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October 9, 2023

Snapchat’s My AI ‘may risk children’s privacy’

  • The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned that it could close down Snapchat’s My AI feature in the UK, following a “preliminary investigation.
  • My AI is an artificial intelligence chatbot in-app that users can talk to.
  • The ICO stated reported that it was particularly concerned about its potential privacy risks for 13-17-year-old users.
  • Snapchat has said it is “closely reviewing” the findings from the investigation.
  • The ICO has stated that its findings are not final, and it cannot conclude that the company has breached any data protection laws.
  • At this stage, it is a nudge to Snap to ensure My AI complies with data protection rules.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

How a chatbot encouraged a man who wanted to kill the Queen

  • On Thursday, a 21-year-old man named Jaswant Singh Chail was given a nine-year sentence for breaking into Windsor Castle armed and stating he wanted to kill the Queen.
  • Prior to his arrest on Christmas Day 2021, he had exchanged more than 5,000 messages with an online companion he created through the AI chatbot app Replika.
  • Evidence has shown that the bot encouraged him to carry out his attack.
  • Mr Chail demonstrated an emotional and intimate relationship with the chatbot.
  • Research from the University of Surrey has concluded that apps such as Replika may have negative effects on wellbeing and cause addictive behaviour.
  • Dr Valentina Pitardi, the author of the study, believes that vulnerable people could particularly be at risk.
  • Check out our article: What you need to know about Replika.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

NI education: ‘Unsustainable finances’ facing many schools

  • An Education Authority (EA) committee heard that schools are expected to be in £60m in the red in 2023/24.
  • As well as the 2023/24 budget for education which was reduced by £70m, the overall budget to fund schools in NI was also cut.
  • Wider financial problems facing education are evidenced by some schools who have already been without hot meals or water this term due to maintenance problems.
  • EA minutes reported that the authority may need to pause building some classrooms for children with SEN, “to ensure that sufficient capital was available for urgent schemes at school ie. replacement boilers”.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

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