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Political Ads Under Scrutiny By Google Before The EU Elections

Google News Lab will collaborate with news organisations across all 27 countries to support online fact checking

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA
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In the run-up to European Union (EU) elections in May 2019, Google will introduce a EU-specific Election Ads Transparency Report and searchable ad library to provide more information about who is purchasing election ads, whom they’re targeted to and how much money is being spent.

In May 2019, up to 350 million voters across the EU will take to the Parliamentary polls to elect 705 Members of European Parliament (MEPs).

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

“To support this democratic process, we’re rolling out products and programmes to help people get the information they need to cast their votes,” Lie Junius, Director, EU Public Policy and Government Relations, said in a blog post on Thursday.

Google will require ads that mention a political party, candidate or current officeholder, to make it clear to voters who are paying for the advertising.

“We’ll also introduce a new process to verify EU election advertisers to make sure they are who they say they are,” Junius added.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

The company will also work with campaigns, elections officials, journalists, human rights organisations and others across the EU to ensure the security of the online platforms that they depend on.

“For the EU 2019 Parliamentary elections, we’re offering in-person security training to the most vulnerable groups, who face increased risks of phishing attacks,” said Google.

Also Read: How Political Ads Work, A Guide By Facebook And Google

The company will be walking them through Google’s Advanced Protection Programme and Project Shield, a free service that uses Google technology to protect news sites and free expression from DDoS attacks on the web.

“Google News Lab will collaborate with news organisations across all 27 countries to support online fact checking,” said the company. (IANS)

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Google Not Going to Offer Controversial Face Recognition Technology

According to Walker, Google has long been committed to the responsible development of AI

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- The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

At a time when pressure is mounting on tech companies to utilise facial recognition technology with care to avoid its misuse, Google has said it will not offer the controversial technology for now.

Toeing Microsoft’s line which has asked governments across the world to regulate this technology, Google said facial recognition merits careful consideration.

“Like many technologies with multiple uses, facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes,” Kent Walker, Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at Google, said in a blog post on Friday.

“We continue to work with many organisations to identify and address these challenges, and unlike some other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before working through important technology and policy questions,” informed Walker.

Earlier this month, Microsoft President Brad Smith said that given the potential for abuse of the fast advancing facial recognition technology, governments across the world need to start adopting laws to regulate this technology in 2019.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” warned Smith in a blog post.

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Google not to offer controversial face recognition technology.
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“The time for action has arrived,” he said, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology.

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology.

The company, Smith said, would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of 2019.

Also Read- Actor Ali Fazal Delighted With Positive Response to ‘Mirzapur’

According to Walker, Google has long been committed to the responsible development of AI.

“These principles guide our decisions on what types of features to build and research to pursue. As one example, facial recognition technology has benefits in areas like new assistive technologies and tools to help find missing persons, with more promising applications on the horizon,” he added. (IANS)