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Twitter Under Fire Over Deletion of Critical COVID Tweets in India
The removal of dozens of tweets seen to be critical of the Indian government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is putting people’s health at risk and quashing dissent, according to lawmakers and human rights activists.
Twitter withheld some tweets after a legal request by the Indian government, a company spokesperson told Reuters on Saturday. These included tweets from a lawmaker, a minister in the state of West Bengal, and a film-maker.
“Suppression of information and criticism of government is not only dangerous for India but it is putting people around the world at risk,” said Mirza Saaib Beg, a lawyer whose tweets were among those withheld.
The Ease of Tracking Mobile Phones of U.S. Soldiers in Hot Spots
In 2016, a U.S. defense contractor named PlanetRisk Inc. was working on a software prototype when its employees discovered they could track U.S. military operations through the data generated by the apps on the mobile phones of American soldiers.
At the time, the company was using location data drawn from apps such as weather, games and dating services to build a surveillance tool that could monitor the travel of refugees from Syria to Europe and the U.S., according to interviews with former employees. The company’s goal was to sell the tool to U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials.
But buried in the data was evidence of sensitive U.S. military operations by American special-operations forces in Syria. The company’s analysts could see phones that had come from military facilities in the U.S., traveled through countries like Canada or Turkey and were clustered at the abandoned Lafarge Cement Factory in northern Syria, a staging area at the time for U.S. special-operations and allied forces.
This Researcher Says AI Is Neither Artificial nor Intelligent
Technology companies like to portray artificial intelligence as a precise and powerful tool for good. Kate Crawford says that mythology is flawed. In her book Atlas of AI, she visits a lithium mine, an Amazon warehouse, and a 19th-century phrenological skull archive to illustrate the natural resources, human sweat, and bad science underpinning some versions of the technology. Crawford, a professor at the University of Southern California and researcher at Microsoft, says many applications and side effects of AI are in urgent need of regulation.
Despite Virus, Global Military Spending Grew In 2020, Led by U.S.
Global military expenditure rose by 2.6 percent to $1.98 trillion last year even as some countries reallocated their defence funds to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a report issued on Monday.
The five biggest spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62 percent of military spending worldwide, were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom, in that order, according to the Sweden-based body.