👓 An ethical framework for the digital afterlife industry | Nature Human Behaviour

Read An ethical framework for the digital afterlife industry by Carl Öhman, Luciano Floridi (Nature Human Behaviour)
The web is increasingly inhabited by the remains of its departed users, a phenomenon that has given rise to a burgeoning digital afterlife industry. This industry requires a framework for dealing with its ethical implications. The regulatory conventions guiding archaeological exhibitions could provide the basis for such a framework.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

four categories of firms:
(1) information management services,
(2) posthumous messaging services,
(3) online memorial services and
(4) ‘re-creation services’

…the online security company McAfee claims that the average Internet user puts a value of US$37,000 on their digital assets.

they all share an interest in monetizing death online, using digital remains as a means of making a profit.

For example, financially successful chat-bot services represent not just any version of the deceased, but rather the one that appeals most to consumers and that maximizes profit. The remains thus become a resource, a form of (fixed) capital in the DAI [Digital Afterlife Industry] economy.

To set the direction for a future ethical and regulatory debate, we suggest that digital remains should be seen as the remains of an informational human body, that is, not merely regarded as a chattel or an estate, but as something constitutive of one’s personhood. This is also in line with European Union legislation’s terminology regarding ‘data subjects’. Given this approach, the main ethical concern of the DAI emerges as a consequence of the commercially motivated manipulation of one’s informational corpse (that is, the digital remains of a data subject). This approach suggests we should seek inspiration from frameworks that regulate commercial usage of organic human remains. A good model is provided by archaeological and medical museums, which exhibit objects that, much like digital remains, are difficult to allocate to a specific owner and are displayed for the living to consume.

🔖 An ethical framework for the digital afterlife industry | Nature Human Behaviour

Bookmarked An ethical framework for the digital afterlife industry by Carl Öhman, Luciano Floridi (Nature Human Behaviour)
The web is increasingly inhabited by the remains of its departed users, a phenomenon that has given rise to a burgeoning digital afterlife industry. This industry requires a framework for dealing with its ethical implications. The regulatory conventions guiding archaeological exhibitions could provide the basis for such a framework.

Some interesting potential research and references for the IndieWeb longevity page.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: The C.I.A.’s Moral Reckoning | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The C.I.A.’s Moral Reckoning by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Gina Haspel, President Trump’s pick for C.I.A. director, faced the Senate Intelligence Committee for the first time on Wednesday as her confirmation hearings began. Lawmakers addressed her with an unusual line of questioning: What is your moral character?

On today’s episode:

• Matthew Rosenberg joins us from Washington, where he covers intelligence and national security for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• Ms. Haspel defended the C.I.A.’s torture of terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks, but vowed that she would not start another interrogation program.

• Among the issues raised in the hearing were Ms. Haspel’s involvement in a black site in Thailand where Qaeda suspects were tortured, her role in carrying out an order to destroy videotapes of C.I.A. interrogations, and her willingness to defy a president who has supported waterboarding.

We’ve recently seen the head of the F.B.I. be ousted because he ostensibly wouldn’t take a loyalty oath and refused to close an investigation. Could this happen again? Could it be far worse?

They stopped far too short here in opening up questions of harkening back to the Third Reich and Hitler and his government commanding people to commit genocide. We all know there’s a line one can’t cross and use the defense that “I was commanded to by the authorities.”

So the real question is: will Haspel stand up to Trump to prevent moral atrocities which Trump may want to inflict, whether this may extend to areas like torture or, perhaps, far worse?

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👓 Scandal after scandal focuses scrutiny on USC leadership, culture | LA Times

Read Scandal after scandal focuses scrutiny on USC leadership, culture by Paul Pringle, Matt Hamilton, Sarah Parvini, and Harriet Ryan (latimes.com)
How USC handled the case of a campus gynecologist allowed to practice for years despite complaints of misconduct has sparked outrage and demands for change in the university’s leadership and management culture. To some, it is part of a troubling pattern.

If I were a journalist, I would just start tracking people leaving posts and then dig into what the scandal must surely be. USC is definitely stinking from the head and needs to begin digging itself out of an ever-deepening hole.

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👓 Daniel Goldsmith’s reply to Sebastian Greger

Read a post by Daniel Goldsmith (View from ASCRAEUS)

Sebastian, first of all, thank you for your detailed write up on this issue. I think much of your roadmap is worthwhile, and of great interest.

I cannot, however, say that I am convinced by your contentions regarding the effect of GDPR and indieweb sites. In particular, I think your definitions are excessively broad, and you elide much information from both the Regulation itself and the Recitals.

It’s certainly interesting to see some of the replies to Sebastian’s article. It’s definitely stirring up some interesting thought. Daniel’s reply here is primarily to the legal issues at stake more than the design related issues, which have some interesting merit aside from the legal ones.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle of the two and see some of the moral and ethical pieces which are more important from a people perspective. I’m not as concerned about the law portion of it for a large variety of reasons. It’s most interesting to me to see the divide between how those in the EU and particularly Germany view the issue and those in the United States which may be looking at regulations in the coming years, particularly after the recent Facebook debacle.

As I think of these, I’m reminded about some of the cultural differences between Europe and the United States which Jeff Jarvis has expounded upon over the past several years. Europeans are generally more leery of corporations and trust government a bit more while in America it’s the opposite.

