The attention of this newspaper is drawn to a front-page lead story in its May 23, 2019 edition headlined “Halting Gongloe ‘Was in Line with Supreme Court’s Protocol”.According to the writer of the story, Abednego Davies, quoting a release from the Supreme Court, says Chief Justice Korkpor’s gag action against LNBA President Tiawan Gongloe was in keeping with the protocol of the Court.“It is an established rule and protocol of the Supreme Court that, at the official opening of each Term of Court or at formal judicial program held at the court, those who speak in response to the Chief Justice’s addresses or remarks must confine themselves to what the Chief Justice has spoken on”.The press release from the Supreme Court, which came in the wake of the Daily Observer’s May 22, 2019 editorial, headlined, “You have Indeed Gravely Erred Mr. Chief Justice”, appears to have been driven by expressed public concerns about the action of the Chief Justice during the seating program of newly appointed Associate Justice, Yussif Kaba.The recurring theme, it would appear, is the question of freedom of expression and thought. And that raises the question whether established Supreme Court rules and protocols take precedence over the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, particularly those provisions protecting freedom of thought and expression.From all indications, the remarks by Bar Association President Tiawan Gongloe must have angered the Chief Justice and triggered off such knee jerk response that tripped the constitutional wire. Established rules and protocols in dissonance with the Constitution can not be used to justify arbitrariness, not even by a long stretch.The issue at bar here is the fundamental right to freedom of expression and responsibility for same thereof and not whether Bar President Gongloe’s remarks were inappropriate or not.Granted, even if his (Gongloe’s) remarks were inappropriate, did such remarks rob the Chief Justice of the opportunity to respond to what the Supreme Court considered inappropriate? In the opinion of this newspaper, fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution especially those enshrined in Article 15 a, b, c, d, e make mincemeat of spurious arguments suggesting that rules, protocols, and laws take precedence over the Constitution.More besides, those who administer at the “altars of justice” in Liberia should not and cannot afford to be seen as intolerant or hostile to rights guaranteed under the Constitution. They should always be guided by the Voltairean principle: “I wholly disapprove of what you say—and will defend to the death your right to say it.”The Daily Observer holds the view yet, unchanged, that Chief Justice Korkpor’s action violated provisions of the Constitution guaranteeing and protecting freedom of thought and expression. In this regard, no rule, law, protocol or special arrangement can supersede the Constitution. For reasons of clarity, those relevant provisions of the Constitution referenced are quoted here below:CHAPTER IIIFUNDAMENTAL RIGHTSArticle 15a) Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof. This right shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government save during an emergency declared in accordance with this Constitution.b) The right encompasses the right to hold opinions without interference and the right to knowledge. It includes freedom of speech and of the press, academic freedom to receive and impart knowledge and information and the right of libraries to make such knowledge available. It includes non-interference with the use of the mail, telephone and telegraph. It likewise includes the right to remain silent.c) In pursuance of this right, there shall be no limitation on the public right to be informed about the government and its functionaries.d) Access to state owned media shall not be denied because of any disagreement with or dislike of the ideas express. Denial of such access may be challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction.e) This freedom may be limited only by judicial action in proceedings grounded in defamation or invasion of the rights of privacy and publicity or in the commercial aspect of expression in deception, false advertising and copyright infringement”.In closing this editorial, this newspaper begs to differ with Justice Korkpor and must warn of the implications of setting dangerous precedents. As innocuous as the action of the Chief Justice may appear, it is important to ask: just where does this all end since, from hard experience, we know that one arbitrary behavior leads to another and yet another?Thus, we beg to differ, Mr. Chief Justice for this newspaper cannot accept that Court rules and protocols take precedence over the Constitution. Liberians have paid a very high price for the freedoms enjoyed today and are not prepared to accept anything less. As Nelson Mandela reminds us “there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires”.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
