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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 332  Al Jazeera  November 29, 2018 2:32pm-3:01pm +03

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facility. the u.n. envoy to syria says the latest talks involving iran russia and turkey to end the war a missed opportunity the found a mystery says he's disappointed with the failure to agree on the composition of a u.n. backed constitutional committee supporters of prime minister brown overcome a single push through a vote in parliament to cut funding for the man who replaced him. in zimbabwe opposition leader nelson chamisa is calling on his supporters to stage a nationwide protests against the government the ruling zanu p.f. party is warning any deaths during the protests will be the opposition's fault. south korea's supreme court has ordered japanese industrial giant mitsubishi to compensate twenty eight south koreans for forced labor during the second world war the decision follows the court's ruling in october in favor of those seeking damages from another japanese company those are the latest headlines on al-jazeera inside story is coming up next stay with us.
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facebook in the spotlight accused of undermining democratic institutions but it seems fails to face up to empties at a special international hearing in london what does the social media giant do with its users data and can't be forced to comply with. this is inside still. a welcome to the program i'm adrian finnegan politicians from nine countries
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gathered at britain's parliament in westminster for a hearing on misinformation and fake news they left an empty chair for the chief executive of facebook mark zuckerberg his nonappearance some suggested said it all they wanted a quiz him about his network's practices facebook has been heavily criticized over its use and treatment of users data it was left to the company's vice president of policy solutions to answer the m.p.'s questions they wanted to know about political adverts and possible interference in the twenty sixteen us elections and the breaks at those the company insists it complies with data protection laws but admits that it has made mistakes we never seen anything quite like facebook where while we're playing on our phones and apps our democratic institutions are forming civil conversation seemed a bit up ended by frat boy billionaires from california so mr zuckerberg the decision not to appear here at westminster to me speaks volumes. we've damaged
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public trust through some of the actions we've taken again just for the record on the issue of the hiring of this outside firm this is a good work himself said that was not what he expected of us he was not personally responsible for the hiring or here's a reminder of how the story unfolded in march this year the new york times and the u.k.'s observer newspaper reported that a british consultancy firm had acquired the personal information of millions of facebook users help the story was provided by a cambridge analytical inside a whistleblower christopher wiley the allegation is that the data was used for political purposes linked to donald trump's twenty sixteen u.s. presidential campaign cambridge analytical said the data was destroyed in twenty fifteen but there are reports that not all of it was deleted facebook then confirmed that up to eighty seven million users details may have been improperly shared it promised improvements and that it would investigate all apps that had
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access to large amounts of information and restrict app developers access to prevent abuse it. all right let's bring in our guest for today's discussion here with me in doha as press let's not call through is a senior scientist at the council computing research institute at how it been highly for a university from berlin and we're joined by julian york director for the international freedom of expression at the electronic freedom foundation and from cork in ireland via skype are all balkan who's a cyborg rights activist focusing on social justice in the digital age welcome to you all are let's start with you you've said before that surveillance capitalism has led us into a dystopia and that companies like facebook google snap chats off factory farms for human beings what did you mean so facebook and google are factory farms for human
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beings because that is their business model what they do is they farm people they don't farm our meat or our skin but they farm everything else about us that makes us who we are as people they track us to get this information they profile us using algorithms and they create these simulations of us basically these are what these profiles are and they use that to manipulate our behavior so this is a system that i call people farming and this is the business model of mainstream technology today and the system that we're living under is what shannon soup off from harvard business school calls surveillance capitalism and is this a problem and of course it's a problem because it is fundamentally incompatible with human rights and it's fundamentally incompatible with democracy when you have a handful of corporations that know everything about everyone and use that information for their profit and political motives this is the exact opposite of democracy jillian york in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of expression how
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facebook can snap chats and. instagram and whatsapp doing should there be more oversight of the policies by our elected representatives. absolutely so i mean most of these companies are i would say not doing very well if we're measuring them up to human rights standards and i'm glad to hear i'll bring into the conversation if we're to look at article nineteen of the universal declaration of human rights and i c.p.r. you know we have provisions that exist we have documents that have been tested time and time again but most of these companies make up their own policies often on their own whims i mean facebook in particular has a lot of policies that go well beyond what what is recommended for freedom of expression and these seem to be the whims of mark zuckerberg and the highest executives within the company so julian what are the dangers in regulating free speech will be into this and by companies like facebook and google or at least allowing them to regulate themselves. well i think we have some risks here so i