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Reply to The Indieweb privacy challenge (Webmentions, silo backfeeds, and the GDPR) by Sebastian Greger

Replied to The Indieweb privacy challenge (Webmentions, silo backfeeds, and the GDPR) by Sebastian GregerSebastian Greger (sebastiangreger.net)
Originally intended to showcase a privacy-centred implementation of emerging social web technologies – with the aim to present a solution not initially motivated by legal requirements, but as an example of privacy-aware interaction design – my “social backfeed” design process unveiled intricate challenges for Indieweb sites, both for privacy in general and legal compliance in particular.

Again Sebastian Greger has written up a well-thought-out and nuanced approach to design. Here he discusses privacy and GDPR with a wealth of research and direct personal experience in these areas. He’s definitely written something interesting which I hope sparks the beginning of a broader conversation and evaluation of our ethics.

There’s so much to think about and process here, that I’ll have to re-read and think more specifically about all the details. I hope to come back to this later to mark it up and annotate it further.

I’ve read relatively deeply about a variety of privacy issues as well as the weaponization of data and its improper use by governments and businesses to unduly influence people. For those who are unaware of this movement over the recent past, I would highly recommend Cathy O’Neil’s text Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, which provides an excellent overview with a variety of examples about how the misuse of data can be devastating not just to individuals who are broadly unaware of it, but entire segments of society.

There is a lot of publicly available data we reveal via social media and much of it one might flippantly consider “data exhaust” which has little, if any inherent value by itself. Unfortunately when used in aggregate, it can reveal striking things about us which we may either not be aware of ourselves or which  we wouldn’t want to be openly known.

My brief thought here is that much like the transition from the use of smaller arms and handguns, which can kill people in relatively small numbers, to weapons like machine guns on up to nuclear weapons, which have the ability to quickly murder hundreds to millions at a time, we will have to modify some of our social norms the way we’ve modified our “war” norms over the past century. We’ll need to modify our personal social contracts so that people can still interact with each other on a direct basis without fear of larger corporations, governments, or institutions aggregating our data, processing it, and then using it against us in ways which unduly benefit them and tremendously disadvantage us as individuals, groups, or even at the level of entire societies.

In my mind, we need to protect the social glue that holds society together and improves our lives while not allowing the mass destruction of the fabric of society by large groups based on their ability to aggregate, process, and use our own data against us.

Thank you Sebastian for kicking off a broader conversation!

Disclaimer: I’m aware that in posting this to my own site that it will trigger a tacit webmention which will ping Sebastian Greger’s website. I give him permission to display any and all data he chooses from the originating web page in perpetuity, or until such time as I send a webmention either modifying or deleting the content of the originating page. I say this all with some jest, while I am really relying on the past twenty years of general social norms built up on the internet and in general society as well as the current practices of the IndieWeb movement to govern what he does with this content.

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👓 Pearson Embedded a ‘Social-Psychological’ Experiment in Students’ Educational Software | Gizmodo

Read Pearson Embedded a 'Social-Psychological' Experiment in Students' Educational Software [Updated] (Gizmodo)
Education and publishing giant Pearson is drawing criticism after using its software to experiment on over 9,000 math and computer science students across the country. In a paper presented Wednesday at the American Association of Educational Research, Pearson researchers revealed that they tested the effects of encouraging messages on students that used the MyLab Programming educational software during 2017's spring semester.
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👓 Most major outlets have used Russian tweets as sources for partisan opinion: study | Columbia Journalism Review

Read Most major outlets have used Russian tweets as sources for partisan opinion: study by Josephine Lukito and Chris Wells (Columbia Journalism Review)
In a new study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we look at how often, and in what context, Twitter accounts from the Internet Research Agency—a St. Petersburg-based organization directed by individuals with close ties to Vladimir Putin, and subject to Mueller’s scrutiny—successfully made their way from social media into respected journalistic media. We searched the content of 33 major American news outlets for references to the 100 most-retweeted accounts among those Twitter identified as controlled by the IRA, from the beginning of 2015 through September 2017. We found at least one tweet from an IRA account embedded in 32 of the 33 outlets—a total of 116 articles—including in articles published by institutions with longstanding reputations, like The Washington Post, NPR, and the Detroit Free Press, as well as in more recent, digitally native outlets such as BuzzFeed, Salon, and Mic (the outlet without IRA-linked tweets was Vice).

How are outlets publishing generic tweets without verifying the users actually exist? This opens up a new type of journalistic fraud in which a writer could keep an army of bots and feed out material that they could then self-quote for their own needs without a story really existing.

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👓 Republican Lawmakers Buy Health Insurance Stocks as Repeal Effort Moves Forward | The Intercept

Read Republican Lawmakers Buy Health Insurance Stocks as Repeal Effort Moves Forward by Lee Fang (The Intercept)
JUST AS THE HOUSE Republican bill to slash much of the Affordable Care Act moved forward, Rep. Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican and member of Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership team, added a health insurance company to his portfolio.

Aren’t there ethics rules to cover nonsense like this?

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👓 White House Discloses Ethics Waivers For Presidential Aides | NPR

Read White House Discloses Ethics Waivers For Presidential Aides by Peter Overby (NPR)
The White House Wednesday night released 14 ethics waivers — documents that exempt some top presidential aides from important ethics rules. The disclosures came after a quiet but tough battle between Trump administration officials and the Office of Government Ethics. The waivers are considered public documents but for weeks after President Trump took office, they weren't made public.

Whatever happened to “Drain the swamp!”? Not only has it apparently disappeared, but now we’re going against basic ethics rules to boot?!
“So sad. Incompetent.”

Continue reading “👓 White House Discloses Ethics Waivers For Presidential Aides | NPR”

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