All good things come to an end

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has shown that the work of scientists is not neutral. The work of psychologists who designed the questionnaire aimed at profiling Facebook users might have been stellar work in its own right, within the standards of the field. But the way the answers to the questionnaire were later used for the purpose of influencing the political choices of the Facebook users who took the questionnaire, is–to say the least–questionable. This scandal is a case in point to show that there is no better time to continue the dialogue of the role of scientists in society. After 5 years working as Editor of EuroScientist, I would like to announce that I am now moving on to pastures new.

Claude de Loupy: the era of hyperlocal news

We are soon to benefit from the availability of hyperlocal news. News about the local sports team, our local weather, average prices of houses in our locality, etc. This is the perfect illustration of how technology will serve the needs of citizens in a way that was never possible before. Today, most news report are relevant to entire regions or nations, or have an international dimension. But news that are only relevant to the locality where people live are too costly to produce via traditional means, using journalists. Instead, Claude de Loupy, CEO of French startup Syllabs, explains how robots capable of writing hyperlocal news report by making sense of automated wheather, sports and other automated data reports, are already available.

Max Schrems: rebooting the culture of privacy in Europe

This week, the Austrian supreme court referred the question of the admissibility of a worldwide or European-wide class action against Facebook, initiated in Austria, to Europe’s top court in Luxembourg. In a podcast recorded in June 2016, Max Schrems, who led the class action, shares his view with EuroScientist on how best to protect the privacy of European citizens. Schrems previously became famous for another privacy protection challenge against Facebook’s European headquarter in Ireland. As a result of his legal battle, the US-EU Safe Harbour Privacy Principles were deemed inadequate. Further, the Irish high court is expected to legislate in February 2017 on another challenge directed at the temporary replacement of the Safe Harbour rule.

Data Journalism Awards celebrate evidence-based questioning in our society

Data journalism has the potential to make reporting on scientific activities and innovation more accountable to society. In this article and podcast, EuroScientist covers the 2016 Data Journalism Award, recently held in Vienna, Austria. Find out more about the winning entries from Spain, Peru and the USA. In these projects, data analysis has helped uncover the varying cost of medicines across borders, the environmental and social impact of commodity mining and the extend of privacy loss due to US surveillance planes, respectively. These examples show how data journalism has the potential to bring scientific analysis to the practice of journalism, ultimately leading to more accountability and transparency in society.