We are privileged to be in a position to aid in vital projects that are having such a huge impact on the world and the people living in it. Below you can read about some of them
We are privileged to be in a position to aid in vital projects that are having such a huge impact on the world and the people living in it. Below you can read about some of them
Holly Armitage, Chapter Lead at Women in Data
Cameron Hickey, Project Director for Algorithmic Transparency at NCoC
Part One - Ben Nelmes, Co-founder & Head of Policy at New Automotive
Part Two - Ben Nelmes, Co-founder & Head of Policy at New Automotive
Part Three - Ben Nelmes, Co-founder & Head of Policy at New Automotive
Part Four - Ben Nelmes, Co-founder & Head of Policy at New Automotive
Part One - Elodie Read, Program Lead at Subak
Part Two - Elodie Read, Program Lead at Subak
Part Three - Elodie Read, Program Lead at Subak
Supporting government ministries
The Bright Initiative has stepped up its support for the UK’s National Data Strategy (NDS) with two new major partnerships. Already part of the NDS Forum, which the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) established to drive the Strategy forward, the Initiative is now set to provide industry-leading expertise, insight, and data-collection capabilities in support of work looking at skills and ethics.
Significantly, the Initiative has joined the Data Skills Taskforce. Backed by the UK government, the Taskforce brings together figures from industry, the public sector, academia, and others to share knowledge and develop innovative solutions to meeting the UK’s data science and AI skills needs. As a member of the Taskforce, the Bright Initiative will play a vital role in ensuring that action is taken to guarantee the skilled workforce needed to meet the NDS’ aim of establishing the UK as a pioneering data economy.
The Initiative will also work with members of the UK Parliament on an Inquiry looking at issues around ethics and governance with data and AI. The Initiative is to join with cross-party members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics to look in depth at how regulation and policy can keep up with the fast pace of technological change. The Inquiry will gather evidence and carry out research over the coming months towards publishing a report later this year. The Bright Initiative will help guide the process as a member of the inquiry’s steering group.
These new partnerships build on the work that the Bright Initiative has done to support the NDS over the past year, which has included facilitating discussions among industry figures and education institutions and advising government officials in developing plans to implement the Strategy.
Empowering journalists with conclusive data
The Bright Initiative powered by Bright Data recently supported a New York Times study, one of the world’s leading newspapers. Since Tesla CEO Elon Musk took over Twitter and lifted the curtain off accounts barred from sharing their extremist views on the social media platform, NYT technology reporter Stuart A. Thompson wanted to review the effect of those once-banned users, so he turned to the Bright Initiative for help.
Thompson provided Bright Data with a list of 1500+ accounts that underwent reversals of permanent suspensions, collected by Travis Brown, a Berlin-based software developer who has tracked extremism on Twitter. After analyzing the list and identifying Thompson’s needs, Bright Data deployed its Web Scraper IDE to compile a list that contained the date of when the users were restricted and unbanned, their following, the content of their tweets, links to the original posts, and the engagement those tweets generated.
With the data supplied, Thompson could see how most reinstated accounts went back to spreading the same messaging that got them banned in the first place, knowing that Under Musk’s permissive code of conduct, they were no longer in danger of censorship.
Bright Data’s public web data tools played a key role for Thompson in conducting his research, producing insights, and supporting his argument with credible and conclusive information, the building blocks of investigative journalism.
Bright Data provided Thompson with two lists:
List A included the accounts flagged by Brown as having undergone reversals of permanent suspensions for spreading far-right and far-right-adjacent views. The parameters set were the UnbannedDate, TwitterID, ScreenName, ProfileUrl, Status, CreatedDate, SuspendedDate, and Followers.
List B was built upon List A to scan the users’ Twitter accounts and include their content during a 7-day period since their UnbannedDate. The parameters set were the PostUrl, PostDate, Post, Likes, Replies, Timestamp, and Input_ProfileUrl.
