How Americans See Digital Privacy Issues Amid The COVID-19 Outbreak

How Americans See Digital Privacy Issues Amid The COVID-19 Outbreak. Pew Research Center. Brooke Auxier. May 4, 2020.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has brought privacy and surveillance concerns to the forefront – from hacked video conferencing sessions to proposed government tracking of people’s cellphones as a measure to limit and prevent the spread of the virus. Over the past year, Pew Research Center has surveyed Americans on their views related to privacy, personal data and digital surveillance. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Face Recognition Technologies: Designing Systems that Protect Privacy and Prevent Bia

Face Recognition Technologies: Designing Systems that Protect Privacy and Prevent Bias. RAND Corporation. Douglas Yeung et al. May 14, 2020

The objective of face recognition technologies (FRTs) is to efficiently detect and recognize people captured on camera. Although these technologies have many practical security-related purposes, advocacy groups and individuals have expressed apprehensions about their use. The research reported here was intended to highlight for policymakers the high-level privacy and bias implications of FRT systems. In the report, the authors describe privacy as a person’s ability to control information about them. Undesirable bias consists of the inaccurate representation of a group of people based on characteristics, such as demographic attributes. Informed by a literature review, the authors propose a heuristic with two dimensions: consent status (with or without consent) and comparison type (one-to-one or some-to-many). This heuristic can help determine a proposed FRT’s level of privacy and accuracy. The authors then use more in-depth case studies to identify “red flags” that could indicate privacy and bias concerns: complex FRTs with unexpected or secondary use of personal or identifying information; use cases in which the subject does not consent to image capture; lack of accessible redress when errors occur in image matching; the use of poor training data that can perpetuate human bias; and human interpretation of results that can introduce bias and require additional storage of full-face images or video. This report is based on an exploratory project and is not intended to comprehensively introduce privacy, bias, or FRTs. Future work in this area could include examinations of existing systems, reviews of their accuracy rates, and surveys of people’s expectations of privacy in government use of FRTs. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 88 pages].

Combating Populism: A Toolkit for Liberal Democratic Actors

Combating Populism: A Toolkit for Liberal Democratic Actors. Center for a New American Security. Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Carisa Nietsche. March 19, 2020

The rise of populism in Europe and the United States is well documented. Although studies may disagree about the relative importance of populism’s drivers, there is broad consensus that rising inequality, declining bonds to established traditional parties, increasing salience of identity politics, and economic grievance have played a role in fuelling populism’s rise. Although populism is a symptom of democracy’s larger problems, the strategies and tactics populist parties and leaders use also provide their own, direct threat to liberal democracy. Many of the tactics that populist leaders use weaken democratic institutions and constraints on executive power. Populism is also detrimental to democracy because it exacerbates political polarization, which makes it hard for democracy to effectively function. As societies grow more polarized, people become willing to tolerate abuses of power and sacrifice democratic principles if doing so advances their side’s interests and keeps the other side out of power. The polarization that populism fuels, in other words, increases the risk of democratic decline.
This report offers recommendations for combating populism. It translates key findings from cutting-edge academic research in the political science, political psychology, sociology, and communications disciplines into practical, evidence-based recommendations. The first set of recommendations is intended to equip political parties, politicians, and candidates to create a political context more conducive to the success of liberal democratic actors. Research shows that context matters—although many people may hold populist attitudes, these attitudes must be activated by the political context to translate into votes for populist leaders. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 22 pages].

Polling Shows Signs of Public Trust in Institutions amid the Pandemic

Polling Shows Signs of Public Trust in Institutions amid the Pandemic. Pew Research Center. Cary Funk. Април 7, 2020.

