This Orwellian Technology Automates Censorship And Is Even Worse Than It Sounds

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
By Paul Martin

By James Holbrooks
JUNE 28, 2016

As people around the world struggle to come to terms with the recent years’ rise in terrorist attacks — and on the heels of a mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 people dead — many are looking to social media platforms to up their game in the battle against online radicalization. Now, a computer scientist claims to have developed an algorithm that can permanently remove extremist content from the Web — before it has a chance to go viral.

“It is no longer a matter of not having the technological ability to fight online extremism,” Dr. Hany Farid, of Dartmouth, told International Business Times, “it is a matter of the industry and private sector partners having the will to take action.”

The technology, which Farid describes as “robust hashing,” is based on earlier software the scientist developed called PhotoDNA, which tracks and removes images of child pornography. The new algorithm would function similarly — identifying extremist images and videos on the Internet by searching for that contents’ unique digital markers, or “hashes.”

“Every image, every video, every audio, has a distinct signature that we can extract from it. It’s a lot like human DNA,” Dr. Farid said on MSNBC. “So that when an image comes in, we have flagged it as child pornography, extremism, violence, calls to violence. So we extract the signature, and then we simply scan everything that comes in and compare it against that signature, and when we get a hit, that content is not allowed online.”

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