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mean over the years the general model has been one of self-regulation we've kind of taken a hands off approach with governments and allowed companies to regulate themselves but that has gotten us into a number of difficult situations on the one hand these companies are overly restrictive of speech in many different ways on the other hand we have situations such as what's happening in myanmar burma right now when it comes to promotion of genocide on the platform and so the fact is we can't trust companies to handle this on their own and a lot of cases but at the same time there are definitely concerns when it comes to allowing governments to regulate you know if we have in germany where i am right now we have the net stagey law which restricts the promotion of hate speech on the platforms and requires companies to take down that speech within twenty four hours but at the same time now we're seeing more authoritarian countries adopt similar laws and as you well know you know hate speech is not always a clear definition and some governments weaponized this against activists and dissidents and even journalists present all of your research has to do with with
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fake news and how to stop it is is facebook a force for good in the world i think that social media fundamentally democratic forces so they have democrat content creation is going to have no bit by nature is that it's just that i couldn't ignore to he'd been abused and he'd been abused. by external companies or conditioning to go and i think the problem is that facebook does help them how dangerous that is is for use in general to to to our society well then to fit. a pack of who do i mean did he has been a what of your actions these are people typically think of. but. it's really kind of price doo doo. convince people that that the the society as a whole doesn't information so this is kind of the the main thing that the things
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because the consulting that the thickness of time to them. the president are saying that facebook itself is not necessarily a bad actor that's not just not something that you would agree with is it no not at all facebook is a bad actor and that is the lesson we have to learn if we are to have any chance of regulating these companies effectively because our problem is that we think that facebook is a good actor and they keep messing up somehow and by messing up over and over again they somehow make billions and billions of dollars they're not messing up this is their core business model it is fundamentally incompatible with human rights and with democracy we have to learn this lesson that these are not mistakes that are being made by facebook over and over again it is the way that they are designed these are centralized systems it's not the only way we can build technology we can build peer to peer alternatives that are free and open source that are
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interoperable so they are owned and controlled by individuals not corporations we can build these alternatives we're not building these alternatives because we're not funding these alternatives all of the funding in technology today ninety nine point nine percent of it is going into venture capital funded start ups which out the exact same business model as facebook and google so that's our problem we need to do two things we need to regulate these companies effectively and we need to fund the alternatives we're doing neither of those it is a technology problem though or a societal problem and i guess what you're saying is it's not the technology that's a fault it's society. well technology is just an amplifier which ideologies is it out and today it's amplifying capitalism and us and a special type of capitalism or late stage capitalism that we call surveillance capitals so that's what it's amplifying that's how we're building the technology the character of the technology that we're building matters so we can build
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technology very differently depending on what our goals are so again we need to do two things regulate and replace surveillance capitalists we can't regulate because we're institutionally corrupt we have laws being we have revolving doors we have multi-stakeholder ism we have public private partnerships all of these are the same thing the influence of corporate finance in public policy making a mess we can remove corporate money the millions and millions these corporations are spending a lot b. the people that should be regulating them if the people who should be regulating them two years from now go to work for these companies then we have a real problem here we need to understand that there are bad actors we need to combat institutional corruption so that we can regulate them and we need to fund the alternatives the ethical alternatives julian is regulation the answer and what i was talking there about political lobbying how do you legislate for that. as i said before and i think that regulation can be a double edged sword and i'm i'm no expert on the legislation and i think right now
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as well in the united states i don't see any real hope for regulation at least under this administration but i do want to make another point here which is that you know there is an option for shareholder pressure and unfortunately facebook isn't a particularly unique situation there because of the amount of control that mark zuckerberg has over shareholders and there's there's very little way that facebook can be accountable to its shareholders and i think that you know there are some interesting things coming out of the pundit class at the moment margaret sullivan last week in the washington post suggested that it's time for mark zuckerberg to step down as chairman that's maybe something that we should be considering as well you know i don't disagree with everything that our all has said here but i do feel that there are measures that we can take immediately there are harm reduction measures that can be taken to push these companies toward small steps that will help them become better actors first of when does the fight against fake news impinge upon our right to free speech so i think that the nation has something to in government regulation has to be done very carefully because it can be unintended
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consequences they could be unintended consequences in a number of countries including germany so you know into should be nothing feeling about people talking about what can you do about facebook or twitter or google we should be beyond that we should be thinking walks might not be what i want in a few years right is their solution is going to work in fact in ten years is there something that we can do that is going to last what it what is the solution. be the literacy here is that was this something i think i think that different things that can be do you can think of fake news kind of false information has been out on for quite some time to heal and so on and so for this with this was never been the problem the problem is that it has been weaponized and so basically. what's the problem the difference is that in thousand people and by their wow with social media. it can be amplified can be shared that can eventually kind of reach the media's right and the problem is the extreme personalization right but the place
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where you have to hit it is the spread and i can tell you that the social media companies are already doing something about it right that the next think the next big thing that we can do is we can trace awareness because. on no did they have been manipulated this kind of how it works or so it is not education even though there are there may be technological solutions it's education that is key so it's actually both of them right and social media are using or using dos so in some countries facebook is when you're trying to share news is going to tell you all this has been fact checked by two independent organizations are issues to want to fact check and they're also kind of downgrading them kind of showing up with well what probability were in their news feed and in my research in our research and a couple competing for citizenship we are actually building. a new segregated effect of something called google news that raises awareness that actually tells you next to each article what it is likely to be propagandistic hyper partisan or
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so kind of her beauty media profiles sort of a you know how helpless to what he does particular news outlet this and also what is its leading political you know what is the left and right and facebook is doing something similar here profiling code and use that as the kind of here just what you label whatever single user i see is what we talked about about some of the problems here we talked about regulation being perhaps one of the answers along with a more democratic if you like internet of facebook google snapchat or the other two big rich too powerful to to be brought into line to be regulated. no i don't think they are but i think we need to also ask ourselves what we mean by regulation because when i talk about regulation i mean anything that reduces their abuses currently and all regulation is a short term solution so breaking them up that's great anything that reduces their harm that's great do not nationalize them i keep hearing people say let's lash
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nationalize facebook now you know the only thing worse than a corporately owned and optic on is probably a state owned and off the card with an army attached to it so no let's not do that but anything that reduces their harms right now but again we're not effective and that because our system is institutionally corrupt i was recently giving a keynote at the nordic privacy arena this month and facebook had a keynote there as well so these are data protection officers these are the people who should be protecting our rights and still they don't think that facebook is fundamentally a bad actor necessarily they're putting them into positions of legitimacy at their events so we have a very long road to to go i think part of it is part public perception the moment these companies become socially unacceptable just like it happened with big tobacco then we're going to make inroads into regulation but we also have to understand what the nature of the alternatives we want is so they have to be decentralized their peer to peer they have to be free and open they have to be into operable
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jillian one of the things that should be uppermost in people's minds when they're sharing information or engaging with others on social media. yeah absolutely and i think that you know people first and foremost need to be considering their own safety in their own personal safety and i mean there are a couple of different kinds of capital sorry there are a couple of to print kinds of surveillance here that we're talking about on the one hand you have surveillance capitalism as your boss calls it and that's really looking at the ways in which advertisers and other actors are taking our data utilizing it weaponize ing it advertising to us with it and then on the other hand you have the other forms of surveillance that we're not talking about in this conversation so much but i just got out of a meeting a couple of days that had a number of different people from various countries around the world who are concerned about the ways that governments can access their information and i don't necessarily mean you know through court orders but basically you know people have to think about the ways that they're sharing their information even publicly on facebook even with groups that could be taken over by malicious administrators and
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things like that so i think that we should really also and i don't want to put this on the individual but at the same time i do think that we need to take responsibility and ensure that we're not sharing too much of these companies you don't have to give them your birthday you don't have to give them your hometown and again that's not a call for personal responsibility overregulation it's just to say that i think that reality the reality is that we need to be more conscious that they're kind of because it takes the fun out of it really does that if you can't fully engage with the platform the you know getting getting you know your full worth out of it. i mean this thought from ceased to be fun for me a long time ago you know as a woman on a lot of these platforms i deal with a lot of harassment i deal with all of these concerns about my own privacy and so i you know are these platforms fun anymore are we why are we using them i think these are all valid questions and i'm glad to hear people talking about them that present should the responsibility for you know you talked about about initiatives that facebook and others have a moment to. use but is it their responsibility to flag up whether something is
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true or not. or is it is it as we said before about about education so i think that this will not succumb but have been always trying to stay away from taking responsibility of becoming convinced of told and they think they're right about it i mean it's actually hard for anybody to and what is not right because actually i think that the whole the whole term fake news is misleading it has been abused by politicians some people here start the point. making confusing opossum minix including an extremely quiet it's not that they don't like right eventually it doesn't really much so in the european union level people prefer the term disinformation and then these disinformation these news information so they discount a whole lot of gray area things have not really black and white so it's not so easy to tell what is true and what isn't but things are either true or they're not with the how to how do you how do you police the fact that there's
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a lot of stuff circulating on the internet that just simply isn't true so in my view we should be kind of should be focusing on limiting the spread of disinformation in disinformation we should not fight to eradicate it it's not eradicate it in the more in the mainstream media it's not eradicated in the in the you know in the traditional media it cannot get educated online think of spam again right spam couldn't he's under control it's not completely eliminated but it's a manageable level it's not weight used to be before. or i put some believe that together with a combination of some major solution of something that i'm no measures taken by dulce social media platforms and of some awareness by the users eventually fake news that are going to go the way of spam that i'm not going to be eliminated but yet i want to be put under control sort of what the heart of the book. is going to be are what are your thoughts on that to you as optimistic well i think we need to be very careful about what we're asking platforms like facebook and google to
