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  • News & article

    The Cambridge Analytica red herring

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 21/03/2018

    » Facebook is being hammered for allowing the data firm Cambridge Analytica to acquire 50 million user profiles in the US, which it may or may not have used to help the Trump campaign. But the outrage misses the target: There's nothing Cambridge Analytica could have done that Facebook itself doesn't offer political clients.

  • News & article

    The cyber whodunnit and the global blame game

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 21/12/2017

    » The US government has officially attributed to North Korea the WannaCry ransomware attack, which encrypted hundreds of thousands of computer drives around the world in May, 2017. And yet as with a series of other highly public cyberattack attributions, little evidence for the claim was made public. It's time for the cybersecurity world to follow the advice of the Rand Corporation and set up an unbiased international consortium that would seek to attribute attacks based on a common set of rules.

  • News & article

    That special human 'thing' will always beat AI

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 19/12/2016

    » This year's news about what artificial intelligence can do in the arts has been both exciting and scary. Neural networks have learned to paint like masters and compose sophisticated music. Those of us in creative endeavours might be as endangered by technological advances as blue-collar workers are often said to be -- though we are protected by certain limitations that technology is never likely to overcome.

  • News & article

    Is there a case for universal basic income?

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 11/02/2019

    » The first results of Finland's two-year experiment with a universal basic income are in, and if they're confirmed by further research, they will probably hurt the unconditional income cause. The trial run showed that "money for nothing" makes people happier but doesn't inspire them to find work any more than traditional unemployment benefits would.

  • News & article

    Give people a chance to sell their data to FB

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 01/02/2019

    » It's easy to be outraged by the revelation that Facebook has been paying users between the ages of 13 and 35 up to US$20 (624 baht) a month to allow practically unlimited access to their smartphone usage data. But outrage about the social media giant is so 2017. The latest dubious practice could be an opportunity to consider a more finely tuned business model.

  • News & article

    Yes, Russia abused Facebook. But did it actually work?

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 20/12/2018

    » Russia's propaganda operations during the 2016 US presidential election were broader than previously thought, according to two recently published studies. But they don't provide proof the influence campaign was as effective as the Kremlin may have hoped. Both reports, based on data provided by social networks, combine a distrust of the companies' disclosures and a naive trust in the metrics they tout.

  • News & article

    What's scary about Facebook's new troll findings

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 03/08/2018

    » Facebook's widely publicised discovery of a possible influence operation through "inauthentic" accounts warrants some scrutiny -- and some reflection about the difference between a genuine political debate on social networks versus its simulated version.

  • News & article

    Fighting tax dodgers can kill growth

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 26/07/2018

    » It's easy to be outraged about multinational corporations' shifting of profits to tax havens, but much harder to figure out how to stop them from doing it without hurting the economy. Evidence exists that curbing tax avoidance opportunities makes these firms move actual jobs, not just accounting profits, overseas.

  • News & article

    Merkel joins US on trade 'low road'

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 15/06/2018

    » After failing to persuade President Donald Trump that punitive tariffs on European imports aren't a good idea, Chancellor Angela Merkel has apparently decided to fight back by taking a page from his playbook and manipulating facts.

  • News & article

    EU privacy rules risk giving Google even more power

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 03/05/2018

    » The disingenuous way companies are attempting to comply with the letter, not the spirit, of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is only part of the problem with the new privacy rule, which goes into effect on May 25. For publishers already forced to accept Google's near monopoly on programmatic advertising on their sites, the new regulation could make things worse.

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