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Media, security staff, take the stand in public inquiry for N.W.T. MLA who broke isolation – CBC.ca

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A public inquiry into MLA Steve Norn’s alleged breach of code of conduct continued Tuesday.

The hearing is to assess whether or not Norn breached the Legislative Assembly’s code of conduct when he broke his mandatory self-isolation period after travel and made inaccurate statements in the news about it. 

On Monday, Norn’s lawyer Steven Cooper requested an adjournment on the case. He said he needed more time to review the piles of evidence, some of which had only been provided to him days or hours before the hearing began. 

Cooper called the rush for the inquiry to be heard this week “politically motivated” ahead of the Legislative Assembly reconvening on Oct. 14. 

Sole adjudicator Ronald L. Barclay denied the application for adjournment Tuesday morning. He said that “the disclosure provided to Mr. Cooper was both fulsome and timely.”

“Mr. Cooper’s suggestion the date for this hearing was selected and maintained to facilitate the legislature and was politically motivated is frankly insulting, is without foundation and is entirely false,” Barclay said. 

A decision that Norn said was “like a legal farce.”

“Are you serious Mr. Barclay? Wow. Wow,” Norn said while Barclay presented his ruling on the application to adjourn. 

Testimonies

Ollie Williams, head of programming and news with Cabin Radio, and Liny Lamberink, a reporter with CBC Yellowknife, were cross-examined Tuesday on their reporting. 

Williams was questioned on a Cabin Radio report from April 23 where Norn said he isolated as instructed from April 4 to 18. 

Cooper asked that Williams confirm how he introduced himself to Norn on the call preceding the story and how he could be sure of accuracy when his recording equipment had not been working that day. Williams provided typed notes of his conversation with Norn, which he was compelled by subpoena to provide, and said that the Cabin Radio story was written minutes after his brief conversation with Norn while the comments were fresh in his mind.

Asked what he meant by “brief,” Williams said the call lasted about five minutes. 

Williams then interjected to note that Norn had written “liar” in the virtual chat over Zoom – a function only visible to those participating in the hearing. 

Williams then read the messages into the public record. Norn wrote, “liar,’ adding that the call was “30 seconds max.”  

 Barclay called Norn’s use of the chat function “highly improper.”

In a CBC article published May 5, Lamberink quotes Norn admitting he attended the legislature during his isolation period. “I’ll wear that,” Norn said. “If public health wants to do something with that, they can. Absolutely, I’ll own it.”

The audio recording from that conversation, which CBC was also compelled by subpoena to provide, was played during Tuesday’s hearing.

When Lamberink’s counsel Tess Layton objected to Cooper’s line of questioning, Barclay agreed that asking about Lamberink’s number of years as a journalist or CBC training on the journalistic standards and practices was not relevant. 

Cooper had no further questions   

Lawyer Ronald Halabi, also representing Norn, cross examined Dennis Marchiori, the director of compliance and enforcement operations with the territorial department of health and social services.

Halabi asked when exactly isolation begins and ends for isolating residents and how that information is made clear to the public. 

Marchiori explained that isolation begins as soon as travellers return to the territory and ends only after their 14th day of isolation. In addition to email and telephone check ups from Protect NWT on days two, six, 10 and 14 of self isolation, Marchiori said instructions are in each individual’s isolation plan and on the organization’s website online. 

Video surveillance footage was later shown of Norn entering the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly on April 17, one day prior to the end of his isolation period. 

Brian Thagard, the Sergeant-at-Arms for the Legislative Assembly, and Robert Braine the security officer of the Legislative Assembly who was on duty when Norn visited on April 17, were questioned on the details of the MLA’s visit and the process of documenting visitors. 

The inquiry continues Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. The entire proceedings are being broadcast on the legislature’s website

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Western News – Expert insights: Why social media companies need to be reined in – Western News

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In September, the Wall Street Journal released the Facebook Files. Drawing on thousands of documents leaked by whistle blower and former employee Frances Haugen, the Facebook Files show that the company knows their practices harm young people, but fails to act, choosing corporate profit over public good.

The Facebook Files are damning for the company, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. However, it isn’t the only social media company that compromises young people’s internationally protected rights and well-being by prioritizing profits.

As researchers and experts on children’s rights, online privacy and equality and the online risks, harms and rewards that young people face, the news over the past few weeks didn’t surprise us.

Harvested personal data

Harvesting and commodifying personal data (including children’s data) underpins the internet financial model — a model that social psychologist and philosopher Shoshana Zuboff has dubbed surveillance capitalism .

Social media companies make money under this model by collecting, analyzing and selling the personal information of users. To increase the flow of this valuable data they work to engage more people, for more time, through more interactions.

Ultimately, the value in harvested personal data lies in the detailed personal profiles the data supports — profiles that are used to feed the algorithms that shape our newsfeeds, personalize our search results, help us get a job (or hinder) and determine the advertisements we receive.

In a self-reinforcing turn, these same data are used to shape our online environments to encourage disclosure of even more data — and the process repeats.

Surveillance capitalism

Recent research confirms that the deliberate design, algorithmic and policy choices made by social media companies (that lie at the heart of surveillance capitalism) directly expose young people to harmful content. However, the harms of surveillance capitalism extend well beyond this.

Our research in both Canada and the United Kingdom has repeatedly uncovered young people’s concern with how social media companies and policy-makers are failing them. Rather than respecting young people’s rights to expression, to be free from discrimination and to participate in decisions affecting themselves, social media companies monitor young people to bombard them with unsolicited content in service of corporate profits.

