Friday, July 06, 2018

Perhaps I could quiz my students?
Business, Technology, and Ethics: The Need for Better Conversations
… Two examples illustrate how the intersection of business, technology, and ethics can be problematic. First, let’s look at Facebook’s recent troubles. The social network sold data to companies that were trying to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It also took money for nearly 3,000 political ads from foreign entities without disclosing who purchased them. The results have been devastating to the company. Many people have closed their accounts, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had to apologize and defend the company to inquiries from the U.S. Congress and European regulators. It is unclear what the long-term results of these incidents will be for both the company and for Facebook users.
Google faced similar problems, but it had a completely different response. In 2006, Google began operating within the Chinese market under that government’s condition that Google would censor any content that Chinese authorities saw as offensive, such as coverage of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989. But after Chinese hackers began attacking the company and the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, Google reversed its decision to assist the government in suppressing information. Google has since taken a censorship-free approach to the market largely due to the views of its stakeholders, who are mostly in favor of an open internet.

Always! (Do I win a prize for answering correctly?)
… If you search around the internet, you’ll find that most writing about algorithmic explainability falls into two camps. Advocates for rapid technology adoption often argue that humans are no better at explaining decisions than machines, and so we should table the question to accelerate innovation. These rhetorical arguments do not help professionals responsible for regulatory compliance. On the other hand, critics demand stringent requirements for transparency and vilify a “move fast and break things” culture. These arguments can stifle adoption, as not all machine learning use cases require the same level of oversight and accountability — some decisions are more important to be able to explain than others.

Plead “Crazy!”
Steven D. Zansberg of Ballard Spahr writes:
Judge Carlos E. Samour, Jr., on June 29 ordered unsealed the court filings surrounding psychiatric evaluations of James Eagan Holmes, the man convicted of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others in the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting on July 20, 2012. As a result, the public will be able to see, for the first time, the reports two independent psychiatrists filed with the Court, and the treatment notes of two University of Colorado mental health professionals who counseled Mr. Holmes before his deadly rampage.
The ruling may be of significance beyond Colorado because it instructs judges elsewhere that reports of court-appointed psychiatric expert witnesses are not privileged and that defendants who place their mental state at issue in a criminal case thereby waive their doctor-patient privilege in actual treatment records that are entered into evidence.
Read more on The National Law Review.

Were the Supremes too quick?
Zing-a-ding. reports:
State supreme courts do not always agree with the constitutional pronouncements of the US Supreme Court. State courts are free to cite more stringent provisions of their state constitutions if they wish to provide greater protections for residents. The Iowa Supreme Court did just that last week when it shot down the federal court’s doctrine allowing police to search any car at will without a warrant merely by finding a reason to tow it away so an “inventory” search can be made.
“We accept the invitation to restore the balance between citizens and law enforcement by adopting a tighter legal framework for warrantless inventory searches and seizures of automobiles under article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution than provided under the recent precedents of the United States Supreme Court,” Justice Brent R. Appel wrote. “In doing so, we encourage stability and finality in law by decoupling Iowa law from the winding and often surprising decisions of the United States Supreme Court.”
[From the article:
"The end result of Whren, Atwater, and Bertine is law enforcement has virtually unlimited discretion to stop arbitrarily whomever they choose, arrest the driver for a minor offense that might not even be subject to jail penalties, and then obtain a broad inventory search of the vehicle – all without a warrant," Justice Appel wrote. "When considered in context, the inventory search does not emerge as something for the benefit of the owner or driver, but instead is a powerful unregulated tool in crime control."

Perspective. An interesting read…
How the Blockchain Can Transform Government

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