USDA: USDA Rolls Out New APHIS Compliance Database and Search Tool

USDA: USDA Rolls Out New APHIS Compliance Database and Search Tool . “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is pleased to announce the rollout of the refined public search tool that provides access to Animal Welfare Act compliance records. The public search tool is a component of the Animal Care Information System (ACIS) and will allow APHIS to make animal welfare information publicly available and ensure compliance with all applicable laws*.”

I’ve seen two different reactions asserting the tool doesn’t do what it says it does.

Wired: Machines Taught by Photos Learn a Sexist View of Women

Wired: Machines Taught by Photos Learn a Sexist View of Women. “LAST FALL, UNIVERSITY of Virginia computer-science professor Vicente Ordóñez noticed a pattern in some of the guesses made by image-recognition software he was building. ‘It would see a picture of a kitchen and more often than not associate it with women, not men,’ he says. That got Ordóñez wondering whether he and other researchers were unconsciously injecting biases into their software. So he teamed up with colleagues to test two large collections of labeled photos used to ‘train’ image-recognition software.”

Wired: When Government Rules by Software, Citizens Are Left in the Dark

Wired: When Government Rules by Software, Citizens Are Left in the Dark. “IN JULY, SAN Francisco Superior Court Judge Sharon Reardon considered whether to hold Lamonte Mims, a 19-year-old accused of violating his probation, in jail. One piece of evidence before her: the output of algorithms known as PSA that scored the risk that Mims, who had previously been convicted of burglary, would commit a violent crime or skip court. Based on that result, another algorithm recommended that Mims could safely be released, and Reardon let him go. Five days later, police say, he robbed and murdered a 71-year old man. On Monday, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said staffers using the tool had erroneously failed to enter Mims’ prior jail term. Had they done so, PSA would have recommended he be held, not released.”

American Library Association: Victory near in 20-year fight to provide public with CRS reports

American Library Association: Victory near in 20-year fight to provide public with CRS reports. “After nearly 20 years of advocacy by ALA, Congress has recently taken significant steps toward permanently assuring free public access to reports by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Taxpayers fund these reports but generally have not been able to read them. “

Nonprofit Explorer Update: Full Text of 1.9 Million Records (ProPublica)

ProPublica: Nonprofit Explorer Update: Full Text of 1.9 Million Records. “We have updated our Nonprofit Explorer news application, adding raw data from more than 1.9 million electronically filed Form 990 documents dating back to 2010. This new trove includes the full text of more than 132,000 forms for which we did not previously have complete data. In addition to making the machine-readable XML files available to download, we are publishing the full text of many of these documents as human-readable web pages. These appear similar to the PDFs that have appeared on Nonprofit Explorer in the past, but their text can be copy-and-pasted, and they are easier to browse and analyze.”

CBS Minnesota: MPD Releases New Online Tool For Police Stop Information

CBS Minnesota: MPD Releases New Online Tool For Police Stop Information. “Minneapolis police are unveiling a new online tool that reveals race and demographic information for all police stops in the city. The data is online for anyone to access and can be broken down by police precinct, neighborhood and even time of day. The department started tracking this information in November of 2016.”

Kalev Leetaru at Forbes: Is Social Media Really A Public Space?

Kalev Leetaru at Forbes: Is Social Media Really A Public Space? “As elected officials turn to social media to communicate with their constituents and social platforms themselves deploy new features to help connect citizens with their representatives, the interaction between the governed and those they elect to govern them is increasingly occurring on private digital property with membership rules and codes of conduct not subject to any of the protections traditionally afforded the public sphere.”