KUSI Newsroom, Categories: California News, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO ( KUSI) – Recently, San Diego County’s regional transportation planning agency, SANDAG, released a plan to cut 14 freeway and highway improvements and shift all of that money into “transit” for downtown San Diego and to fund conversion of road lanes to dedicated bike lanes.SANDAG and its subsidiary MTS also propose higher taxes: both a massive Sales Tax hike and a “Congestion Tax” for anyone wanting to use the roads with all that money going to transit, not roads.Despite a recent poll that even shows voters in the heavily urban areas of the City of San Diego overwhelmingly oppose these proposals by a whopping two-to-one margin, SANDAG and politicians continue to push Road Repair Raids and the Congestion Tax forward.Carl DeMaio hosted a town hall to engage San Diegans about the issue and continue to fight back against the politicians who want to push these road raids. Posted: June 25, 2019 June 25, 2019 SANDAG plan to cut 14 freeway and highway improvements to fund conversion of road lanes to dedicated bike lanes KUSI Newsroom
At the brain-storming meeting of the Election Authority of the party, Gandhi is learnt to have expressed his concern over the tardy pace of organizational polls and asked young AICC secretaries to take responsibility to ensure that it gets the needed momentum in states.Re-introducing active membership concept, common membership across all the wings of Congress and enhanching the representation ratio of SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities in Committees are some of the measures that were debated threadbare during the meeting in which Gandhi was present for one and half hour. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIThrust was laid on opening up the membership enrolment by introducing multiple channels like web-based application and smart phone application as well as providing “incentives” for a member who enrolls at least 25 members.From the meeting, coming a day before Delhi goes to vote, it emerged that the Congress Vice President was focussing on long-term strategies.Party General Secretary in-charge Organization Janardan Dwivedi could not attend the meeting as he was down with viral fever while some other general secretaries also failed to turn up. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindThe membership drive, which was earlier set to have ended on December 31 of last year, was extended for two months is to wrap up this month-end with Gandhi not quite keen on further extending it.The Central Election Authority headed by senior leader Mullapalli Rmachandran submitted some proposals and amendments to better the organizational functioning of the party, which was considered by the apex decision making body of the party, Congress Working Committee in a meeting on January 13. The CWC decided to take inputs from the states on the proposed changes and fine-tune the proposal and if necessary, place them before AICC session likely in March-April.This time there will be open membership and the party plans to carry out rigorous scrutiny to ensure transparent selection.There have been several complaints earlier regarding bogus membership and kin of senior politicians occupying key posts in the party by ‘managing’ elections.In a statement, the party said that since it is seriously considering to introduce active membership concept, the Election Authority exhorted each Congress workers to enrol at least 25 members and maintain its record to access “incentives” to be announced by the party, for every one, who enrolls a minimum of 25 members.
Facebook’s public image suffered quite a few setbacks in recent times. The Cambridge analytica scandal has opened up a pandora’s box full of questions about user data security and privacy. In the recent senate hearings, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg had an apologetic tone and he promised to give utmost importance to user data security. The misfortunes however, doesn’t seem to be over for Zuckerberg and Facebook. In a latest security scare, a bug had caused quite a ruckus for the tech giant. Facebook composer bug Now let’s talk about the bugs, yes, you read that correctly, there were more than one recent Facebook bugs affecting user data and privacy. The first bug was related to the Facebook message composer. According to Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan, the bug affected composer’s privacy settings in a way that when the users were creating new posts, it automatically changed the privacy settings to public. This meant that user updates which might have been private, were available publicly. This bug had affected 14 million users worldwide and it was active during 18th May to 22nd May 2018. It took Facebook till 27th May to identify the bug and then rectify the problem. As a trust building measure, Facebook had sent notifications to all the users affected by this breach. A snapshot of the Facebook notification looked like this: Source: Techcrunch Automatic Unblocking bug The second incident occurred was between 29th May to 5th June. This particular incident was reported via a Facebook blog post which stated that a bug that had affected around 800k Facebook users, had temporarily unblocked contacts and enabled previously blocked contacts to message or view the details of the respective users. This security breach was in a way potentially dangerous since it openly allowed stalking or even harassment. Facebook had although stated that this bug had unblocked one contact per user. The official Facebook notification to the affected users looked like this: Source: Facebook Blog Facebook Analytics Data leak The story of bugs is not over yet. There were recent reports that the Facebook analytics data of around 3 percent Facebook apps were leaked to testers accidentally. This was due to a faulty automated email system according to Facebook. Although Facebook insists on the fact that no personal user data was leaked, still this incident doesn’t go down well keeping in mind the company’s latest record of user privacy and data secrecy. Facebook is trying to be transparent in its approach to tackle this menace of recurring bugs, but how successful their efforts will be, only time and their future actions will tell. Read Next The Cambridge Analytica scandal and ethics in data science Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony: 5 things we learned F8 AR Announcements