The ongoing effort to fight COVID-19 wins broad support, even across partisan divides

In the face of unprecedented measures to limit social contact at work, at school and on the main streets of communities across the nation, Americans give themselves good marks, with 86% saying people in their households are “reacting about right.” Most also say their local school system is reacting about right (86%), and majorities say the same about their local (74%) or state (72%) government. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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How People around the World See Democracy in 8 Charts

How People around the World See Democracy in 8 Charts. Pew Research Center. Aidan Connaughton, Nicholas Kent And Shannon Schumacher. February 27, 2020

People around the world are widely dissatisfied with democracy in their country and believe that elected officials don’t care what people like them think, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Global opinion is more divided on the question of whether the state is run for the benefit of all, while people generally agree that voting gives them a say about how the government runs things in their country. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The Age of Mass Protests: Understanding an Escalating Global Trend

The Age of Mass Protests: Understanding an Escalating Global Trend. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Samuel Brannen, Christian Stirling Haig, Katherine Schmidt. March 2, 2020

We are living in an age of global mass protests that are historically unprecedented in frequency, scope, and size. Our analysis finds that the mass political protests that have captured media attention over the past year, such as those in Hong Kong and Santiago, are in fact part of a decade-long trend line affecting every major populated region of the world, the frequency of which have increased by an annual average of 11.5 percent between 2009 and 2019. The size and frequency of recent protests eclipse historical examples of eras of mass protest, such as the late-1960s, late-1980s, and early-1990s. Viewed in this broader context, the events of the Arab Spring were not an isolated phenomenon but rather an especially acute manifestation of a broadly increasing global trend. Analysis of the root causes of these global protests suggests they will continue and could increase in 2020 and beyond. While each protest has a unique context, common grievances overwhelmingly center on perceptions of ineffective governance and corruption. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 42 pages].

The Data Driving Democracy: Understanding How the Internet Is Transforming Politics and Civic Engagement

The Data Driving Democracy: Understanding How the Internet Is Transforming Politics and Civic Engagement. American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Christina Couch. February 2020.

This report outlines the data and methodologies researchers use to understand how the Internet has impacted democracy and the challenges they face in this field. The report summarizes key insights from interviews with fifteen experts from a broad array of computer science, data analysis, media studies, legal, and political science backgrounds. It specifically examines the data and research methodologies experts use to study how the Internet is changing democracy, the types of inferences that can (and can’t) be drawn with current resources, and barriers in this field. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 52 pages].

Voters Need Help: How Party Insiders Can Make Presidential Primaries Safer, Fairer, and More Democratic

Voters Need Help: How Party Insiders Can Make Presidential Primaries Safer, Fairer, and More Democratic. Brookings Institution. Raymond J. La Raja and Jonathan Rauch. January 31, 2020

Presidential-nominating contests in both major political parties are at risk of producing nominees who aren’t competent to govern and/or don’t represent a majority of the party’s voters. Raymond La Raja and Jonathan Rauch argue this is a result of the declining role of party insiders in the nomination process and call for the reversal of that trend. Primaries function best, they claim, when voters and party professionals work in partnership. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Next Generation Urban Planning: Enabling Sustainable Development at the Local Level through Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs)

Next Generation Urban Planning: Enabling Sustainable Development at the Local Level through Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). Brookings Institution. Anthony F. Pipa and Max Bouchet. February 9, 2020

Around the world, cities are evolving at an unprecedented pace, grappling with profound challenges driven by urbanization, demographics, and climate change. City leaders face extraordinary pressures to manage this growth and implement sustainable development strategies. As United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently remarked, “With more than half the world’s population, cities are on the frontlines of sustainable and … inclusive development.”

Global trends of rapid urbanization exacerbate the local urgency for sustainable development. Climate change and migration have very localized effects that require localized solutions. The risk to physical and civic infrastructures, and social cohesion and safety, creates new complexity for local governments. Cities are also where inequality takes on a visible human face, with rich and poor physically intermingling, bound together by place and economic and social relationships. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 38 pages].

Is Seeing Still Believing? The Deepfake Challenge to Truth in Politics

Is Seeing Still Believing? The Deepfake Challenge to Truth in Politics. Brookings Institution. William A. Galston. January 8, 2020

On Nov. 25, an article headlined “Spot the deepfake. (It’s getting harder.)” appeared on the front page of The New York Times business section. The editors would not have placed this piece on the front page a year ago. If they had, few would have understood what its headline meant. Today, most do. This technology, one of the most worrying fruits of rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), allows those who wield it to create audio and video representations of real people saying and doing made-up things. As this technology develops, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish real audio and video recordings from fraudulent misrepresentations created by manipulating real sounds and images. “In the short term, detection will be reasonably effective,” says Subbarao Kambhampati, a professor of computer science at Arizona State University. “In the longer run, I think it will be impossible to distinguish between the real pictures and the fake pictures.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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