The amount of posts in English about Sweden is about ten times more than Spanish- and Russian-speaking platforms and about 20 times more than Arabic-speaking platforms. Compared to 2017, the volume of discussions about Sweden increased on Spanish- as well as on Arabic-speaking platforms in 2018, but there is a downward trend on English- and Russian- speaking platforms.


The use of social listening as a tool to follow digital discussions about a country is of importance for public diplomacy organizations to truly turn toward more proactive forms of digital diplomacy.

In order to reveal shifts in the discussion, however, it is more rewarding to conduct more fine-tuned analyses of specific discussions that surround Sweden. The Swedish Institute follows a number of issues that are of relevance to our public diplomacy work.

Not only do we follow everything that is published about Sweden, but also everything that is published about, for instance, sustainability, innovation, gender equality and migration in relation to discussions about Sweden. If someone posts something about “climate change” or “green energy” and Sweden is mentioned in that same post, our digital tool registers this as being part of a larger discussion about sustainability and Sweden. It is important to keep in mind that individual posts do not necessarily matter—but when larger chunks of data are collected, it is possible to register patterns and trends for a specific topic.

2. Tracking conversations in real time

Social listening tools give the user an overview of current trends and discussions about specific events. Without this tool, it might be difficult to know how individual news articles or single tweets concerning Sweden, for instance, fit into the overall discussions about the country.

In our recently published report on the image of Sweden abroad, we show the volume of discussions about Sweden from 2015–2018. The report reveals that the discussions concerning Sweden are somewhat volatile, meaning that specific events trigger high discussion volumes (e.g., Trump’s remarks in 2017 on what became known as “Last Night in Sweden,” the Swedish election, and the passing of Swedish musician Avicii).

To understand what is being talked about during some of these peaks is important. Social listening tools place the high discussion volumes in perspective as the tool reveals for the user a timeline of all of posts concerning Sweden.

Social listening is thus a good tool for capturing how much people and publishers post about a country. However, it is less agile at sorting through the millions of posts and reveal underlying themes about the country. Social listening tools try to overcome this by including analysis tools such as word clouds or cluster functions, but they are fairly blunt instruments.

There are a number of ways to get an overview of what thousands or millions of posts concern:

  • Social listening tools give insights into the top articles that are shared and rank them in order of engagement level (the amount of shares on social media platforms).
  • Most social listening tools also provide some form of sentiment analysis, which is an AI-developed tool that analyzes the tonality of discussions. It can show, for instance, whether the posts are positive, negative or neutral in tone based on what words and sentences are used in the post.
  • The Swedish Institute conducts manual analysis, in which we cluster posts in order to convey the underlying themes that are discussed.
  • It is also possible to perceive where the posts are stemming from: Are the discussions on social media and blogs only, or did news outlets publish stories on the topic as well?

3. Identify communicative opportunities

Through social listening tools, the Swedish Institute receives weekly reports on what is published about Sweden on all four languages that it follows. These reports are valuable for assessing what the Institute can use in our own digital channels. They contain the most shared articles on Sweden, relevant issues that the Institute is interested in, where the discussions take place, and the weekly volume pertaining to these discussions.

To distill from the vast amount of data which issues are salient in discussions about Sweden, it also points to what social media users, publishers or bloggers find interesting about the country. Through social listening, we have tracked how certain subjects related to Sweden keep reappearing—something that indicates interest.

In some cases, the Swedish Institute has used these findings to create digital communication projects of our own. We have also conducted target group analysis that explores our target groups’ interests and digital activities. It is also possible to install alarm functions that notify you via email when the volumes of discussions are on the rise.

To conclude, the use of social listening as a tool to follow digital discussions about a country is of importance for public diplomacy organizations to truly turn toward more proactive forms of digital diplomacy. Considering the rate at which the media landscape and social media platforms are evolving, to stay updated on the possibilities (as well as threats) that the digital environment enables for countries cannot be ignored. Social listening can bring some control in a digitally volatile world.

December 17, 2019

Harish Salve's write-up and clarification about CAB.

Well explained, but who is going to explain it to the brainwashed masses?? 🤔

*What is CAB and what clarifications for the questions raised against CAB ?*

THE CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019 is a BILL further to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. It is not a full fledged bill but a a narrow-tailored law specifically meant for religiously persecuted minorities in the 3 specified countries namely Pakistan, Bangaladesh and Afghanisthan.

It says that "Any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or
Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan and who has entered into
India  on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and staying here to safeguard their lives, shall not be treated as illegal migrant."

*1. Citizenship Amendment Bill is against Indian Muslims, they need to get their papers ready to continue living in the country.*

One of the worst lies being spread is that Indian Muslims need to worry about the bill. The Citizenship Amendment Bill has nothing to do with Indian citizens, Muslim or otherwise, as it seeks to grant citizenship to religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. People belonging to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsi or Christian communities from these three countries who have come to India before 31/12/2014 for religious persecution and already living in India will be able to apply for citizenship after the amendment is passed. No Indian citizen will be asked to produce any document to prove citizenship after the CAB is passed, it is just false propaganda being spread by some people.

*2. Muslims from other countries can’t become Indian citizens after CAB is passed*

CAB is a special one-time measure for the religious minorities who have already come to India after facing persecution in the three specified countries. The amendment does not cancel the existing naturalisation laws. Any person from any foreign country seeking to be Indian citizen can apply for the same under the existing laws. There is no bar on Muslims from anywhere in the world to seek Indian citizenship under existing laws, CAB does not prohibit that. They can apply for Indian citizenship under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, which deals with citizenship by naturalization.

*3.Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan can’t apply for citizenship or refuge in India*

Although Muslims from these countries have been excluded from the CAB, it does not mean the door is shut forever for becoming Indian citizens. Although they are not given blanket relaxation to apply for citizenship under CAB, the usual naturalisation law remains available to them. Harish Salve asserted that the CAB does not undermine or interfere with the existing rules of asylum and Muslims can continue to seek asylum or apply for citizenship under the existing rules.