Fighting violence against women and girls
The Bright Initiative has partnered with Women in Data, whose membership includes over 25,000 data professionals. in a joint effort to tackle violence against women and girls. Recently, The Bright Initiative hosted a major gathering of data leaders on behalf of Women in Data. The event addressed how data can be used to combat violence against women and girls. The event resulted in a declaration of intent to develop ideas and policy recommendations to ensure that the full power of data is used in making society safer for women and girls.
A group of the UK’s most senior data leaders and policy experts took part in the meeting, held in London’s prestigious Langham Hotel.
Participants included chief data officers (CDOs) from a number of UK government departments and public agencies as well as CDOs and senior data leaders from companies including Microsoft and IBM.
The event was also attended by campaigners for gender equality, including the President of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Professor Dame Clare Gerada, who has previously led groundbreaking work on gender inequality in the healthcare system as well as victims/survivors who were able to tell their stories and share their recommendations.
The discussion that followed covered a wide range of issues and barriers that need to be cleared to ensure that data helps drive change.
Following the summit, The Bright Initiative and Women in Data have agreed to continue their partnership with a program of work exploring the issues that arose in detail, further drawing on the expertise and enthusiasm of the senior figures that took part in the event. Bright Data, which powers all of The Bright Initiative’s work, has also committed technical expertise and engineering time to develop innovative new tools that can apply web data to enhance women’s safety.
Addressing the digital divide
The Bright Initiative has partnered with the Marconi Society, a nonprofit organization that is shepherding the National Broadband Mapping Coalition, a group composed of academic researchers, practitioners, local leaders, and advocates to ensure the openness and transparency of broadband data collection efforts.
The Coalition supports this goal by filing comments with the federal regulators and agencies and providing resources for communities.
U.S. policymakers, advocates, and researchers need access to more comprehensive and reliable data on broadband coverage in order to solve the digital divide. The data currently available is insufficient and often misleading. The Coalition partners with leaders who value transparent, peer-reviewed and open data with the goal of innovating a new approach to mapping broadband network analytics that will help stakeholders gain data-driven insight into this critical long-lasting issue.
Partnering with leading regulators
The Bright Initiative has recently teamed up with the Market Research Society (MRS) and has become a member of the MRS’s International Affiliate program. MRS is the leading and most experienced professional research regulator in the world, working with the government as the sector regulator and with privacy regulators internationally on Fair Data.
Making the internet a safer place for all
The Bright Initiative has partnered with abuse.ch, a non-profit project fighting malware and botnets, giving founder Roman Hussy access to critical public web data, and enabling him to track bad actors sites. Armed with this crucial information, he then informs the wider security community (researchers, security solutions vendors, and law enforcement teams) for free on abuse.ch’s platform, URLhaus, essentially protecting millions from these threats, and making the internet a safer place for all.
URLhaus is a platform where vetted, trusted security researchers exchange information on sites that are being used for malware distribution. So far, the project has identified and taken down over 1 million sites that are being used by bad actors to spread malware.
abuse.ch’s founder, Roman Hussy regularly faced a problem – some bad actors try to block automated requests made by URLhaus since the platform regularly checks whether a site is still malicious; it does so by attempting to connect to the remote site to check their content. Some bad actors are aware of this process and attempt to block those requests. As a result, some malicious websites were not appearing on its list of potential security threats – they passed as if they were legitimate sites when, in fact, they were clearly not.
abuse.ch uses Bright Data’s platform, as part of The Bright Initiative, to track these bad actors’ sites and provide this valuable data for free to the community so they can protect themselves from threats originating from these websites.
Once a website is identified, abuse.ch immediately publishes the information on the project website where security researchers, security solutions vendors, or law enforcement teams can use this information and take action. This includes legal action as well as using the information to protect their own networks and users from these proven threats. This data is available for free for everyone to use. In fact, it protects millions of users and anyone can access it and download it to protect themselves.
