27 September 2023

Greetings all, and happy Wednesday! Yes, Wednesday. We’ve decided to move the newsletter to a Wednesday, partially because everyone needs a bit of a mid-week pick me up (and we all know what we’d pick between the newsletter and a pint after work) and partially because I clearly wasn’t getting the newsletter out on a Monday, and so Wednesday just seems a better choice, particularly as it still allows us to include content from the weekend magazines, etc.

Right, so to today’s thrilling edition. I’d like to flag a story in iNews looking at police use of retrospective facial recognition in the UK. This is really interesting for a couple of reasons. First is the fact that all police forces have allegedly been using RFR, despite denying it (naughty). Second, that most police forces (i.e. very nearly every) have apparently been using RFR without a public policy framework in place, despite the fact that this was the minimum legal requirement established following the Bridges decision (very naughty!). Third, police use of RFR draws on custody images, which include people not convicted of any crimes. Really, images related to non-convicted persons should be deleted because of the risk of stigmatisation, and in line with a judgment of the domestic courts and another of the European Court (but… they are sooooo handy…../potential conflict there in the future).

I have a piece coming out (hopefully) in the not too distant future on RFR, so there’s that something for us all to look forward to.

There’s also a Surveillance & Society Special Issue on AI & Surveillance, which looks really interesting, and is up all our streets, right?

And, continuing our determination to flag positive stories as they arise – despite the selection bias inherent in our feed – there is a piece in the Washington Post on the use of AI to fight wildfires. Which reminded me of this piece in The New Yorker, on the difficulties of predicting fires.

In the UK the University strike continues this week, and so – with a particular emphasis on the cost of living crisis, which of course affects us all (solidarity) – I’ll leave you with Money by the Drums (I’d love to buy you something, but I don’t have any money…)

Have a great week, and weekend, and hopefully I’ll pop into your inboxes at some stage next Wednesday.

Thanks as ever to Sarah Zarmsky.

iNews, Hundreds of thousands of innocent people on police databases as forces expand use of facial recognition tech

Communications of the ACM, Beyond Deep Fakes

MIT Technology Review, Priscilla Chan & Mark Zuckerberg: How AI can help us understand how cells work—and help cure diseases

MIT Technology Review, Deepfakes of Chinese influencers are livestreaming 24/7 

The Washington Post, The threat of wildfires is rising. So are new artificial intelligence solutions to fight them

The New York Times, This Is How A.I. Ruins the Internet

The Washington Post, Humans are responsible for AI

WIRED, Smarter AI Assistants Could Make It Harder to Stay Human

The Register, Companies ought to be cautious about using generative AI 

The Guardian, Australian federal police using AI to analyse data obtained under surveillance warrants

The Guardian, AI developing too fast for regulators to keep up, says Oliver Dowden

The Conversation, NASA’s Mars rovers could inspire a more ethical future for AI

Financial Times, AI could consign educational traumas to history 

Financial Times, Deepfakes make banks keep it real 

Financial Times, AI: a new tool for cyber attackers — or defenders? 

The New York Times, How A.I. Increased the Graduation Rate at John Jay College by 32 Points

The Guardian, AI having ‘positive impact’ on UK jobs but could increase regional inequalities, says report

WIRED, DeepMind’s New AI Can Predict Genetic Diseases

The Conversation, AI won’t be replacing your priest, minister, rabbi or imam any time soon

The New York Times, 400-Pound N.Y.P.D. Robot Gets Tryout in Times Square Subway Station

BBC News, Is it possible to regulate artificial intelligence?

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Poland launches investigation into OpenAI over alleged violations of privacy rights

Algorithm Watch, EU policymakers: regulate police technology 

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, China: Alleged exploitation of student interns in AI industry raises human rights concerns                      


OHCHR, A/HRC/54/22/Add.5: New technologies and enforced disappearances – Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances 

Academic Literature

*Disclaimer: The following articles, chapters, and books have not been evaluated for their methodology and do not necessarily reflect the views of the AI & Human Right Blog 

K. Terzidou, Automated Anonymization of Court Decisions: Facilitating the Publication of Court Decisions through Algorithmic Systems 

Surveillance & Society, Special Issue on AI & Surveillance, which looks great.


EUI, Next Democratic Frontiers for Facial Recognition Technology (hybrid conference, free to participate, Friday 29 September 2023) 

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