Hello World

By Julia Angwin

Dispatches from our founder

Dispatches from our founder

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Building Ethical Artificial Intelligence

Hello, friends,As computers get more powerful, we are increasingly using them to make predictions. The software that makes these predictions is often called artificial intelligence. It’s interesting that we call it “intelligence,” because other tasks we assig…


The Rise of Reproductive Surveillance

Hello, friends, When a draft of a Supreme Court opinion that could overturn U.S. abortion rights leaked to the press earlier this month, I started to panic about my 17-year-old daughter’s future. Although we live in New York, which is not one of the 26 states…


The Online Tracking Company That Knows Your Name

Hello, friends,Back in 2000, a dot-com startup called DoubleClick came up with a bright idea: It was going to combine the information it gleaned from tracking users across the web with the names and email addresses of people whose information it had purchased…


Shopping for an Algorithm

Hello, friends,For some reason, YouTube is constantly recommending videos to my 14-year-old son that I consider objectionable. Videos featuring men who want to kill women who won’t sleep with them, men spewing hate against immigrants, and sympathetic portraya…


Understanding the Digital Services Act

Hello, friends,You might be excused for thinking that the biggest news in tech this past week was Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter. But, in fact, the most consequential moment in tech policy last week was when European lawmakers reached a landmark agreement on …


Confronting the Biases Embedded in Artificial Intelligence

Hello, friends,Hardly a day goes by without another revelation of race, gender, and other biases being embedded in artificial intelligence systems. Just this month, for example, Silicon Valley’s much-touted AI image generation system DALL-E disclosed that its…


The Cyberwar That Never Arrived

Hello, friends, Ever since the spectacular Stuxnet cyberattack in 2010 that destroyed Iranian nuclear weapons infrastructure, the threat of cyberwarfare has loomed large in political conflicts around the globe.Cyber experts have warned of a “Cyber Pearl Harbo…


The National Security Risks of Microtargeting

Hello, friends,One of the creepiest innovations of our digital age is the ability to collect thousands of data points about people’s online behavior, make inferences about what they want to hear, and then send them targeted messages. Advertisers were the earl…


Maria Ressa’s Plan to Defend Facts

Hello, friends,Journalists are under attack around the world. Last year, the number of journalists who were jailed for their work hit a record high of 293 according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. At the same time, the financial lifeblood of journali…


Chatroom Justice

Hello, friends,We've increasingly come to see that the internet is not just a democratizer of information and speech but also a place that reaffirms the inequities and power dynamics of the world in disturbing ways.One example is how it enables more aggressiv…


Your Location Is a Universal Identifier

Hello, friends, For months now, The Markup reporters Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng have been investigating the little-known industry of data brokers that scoop up location information from apps on your phone and sell it. In September, they identified 47 companies …


Can Spyware Be Stopped?

Hello, friends,You may not believe me when I say this, but every year, spies and cops from governments around the world gather at a secretive trade show known as the “Wiretappers Ball.” There they buy spyware, surveillance software and hacking tools they use …


Congress Acts on Big Tech

Hello, friends,Congress has been busy with a flurry of tech industry legislation recently: On Jan. 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s landmark antitrust bill, which bans large online platforms from giving preference to their own …


A Kinder, Gentler Social Network

Hello, friends,It was a bad week for Facebook. The social network reported Wednesday that it had lost daily users last quarter for the first time ever. While users were logging out, Apple had been cracking down on privacy, which could cut Facebook’s ad revenu…


Is the Face the Final Frontier of Privacy?

Hello, friends,The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has begun requiring users of some of its online services to submit a selfie to a private company, ID.me, to verify their identity using facial recognition technology.The move marks one of the largest rollouts o…


Privacy + Investigative Journalism

Hello, friends,The Markup is committed to both protecting the privacy of our readers and to publishing hard-hitting investigative journalism. But it would be naive to ignore the fact that privacy and journalism can sometimes be in conflict.When I first starte…


The Big Business of Tracking and Profiling Students

Hello, friends,The United States is one of the few countries that does not have a federal baseline privacy law that lays out minimum standards for data use. Instead, it has tailored laws that are supposed to protect data in different sectors—including health,…


Fighting Disinformation Through the Courts

Last year at this time, thousands of protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol and tried to interrupt certification of the presidential election results. They were fueled by lies about the election being “stolen”—lies that were spread by a small cadre of right-wing…


Happy Holidays from The Markup

Hello, friends,Somehow 2021 feels like the longest year. We couldn’t break free of the pandemic. We couldn’t put the U.S. presidential election behind us. And we couldn’t tame the unruly supply chain. But our scrappy nonprofit newsroom managed to overcome the…


Meet the App That Is Selling Families’ Location Data

Hello, friends,Two months ago, we started digging into the little-known, roughly $12 billion industry that traffics in data about people’s movements collected from their cellphones. After much sleuthing, investigative data journalist Jon Keegan and reporter A…