*4.Illegal Muslim immigrants living in India will be deported after CAB is passed*

CAB gives citizenship to people of six communities from three countries living in India,      but it does not deal with the deportation of illegal immigrants. Although it protects Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians who had entered India illegally from deportation by giving an opportunity to apply for citizenship, it does not say anything about deportation as that is the subject matter of another law, the Foreigners Act, not the Citizenship Act which the bill seeks to amend. The process of deporting anyone entering and living illegally in India is an ongoing process, and the CAB does not change that.

*5.Any Hindu can become Indian citizen after CAB is passed*

Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis or Christians from only from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who are already living in India for at least five years can apply for citizenship. It does not give automatic citizenship to Hindus, they must have lived in India for at least five years, and after that, they have to apply for citizenship. It is not particularly biased in favour of Hindus as many are arguing. Six communities from three countries have been given relaxation, for everyone else the normal naturalisation law remains applicable. For example, there are lots of Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus living in camps in Tamil Nadu, but they have not been included in CAB. These Sri Lankans had fled the country during the war with LTTE in 1990s and are living in several camps.

*6. If CAB is about religious persecution, why Shias, Ahmediyyas, Hazaras, Balochs and Rohingyas are not included*

Shias, Ahmediyyas, Hazaras all these groups are Muslims ethnic groups , they are not recognised as separate religions anywhere in the world. As Muslims, they are not minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which are either officially Islamic countries or have a very high Muslim majority. Therefore, it is not possible to include these Muslim groups in the bill as it is specifically made for religious minorities in those countries. Harish Salve stated on this doubt that the countries specified in the CAB have their own state religion and Islamic rules. He added that Islamic majority nations identify their people as per who follows Islam and who does not. Addressing governance problems in neighboring countries is not the purpose of the CAB.Still, if any Muslims are being persecuted in these Islamic countries for practising their version of Islam, they can apply for asylum in India. India has already provided asylum to Tibetans, and a large number of people from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda etc.

Moreover, Balochs and Rohingyas are not religious groups, they are ethnic groups. Baloch people are not wanting to migrate to India or any other country, they are demanding an independent nation in the Baloch region. Therefore, it does not make sense to include in CAB. In the case of Rohingyas, although they fled Myanmar after they were allegedly targeted by the military, their situation was not the same what minorities are facing in the three Islamic countries. Rohingyas were targeted in retaliation after they had attacked people from other communities, including Hindus, in Myanmar. Rohingya groups are conducting terror activities in Myanmar for a long time. Many such terrorists entered other countries along with ordinary Rohingyas, and they remain undetected. Therefore, the Rohingya groups remain a security threat to India, and they can’t be given any blanket relaxation for citizenship.
Replying to the question of why the CAB does not include Tamils in Sri Lanka, Salve stated that Tamils in Sri Lanka are not religiously persecuted. Over the issue of Rohingyas, Salve stated that a law that addresses one evil does not need to address all the evils in all countries. It is notable here that Myanmar, though a Buddhist majority nation, does not have a state religion and Myanmar does not feature in CAB.
For argument’s sake, Salve stated, if immigration or naturalisation facility is provided to the Rohingyas, it can also be argued that why people from African nations are not being included. “CAB is for the religiously persecuted minorities of the three specified neighboring nations and it does not need to be applicable to all nations or all people in the world who have problems,” he added.

*7. CAB is against the Indian Constitution as the constitution prohibits discrimination in the name of religion*

Harish Salve, one of India’s biggest names in national and international law explained further that the CAB aims to provide the persecuted minorities in these 3 countries a special status in the naturalisation process and it does not mean in any way that other communities or people will not be naturalised at all, for other communities the rules of general asylum process will be followed. So there is no violation of Article 14 here.
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution is concerned with the right to life. Salve stated that it provides a right to life for those who live in India, not those who want to enter India.
On the question on whether specifying Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians is discriminatory against Muslims, Salve explained that on the laws of equality does not mean having the same law for lions and lambs. He added that since the CAB has ‘religious persecution’ as the basis and is aiding those who are being religiously persecuted (tortured, victimized, oppressed especially on the basis of religion and the minorities in the specified Islamic countries) then the community which belongs to the majority religion in these countries cannot claim ‘religious persecution’. And since the CAB is not about political or economic asylum seekers, Muslims do not feature there.
Another argument is that the constitution of India is for citizens of India, and the CAB is a special provision for people who are not citizens of India. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that CAB violates the constitution. Moreover, our constitution and laws already have several discriminatory provisions. We do not have equal law for every citizen, the constitution allows different laws for different religions in several matters. We have Hindu Temples under government control but not Mosques or Churches. We have different laws for schools run by Hindus and non-Hindus. Haj subsidies and salaries for Imams but no such facility for Hindus, the list goes on. As the constitution already allows discrimination among even the citizens, it can’t be said that excluding Muslim citizens from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan violates the Constitution of India.
Salve also expressed confidence that if the CAB comes under judicial scrutiny, India’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Attorney General KC Venugopal will defend it well.

*8.People in North East are opposing CAB because it is discriminatory*

Although it is true that some people in north-eastern states, particularly in Assam, are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, their reason is completely different from the left-liberals and opposition parties. People in north-east are against giving citizenship to illegal immigrants from Bangladesh or anywhere, regardless of religion, and that’s why they are opposing it. People in the northeast don’t want any foreigners to be given citizenship, while outside northeast the opposition to the bill is over the exclusion of Muslims. Both the groups are actually on completely opposite stands in their opposition to the bill.

India Map and Modi's Global Notice

For about 20 years, a dirty game started as an international conspiracy, or that maps of India were being distorted in print, news channels, magazines, social media, etc.

Some showed Arunachal in China, some showed Kashmir in Pakistan, some showed parts of Kashmir's Himachal in China, some showed areas of Rajasthan's Indian territory in Pakistan.

This has been happening in Congress since the time of Congress.
Some of the tweets have been published on Google or Twitter, so the country's print and channels have started this business with arguments that are true.

The map of India is a body doubled frame which was tampered with.

What will be the long-term consequences of this?
The way in which Congress has neglected to define the border line of Kashmir, Arunachal, Sikkim, etc. and raised the problem on the borders, Government has to spend billions today to save it.

Going forward, such maps may be considered official by China-Pakistan, which may take other questions to the UN, and make claims for the land.

Like the Gaza Strip, endless confrontations can occur.

