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European AI Fund news - Issue #2

EU AI Fund News
Hi! We are back with the second edition of our newsletter. Today’s focus is on sex worker rights online ☂️, Europe’s ongoing tech response to COVID-19 🦠, latest news on the EU AI regulation 🤖, and the situation in Afghanistan 🇦🇫.
Featuring @linnetelwin @@sexworkeurope @nighatdad @corporateeurope @amnesty and more!

Focus: OnlyFans and sex worker rights online ☂️
In August OnlyFans — one of the internet’s best-known porn platforms — had decided to impose a ban on sexually explicit content on the platform. A week later, after facing strong criticism from sex workers, sex workers rights activists and other content creators, OnlyFans suspended the explicit content ban. What’s behind the ban and the sudden reversal?
The payments mess that almost scared OnlyFans away from sex work - The Verge
ICRSE statement regarding OnlyFans' explicit content ban and the exclusion of sex workers from digital platforms | Sex Work Europe
First Global Report on Sex Worker Rights Defenders at Risk | Front Line Defenders
Focus: Tech and COVID-19 🦠
Call to Lynch: The War of Words Threatening Montenegro’s Delicate Balance | Balkan Insight
Making sense of digital contact tracing apps for the next pandemics - AlgorithmWatch
Focusing on technology to solve the corona crisis distracts from the much wider problem | Tilburg University
Focus: Afghanistan 🇦🇫
Silicon Valley scrambles to find a unified approach to the Taliban - POLITICO
Afghan people face an impossible choice over their digital footprint | New Scientist
Nighat Dad
People in the global digital rights community should have made more efforts to include Afghan voices in tech spaces long ago & security forces that have been active should have put more of a focus on the digital safety of their locals teams. My piece in @newscientist #Afganisthan https://t.co/nLhxHx6LbT
This is the real story of the Afghan biometric databases abandoned to the Taliban | MIT Technology Review
Update: EU AI Regulation 📃
In April 2021, the European Commission released its proposed Regulation Laying Down Harmonized Rules on Artificial Intelligence, which would establish rules on the development, placing on the market, and use of artificial intelligence systems across the EU. In our last newsletter, we highlighted some of the initial responses and in-depth analyses of the regulation that many of the organisations we support have published.
During the summer, civil society, lobbyists and tech companies worked on their contributions for the European Commission AI adoption Consultation, which received 304 submissions.
Most welcome that the European Commission has put forward a legal instrument aimed at regulating AI, however almost all also highlight significant shortcomings and needs for improvements. Here are a some submissions that we’d like to highlight:
EDRi makes a number of suggestions to ensure that the AI Act is in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU), future proof, and a role model for rights-protective future AI legislation around the world.
Access Now argues that the current proposal provides a workable framework to ensure the protection of fundamental rights, but requires significant modifications in a number of areas or it risks failing to achieve the objective of protecting fundamental rights.
Liberties raises a number of issues, including open questions about ensuring enforcement and the fact that businesses with high stakes in seeing their products make it to the market are allowed to self-regulate.
What’s next?
This is obviously not the end of the process. The Regulation will now be reviewed by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, both of which will likely propose amendments.
More (tech) policy news 💻
Chart: Corporate Europe Observatory & Lobbycontrol
Chart: Corporate Europe Observatory & Lobbycontrol
Romani rights and biometric mass surveillance - European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Facebook content moderators call for company to put an end to overly restrictive NDAs - The Verge
Apple cares about privacy, unless you work at Apple - The Verge
The Most Creative People in Business 2021 | Fast Company
Campaigns
Use the Digital Services Act (DSA) to Stop Platforms from Suppressing Public Interest Research - AlgorithmWatch
Upcoming events 🎤
Exploring participatory mechanisms for data stewardship – report launch event | Ada Lovelace Institute
AI Lab Conference Day – A New Digital Deal
European Patient Forum Congress 2021
Public interest jobs on tech, tech policy / AI 👩🏾‍💻
Updates from the AI Fund 📚
We are back from our reading week! Other than catching up on policy developments, here is what we’ve been reading:
  • The Atlas of AI - Kate Crawford
  • Weapons of math destruction - How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy - Cathy O'Neil
  • The Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination - Sheera Frankel, Cecilia Kang
  • Speech police - the global struggle to govern the internet - David Kaye
  • How to Do Nothing - Resisting the Attention Economy - Jenny Odell
  • Invisible Women - Caroline Criado Perez
  • Subprime Attention Crisis - Tim Hwang
Since the last edition of the newsletter, we also have a new LinkedIn profile, where you can follow the fund’s activities.
Frederike has written a guest post for the AI Now Institute on the (ir)relevance of the “new tech cold war” narrative for Europe. She also explores how the EU’s own rhetorical positioning as “the third way” — between what can be crudely described as unbridled American surveillance capitalism and Chinese digital authoritarianism — is both obscuring and self-serving.
A New Tech ‘Cold War?’ Not for Europe. | AI Now Institute
We are about to launch a seires of events, workshops and webinars - stay tuned.
Frederike and Alexandra
Questions / thoughts? Get in touch
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EU AI Fund News

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