Start Here / Never Stop Podcast: Natasha Duarte '11, '16 (M.A.)

UNC School of Media and Journalism alumna Natasha Duarte '11, '16 (M.A.) is a policy analyst at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). CDT is a nonprofit that works to preserve the user-controlled nature of the internet and champion freedom of expression. CDT supports laws, corporate policies and technology tools that protect the privacy of internet users and advocates for stronger legal controls on government surveillance.

After completing her bachelor's degree at the MJ-school through the reporting specialization, Duarte went on to the J.D./M.A. dual-degree program at UNC. In undergrad, she was a writer and editor for Blue & White Magazine and for The Daily Tar Heel. In graduate school, Duarte started the Media Law Society and was very active in the Center for Media Law and Policy.

She now leads the Center for Democracy & Technology's Digital Decisions Project and focuses on holding governments and businesses accountable for their automated systems (algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, etc.)

She co-authored a paper called "Mixed Messages? The Limits of Automated Social Media Content Analysis." Duarte and her colleagues were seeing an increase in calls (by government officials) for companies to automatically monitor and take down hateful, extremist and other problematic content, as well as government proposals to use automated social media analysis in law enforcement and immigration. This paper explains how automated technology for analyzing social media text works, what its weaknesses are and how it should and should not be used. She will be presenting this paper at the Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency.

Duarte and her team at CDT also work with companies to help them improve their privacy and security practices and make their automated systems more fair and accountable. They have a tool to help them scrutinize their own algorithms for potential bias.

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