Daily Digital Dozen 10/4/16

A Digital Monoculture Is a Bigger Threat Than the Terminator Scenario 

While Waze leads us to our destinations via the quickest route, our dependence on this kind of decision-support system may be the quickest route to a monocultural society. Do you really know how any AI model is performing? What tiny mistakes (or purposeful small changes) are being made to subtly guide our decision-making?




Civil Rights Groups Seek Set-Top Sunshine

In a petition to the FCC, 19 civil rights groups including the NAACP, National Action Network, and MMTC have asked that FCC chair Tom Wheeler lift the “sunshine rule” restrictions on outside parties contacting FCC decisionmakers about the set-top box revamp.




House Small Business Committee: FCC Fails to Respond to Concerns 

The House Small Business Committee has sent FCC Chair Tom Wheeler a second letter asking for answers to some questions about the impact of his broadband privacy proposal on smaller ISPs. The bipartisan leadership of the committee said Wheeler had not gotten back to them with answers to their initial letter — dated Aug. 25.




FCC: Forward Auction Begins Four Days After Reverse Ends 

The FCC will launch the second stage of the forward auction portion of the broadcast spectrum incentive auction four days after the close of stage two of the reverse auction. Stage two of the reverse has currently completed round 35, and is expected to wrap up mid-week next week, or perhaps sooner.




Amazon is cracking down on biased customer reviews 

Amazon updated its community guidelines to prohibit so-called “incentivized reviews,” which are customer reviews of a product that was received for free or at a discount in exchange for an online write-up. The company says these types of reviews make up a tiny fraction of overall Amazon.com reviews.




Facebook sorry for sex, drugs, gun posts on Marketplace 

On Monday morning Facebook launched Marketplace on iOS and Android so its 1.7 billion users could buy and sell stuff to each other right inside the Facebook mobile app. Within hours, Facebook users were selling stuff that Facebook says they can’t. Drugs. Animals. Adult services. Weapons. Themselves. Even body parts.




Internet of Things comes back to bite us as hackers spread botnet code

Consumers around the world could see their home Internet speeds slow in the coming weeks due to a recent release of software that allows hackers to use Internet-connected devices to attack websites. The source code for Mirai, a tool that creates what are known as botnets, has been released on the so-called dark web.




Social Media Platforms and a Company’s Right to Free Expression  (Commentary)  

Social media companies like Facebook are already using their platforms to voice political opinions, and there is currently nothing that would legally prevent a company from acting to prevent a presidency of a candidate its employees or leadership opposes or to support a candidate its employees or leadership supports.





Courts and regulators have increasingly seen high-speed Internet as a public utility that is as essential to Americans as electricity and water. But many Americans still do not have broadband at home, and some Americans have turned to mobile devices as their primary gateway to the Internet, according to Pew Research.




Why the next 20 years will see a lot less technological disruption than the past 20  (Commentary)

It-will-come-ism has fallen flat in recent years, and I think it’s going to continue failing in the years to come. There are a number of industries — with health care and education being the most important — where there’s an inherent limit on how much value information technology can add.





Companies share information about us in any number of unexpected and regrettable ways, and the information and advice they provide can be inconspicuously warped by the companies’ own ideologies or by their relationships with those who wish to influence us, whether people with money or governments with agendas.




Time to panic over declining sports viewership? 

Where have all the viewers gone? That’s a question that executives across the sports and media business privately have been asking all year as they pore over data that shows a surprisingly consistent and worrisome decrease in sports television viewership. It’s been an alarming trend through the first nine months of 2016.




Police Body Cameras Betraying Their Promise 

Research suggests that body cameras significantly reduce the number of public complaints about police. But recent events subvert the idea that the devices help or increase the power of regular people—that is, the policed. Instead, body cameras may be making officers and departments more powerful than they were before.






The Digital Daily Dozen is distributed weekdays (usually) by Dom Caristi as a service of the BSU Digital Policy Institute. The articles are culled from various e-newsletters. The content is not original – only their compilation in this mailing is.