These datasets are used very broadly by open-source tools, for example, and also by DNS service/software providers like Cloudflare or Quad9. Using these datasets in such a way clearly protects and saves millions from cybersecurity threats.
Ensuring the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for all Americans
The Bright Initiative has joined forces with the creator of FindAShot.org, an automated COVID-19 vaccine appointment checker system born out of the challenges the founder, David Newell encountered when helping his parents try to find a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. With access to public data, Newell has enabled all Americans access to, and the ability to book COVID-19 vaccinations with ease and simplicity.
After doing some research into the COVID-19 vaccine appointments system, Newell understood that every pharmacy was going to have a different website for booking appointments. He understood very quickly that this method would become very painful and inefficient.
That started the process of building an online appointment checker that would check all of the pharmacy websites to see if they, essentially, had vaccine appointment availability. From there, it was about automating this checking process.
After finding appointments for his parents, he realized that other people were going to need help finding appointments over the next several months, and that’s when findashot.org was born – a community service project that would help people find available COVID-19 vaccination appointments at local pharmacies. It started with Albertsons brands (e.g., Tom Thumb, Safeway, Vons, Acme), and then expanded to Kroger and, eventually, Walgreens and CVS. Now, the organization covers 20,000-25,000 locations nationwide. Instead of having to frequently search every single individual pharmacy location to find an available appointment, findashot.org is like a “KAYAK” for COVID-19 vaccine appointments – one streamlined search shows all pharmacy locations that currently have appointments available.
FindAShot.org uses the Bright Data Web Unlocker, thanks to The Bright Initiative. It has helped the project scale its ability to perform automated online data collection. In most cases, the pharmacies put in place preventative measures to stop “bad actors” from accessing the site. Newell talked about nefarious individuals automatically booking appointments and then selling them. The mechanisms pharmacies have in place also block the good traffic like FindAShot.org’s; simply trying to help people find appointments. The Bright Data Web Unlocker has helped them get unblocked in situations where they have encountered some of those issues that block the appointment checkers. It has also helped reduce the costs of their infrastructure because instead of trying to spin up new appointment checkers somewhere else to get unblocked, they simply switched over and used the Unlocker to integrate into the existing checkers.
Facilitating workplace diversity
The Bright Initiative is fueling Mathison’s first-of-its-kind innovative all-in-one system managing diversity recruiting, strategy measurement, and reporting. The platform centralizes hundreds of inclusive talent networks and uses AI to help employers find candidates for their most important roles. To retain a pool of diverse candidates, Mathison gives employers a single place to manage their diversity hiring activities.
This includes sourcing diverse candidates; reducing bias in job descriptions; candidate selection and interviews; and mobilizing team members in diversity hiring efforts with tools to build awareness and change behavior. Its clients include companies such as Hello Fresh, TripAdvisor, and Sonos.
Providing a safe haven for abused youth
The Bright Initiative has partnered with ELEM, an organization founded 34 years ago to protect the fate of youth-at-risk in Israel. The organization works in cooperation with local authorities and government ministries to aid youth in distress, offer support, and raise awareness in the broader community. The Bright Initiative is helping them with one such project, to aid victims of intrafamilial sexual abuse in Israel using a unique machine learning system.
Intrafamilial sexual abuse is a growing concern worldwide. In Israel, one in seven teenagers experiences its harrowing effects. Similar to other forms of abuse, it’s often left unreported, and teenagers are forced to deal with the traumatic effects alone. Elem discovered that abused youth often leave digital footprints in order to be traced, yet they were challenged in implementing a system to track them efficiently.
Elem is now developing a machine learning system, trained with social media profiles of previously abused youth. Using Bright Data’s technology, thanks to The Bright Initiative, they’re able to collect massive amounts of public, openly available social media data to feed the system, which then detects profiles with similar characteristics. From there, the organization will reach out to the suspected abused individuals, and offer help and support in finding them alternative housing solutions and rehabilitation programs.
