Archive for June, 2019

Japan will restrict the export of some materials used in smartphones and chips to South Korea

Japan’s trade ministry said today that it will restrict the export of some tech materials to South Korea, including polyimides used in flexible displays made by companies like Samsung Electronics. The new rules come as the two countries argue over compensation for South Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories during World War II. The list of restricted supplies, expected to go into effect on July 4, includes polyimides used in smartphone and flexible organic LED displays, and etching gas and resist used to make semiconductors. That means Japanese suppliers who wish to sell those materials to South Korean tech companies such as Samsung, LG and SK Hynix will need to submit each contract for approval. Japan’s government may also remove South Korea from its list of countries that have fewer restrictions on trading technology that might have national security implications, reports Nikkei Asian Review. Earlier this year, South Korea’s Supreme Court ruled several Japanese companies, including Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, that had used forced labor during World War II must pay compensation and began seizing assets for liquidation. But Japan’s government claims the issue was settled in 1965 as part of a treaty that restored basic diplomatic relations between the two countries and is asking South Korea to put the matter before an international arbitration panel instead.

Facebook civil rights audit says white supremacy policy is ‘too narrow’

Facebook’s second progress report pertaining to the civil rights audit conducted by former ACLU Washington Director Laura Murphy is here. Over the last six months, Facebook has made changes around enforcing against hate, fighting discrimination in ads and protecting against misinformation and suppression in the upcoming U.S. presidential election and 2020 Census, according to the progress report. While Facebook has made changes in some of these areas — Facebook banned white supremacy in March — auditors say Facebook’s policy is still “too narrow.” That’s because it solely prohibits explicit praise, support or representation of the terms “white nationalism” or “white separatism,” but does not technically prohibit references to those terms and ideologies. “The narrow scope of the policy leaves up content that expressly espouses white nationalist ideology without using the term ‘white nationalist,’” the report states. “As a result, content that would cause the same harm is permitted to remain on the platform.” Therefore, the audit team recommends Facebook expand its policy to prohibit content that “expressly praises, supports, or represents white nationalist ideology” even if the content does not explicitly use the terms “white nationalism” or “white separatism.” In Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s note today, she acknowledges the recommendation. “We’re addressing this by identifying hate slogans and symbols connected to white nationalism and white separatism to better enforce our policy,” she wrote. Sandberg also noted how Facebook recently updated its policies to ensure people don’t use Facebook to organize events intended to intimidate or harass people. “Getting our policies right is just one part of the solution,” Sandberg said. “We also need to get better at enforcement — both in taking down and leaving up the right content.” Sandberg is referring to the fact that Facebook has sometimes wrongfully taken down content meant to draw attention to racism and discrimination. Facebook temporarily banned a social justice activist for commenting on racism As Murphy noted in her report, “the definition and policing of hate speech and harassment on the platform has long been an area of concern. The civil rights community also claims that a lack of civil rights expertise informing content decisions leads to vastly different outcomes for users from marginalized communities.” Facebook now says it’s taking steps to address this. One step, Sandberg says, is to have some content reviewers focus just on hate speech. “We believe allowing reviewers to specialize only in hate speech could help them further build the expertise that may lead to increased accuracy over time,” Sandberg wrote. Additionally, Sandberg has formalized a civil rights task force at Facebook. This task force will live on beyond the audit in order to continue building more awareness around civil rights issues on Facebook. And ahead of the upcoming presidential election, Facebook says it is working on new protections against voter interference and is adding a policy that prohibits “don’t vote” ads. That policy is expected to go into effect before the 2019 gubernatorial election. On the census side, Facebook is working on an interference policy that […]