YouTube is at the center of content creation, content distribution, and advertising activities for some time now. The impact of YouTube can be estimated from the 1.8 billion YouTube users worldwide. While the YouTube video hosting concept has been a great success story for content creators, the video viewing and recommendation model has been in the middle of a brewing controversy lately. The Controversy Logan Paul was already a top rated YouTube star when he stumbled across a hanging dead body in a Japanese forest which is famous as a suicide spot. After the initial shock and awe, Logan Paul seemed quite amused and commented “Dude, his hands are purple,” then he turned to his friends and giggled. “You ever stand next to a dead guy?”. This particular instance was a shocking moment for YouTubers all across the globe. Disapproving reactions had poured in and the video was taken down 24 hours later by YouTube. In those 24 hours, the video managed to garner 6 million views. Even after the furious backlash, users complained that they were still seeing recommendations of Logan Paul’s videos. That brought the emphasis back on the recommendation system that YouTube uses. YouTube Video Recommendation Back in 2005, when YouTube first started out, it had a uniform homepage for all users. This meant that every YouTube user would see the same homepage and the creators who would feature there, would get a huge boost in their viewership. Their selection was based on their subscriber count, views and user engagement metrics e.g. likes, comments, shares etc. This inspired other users to become creators and start contributing content to become a part of the YouTube family. In 2006, YouTube was bought by Google. Their policies and homepage started evolving gradually. As ads started showing on YouTube videos, the scenario changed quite quickly. Also, with the rapid rise in the number of users, Google had thought it to be a good idea to curate the homepage as per each user’s watch history, subscriptions, and likes. This was a good move in principle since it helped the users to see what they wanted to see. As a part of their next level innovation, a machine learning model was created to suggest or recommend videos to users. The goal of this deep neural network based recommendation engine was to increase watch time of every video so that users stay longer on the platform. What did it change and How When Youtube’s machine learning algorithm shows a few videos in your feed as “Recommended for you”, it predicts what you want to see from your watch history and watch history of similar users. If you interact with any of these videos and watch it for a certain amount of time, the recommendation engine considers it as a success and starts curating a list based on your interactions with its suggested videos. The more data it gathers about your choices and watch history, the more confident it becomes of its own video decisions. The major goal of Youtube’s recommendation engine is to attract your attention and get you hooked to the platform to get more watch time. More watch time means more revenue and more scope for targeted ads. What this changes, is the fundamental concept of choice and the exercising of user discretion. The moment the YouTube Algorithm considers watch time as the most important metric to recommend videos to you, less importance goes into the organic interactions on YouTube, which includes liking, commenting and subscribing to videos and channels. Users get to see video recommendations based on the YouTube Algorithm’s user understanding and its goal of maximizing watch time, with less importance given to user choices. Distorted Reality and YouTube This attention maximizing model is the fundamental working mechanism of mostly all social media networks. But YouTube has not been implicated in the accusation of distorting reality and spreading the fake news as much as Facebook has been in mainstream media. But times are changing and so are the viewpoints related to YouTube’s influence on the global population and its ability to manipulate important public opinion. Guillaume Chaslot, a 36-year-old French computer programmer with a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, was one of those engineers who was in the core team to develop and perfect the YouTube algorithm. In his own words “YouTube is something that looks like reality, but it is distorted to make you spend more time online. The recommendation algorithm is not optimizing for what is truthful, or balanced, or healthy for democracy.” Chaslot explains that the algorithm never stays the same. It is constantly changing the weight it gives to different signals; the viewing patterns of a user, for example, or the length of time a video is watched before someone clicks away.” Chaslot was fired by Google in 2013 over performance issues. His claim was that he wanted to bring about a change in the approach of the YouTube algorithm to make it more aligned with democratic values instead of being devoted to just increasing the watch time. Where are we headed