Spring Issue: 2022

In this issue …

AI & Facial Recognition in the News – Jim Hendler
Privacy and the Individual – Kieron O’Hara
In Conversation with Bill Thompson
Recent Publications
Upcoming events – WebSci’22

AI & Facial Recognition in the News
Jim Hendler

Jim Hendler, a long-time WST Trustee and AI expert, has recently spoken of his concerns around the use of facial recognition in government departments including the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). His original article appeared in theconversation.com.

The IRS’s move is aimed at cutting down on identity theft, a crime that affects millions of Americans. The IRS, in particular, has reported a number of tax filings from people claiming to be others, and fraud in many of the programs that were administered as part of the American Relief Plan has been a major concern to the government.

The IRS decision has prompted a backlash, in part over concerns about requiring citizens to use facial recognition technology and in part over difficulties some people have had in using the system, particularly with some state agencies that provide unemployment benefits. The reaction has prompted the IRS to revisit its decision.

Read the full article here

Privacy and the Individual
Kieron O’Hara

In the first of a new WST White Paper series, Web Scientist and Author Kieron O’Hara looks at two approaches to securing rights for the individual through technical and legal/procedural means.

Law has granted individuals some rights over the use of data about them, but data protection rights have not redressed the balance between the individual and the tech giants. A number of approaches aim to augment personal rights to allow individuals to police their own information space, facilitating informational self-determination.

This reports reviews this approach to privacy protection, explaining how controls have generally been conceived either as the use of technology to aid individuals in this policing task, or the creation of further legal instruments to augment their powers. It focuses on two recent attempts to secure or support data protection rights, one using technology and the other the law. The former is called Solid, a decentralised platform for linked data, while the latter is a novel application of trust law to develop data trusts in which individuals’ data is managed by a trustee with the individuals as beneficiaries.

The report argues that structural impediments make it hard for thriving, diverse ecosystems of Solid apps or data trusts to achieve critical mass – a problem that has traditionally haunted this empowering approach.

Read the full article

In Conversation with Bill Thompson

What do you get when you mix Philosophy, Applied Psychology, AI, Political activism and Unix programming with the Web?

In conversation this time is well-known BBC journalist, author and technology pundit Bill Thompson, who is surely an obvious candidate for the titles of both renaissance man and Web Scientist. He recently joined the WST Board of Trustees and we are delighted to welcome him. Ian Brown sat down to find out a little more about Bill’s road from Philosophy to Web Science and why he has been “thinking about the way the network is changing the world”.

Bill Thompson

Recent Publications

We round up some notable recent books. Hopefully you’ve submitted a paper and we wish you the best of luck in winning a best paper award at WebSci’22!

Hannes ­Werthner, Erich ­Prem, Edward­ A.­ Lee, Carlo ­Ghezzi­­­, Editors, Perspectives on Digital Humanism (Springer 2022). Open access collection of papers, including pieces by WSTNet authors, on the relation between human and machine, covering topics such as controlling AI, participation and democracy, the ethics of technology, the arts, fairness, the power of platforms, education, geopolitics and work.

Sheera Frenkel & Cecilia Kang, An Ugly Truth (Bridge Street Press 2021). Exposes the ruthlessness of Facebook’s growth strategy.

Kate Crawford, Atlas of AI (Yale University Press 2021). How AI is changing the world’s geography (largely for the worse), as a technology of extraction.

Find out more

Upcoming Events

The ACM Web Science Conference will run from 26th-29th June at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and online.

ACM WebSci’22 will be co-located with the ACM Hypertext Conference and the ACM UMAP Conference.

Keep an eye out for updates/notifications on Facebook and using the Twitter hashtags #websci22 #websciconf and #webscience.

WebSci’22 Conference Site

If you missed WebSci’21 then click below for the highlight reel and catchup with selected presentations in our series “From the Video Vault”.

WebSci’21 Highlights
Video Vault


Thank you as always for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using: info@webscience.org.

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Visit our WST homepage for more news and updates on upcoming events.

Check out our new-look website!!

Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team

You are receiving this mail as a member of an opt-in mailing list. Please click below if you wish to unsubscribe.

Copyright (C) 2023 Web Science Trust. All rights reserved.

You are receiving this email because of your interest in Web Science


Web Science Trust

c/o University of Southampton

Southampton, Hampshire SO17 1BJ

United Kingdom

Add us to your address book


Update Preferences | Unsubscribe

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp