Tech Talk - Secret Algorithms, Data Protection and Surveillance Cities

In this fortnight's Tech Talk we review the US Senate hearings into social media algorithms, evaluate competing models for data protection and take a walk through Melbourne's not-so-secret city.

Key points:

- Facebook Oversight Board's ruling on Donald Trump's suspension from the platform opens up a lot of different implications

- Facebook is being assailed from both sides of politics for very different reasons 

- The Oversight Board is also toothless, Facebook ultimately doesn't have to act on any of their recommendations

- Creating safe platform norms is an important way to moderate behaviour, rather than trying to (post) moderate content in essentially harmful platforms

- Regulation hasn't caught up with digital platforms - there are many rules for election advertising in other media for example, while there are almost none online

- We should further unpack "harm" online through product design - particularly when there is clear evidence of user issues through sustained product use

- Algorithmic opacity is an issue particularly for the largest companies - i.e. Google, whose algorithm essentially powers the commercial internet

- Surveillance in cities is not often thought about, and Digital Rights Watch hosted a tour of Melbourne city to help people become aware of this