Recently on Returning from U K, Narendra Modi has issued a global notice with unprecedented decision that 'It is mandatory for any print or digital media to publish the map of India through their own media and only the official government-published map of India.

Violators of these rules will face a seven-year sentence and a fine of Rs 100 crore.  No defense will be given to crime.

Did the print and channels publicize this?

But global media, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, have become involved.  Whoever showed the map of India is all about checking their content and editing it.

With such foresight and patriotism can you imagine any Congress or other opposition?
💐💐

December 10, 2019

Traffic tools help publishers go viral

Data: Parse.ly; Table: Naema Ahmed/Axios


Source: AXIOS

Google has created a new tool to help newsrooms make coverage decisions based on real-time data of what’s being searched on Google and talked about on Twitter, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: It’s the latest effort by a tech giant to help give newsrooms access to data that could help them make content decisions around what's trending online.

Facebook bought CrowdTangle, a tool that publishers use to see what's trending on the web, in 2016.

The tool, called Trending Topics, is available for free to any newsroom that utilizes Google’s free analytics platform, Google Analytics.

The big picture: Google argues newsrooms can boost user loyalty by using the tool to cover the topics they are most interested in.

But new data from traffic analytics company Parse.ly finds that not all publishers need to be as reliant on what's going viral.

The data suggests that health and lifestyle content tend to get most of its traffic referrals internally from the home pages or other destinations within the publishers' ecosystem.This means that for some niche topics, understanding what's going viral means more than it does for others.

The bottom line: News publishers need this tool more than evergreen lifestyle publishers.

News podcasts go mainstream


AXIOS Media

Data: PwC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New data and investments into news podcasting suggests that the format is here to stay.

Why it matters: Newsrooms are finding that podcasts are helping them develop stronger audiences and, in some cases, make more money.

At a time when the news economy is unstable, podcasts offer newsrooms a chance to drive new business.

Driving the news: The Pulitzer Prize Board said Thursday that they would include audio reporting as a new journalism prize category in its 2020 cycle.

The announcement comes on the heels of new research released by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Oxford University that finds news podcasts have exploded in popularity in the U.S.

By the numbers: According to the report, the number of new news podcasts around the world increased by one-third (32%) from January through October 2019, citing data from Chartable.

More than 12,000 news podcasts have been launched this year.

Yes, but: While podcasts offer some newsrooms the opportunity to make millions in ad revenue, they are still a small portion of overall revenue.

And while some newsrooms, like the New York Times, have had unprecedented success building podcasts, others have had less luck with their audio strategies.

Read the full story.

December 07, 2019

A Baloch Library

A Baloch library

Zubeida MustafaDecember 06, 2019

Zubeida Mustafa

UNTIL recently a college textbook in Punjab described the Baloch as “uncivilised people who engaged in murder and looting”. This criminal aberration came to light three years ago when a senator from Balochistan discovered it and raised a hue and cry about it in the upper house of parliament.

I am not sure if this figment of a sick and prejudiced imagination has since been rectified. It is surprising that the author failed to appreciate the significant scholarship a small community of seven million with a low literacy rate has managed to produce.

No wonder, Baloch activists complain of their cultural identity and language being demonised and their intellectuals being killed. This has historically been the way of invading barbarians who feared knowledge and attempted to destroy it.

For me, a visit to the Sayad Hashmi Reference Library in Malir, Karachi, was an inspiring experience. Named after an erudite scholar, Sayad Zahoor Shah Hashmi (1926-1978), who devoted his life to the Balochi language, the kutubjah is a treasure house of knowledge on “Balochistan, Baloch and Balochi”. In fact, the flyer that the president of the library, Dr Ramzan Bamri, gave me described it as a ‘Journey of Balochology’.

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With such significant scholarship, how do we explain the low literacy rate?


I had never heard this word before but when I visited the library and saw the treasure it stocks I realised that the language merits a term like this to describe the scholarship it is endowed with. I learned from Dr Bamri that the library has a collection of 25,000 books in Balochi and in other languages about Balochistan. All journals published in the Balochi language all over the country since 1951 are archived here. At one time, these numbered 30 but today only one survives.

The library is itself a labour of love — love of the Balochi language — founded in 2003 by the renowned poet, Saba Dashtiyari. He donated his entire collection and half his monthly salary he received as a professor in the Balochistan University, to the Sayad Hashmi Reference Library till 2011 when he was assassinated.

I also discovered to my great pleasure that there are quite a few Baloch libraries around. Close by is the Imam Bakhsh Baloch Memorial Library, which I also visited, in Siddiq Village where Akbar Wali, library in-charge, has organised an arts and theatre group and also a football team. Such institutions invariably become the focal point of intellectual and cultural engagements. Wali also organises classes for children of the neighbourhood.

There are three libraries for Baloch youth in Lyari. “Once upon a time there used to be 27,” I was told. The activists are determined to restore Lyari’s book culture that was destroyed by the violence induced by the gang wars that engulfed the locality. Their commitment to the cause of learning is remarkable. Nearly 50 books in Balochi are published every year from Balochistan and other places where the Baloch are concentrated.

The real challenge is the distribution of these books as the Balochi speakers are very scattered, even in the province itself. Two universities — Balochistan and Turbat — have full-fledged departments of Balochi language and literature. There are numerous institutions involved in research and intellectual activities, the Baqi Baloch Academy (Quetta) being the biggest. The two-day Balochi Literature Festival held in Lyari in September testified to the public interest in intellectual discourse. The organisers mobilised nearly 168 Balochi language writers and authors to participate as panellists.

With such a rich heritage of scholarship, how does one explain the low literacy rate (41 pc) and the inadequate school enrolment ratio in Balochistan? The fact is that limited opportunities for education and rampant poverty act as barriers to growth. The Annual Status of Education Report’s scorecard does not give a high rating to the standard of education in Balochistan. Above all, children are not taught in their mother tongue and are losing their motivation to learn.

Take the case of Lyari. With a population of nearly a million, it has 120 government schools and 300 private schools. Competing with them are 120 madressahs many of which provide free meals to their students. Who will win? Credit goes to those who still manage to reach school and remain motivated and focused.

