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Yaël Eisenstat, DLI Visiting Fellow, and Daniel Kreiss, Principal Researcher, UNC Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life have produced a collaborative position paper that asserts how social media platforms can, and should, go further to protect the 2020 US presidential election. "On July 30th, a small working group of experts on misinformation, platforms, and voting met to analyze platform policies and enforcement of electoral misinformation. The goal was to provide realistic and effective recommendations for additional steps the platforms can take now to combat misinformation about voting." Read full paper >

In Robin Berjon's recent article How The New York Times Thinks About Your Privacy, he articulates how the Newspaper is fostering improved standards, and references the impact of DLI Director Helen Nissenbaum's theory of privacy as contextual integrity. Read full article >

The Berkley Technology Law Journal has published illuminating research conducted by DLI Director Helen Nissenbaum and Kirsten Martin’s on the perceptions surrounding locational data: “This Article reports on a set of empirical studies that reveal how people think about location data, how these conceptions relate to expectations of privacy, and consequently, what this might mean for law, regulation, and technological design.” Read full article >

Once again, DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat has appeared on the national news to relay her views on the recent Facebook protests. A number of big brands publicly joined a growing Facebook ad boycott at the urging of the NAACP and other civil rights organizations. Listen to the interview >

DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat has released a compelling article via TechStream about how to combat online voter suppression: "Amid a 2018 civil-rights audit of the company, Facebook came under pressure to consider a novel set of questions about its role in politics: What does voter suppression look like on social media? And, in the absence of U.S. legislation on the subject, should the company set the rules to ensure that voter suppression does not occur, in any form and at any level, in the digital world?" Read the full article >

The Cornell Chronicle has released an article about the study completed by DLI's Ido Sivan-Sevilla and Helen Nissenbaum, along with Cornell Tech master's students Wenyi Chu and Xiaoyu Liang, to develop a contextual understanding of online tracking. "The study examined how the order in which users visit 15 major health, education and news sites affects the way third-party trackers follow them around the internet. Although the health sites may have fewer trackers than other types of sites, the researchers found, those trackers are more persistent in following page visitors." Read full article >  

DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat joined Roger McNamee on CNN Business to assess the implications of the U.S. President’s recent executive order, which aims at limiting the broad legal protections enjoyed by social media companies. As the former Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations at Facebook, Eisenstat also asserted that social media platforms should be held accountable for the amplification and curation of harmful information. Watch the full interview >

DLI is excited to be showcasing two of its latest research collaborations at the Federal Trade Commission's fifth annual PrivacyCon on July 21, 2020. Postdoctoral Fellow Ido Sivan-Sevilla teamed-up with Cornell Tech Masters students, Wenyi Chu and Xiaoyu Liang, to develop a contextual understanding of online tracking. Using Helen Nissenbaum’s theory of contextual integrity, they relied on open source tools to measure how third-parties are identifying users in popular websites that are associated with news, health, and education domains (Read submitted article here >). In the second collaboration, Visiting Fellow Yan Schwartznaider worked with Madelyn Sanfilippo, Irwin Reyes, Helen Nissenbaum, and Serge Egelman to explore the privacy practices of popular disaster apps, highlighting location information flows. The empirical study compares content analysis of privacy policies and government agency policies, also structured around the contextual integrity framework, with static and dynamic app analysis documenting the personal data sent by 15 apps. Read more >

DLI Visiting Fellow Yaël Eisenstat discusses the highlights of her virtual SXSW panel, where she explores the future of tech responsibility in relation to Section 230. "Who bears responsibility for the real-world consequences of technology? This question has been unduly complicated for decades by the 1996 legislation that provides immunity from liability to platforms that host third-party content. According to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, written before platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter existed: 'No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.'" Read more >

DLI Postdoctoral Fellows Jake Goldenfein and Salomé Viljoen, along with Ben Green, have published an illuminating article in Jacobin, discussing how we can achieve the public health benefits of data without accepting abusive and illicit surveillance. "As the world scrambles to stop the coronavirus pandemic, governments and technology companies have begun exploring new partnerships to track the spread of COVID-19 and target preventative interventions. Emerging reports about these collaborations have sparked a debate: do you want privacy or public health?" Read article >

The Digital Life Initiative is very excited to invite PhD students to join its dynamic community of technologists, humanists, social scientists and legal scholars as DLI Doctoral Fellows for the 2020-21 academic year. More Info >

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