1 November 2023

We’re back! So, the newsletter is finally a newsletter again, rather than an amorphous online presence. Apologies though, as I think because of the issues with the mail out you probably got flooded with a backlog of newsletters last week. Sorry for that. Hopefully everything is sorted now.

Most importantly. Happy Halloween to all who celebrate. To which I will add my yearly reminder that this is a historical Irish festival. If you doubt me – shame on you – but check out these freaky OG jack’o’lanterns.

Kicking off with facial recognition (did I mention I’m working on a book on this?) there are three big stories in the UK this week. The first is the huge rollout of facial recognition across retail outlets to combat shoplifting. They called it Operation Pegasus. Honestly. The second is the expansion of live facial recognition, this time by Essex Police. The third is this report on future regulation of biometric technology in the UK, which warns of a worrying vacuum if government plans go ahead. As facial recognition use is being so dramatically expanded (Police minister wants use of tech ‘doubled‘) any moves towards reduced oversight is obviously really troubling. I am also really concerned about the focus on data protection as the solution. Data protection is obviously very important, but the impact of advanced surveillance and biometric technologies go way beyond data protection and privacy. The chilling effects of surveillance bring into play freedom of expression, of assembly, etc. and can have a significant impact on the functioning of democracy. We really need a holistic and forward-looking approach to oversight. And we really need to make sure that it draws on all relevant disciplines: a law only lens is totally inappropriate here.

In confirmation of something I know we’ve all long suspected, apparently pigeons problem solve in a manner similar to AI.

Thanks as always to Sarah Zarmsky. This week, obviously, the tune has to be this on repeat in the background, followed by this classic from the Crypt Kickers.

Be well.

The Guardian, Major UK retailers urged to quit ‘authoritarian’ police facial recognition strategy 

The Telegraph, Sunak to launch AI chatbot for Britons to pay taxes and access pensions 

HackerNoon, The Ethical Dilemma: AI’s Role in Decision-Making and Human Rights  

MIT Technology Review, This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI 

HackerNoon, Navigating the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Datafloq, Edge AI and How Could It Result in Privacy-Centric AI

DeepMind, Evaluating social and ethical risks from generative AI

AP News, Chatbots might disrupt math and computer science classes. Some teachers see upsides  

AI News, Nightshade ‘poisons’ AI models to fight copyright theft

MIT Technology Review, A clever shield against photo fakery

The Guardian, Australian federal police tested controversial facial recognition search engine, FOI documents reveal 

MIT Technology Review, How to make government technology better

UNESCO, UNESCO talks about its Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Education    

Technology’s Legal Edge, AI Safety: The Final Frontier | Technology’s Legal Edge  

Financial Times, AI policymaking must include business leaders 

The Guardian, AI doomsday warnings a distraction from the danger it already poses, warns expert

The Guardian, AI promises incredible benefits, but also terrible risks. It’s not luddism to rein it in 

The Washington Post, Tech execs fear future with AI: ‘I don’t know where optimism would spring from’ 

The New York Times, A.I. Muddies Israel-Hamas War in Unexpected Way

Financial Times, Good robots must not be made to learn from bad human habits  

WIRED, Artists Allege Meta’s AI Data Deletion Request Process Is a ‘Fake PR Stunt’

The Guardian, Pigeons problem-solve similarly to artificial intelligence, research shows

The Washington Post, AI researchers uncover ethical, legal risks to using popular data sets   

WIRED, These Nightmare AI Scenarios Have the UK Government Spooked

The Guardian, My Blonde GF: a disturbing story of deepfake pornography 

The Guardian, AI-created child sexual abuse images ‘threaten to overwhelm internet’ 

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, UK: Questions of privacy violations resurface as Hikvision camera use restrictions narrow 

The Guardian, UK risks scandal over ‘bias’ in AI tools in use across public sector

BBC News, Essex Police make three arrests during facial recognition trial 

The Guardian, UK police urged to double use of facial recognition software      

EDRi, Unchecked AI will lead us to a police state

Algorithm Watch, Algorithmic blood donations in Ukraine   

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, EU: Civil society organisations urge European Parliament to stand strong on AI Act fundamental rights protections 

The National Interest, Artificial Intelligence Is Shaping the Story of the Israel-Gaza War 

Gov.uk, Report finds ‘worrying vacuum’ in surveillance camera plans 

Blog Posts

Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Artificial Intelligence and the Right to Privacy  

Just Security, Process Rights and the Automation of Public Services through AI: The Case of the Liberal State 

The Conversation, Deepfakes in warfare: new concerns emerge from their use around the Russian invasion of Ukraine 

ICRC Humanitarian Law & Policy, Algorithms of war: The use of artificial intelligence in decision making in armed conflict 

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 

Justin B. Bullock et al., The Oxford Handbook of AI Governance 

Marco Almada, Governing the Black Box of Artificial Intelligence

Denise Garcia, Algorithms and Decision-Making in Military Artificial Intelligence


Just Security, The Just Security Podcast: The Dangers of Using AI to Ban Books The Washington Post (video), A New Artificial Hand

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