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become because we don't want them to become arbiters of the truth because to a large degree that is what they are already today and what they want to be remember that facebook gives you a certain view of reality that's what your timeline is that's an algorithmic timeline it's not every post that your friends have posted it's what facebook thinks you want to see so in a way they are they are a filter on reality for you google recently said that they wanted to switch from using page rank their algorithm to using truth as their criteria for ranking searches which begs the question truth according to whom and in this case of course it's truth according to google incorporated alphabet incorporated and that is not the kind of world we want to live in where truth is dictated by a handful of multinational corporations headquartered in the united states of america this is not the world that i want to live in at. so we have to be very careful what we're asking of them and again let's ask the right questions is what
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we want a kinder facebook a kinder google are we trying to reform them because factory farms are never going to become animal sanctuaries or do we actually want alternatives to these toxic businesses if so we need to fund them differently and we need to incentivize the creation of ethical to not only talk about these alternatives are the other do any of these alternatives exist now other any safer spaces as far as data is concerned that we could be getting involved with. yes definitely they're being created so right now for example if you want to have a private conversation with someone don't use messenger because you can use signal for example which is end to end decrypted or you can use wire which is and encrypted and these are both very simple to set up there on all the app stores they're free as in freedom and free as any cost and anyone can use these and everyone doesn't have to be using that just use it with your family use it with
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your friends and it will grow organically there's mastodon which is a free and free and open alternative federated alternative to twitter where you can if you want to you can run your own twitter dot com essentially but it can talk to everybody else is twitter dot com as well it's federated so some of these mastodon instances might have two hundred thousand people on them mine just has me on it but i can talk to everyone on any instance of mastodon and that gives me way more control and ownership so these things are being built but mastodon was built by one guy in france in his twenty's with no funding you know. regard less of the fact that we're not funding these alternatives they're being built imagine what would happen if we were using for example european union union funding and not using it for startups but for stay ups for ethical organizations to create ethical technologies we're not even considering this right now and we must gillian do you
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agree with that i mean even though you mention the fact that you you quite enjoy using instagram the most of course is is facebook there any other alternative platforms that you're using. yeah i mean i do use instagram and look i mean i don't take exactly the same approach as our all but i do agree with a lot of what he said here i think that when i mean i don't use messenger i refuse to put it on my phone i keep what's up because there are a lot of people in countries that you know i'm still trying to move them over to signal but their families are on what's happened so i believe in taking a measured approach to this but i think signal in wire to fantastic examples of alternative tools that people can use and i think that you know we we can also be pressuring companies to reform while we're also pressuring for new funding i think that you know when it comes to using facebook right now it's got more than two billion users and in some countries it is unfortunately and cheaper alternative due to agreements that facebook has made with telcos in those countries is that the world that i want to live in no but it is the reality and so i think that while we also take or elles approach and push for better funding of more ethical
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technologies which i firmly believe in we also need to be finding ways to rapidly reform these companies so that the most vulnerable users are not left behind all right we're out of time many thanks indeed to to all of you press loved our culture lead your current balkan and thank you for watching don't forget you can see the program again at any time just by going to the website i was there a dot com for further discussion joined us on our facebook page facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story if you do if you could also join the conversation on twitter handle a j inside story from me adrian for the good of the whole team here and thanks for watching we'll see you again by foot.
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for eighty five years we've had many proud moments around the world and in the sky and now starting from october twenty ninth churches share lines will be changing off from the new aviation center of the world for a new church. they join one of the world's most notorious ahmed groups. but found a way out rebuild their lives and nam help others it's. a tale of
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course for crude and child soldiers and the have the effect exploitation of women door to is a bad part of the radicalized standards on al-jazeera. xenophobic violent and beating the drum for an ethnic civil war in the heart of europe. infiltrates one of the continent's fosters growing far right organizations. and exposes links to members of the european parliament supported by my reenlist time now for our. generation paid. a special two part investigation coming soon on a just. over one hundred years ago britain and france made a secret deal to divide the middle east between them now we can draw them in the
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second episode we explore the lasting effects of this agreement that there is a regional set to six because it's at those borders were drawn without consulting the people who have to live with it. sykes pekoe lines in the sand on elm disease. i'm richelle carey and these are the top stories on al-jazeera the u.s. senators have voted to debate a bill seeking to withdraw all support for the saudi u.a.e. coalition in yemen defying president donald trump senators are also calling for more transparency on what the intelligence community knows about the murder of sadness analyst. did at ations aid chief has arrived and yemen's capital saana to review the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.


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