Prof Wahid Bakhsh Buzdar who teaches Balochi at the Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad is a well-read man, his knowledge and understanding of issues are profound. He is not too happy with the standard of education in Balochistan. The situation has not been helped by the “politicisation and commercialisation of education”. Then there is the “hegemony of the religious establishment that is out to destroy critical thinking”.

This leaves one wondering about the state of unrest in Balochistan that the government is trying to counter by resorting to force. Wouldn’t educational reformers with vision and dedication and an effective poverty alleviation programme do a better job than soldiers in uniform?

www.zubeidamustafa.com

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2019

https://www.dawn.com/news/1520737

December 03, 2019

Are you working with a Chinese defense university?

Are you working with a Chinese defense university?

Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

Source: SupChina.com

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has a new resource that tracks what is called “military-civil fusion” in Chinese universities. The trend of technically civilian universities in China becoming more involved in research used for military or security purposes has sped up in recent years, just as alarm have been raised about issues like China’s racially discriminatory surveillance networks, and concern about China-originating cyberattacks has not abated.

Researcher Alex Joske describes the extent of the problem this way:

At least 15 civilian universities have been implicated in cyberattacks, illegal exports or espionage.

China’s defence industry conglomerates are supervising agencies of nine universities and have sent thousands of their employees to train abroad.

This raises questions for governments, universities and companies that collaborate with partners in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). There’s a growing risk that collaboration with PRC universities can be leveraged by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) or security agencies for surveillance, human rights abuses or military purposes…

While military–civil fusion doesn’t mean that barriers between the military and other parts of PRC society have vanished, it’s breaking down those barriers in many universities. At least 68 universities are officially described as parts of the defence system or are supervised by China’s defence industry agency, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND, 国家国防科技工业局 guójiā guófáng kējì gōngyè jú).

ASPI also updated a public database that maps the global expansion of key Chinese technology companies, including many involved in surveillance.

In related news, many major American companies — including Seagate Technology, Western Digital, Intel, and Hewlett Packard — have been deeply involved in helping to build the Chinese surveillance state, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

December 02, 2019

US - China Strategic Competition: Quest for global Technological Leadership

   

Summary

The underlying driver of the ongoing US–China trade war is a race for global technological dominance. President Trump has raised a number of issues regarding trade with China – including the US’s trade deficit with China and the naming of China as a currency manipulator. But at the heart of the ongoing tariff escalation are China’s policies and practices regarding forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft and non-market distortions.As China’s international influence has expanded it has always been unlikely that Beijing would continue to accept existing global standards and institutions established and widely practised by developed countries based on ‘the Washington Consensus’.China’s desire to be an alternative champion of technology standard-setting remains unfulfilled. Its ample innovation talent is a solid foundation in its quest for global technology supremacy but tightening controls over personal freedoms could undermine it and deter potential global partners.It is unclear if Chinese government interventions will achieve the technological self-sufficiency Beijing has long desired. China’s approach to macroeconomic management diverges significantly from that of the US and other real market economies, particularly in its policy towards nurturing innovation.Chinese actors are engaged in the globalization of technological innovation through exports and imports of high-tech goods and services; cross-border investments in technology companies and research and development (R&D) activities; cross-border R&D collaboration; and international techno-scientific research collaboration.While the Chinese state pushes domestic companies and research institutes to engage in the globalization of technological innovation, its interventions in the high-tech sector have caused great unease in the West.The current US response to its competition with China for technological supremacy, which leans towards decoupling, is unlikely to prove successful. The US has better chances of success if it focuses on America’s own competitiveness, works on common approaches to technology policy with like-minded partners around the globe and strengthens the international trading system.A technically sound screening mechanism of foreign investment can prevent normal cross-border collaboration in technological innovation from being misused by geopolitical rival superpowers

Read Full Report

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/us-china-strategic-competition-quest-global-technological-leadership

November 28, 2019

How Catalonia Remains a Thorn in Spanish Politics


By Charles Penty | Bloomberg 

November 26, 2019 at 4:08 p.m. GMT+5:30

It’s been two years since Catalonia’s then-government tried to stage a breakaway from Spain and riot police clamped down on an illegal independence referendum. In October, the Spanish Supreme Court handed down stiff jail sentences to some of the leaders of that effort. The result was a wave of outrage that pulsed through Catalan cities during a week of rioting. As acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tries to piece together a new government after elections in November, the Catalan question remains at the heart of Spain’s fractured politics, sharpening animosities and polarizing public opinion.

1. What happened at the Catalan trial?

Key figures in the Catalan independence movement were convicted for their part in the events of 2017 when the regional government made an illegal attempt to declare independence. The televised proceedings transfixed Spain as a dozen separatist leaders, including former regional Vice-President Oriol Junqueras, faced a panel of Supreme Court judges. On Oct. 14, the court sentenced Junqueras to 13 years in jail for sedition and misuse of public funds and imposed terms of between nine and 12 years for eight other leaders. While global news media focused on the Oct. 1 referendum as the flashpoint, the court sentence pointed first to a Catalan Parliament law that declared the region free of Spanish jurisdiction, governance and taxation. The legislation, published 23 days before the vote, declared sovereign ownership over airspace, subsoil and coastline without mentioning any responsibility for Catalonia’s portion of Spain’s $1.2 trillion of government debt.

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2. What was the reaction to the verdict in Catalonia?

Socialist leader Sanchez urged Catalan nationalists not to turn violent, but the verdicts sparked immediate protests across Catalonia as well as a large counter-demonstration in Barcelona by supporters of a unified Spain. The Catalan government said the verdicts were a historic error and called on the international community to help resolve the “conflict” with Spain. Even FC Barcelona, the city’s soccer club, called for dialogue so that the leaders can be released. Meanwhile, its league match with Real Madrid, known as “El Clasico,” was postponed amid concern about political unrest.

3. What’s been the impact on national politics?

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The biggest winner was Vox, which had called for a hard-line crackdown on the separatists. The Spanish nationalist party more than doubled its result in November’s election to become the third-biggest force in parliament. The big loser was Ciudadanos, a formerly centrist party that had shifted to the right over Catalonia and found itself outflanked on that issue by Vox -- pragmatic voters withdrew their support in droves. One winner was Podemos, an anti-austerity group that lost seats in the November vote but immediately sealed a political pact with Sanchez as he tried to cement a left-wing coalition in the face of the far-right surge.

