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David manages departmental communications, and is also the Managing Editor of the journal Policy and Internet.
Could Counterfactuals Explain Algorithmic Decisions Without Opening the Black Box?

Could Counterfactuals Explain Algorithmic Decisions Without Opening the Black Box?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has sparked much discussion about the “right to explanation” for the algorithm-supported decisions made about us in our everyday lives. While there’s an obvious need for transparency in the automated decisions that are increasingly being made in areas like policing, education, healthcare and recruitment, explaining how these complex […]

Why we shouldn’t be pathologizing online gaming before the evidence is in

Internet-based video games are a ubiquitous form of recreation pursued by the majority of adults and young people. With sales eclipsing box office receipts, games are now an integral part of modern leisure. However, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently identified Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) as a potential psychiatric condition and has called for research […]

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Censorship or rumour management? How Weibo constructs “truth” around crisis events

As social media become increasingly important as a source of news and information for citizens, there is a growing concern over the impacts of social media platforms on information quality — as evidenced by the furore over the impact of “fake news”. Driven in part by the apparently substantial impact of social media on the […]

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Does Internet voting offer a solution to declining electoral turnout?

e-voting had been discussed as one possible remedy for the continuing decline in turnout in Western democracies. In their Policy & Internet article “Could Internet Voting Halt Declining Electoral Turnout? New Evidence that e-Voting is Habit-forming”, Mihkel Solvak and Kristjan Vassil examine the degree to which e-voting is more habit forming than paper voting. Their […]

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Introducing Martin Dittus, Data Scientist and Darknet Researcher

We’re sitting upstairs, hunched over a computer, and Martin is showing me the darknet. I guess I have as good an idea as most people what the darknet is, i.e. not much. We’re looking at the page of someone claiming to be in the UK who’s selling “locally produced” cannabis, and Martin is wondering if […]

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Exploring the Darknet in Five Easy Questions

Many people are probably aware of something called “the darknet” (also sometimes called the “dark web”) or might have a vague notion of what it might be. However, many probably don’t know much about the global flows of drugs, weapons, and other illicit items traded on darknet marketplaces like AlphaBay and Hansa, the two large […]

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Digital platforms are governing systems — so it’s time we examined them in more detail

Digital platforms are not just software-based media, they are governing systems that control, interact, and accumulate. As surfaces on which social action takes place, digital platforms mediate — and to a considerable extent, dictate — economic relationships and social action. By automating market exchanges they solidify relationships into material infrastructure, lend a degree of immutability […]

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Open government policies are spreading across Europe — but what are the expected benefits?

Open government policies are spreading across Europe, challenging previous models of the public sector, and defining new forms of relationship between government, citizens, and digital technologies. In their Policy & Internet article “Why Choose Open Government? Motivations for the Adoption of Open Government Policies in Four European Countries,” Emiliana De Blasio and Donatella Selva present […]

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Cyberbullying is far less prevalent than offline bullying, but still needs addressing

Bullying is a major public health problem, with systematic reviews supporting an association between adolescent bullying and poor mental wellbeing outcomes. In their Lancet article “Cyberbullying and adolescent well-being in England: a population-based cross sectional study”, Andrew Przybylski and Lucy Bowes report the largest study to date on the prevalence of traditional and cyberbullying, based […]

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Does Twitter now set the news agenda?

The information provided in the traditional media is of fundamental importance for the policy-making process, signalling which issues are gaining traction, which are falling out of favour, and introducing entirely new problems for the public to digest. But the monopoly of the traditional media as a vehicle for disseminating information about the policy agenda is […]

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