I am not qualified or righteous enough to answer the direct question – is YouTube good or bad. YouTube creates opportunities for millions of creators worldwide to showcase their talent and present it to a global audience without worrying about country or boundaries. This itself is a huge power for an internet application. But the crucial point to remember here is whether YouTube is using this power to just make the users glued to the screen. Do they really care if you are seeing divisive content or prejudiced flat earther conspiracies as recommended videos? The algorithm can be tweaked to include parameters which will remove unintended bias such as whether a video is propagating fake news or influencing voters minds in an unlawful way. But that is near impossible as machines lack morality or empathy or even common sense. To incorporate humane values such as honesty and morality into an AI system is like creating an AI that is more human than a machine. This is why machine augmented human intelligence will play a more and more crucial role in the near future. The possibilities are endless, be it good or bad. Whether we progress or digress, might not be in our hands anymore. But what might be in our hands is to come together to put effective checkpoints to identify and course correct scenarios where algorithms rule wild. Read Next Sex robots, artificial intelligence, and ethics: How desire shapes and is shaped by algorithms Like newspapers, Google algorithms are protected by the First amendment California replaces cash bail with algorithms
Last September, a complaint was filed against Google and other ad auction companies about a data breach that “affects virtually every user on the web”. This complaint was made by a host of privacy activists and browser makers, alleging that tech companies broadcasted people’s personal data to dozens of companies, without proper security through a mechanism of “behavioural ads”. The complaint stated that every time a person visits a website and is shown a “behavioural” ad on a website; intimate personal data describing each visitor and what they are watching online is captured and broadcast to tens or hundreds of companies. This was done in order to request potential advertisers’ bids for the attention of the specific individual visiting the website. The complaints were lodged by Jim Killock of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group, tech policy researcher Michael Veale of University College London, and Johnny Ryan of the pro-privacy browser firm Brave. They claimed that Google and other ad-tech firms were breaking the EU’s strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by unlawfully recording people’s sensitive characteristics. Now, new evidence has been released by the very same organizations that filed last September’s complaint, showing the data broadcasted includes information about people’s ethnicity, disabilities, sexual orientation and more. This sensitive information allows advertisers to specifically target incest, abuse victims, or those with eating disorders. The irony of it being, yesterday was ‘International Data Protection Day”. What is Behavioral advertising? Yahoo finance has explained the concept of behavioral advertising very simply. The online ad industry tracks a person’s movements around the internet and builds a profile based on what the individual looks at/ sites the user visits. On visiting a webpage that runs behavioral ads, an automated auction takes place between ad agencies with the winner allowed being to show the user an ad that supposedly matches their profile. This ultimately means that for the real-time bidding system to work, personal details of the users have to be broadcasted to the advertisers in so-called “bid requests”. Evidence against Google and IAB Joining the list of complainants is Poland’s Panoptykon Foundation, another rights group, that has complained to its local data protection authority about organizations including Google and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which is the industry body that sets the rules for ad auctions. The evidence submitted by the complainants comprises category lists from Google and IAB, including topics such as being an incest victim, having cancer, having a substance-abuse problem, being into a certain kind of politics or adhering to a certain religion or sect. Special needs kids, endocrine and metabolic diseases, birth control, infertility, diabetes, Islam, Judaism, disabled sports, bankruptcy- these serve as supplementary evidence for the two original complaints filed with the UK’s ICO and the Irish DPC last year. A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company has “strict policies that prohibit advertisers on our platforms from targeting individuals on the basis of sensitive categories” and that if they did find such ads violating said policies, they would take immediate action”. The original IAB lists can be downloaded as a spreadsheet. The PDF versions of the IAB lists with special category and sensitive data highlighted by the complainants can be viewed here (v1) and here (v2). You can go ahead and download Google’s original document for more insights on this news. Read Next French data regulator, CNIL imposes a fine of 50M euros against Google for failing to comply with GDPREuropean Consumer groups accuse Google of tracking its users’ location, calls it a breach of GDPRTwitter on the GDPR radar for refusing to provide a user his data due to ‘disproportionate effort’ involved