Politico: Groups press Biden to commit to transparency

Politico: Groups press Biden to commit to transparency. “When President Joe Biden was sworn in last month, he signed 17 executive orders and other directives. None was focused on transparency. Now, a coalition of advocates for more access to government information and deliberations are urging Biden to make such openness a higher priority and to reverse what they contend was a deterioration in public access to the inner workings of government under former President Donald Trump.”

Myanmar coup: How Facebook became the ‘digital tea shop’ (BBC)

BBC: Myanmar coup: How Facebook became the ‘digital tea shop’. “As Myanmar’s military seized control in a coup on 1 February, many Burmese watched events unfold on Facebook in real-time. It’s the primary source of information and news, where businesses operate and how authorities disseminate vital information. Its ubiquity has meant it plays an outsized role in what information is amplified and its real-world impact.”

MIT Technology Review: The Biden administration’s AI plans: what we might expect

MIT Technology Review: The Biden administration’s AI plans: what we might expect. “At the moment, the most pressing issues on his table are fighting the coronavirus pandemic, providing financial relief for Americans, and reversing a series of Trump-era policies on climate change, international relations, and immigration. Artificial intelligence, as expected, hasn’t yet made it to the top of list. But he has given several signals already about how his administration might think about and treat the technology.”

Cherwell: Oxford study finds social media manipulation in all 81 countries surveyed

Cherwell: Oxford study finds social media manipulation in all 81 countries surveyed. “A report published by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) has found evidence of organised social media manipulation campaigns in all 81 countries surveyed in 2020, a 15% increase compared to last year’s report. The study points to the rising influence of ‘cyber troops’. This refers to social media accounts that spread doctored images, use data-driven strategies to target specific sections of the population, troll political opponents, and mass-report opponents’ content so that it is reported as spam. These accounts can be either automated or human.”

New York Times: An Australia With No Google? The Bitter Fight Behind a Drastic Threat

New York Times: An Australia With No Google? The Bitter Fight Behind a Drastic Threat. “In a major escalation, Google threatened on Friday to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government approved legislation that would force tech companies to pay for journalism shared on their platforms. Facebook, which appeared with Google at an Australian Senate hearing, reaffirmed a threat of its own, vowing to block users in Australia from posting or sharing links to news if the bill passed.”

Pics: Secret Service launches new website and you can see it here (American Military News)

American Military News: Pics: Secret Service launches new website and you can see it here. “The United States Secret Service launched a recently redesigned public website Thursday, including access for public and law enforcement partners who work to support the agency’s missions and modernized agency communication. The new website includes a Newsroom that provides users with the option to receive automated Secret Service agency updates. It also features the agency’s social media feeds.”

Indiana University: O’Neill School, University of Miami launch dashboard comparing COVID-19 executive orders nationwide

Indiana University: O’Neill School, University of Miami launch dashboard comparing COVID-19 executive orders nationwide. “The project tracked executive orders from every state, beginning in March through reopening. The research team coded more than 1,500 executive orders. The dashboard organizes and categorizes each state’s executive orders; ranks states by order stringency; and allows users to see how the information correlates with other issues, such as social distancing and the number of COVID-19 cases. It also allows users to filter information by various factors, such as age, income and governors’ political affiliations.”

‘They’re not really doing anything’: As Covid-19 cases spiral, leaders around the U.S. lose urgency on prevention (STAT News)

STAT News: ‘They’re not really doing anything’: As Covid-19 cases spiral, leaders around the U.S. lose urgency on prevention. “More than a dozen states have seen record-high Covid-19 infections in the past five days, as the country experiences case counts never seen before anywhere in the world and, once again, surging hospitalizations and deaths. But public health experts around the country told STAT they were deeply worried that there has not been a correspondingly urgent response from federal, state, and local leaders. As a result, they warned, the country is set on an even more dire course as it moves deeper into the fall and holiday season.”

Washington Post: Trump’s pandemic agenda shoved government scientists aside. They’re attempting an 11th-hour comeback.

Washington Post: Trump’s pandemic agenda shoved government scientists aside. They’re attempting an 11th-hour comeback.. “After months of being sidelined or outright attacked by President Trump, a growing number of government scientists and physicians are pushing back against the president’s political agenda when it comes to the pandemic.”

Financial Post: Sandvine’s Technology Used for Web Censoring in More Than a Dozen Nations

Financial Post: Sandvine’s Technology Used for Web Censoring in More Than a Dozen Nations. “In Jordan, Sandvine Inc.’s equipment was used to censor an LGBTQ website. Egypt’s government relied on Sandvine equipment to block access to independent news sites. In Azerbaijan, it was deployed for a social media blackout, current and former employees say.Last month, U.S. -based Sandvine, which is owned by the private equity firm Francisco Partners, said it would stop selling its equipment in Belarus after Bloomberg News reported that it was used to censor the internet during a crucial election.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Archives’ legal bill for Palace Papers case could top $2 million

Sydney Morning Herald: Archives’ legal bill for Palace Papers case could top $2 million. “The National Archives spent $1 million fighting to stop Australians seeing the Palace Papers and faces spending that amount again on the legal costs of the historian who battled to get the documents released. Meanwhile, thousands of secret foreign policy files gather dust in public service store rooms waiting for declassification as the archives complains of funding shortfalls.” I only vaguely knew of the Palace Papers. ABC News Australia filled me in.

Washington Post: In the U.S., states — not science — decide what counts as a coronavirus outbreak

Washington Post: In the U.S., states — not science — decide what counts as a coronavirus outbreak. “The nation’s patchwork pandemic response has led to wide disparities in data reporting and even in definitions for basic medical concepts. In the absence of federal standards, states have adopted divergent and sometimes scientifically questionable approaches to disease control, which experts say have allowed the virus to spread.”

BuzzFeed News: It Took Facebook More Than A Year — And A Whistleblower — To Remove A Troll Farm Connected To Azerbaijan’s Ruling Party

BuzzFeed News: It Took Facebook More Than A Year — And A Whistleblower — To Remove A Troll Farm Connected To Azerbaijan’s Ruling Party. “Weeks after firing an internal whistleblower who called for Facebook to crack down on a massive network of fake activity connected to Azerbaijan’s ruling party, Facebook has removed more than 1,000 accounts and close to 8,000 pages.”

Government in a pandemic: How coronavirus caused a dramatic shift in our relationship with the state (Phys .org)

Phys .org: Government in a pandemic: How coronavirus caused a dramatic shift in our relationship with the state. “As we head into the colder months, the increased threat of a second spike in the pandemic has forced the UK government to reintroduce new restrictive measures, including targeted local lockdowns, new rules (‘of six’) and early pub closures. At the same time, compliance is fraying. One of the deeper issues with the government restrictions, which has less often been discussed, is a moral one. It concerns the level of control we grant to the government over our individual healthcare decisions.”