As a result, young people have often reported to us that they feel pressured to conform to stereotypical profiles used to steer their behaviour and shape their environment for profit.

For example, teen girls have told us that even though using Instagram and Snapchat created anxiety and insecurity about their bodies, they found it almost impossible to “switch off” the platforms. They also told us how the limited protection provided by default privacy settings leaves them vulnerable to unwanted “dick pics” and requests to send intimate images to men they don’t know.

Several girls and their parents told us that this can sometimes lead to extreme outcomes, including school refusal, self harm and, in a few cases, attempting suicide.

The surveillance capitalism financial model that underlies social media ensures that companies do everything they can to keep young people engaged.

Young people have told us that they want more freedom and control when using these spaces — so they are as public or private as they like, without fear of being monitored or profiled, or that their data are being farmed out to corporations.

Teenagers also told us how they rarely bother to report harmful content to the platforms. This isn’t because they don’t know how, but instead because they have learned from experience that it doesn’t help. Some platforms were too slow to respond, others didn’t respond at all and some said that what was reported didn’t breach community standards, so they weren’t willing to help.

Removing toxic content hurts the bottom line

These responses aren’t surprising. For years, we have known about the lack of resources to moderate content and deal with online harassment.

Haugen’s recent testimony at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing and earlier reports about other social media platforms highlight an even deeper profit motivation. Profit depends on meaningful social engagement, and harmful, toxic and divisive content drives engagement.

Basically, removing toxic content would hurt the corporate bottom line.

Guiding principles that centre children’s rights

So, what should be done in light of the recent, though not unprecedented, revelations in the Facebook Files? The issues are undoubtedly complex, but we have come up with a list of guiding principles that centre children’s rights and prioritize what young people have told us about what they need:

  1. Young people must be directly engaged in the development of relevant policy.
  2. All related policy initiatives should be evaluated on an ongoing basis using a children’s rights assessment framework.
  3. Social media companies should be stopped from launching products for children and from collecting their data for profiling purposes.
  4. Governments should invest more resources into providing fast, free, easy-to-access informal responses and support for those targeted by online harms (learning from existing models like Australia’s eSafety Commissioner and Nova Scotia’s CyberScan unit).
  5. We need laws that ensure that social media companies are both transparent and accountable, especially when it comes to content moderation.
  6. Government agencies (including police) should enforce existing laws against hateful, sexually violent and harassing content. Thought should be given to expanding platform liability for provoking and perpetuating these kinds of content.
  7. Educational initiatives should prioritize familiarizing young people, the adults who support them and corporations with children’s rights, rather than focusing on a “safety” discourse that makes young people responsible for their own protection. This way, we can work together to disrupt the surveillance capitalism model that endangers them in the first place.The Conversation

Kaitlynn Mendes, Professor of Gender, Media and Sociology, Western University; Jacquelyn Burkell, Associate Professor, Information and Media Studies, Western University; Jane Bailey, Professor of Law and Co-Leader of The eQuality Project, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa, and Valerie Steeves, Full Professor, Department of Criminology, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Trump Plans to Regain Social Media Presence With New Company – Bloomberg

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Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a deal that would enable him to regain a social media presence after he was kicked off Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. platforms. 

The former president’s new enterprise will be in operation by the first quarter of 2022, according to a press release from the Trump Media and Technology Group. It says it plans to start a social media company called Truth Social. The moves, if all goes according to plan, would occur well ahead of the 2022 mid-term elections. 

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Protesters denounce Netflix over Chappelle transgender comments

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About 100 people protested near Netflix Inc’s headquarters on Wednesday against the streaming pioneer’s decision to release comedian Dave Chappelle’s new special, which they say ridicules transgender people.

Netflix staff members, transgender rights advocates and public officials gathered on a sidewalk outside a Netflix office blocks away from the company’s main 13-story Sunset Boulevard building in Los Angeles.

Demonstrators held signs proclaiming, “Trans Lives Matter” and “Team Trans” and chanted slogans like “What do we want? Accountability,” “When do we want it? Now.”

Netflix staff were outnumbered by members of the public, but the precise number was not clear. Netflix employees had called for a walkout.

Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos acknowledged in interviews before the walkout, “I screwed up” in how he spoke to Netflix’s staff about Chappelle’s special, “The Closer.”

Sarandos previously defended the decision to air the show, saying Chappelle’s language did not cross the line into inciting violence. Netflix posted record subscriber numbers on Tuesday,

“While we appreciate the acknowledgement of the screw-up, in his own words, we want to actually talk about what that repair looks like,” said Ashlee Marie Preston, a transgender activist who came out in support of the Netflix employees.

Joey Soloway, creator of “Transparent,” a now-ended streaming series on rival Amazon that had a transgender character, talked about the line that separates edgy jokes and harmful speech.

“People say to me, as a comedian, where’s the line?” said Soloway. “The line is anything that makes it worse.”

Not everyone supported that message. “…The idea that a small, angry mob can shape entertainment and silence people’s speech is terrifying,” said counterprotester Dick Masterson.

While employee protests against corporate policies have become common in Silicon Valley, this is believed to be the first such action at the pioneer streaming video company.

The controversy over “The Closer” is playing out against the backdrop of a company-wide diversity effort that began in 2018, after Netflix’s former head of communications was fired for using a racial epithet in company meetings.

“It doesn’t feel good to have been working at the company that put that out there,” Netflix software engineer Terra Field wrote in a Medium post, referring to “The Closer.” “Especially when we’ve spent years building out the company’s policies and benefits so that it would be a great place for trans people to work.”

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; editing by Kenneth Li and Cynthia Osterman)

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