4. How will it affect forming a new government?

Sanchez relied on the votes of separatists to overthrow his predecessor Mariano Rajoy of the People’s Party in a confidence vote in 2018. The math of the political deadlock means he needs them again to be able to form a government, even though he has repeatedly said he’d prefer to work with parties that actually support Spain’s constitution. That leaves Esquerra Republicana, the party led by Junqueras, holding the key to unlock Sanchez’s chances of staying on as prime minister -- even though its leader remains behind bars.

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5. How do Catalan local politics affect this situation?

While the jail terms handed down for Junqueras and others certainly enraged separatist voters, Esquerra takes a more gradual approach to separatism than the other main pro-independence party, Junts per Catalunya. Esquerra’s 13 national parliamentary deputies may opt to support Sanchez in the knowledge that they’ll get better treatment from his Socialists than a People’s Party reliant on the support of Vox. Even so, pledging support for a Spanish premier who didn’t intervene when its leader was jailed could come at a cost for Esquerra. Any development that brings the policies of rival separatist groups into focus -- a regional election for example -- would put pressure on the party. It could also deal a blow to Sanchez, who needs Esquerra’s acquiescence and remains a hostage to the region’s volatile politics.

6. How is the independence movement faring?

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It’s been beset by infighting for the past two years. The regional government is run by Joaquim Torra of Junts per Catalunya, a die-hard separatist. He took charge in 2018 after the former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont fled Spain and pro-independence parties won a slim majority in a regional election at the end of 2017. Notwithstanding the jail sentences, there seems little appetite within the broader movement to pursue independence immediately. In a sign of some willingness to ease tensions, Spain’s King Felipe VI braved protests to attend a prize-giving ceremony in Barcelona at which his 14-year-old daughter, Princess Leonor, made a speech in perfect Catalan.

7. What’s the way out of this mess?

The Catalan dispute has plagued Spain off and on for more than three centuries, so it’s naive to bet on easy solutions. The separatists want an independent state that would have an economy as large as Finland’s or Portugal’s. Spain is determined to hold onto a region it sees as integral to national unity and that contributes a fifth of its output. Sanchez has said he wants to explore ways to expand Catalonia’s powers without allowing an official referendum on secession. He sees dialogue as the way forward, while refusing to countenance any breakup of Spanish territory. For now, the forces of Catalan independence retain their slight advantage in the regional parliament. However, the Catalan government’s own polls show there is no majority in favor of a split, and support for independence has been trending downward in 2019.

--With assistance from Todd White.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charles Penty in Madrid at cpenty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Andy Reinhardt, Grant Clark

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

November 27, 2019

How immigration is shaping Chinese society

To the surprise of many, China has emerged as a destination country for immigration: As China’s population ages and its workforce shrinks, China needs more immigrants. 

The background of immigrants to China is becoming more diverse. While the number of high-earning expatriates from developed countries has peaked, China is now also attracting more students than ever from all over the world, including many from lesser developed countries. Low-skilled labor and migration for marriage are also on the rise. The main areas that attract foreigners are the large urban centers along the coast (Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing) and borderland regions in the South, Northeast and Northwest, but smaller numbers are also making their way to smaller cities across China. 

In the new MERICS China Monitor “How immigration is shaping Chinese society”, MERICS Director Frank N. Pieke and colleagues from other European universities and institutions discuss the most salient issues confronting the Chinese government and foreign residents themselves. 

According to their analysis, for many foreigners China has become considerably less accommodating over the last ten years, particularly with regard to border control, public security, visa categories, and work and residence permits. China’s immigration policy is still driven by narrow concerns of regulation, institutionalization and control. It remains predicated on attracting high-quality professionals, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors. Long-term challenges like the emerging demographic transition, remain to be addressed.

The authors detect a worrying trend towards intolerance to ethnic and racial difference, fed by increasing nationalism and ethnic chauvinism. They argue that the Chinese government, civil society, foreign diplomatic missions, employers of foreigners and international organizations present in China should take a clear stance against racism and discrimination. China’s immigration policy needs to include the integration of foreigners into society and provide clear and predictable paths to acquiring permanent residence. 

You can read the online version of the China Monitor “How immigration is shaping Chinese society” by Frank N. Pieke, Björn Ahl, Elena Barabantseva, Michaela Pelican, Tabitha Speelman, Wang Feng, and Xiang Biao here or download a PDF version here

November 25, 2019

Did No One Audit the Apple Card Algorithm?

COMMENTARY

(The RAND Blog)

November 21, 2019

Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay at Apple, speaks about the Apple Card during an Apple special event in Cupertino, California, March 25, 2019

Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

by Osonde A. Osoba

In the world of social media, tech executive David Heinemeier Hansson's thread of outrage about Apple Card has been categorized as viral Twitterstorm.

Data scientists would call it a rather tidy example of an algorithm audit.

Here's what happened: Jamie Heinemeier Hansson, Hansson's wife, asked to increase the line of credit on her Apple Card, a credit card Apple created in partnership with Goldman Sachs. The increase was denied. At the same time, her husband—with whom she shares all assets as a married couple in a community property state—had a credit line 20 times higher. Apple reps' reply: “It's the algorithm.”

So in this mini-audit, does the algorithm produce the same results (credit limits) for the same relevant inputs (reported personal assets)? Not so much.

David Hansson's verdict that the Apple Card algorithm is sexist lit up Twitter earlier this month. But the existence of biased/sexist/racist algorithms is not a new discovery; dozens of scholars have written about the hazards of letting AI mine data patterns for everything from job applicant screening to data-driven policing. Still, Goldman Sachs weakly argued that the company had no discriminatory intent in its credit limit determination process because it does not have information about applicants' gender or marital status. This is an example of arguing for “fairness through unawareness.” But research shows that excluding sensitive attributes (gender, marital status, race, etc.) does not automatically render the algorithm unbiased.

Excluding sensitive attributes like gender or race does not automatically render the algorithm unbiased.

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Furthermore, deliberate bias—or even awareness of bias—is usually irrelevant to federal regulations on non-discrimination. When the law tests for discriminatory practices, it often applies the “disparate impact” standard—which means comparing outcomes, regardless of intent. Laws are written this way because, historically, it's been easy to hide discriminatory intent behind practices that seem at face value to be neutral. And as a matter of justice/fairness, intent is rather beside the point. Good intentions that lead to bad outcomes are still harmful to the people adversely impacted.

The more troubling takeaway from this event was this: David and Jamie Hansson could not get anyone to give them a clear reason for the credit decision outcome. They heard variations of “credit limits are determined by an algorithm,” “we do not know your gender or marital status during the Apple Card process,” “it's just the algorithm,” etc.

This kind of deep failure of accountability could become increasingly common as opaque algorithms are used for more kinds of decisionmaking (what we have called “automation bias”). The Hanssons' case highlighted a toxic combination: The companies relied on a “black box” algorithm with no capability to produce an explanation, and then abdicated all responsibility for the decision outcomes.

Complex, opaque technologies (like AI, machine learning, and other algorithm systems) provide significant benefits to society. They help speed up complex decisions, enable wider access to services, and in many cases make better decisions than humans. But those benefits do not obviate the need for accountability and transparency. With these complex algorithms, we may not always be able to pinpoint the factor that led to a bad outcome—but there are technical safeguards and procedures that institutions can use to audit their outputs for the most egregious (sexist, racist, biased, etc.) behaviors.

Complex, opaque technologies provide significant benefits, but those don't obviate the need for accountability and transparency.

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In this case, Goldman Sachs should not have assumed that ignoring gender or marital status automatically made its credit algorithm fair. “Disaggregated evaluation,” which tests an algorithm on sub-demographics and accounts for any differences in outcomes, also likely would have caught this bias.

One other thing would have helped, too: Providing the customer with some insight into the decision. Even if the precise cause isn't known, presenting an explanation—e.g. what the most important factors are in this specific decision—makes the process feel less Kafkaesque. It should be the default procedure. Likewise, organizations need protocols to redress errors in real time. Realistically, the other option is dealing with the PR nightmare of outraged posts on Twitter.

Finally, government regulations can keep companies that hold data or deploy algorithms accountable to their users. The European Union, for example, has pioneered regulations giving consumers ownership of their data, a right to privacy, a right to rectify incorrect data, and a right to explanation for automated decisions based on user data. In the United States, the tech regulatory landscape is much more fragmented, making such sweeping regulations less feasible. But the need is there regardless.

As a final point, we should spare a thought for the unfortunate agencies charged with regulating organizations as they deploy more complex and unvalidated technologies. Are they sufficiently equipped and informed to regulate the decisionmaking processes of large sophisticated corporations and their black-box algorithms? This is not just about credit cards, after all, but also about unsafe airplanes, dangerous power grids, and a legion of increasingly complex technologies that affect daily life.

Osonde Osoba is an information scientist at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and the co-director of the RAND Center for Scalable Computing and Analysis.

November 24, 2019

తెలుగునాట కొత్త హీరోలొస్తున్నారు.. జాగ్రత్త!