Fighting human trafficking
The Bright Initiative is supporting Human Trafficking Initiative Labs’ (HTI) project that aims to fight human trafficking in the commercial sex industry. The project evolved out of the need to deal with the lack of data on trafficking and ultimately led to its novel approach of using online commercial sex advertisements, data science, and network analysis to identify potential trafficking networks within the commercial sex industry.
Using Bright Data’s technology, thanks to The Bright Initiative, HTI labs are able to collect data from public online ads, and after making connections from the data, it’s able to predict trafficking risk and push the high-risk leads to its law enforcement partners.
HTI Labs started as a university project in 2015 at Creighton University in Ohama, Nebraska, and spun off as an independent organization in 2018.
Preventing human and sex trafficking
The Bright Initiative is supporting Humans Against Trafficking‘s project. Humans Against Trafficking found that traffickers regularly use tech to harm children. They also identified that traffickers prey on large numbers of vulnerable kids on social media by taking advantage of their desire for connection, success and “likes.” The reach and ease of connection on social media allows traffickers to continuously search for and recruit multiple victims at once.
The organization has created a mobile app that uses advanced AI analytics to track potential human trafficking threats on Instagram and other social media sites. Using Bright Data’s technology, they are able to access and collect the publicly available social media data they need in order to identify at-risk children before attackers do, and then swiftly take action. organization in 2018.
Addressing the climate emergency
The Bright Initiative is supporting Subak, the world’s first non-profit accelerator that scales climate impact through data, policy and behavior change. Subak selects, funds and scales organizations that want to work collectively to keep the planet habitable, using shared data, infrastructure and tools. It connects the best tech, environmental and science talent to drive mass behavior and policy change.
The Bright Initiative provides Subak’s member organizations with direct access to the company’s technology, know-how, support and expertise.
Subak’s founding members, who have access to Bright Data’s support and services, are:
New AutoMotive, a transport research group that supports the rapid uptake of electric vehicles in the UK by opening up data about the transition. It helped support the UK government decision to ban the sale of new gas and diesel cars in the UK from 2030. It has developed new tools, including the Electric Car Count, which splits electric vehicle sales data by manufacturer and region to track progress. It also hosts ElectricCar.Guide, a consumer guide to Evs, which uses tools like a novel cost-saving estimator that creates personalized costs, tailored to a person’s own vehicle usage.
TransitionZero, which is harnessing satellite data to provide insight into global energy markets. Its recent “Turning the Supertanker” report, which assesses China’s ambition to reach Net Zero by 2060, was hailed by former US Vice President Al Gore as “groundbreaking.”
Ember, which has built the first open-source data set of global power generation with maps that show global coal flows from mines to power and steel plants. It is using these tools to influence policy to end the use of coal power globally. It also exposed the cost of subsidizing a power giant’s wood-burning power plant in North Yorkshire – more than £30 billion (more than $40 billion) – which is equivalent to £500 ($677) for every British home.
Open Climate Fix, which was co-founded by former Google DeepMind machine learning engineer Dr. Jack Kelly and has been awarded funding from Google.Org to support its work in forecasting solar electricity generation to help optimize the grid.
Bringing transparency to social media algorithms
The Bright Initiative has partnered with Tracking Exposed, an organization that is currently working to bring transparency to the way in which algorithms operate and shape the way we are both exposed to and consume different troves of information. Considering the true power algorithms have to shape consciousness, Tracking Exposed is attempting to shed a light on the influence they have by dissecting how different algorithms behave based on location, preferences, political positioning, likes and dislikes, etc.
From there, it passes over its findings onto organizations who are able to forward litigation, compose informative news articles or spread awareness surrounding the impact these emerging technologies have on our lives in order to bring it to the public’s attention.
Within its most current endeavor, Tracking Exposed is working alongside YouTube Kids to determine how the YouTube algorithm tracks, profiles and collects information on children, and how YouTube presents its recommendations to these minors — whether it is ethical, and what information it is extracting.
