Find out what’s happening in Science & Society around the world. Discover changes to science policy and law, new scientific study results, Supreme Court rulings, debates about nature versus nurture, and news about the sharing of genetic information.
Dr. Nita Farahany, Professor of Law & Philosophy and Director of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society, discusses the legal and ethical issues of unauthorized research.
U.S. companies follow more comprehensive privacy laws in other countries but have little incentive to protect U.S. consumers the same way.
Last May, a small case study suggested the much-hyped CRISPR technology might actually be quite dangerous. Scientists and journalists soon pointed out flaws in the paper that misconstrued cause and effect. After nearly a year of continued criticisms, and failures to reproduce the results, the authors conceded that the skeptics might be right. Last week, the journal that published the paper, Nature Methods, finally retracted it.
The practices of Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics firm involved in US President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, have made headlines around the world this month. It’s alleged that the firm received data from millions of Facebook users, gathered without their explicit consent. Media reports suggest that this data hoard was later used to target voters with messages personalized to their personality traits — a strategy known as psychographic marketing — although the firm has denied that it used the Facebook data in its work.
But could these tactics actually have swayed voters? Here, Nature takes a look at the science behind psychographic targeting.
An autonomous car operated by Uber — and with an emergency backup driver behind the wheel — struck and killed a woman on a street in Tempe, Ariz. It was believed to be the first pedestrian death associated with self-driving technology.