Protego Press Weekly Roundup- September 11th, 2019

Congress is back in session, and the election cycle continues to ramp up. And at the center of the discussion remains the ever changing world of tech policy. From election disinformation in the US and Canada, to privacy implications of photo apps, to Google’s antitrust issues, it’s all in this week’s Protego Press Weekly Round Up.

In Case You Missed It: With the first presidential primary vote only five months away, the public should be aware of the sources and types of online disinformation likely to surface during the 2020 election. Paul M. Barrett has new report on disinformation and the 2020 election published by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. Read more about the report in How Disinformation Could Sway the 2020 Election

In Case You Missed It II: The latest photo app craze can make you look like a movie star. Zao uses artificial intelligence to replace the faces of characters in film or TV clips with images of anyone whose photo you upload to the app. Alexandros Antoniou, Lecturer in Media Law, University of Essex, writes how the development of AI makes the potential consequences of giving up control of your photos even greater in Zao’s deepfake face-swapping app shows uploading your photos is riskier than ever.

Disinformation and Elections: As we approach 5 months from the first primary elections, the implications of disinformation, misinformation, deep fakes and election interference are becoming more dire.  

First, Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign sent letters to major technology companies Friday morning imploring them to do more to root out disinformation ahead of the 2020 election. The pointed appeals, from campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon, came after a conspiracy theory falsely linking the former Texas congressman to the gunman who killed seven people in two West Texas towns last Saturday was allowed to spread on social media this week, garnering thousands of shares and, according to the campaign, at one point becoming the second-highest-trending Google search query related to O’Rourke in the preceding seven days.

In Texas, a recently passed law took effect September 1, which criminalizes the publication or distribution of deepfake video within 30 days of an election if there is an “intent to injure a candidate or influence the result of an election.”  Matthew Ferraro also looks at recent efforts in Virginia and California as well as in Congress to grapple with the growing deepfake problem. 

Meanwhile, with the  2019 Canadian federal election scheduled to take place on October 21, 2019. Clair Wardle with FirstDraft writes: Disinformation will spread ahead of the Canadian election. It’s impossible to know whether it will impact the final result, but if journalists are unprepared, there’s a much higher chance it will.

Finally, as illegitimate tactics like manipulated videos, troll farms, and fake social media accounts spread, state Democratic officials are demanding an official policy disavowing disinformation warfare. But the Democratic National Committee so far is refusing to go along.

Google Antitrust: New York is leading a multistate investigation of Facebook for possible antitrust violations, kicking off a bipartisan wave of 50 U.S. states and territories targeting the social media giant as well as Google’s parent company, Alphabet.  The investigation covers a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that Democrats and Republicans said may threaten competition, consumers and the continued growth of the web. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton charged that Google “dominates all aspects of advertising on the Internet and searching on the Internet,” though he cautioned that despite his criticism the states had launched an investigation for now and not a lawsuit. Paxton said the probe’s initial focus is online advertising, where Google is expected to rake in more than $48 billion in U.S. digital ad revenue this year, capturing 75 percent of all spending on U.S. search ads, according to eMarketer.

Quick Hits:

Uber Says It Will Not Change Driver Status Under California Gig-Worker Law

AI Startups and the Fight Against Online Disinformation

UK regulator reiterates GDPR warning to ad tech companies

I’m a tech CEO, and I don’t think tech CEOs should be making policy