Published Friday, 22 November 2019

‘ఒంగోలులో ఇంటర్మీడియట్ చదువుకుంటున్నపుడు మొదటిసారి జార్జిరెడ్డి గురించి వి న్నాను. మళ్లీ ఇపుడు వింటున్నా. ఆయన గురించి తెలుసుకొన్నపుడు ఎంతో ఆశ్చర్యం వేసింది. ఆయనపై సినిమా రావడం చాలా ఆనందంగా వుంది. ఇలాంటి అగ్రెస్సివ్ వ్యక్తుల జీవితాలు తెరపైకి రావాలి’.. ఈ ఆణిముత్యాలు పలికిన మహనీయుడు మెగాస్టార్ చిరంజీవి. జార్జిరెడ్డి సినిమా పాట విడుదల చేస్తూ చేసిన ఈ వ్యాఖ్యలు చిరంజీవికున్న అజ్ఞానాన్ని, అవకాశవాదాన్ని బయటపెడుతున్నాయి. ‘సైరా’ సినిమా చూశాక ఆయనపై తెలుగు ప్రేక్షకుల్లో పెరిగిన దేశభక్తి అమాంతం మంచులా కరిగిపోయింది. ఆయనే కాదు, ఈ కథానాయకుడి కథను గురించి తెలియని కొంతమంది అమాంబాపతుగాళ్లు ‘ఇదేదో ప్రశ్నించే తత్వం’ అంటూ వరవరరావులా మాట్లాడుతున్నారు!
ఇప్పటికే ఈ మెగాస్టార్ తమ్ముడు పవర్‌స్టార్ ‘పవనిజం’ పేరుతో అర్జెంటీనా వైద్యశాస్త్ర పట్ట్భద్రుడు, బొలీవియా, క్యూబాల్లో కమ్యూనిస్టు సాయుధ పోరాటాల్లో పాల్గొన్న ‘చెగువేరా’ను- తెలుగునాట భగత్‌సింగ్‌ను చంపేసి- యువకుల మోటార్ సైకిళ్ళపై స్టిక్కర్‌గా ఎక్కించేశాడు. ఈ చెగువేరా ఫెడల్ క్యాస్ట్రో మంత్రివర్గం నుండి బయటకొచ్చి ‘కమ్యూనిస్టు విప్లవం’ తీసుకున్నాడు. మరి తలాతోకా తెలియకుండా స్టేట్‌మెంట్లు ఇచ్చే నాయకుల్లా, సినిమావాళ్లలా చిరంజీవి ఆ భ్రమల్లో పడి ‘అగ్రెస్సివ్’ పాత్రలు రావాలనడం ‘ఏం సందేశం’ ఇస్తాయో తెలుసుకున్నాడా? మరి అలాంటి అగ్రెస్సివ్ పాత్రలు ఆయుధాలు చేపడితే మీరు హైదరాబాద్‌లో నిర్మించుకున్న స్టూడియోలు, ఆకాశహర్మ్యాలు ఉంటాయా? ఇలాంటివి ప్రోత్సహిస్తే గద్దర్ గానం చేసే అమరవీరులంతా రేపటినుండి హీరోలై కూర్చుంటారు. అపుడు తెలుగునాట కథలకు కొదవుండదు. బహుశా! రాం చరణ్, అల్లు అర్జున్‌లకు కావాలసినంత పని కూడా దొరుకుతుంది.
జార్జిరెడ్డి 15 జనవరి 1947లో క్రైస్తవ మలయాళీ లీలా వర్గీస్, రఘునాథ రెడ్డి (చిత్తూరు జిల్లా) దంపతులకు జన్మించాడు. నిజాం కళాశాల, ఉస్మానియా విశ్వవిద్యాలయాల్లో చదువు కొనసాగించాడు. అదే అతని రంగస్థలం. 1967-69 మధ్యలో శ్రీకాకుళ సాయుధ పోరాటం ప్రారంభం అయ్యాక, దాని మానిఫ్యాక్చరింగ్ యూనిట్‌ను ఉస్మానియా విశ్వవిద్యాలయంలో ఏర్పాటుచేశారు. ‘మార్క్సిస్ట్ మదర్సా’లా ఇపుడు జేఎన్‌యూ ఎలా తయారైందో- నక్సలైట్లను తయారుచేసే కేంద్రాలుగా విశ్వవిద్యాలయాలు మారిన సందర్భం అది. ఆ సందర్భంగా సదరు జార్జిరెడ్డి గోదావరి హాస్టల్ పక్కన నికిల్ డస్టర్లు, కత్తులు, బ్లేడ్లు, చువ్వలు.. ఎలా ఉపయోగించాలో విశ్వవిద్యాలయంలో అమాయక విద్యార్థులకు నేర్పించడం మొదలుపెట్టాడు. ఈ గుంపునకు కాంగ్రెస్ కమ్యూనిస్టు దత్తపుత్రులైన ఎస్.జైపాల్‌రెడ్డి, కె.వి. రఘనాథరెడ్డి వంటివారు వె న్నుదన్నుగా నిలిచేవారు. జై పాల్‌రెడ్డి ఢిల్లీలో కూర్చొని మొన్నటివరకు కమ్యూనిస్టు శక్తులకు, మావోయిస్టు సానుభూతిపరులైన మేధావులకు, హక్కుల సంఘాలకు ఎలా సహాయం చేసేవాడో జైపాల్‌రెడ్డి మరణానంతరం రాసిన వ్యాసంలో- ఓ ప్రసిద్ధ పౌరహక్కుల సిద్ధాంతకర్త స్మరించుకొన్నాడు. వర్గ శత్రు నిర్మూలనలో ఆనాడు నక్సలైట్లు చేసే పాశవిక చర్యలన్నింటిపైనా జార్జిరెడ్డి పూర్తి విశ్వాసం కలిగి విశ్వవిద్యాలయంలో అలాంటి బీభత్స వాతావరణం సృష్టించాడు.
1970లో యూనివర్సిటీ క్యాంప్‌లో రాయలసీమకు చెందిన ఇద్దరు న్యాయశాస్త్ర విద్యార్థులను కత్తితో పొడిచాడు. ఉస్మానియా విశ్వవిద్యాయలంలో ఇంత పెద్ద క్రూర సంఘటన అంతకుముందెన్నడూ జరుగలేదు. దాంతో విశ్వవిద్యాలయ విద్యార్థులు భయభ్రాంతులకు గురయ్యారు. విద్యార్థులు గ్రూపులుగా విడిపోయి వర్గశత్రువులయ్యారు. దాంతో విశ్వవిద్యాలయ పాలక మండలి జార్జిరెడ్డిని ‘రస్టికేట్’ చేయడంతో ఈ వాతావరణం మరింత వేడెక్కింది. నాటి న్యూ సైన్స్ కళాశాల ప్రిన్సిపాల్ సి.సుదర్శన్ అత్యంత శీఘ్ర పైరవీ చేసి జార్జిరెడ్డి రస్టికేషన్‌ను రద్దు చేసేందుకు కృషిచేశాడు. దాంతో జార్జిరెడ్డి నాయకుడై కూర్చొని, తన కార్యకలాపాలు మరింతగా విస్తృతపరిచాడు. జార్జిరెడ్డి ఆగడాలను అఖిల భారతీయ విద్యార్థి పరిషత్ (ఏబీవీపీ) ఎదుర్కోవడం మొదలుపెట్టింది. ఇది జీర్ణించుకోలేక జార్జిరెడ్డి ఏబీవీపీ కార్యకర్తలపై విద్వేషం పెంచుకున్నాడు. ఆనాటి ప్రదేశ్ కాంగ్రెస్ జీపులో ఎక్కి జార్జిరెడ్డి, అతని అనుచరులు సాగించిన దమనకాండ అంతా ఇంతా కాదు. ఏబీవీపీ నాయకుడు నరసింహారెడ్డిని కిడ్నాప్ చేసి ఫుట్‌బాల్ గ్రౌండ్‌లో వేసి తీవ్రంగా కొట్టారు. అలాగే మాజీ గవర్నర్ సిహెచ్.విద్యాసాగర్‌రావును, నారాయణదాసును తీవ్రంగా గాయపరిచాడు. నారాయణదాసును తీవ్రంగా కొట్టి, అతను మరణించాడని వదిలిపెట్టి పబ్లిక్ గార్డెన్‌లో పడేసి తిరుగుముఖం పట్టారు. ఎంతో ఓపికగా భరించిన జాతీయవాద విద్యార్థులపై జార్జిరెడ్డి తన ముఠాతో తీవ్రంగా దాడులు చేయించాడు. ఇంద్రసేనారెడ్డి, రవీందర్‌రెడ్డిల తలకు తీవ్రంగా రక్తస్రావం అయ్యేంతవరకు చీఫ్ వార్డెన్ ఆఫీసులోనే దాడి చేశారు.
ఆ తర్వాత నాటి సీఎం జలగం వెంగళరావు ఈ నక్సల్స్ గ్యాంగుకు, ఏబీవీపీకి రాజీ కుదిర్చేందుకు ఓ సమావేశం ఏర్పాటుచేస్తే జార్జిరెడ్డితోపాటు ఎస్.జైపాల్‌రెడ్డి కూడా అందులో పాల్గొన్నాడు. వెంగళరావు ఎన్ని సుద్దులు చెప్పినా జార్జిరెడ్డి అపర చెగువేరాలా తన పంథా వదల్లేదు. చివరకు 1972 ఏప్రిల్ 14న జరిగిన విద్యార్థి సంఘాల ఎన్నికల సందర్భం గా జార్జిరెడ్డి, అతని వర్గం ఇంజనీరింగ్ హాస్టల్‌పై దాడికి దిగి ఏబీవీపీ విద్యార్థులపై మారణాయుధాలు ప్రయోగించారు. ఈ క్రమంలో జరిగిన పరస్పర దాడిలో జార్జిరెడ్డి మరణించాడు. దీన్ని ఆనాటి వామపక్ష మేధావులు, సంఘాలు తమ పత్రికల్లో తాటికాయంత అక్షరాలతో ‘మతోన్మాదంపై పోరాటం’ అంటూ కలరింగ్ ఇచ్చాయి. జార్జిరెడ్డి సమకాలికులైన వాళ్లెందరో అనంతర కాలంలో ఆయనను హీరోగా తీర్చిదిద్దారు. అతడు పేరుకి ఎన్‌ఎస్‌యుఐ కార్యకర్త అయినా వామపక్ష అతివాదంతో పనిచేశాడు. అతని మరణాన్ని జైపాల్‌రెడ్డి పెద్ద వివాదంగా మార్చి శవయాత్రను విశ్వవిద్యాలయం గేటు నుండి ఆరెస్సెస్ కార్యాలయం (బర్కత్‌పురా) ముందు తీసుకెళ్లి, అక్కడ ఉద్రిక్తత సృష్టించాడు. ఈ ఘటనలో 9 మంది ఏబీవీపీ సభ్యులతోపాటు 9 మంది విద్యార్థులపై కేసులు నమోదు అయ్యాయి.
175 మంది కాంగ్రెస్, సీపీఎం, సీపీఐ, సోషలిస్ట్ పార్టీల ఎంపీలు దీన్ని ఆసరాగా చూపి ఆరెస్సెస్‌పై కుట్ర కేసు పెట్టాలని ఇందిరాగాంధీని వత్తిడి చేశారు. కానీ ఆరు నెలల్లోగానే ట్రయల్ కోర్టు అందరినీ నిర్దోషులుగా ప్రకటించింది. ఆ తర్వాత జార్జిరెడ్డి అభిమాన గుంపు చేతిలో ఎందరో జాతీయవాద విద్యార్థులు ప్రాణాలు పోగొట్టుకున్నారు. ఈ క్రమంలో అన్ని విశ్వవిద్యాలయాలు ‘టెర్రరైజ్’ అయ్యాయి. దీనికి మేధావుల పేరుతో కవులు, లెక్చరర్లు సైద్ధాంతిక భూమిక రచించారు. ఆఖరుకు విశ్వవిద్యాలయాల్లో జాతీయ జెండాను కూడా అవమానించడం మొదలుపెట్టారు. జాతీయ పతాకం గౌరవం కాపాడే క్రమంలో 1980 జనవరిలో జరిగిన ఘటన తర్వాత సామా జగన్మోహన్‌రెడ్డి ప్రాణాలు పోగొట్టుకున్నాడు. 1983 వరకు విశ్వవిద్యాలయాల్లో ఈ అరాచకం కొనసాగింది. చివరిగా ఏబీవీపీ నాయకుడు చంద్రారెడ్డి హత్యతో జార్జిరెడ్డి రక్త్ధార ఆగిపోయింది. ఇలాంటి వ్యక్తుల జీవితాలను సినిమాలుగా కులాభిమానంతో తీయడం మొదలుపెడితే కథలకు ఏం కొదవ లేదు. పాక్షికంగా రాజకీయ నాయకుడైన చిరంజీవి ఇలాంటి సినిమాలను ప్రమోట్ చేసి సభ్య సమాజానికి ఏం సందేశం ఇస్తారో తెలియజేయాలి.

