Congress should follow California’s lead in protecting consumers

(CNN)Many aspects of privacy protection in our country are broken and Congress is not doing its part to fix them. For example, when hackers obtained the private information of 148 million Americans in the 2017 Equifax breach, Congress did virtually nothing — not even coming close to voting on bills, like the proposed Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act, which would have done more to protect consumer information in the hands of credit bureaus. But the California law may never take effect. Businesses are urging the Congress that did little after the Equifax breach to pass a federal privacy law to protect companies from state privacy laws. Businesses argue that complying with the laws of different states is expensive. It …

How to keep AI from turning into the Terminator

(CNN)Artificial intelligence (AI) has long occupied an outsized role in our collective imagination, in everything from pulp science fiction novels to James Cameron blockbusters. When AI is the antagonist, it is corporeal and impossible to overlook, like the Terminator. Even in the real world, discussions about rogue technology tend to focus on the overt and dramatic, such as Elon Musk’s exhortations on Twitter that the dangers of AI rival the dangers of nuclear weapons. But even if you don’t worry about it for yourself, there is growing evidence that these systems tend to radicalize and polarize. Last year, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher Zeynep Tufekci dubbed YouTube “the Great Radicalizer”: view one anti-vaccination video, and YouTube will …

Why do vegans attract such hatred?

London (CNN)Ever since Greggs announced its new vegan sausage roll on January 2, the Internet has been ablaze with opposing opinions. Many have been delighted, with many outlets of the UK fast-food chain selling out of the new arrival by lunchtime. Others however, haven’t been so thrilled. Virtue-signalling is a now-stale phrase born in 2015, which describes people who publicly highlight their support for good causes, but care more about you noticing how worthy they are than the cause itself. Recently, an opposing phenomenon has also gained traction. Performative contempt for anything unfamiliar is a tried and tested means of getting attention for a certain kind of commenter. They pick a target whose actually-harmless behavior appears to threaten some notion …

Border wall would do nothing to stop terrorism. And there is no national emergency.

(CNN)The Trump administration is framing the necessity of a southern border wall, in part, as a response to a national security emergency involving terrorists. This is a barrel of bunkum and balderdash served with generous helpings of hogwash. This decline tracks with the declining fortunes of ISIS. When it controlled territory the size of the United Kingdom, thousands of Islamist militants joined or attempted to join ISIS, including from the United States. Now the geographical caliphate is almost entirely gone and ISIS recruitment has slowed to a trickle. In the United States since the 9/11 attacks, 455 jihadist terrorists have been charged or convicted or died before they faced trial. Not one of these terrorists crossed the southern border. It …