The General Data Protection Regulation is coming into force.
These tougher rules on data protection were approved by the EU Parliament in April 2016, but a lot of us didn’t hear about them back then. Perhaps you first heard GDPR mentioned in discussions about recent controversies to do with the questionable use of people’s data.
Or maybe it was when you started receiving a deluge emails.
But what is GDPR, and why should we care about it? And could these new regulations impact our health? What happens with our medical data now?
To help answer these questions, Jordan Erica Webber is joined by the Guardian’s technology reporter, Alex Hern, and Dr Rachel Birch of the Medical Protection Society.
By the end of the second hearing, we had learned the areas Facebook wanted to avoid. Questions about its profiling prowess, for instance, were generally answered through misdirection. Asked who owns “the virtual you”, Zuckerberg’s favoured response was to note that you own all the “content” you upload, and can delete it at will. That does not answer the question, of course: the advertising profile that Facebook builds up about you cannot be deleted, and you have no control over it.
... winning not by being better, but by rigging the competition in your favour. Erecting economic barriers to employment via the high cost of taking an internship is just one more way to reserve the highest-status jobs for the elite.
How an extreme libertarian tract predicting the collapse of liberal democracies – written by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s father – inspired the likes of Peter Thiel to buy up property across the Pacific
A text version can be found here.
For centuries, lexicographers have attempted to capture the entire English language. Technology might soon turn this dream into reality – but will it spell the end for dictionaries?
The text version can be found here.
Consider this a rational corrective to centuries of dismissive shrugs, then: look for the gorilla. Do what we already automatically do with male art: assume there is something worthy and interesting hiding there. If you find it, admire it. And outline it, so that others will see it too. Once you point it out, we’ll never miss it again. And we will be better for seeing as obvious and inevitable something that previously – absent the instructions – we simply couldn’t perceive.
One interesting quote to come out of the piece was from Susan Sontag:
A famous Susan Sontag meditation on this aesthetic paradigm bears repeating: “The great advantage men have is that our culture allows two standards of male beauty: the boy and the man. The beauty of a boy resembles the beauty of a girl. In both sexes, it is a fragile kind of beauty and flourishes naturally only in the early part of the life cycle. Happily, men are able to accept themselves under another standard of good looks – heavier, rougher, more thickly built … There is no equivalent of this second standard for women. The single standard of beauty for women dictates that they must go on having clear skin. Every wrinkle, every line, every grey hair, is a defeat.”
if you have an operation, although it is your surgeon who manages the moist, intricate mechanics of the matter, it is your anaesthetist who keeps you alive.
Figures vary (sometimes wildly, depending in part on how they are gathered) but big American and European studies using structured post-operative interviews have shown that one to two patients in 1,000 report waking under anaesthesia. More, it seems, in China. More again in Spain. Twenty to forty thousand people are estimated to remember waking each year in the US alone. Of these, only a small proportion are likely to feel pain, let alone the sort of agonies described above. But the impact can be devastating.
Cole-Adams suggests that the answer maybe a personal touch:
So if you were my anaesthetist and I your patient, there are some other things I’d hope you would do in the operating theatre. Things that many already do. Be kind. Talk to me. Just a bit of information and reassurance. Use my name.
For some argue that there should be care that goes beyond consciousness:
Japanese anaesthetist Jiro Kurata calls this “care of the soul”. In an unusual and rather lovely paper delivered at the Ninth International Symposium on Memory and Awareness in Anaesthesia in 2015, he wondered if there might be “part of our existence that cannot ever be shut down, which we cannot even conceive by ourselves” – a “subconscious self” that might be resistant to even high doses of anaesthetics. He called this the hard problem of anaesthesia awareness.
Science might be able to return my father (or, more to the point, future Alzheimer’s patients) to his pre-Alzheimer’s state, but it could not undo the sea change that had taken place in the people who loved him. For that to happen, we would have to forget everything that had happened in the past decade – and our memory, for better and worse, is perfectly intact.
Tempting as it is to legislate against manipulated ‘facts’, it both misguided and dangerous
There is another change, too. In the past, those with power manipulated facts so as to present lies as truth. Today, lies are often accepted as truth because the very notion of truth is fragmenting. “Truth” often has little more meaning than: “This is what I believe” or: “This is what I think should be true”. On issues from Brexit to same-sex marriage, all sides cling to their view as the truth, refusing to engage with “alternate” views. As Donald Trump has so ably demonstrated, the cry of “fake news” has become a way of dismissing inconvenient truths. And from China to the Philippines, repressive regimes use the charge of “fake news” to impose censorship and crush dissent.
This is why Mike Caulfield’s work is so important. Rather than pushing solutions onto citizens, we need to build the capacity of people to dig further.