-డా పి.భాస్కరయోగి bhaskarayogi.p@gmail.com

November 23, 2019

Artificial Intelligence Prediction and Counterterrorism

9 August 2019

The use of AI in counterterrorism is not inherently wrong, and this paper suggests some necessary conditions for legitimate use of AI as part of a predictive approach to counterterrorism on the part of liberal democratic states.

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Authors

Kathleen McKendrick

British Army Officer, Former Visiting Research Fellow at Chatham House

Surveillance cameras manufactured by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. at a testing station near the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China. Photo: Getty Images

Summary

The use of predictive artificial intelligence (AI) in countering terrorism is often assumed to have a deleterious effect on human rights, generating spectres of ‘pre-crime’ punishment and surveillance states. However, the well-regulated use of new capabilities may enhance states’ abilities to protect citizens’ right to life, while at the same time improving adherence to principles intended to protect other human rights, such as transparency, proportionality and freedom from unfair discrimination. The same regulatory framework could also contribute to safeguarding against broader misuse of related technologies.

Most states focus on preventing terrorist attacks, rather than reacting to them. As such, prediction is already central to effective counterterrorism. AI allows higher volumes of data to be analysed, and may perceive patterns in those data that would, for reasons of both volume and dimensionality, otherwise be beyond the capacity of human interpretation. The impact of this is that traditional methods of investigation that work outwards from known suspects may be supplemented by methods that analyse the activity of a broad section of an entire population to identify previously unknown threats.

Developments in AI have amplified the ability to conduct surveillance without being constrained by resources. Facial recognition technology, for instance, may enable the complete automation of surveillance using CCTV in public places in the near future.The current way predictive AI capabilities are used presents a number of interrelated problems from both a human rights and a practical perspective. Where limitations and regulations do exist, they may have the effect of curtailing the utility of approaches that apply AI, while not necessarily safeguarding human rights to an adequate extent.The infringement of privacy associated with the automated analysis of certain types of public data is not wrong in principle, but the analysis must be conducted within a robust legal and policy framework that places sensible limitations on interventions based on its results.In future, broader access to less intrusive aspects of public data, direct regulation of how those data are used – including oversight of activities by private-sector actors – and the imposition of technical as well as regulatory safeguards may improve both operational performance and compliance with human rights legislation. It is important that any such measures proceed in a manner that is sensitive to the impact on other rights such as freedom of expression, and freedom of association and assembly.



https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/artificial-intelligence-prediction-and-counterterrorism