The organization recently partnered with The Bright Initiative to enhance its geolocation capabilities, allowing Tracking Exposed to research algorithms not only based upon preferences but also by location, allowing it to better understand how these algorithms target users all across the globe and/or suppress freedom of expression
If it weren’t for The Bright Initiative, I would have never done this project or at least of this scale. I would have had to collect all this information by hand, which is completely impractical. However, I’ve got the public web data now, and when my research is complete, it will be able to paint a pretty representative picture of the competitiveness of the US real estate market for everyone and anyone who is interested – benefiting consumers in the long-run and holding brokerage firms accountable to keeping the market competitive.
Jason Beck, Academic Economist, Georgia Southern University
The density of information that we can reveal through Bright Data’s platform, thanks to The Bright Initiative, is much bigger than the density of information that we can reveal from the alternatives. And so, it is really qualitatively and quantitatively a big jump in terms of how much visibility we gain for our research.
Alexander Gamero-Garrido Ph.D
Today, we are able to provide for and protect tens of thousands Israeli at-risk teens with the support of the Bright Initiative, whereas previously we were only able to identify hundreds of these abuse cases within the same time frame, as a best case scenario, if we employed our entire team to focus on just this aspect of our work.
Smadar Ben Ami, ELEM
We truly saw the need for the partnership with The Bright Initiative to deal with the growing sophistication of online sex advertisements considering we were stretched pretty thin, and we couldn’t afford to devote that kind of time to solving technical issues. This is why we are so grateful to The Bright Initiative for providing us with this critical support.
Pavel Patino, Senior Software Engineer, HTI Labs
With geo-targeting being a complicated endeavor on its own, the partnership allows us to focus on other aspects of our organization as well as the complexities of creating the profiles that will ultimately help us determine how these algorithms react in real-time — freeing us up to make a real difference in the world.
Claudio Agosti – Founder and Co-Director, Tracking Exposed
Public web data is an invaluable source of information as to the scale and location of infringement on the Internet. We are most grateful that The Bright Initiative’s contribution has enhanced WIPO ALERT, a voluntary program which promotes online safety by helping advertisers avoid misplacement of ads on suspected illicit websites.
Thomas Dillon, Legal Counsellor, WIPO
I’d like to thank you for the session on ethical considerations surrounding bots and data. It challenged me to be inquisitive about the data sector and help me bridge my understanding of the social sciences.
Student at Manchester Metropolitan University
It’s great to see how valuable Associates found the session and how useful it was in introducing them to and educating them on the subject! Thanks so much again for your involvement and your commitment to supporting our Associates.
Minna Gabbertas, Technology Partnerships Manager, upReach
We were delighted to welcome The Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, Minister of State for Media and Data this afternoon to discuss The National Data Strategy. Thank you to The Bright Initiative for partnering with us on today’s wide-ranging discussion on data with the minister and our members
The Enterprise Forum
We have been delighted by The Bright Initiative’s appetite to help establish and sustain a transformation of the public, governmental, and corporate discussion around data — which is essential because this discussion involves every institution of importance — and these institutions themselves ground the integrity of human life.”
John David Marshall, CEO of the WEDF
A pleasure to have worked with The Bright Initiative and Microsoft, educating King’s future tech and data professionals on the ethics of data and automation at King’s Careers & Employability
Ardy Cheung, Employer Relations Adviser, King’s College
Having access to one of the world’s most powerful public web data collection platforms, Bright Data, thanks to The Bright Initiative, will allow Subak members to take their climate impact even further.
Dan Travers, Head of Data Science, Partnerships & Execution at Subak
Our experience with The Bright Initiative has been excellent. With full documentation and technical support, we’re able to conduct our research on cyberattacks and contribute to the community in regards to privacy and security.
Hiroaki Kikuchi, Ph.D. on behalf of Meiji University
I really found the recent session engaging and I learnt more than I hoped!
The recent webinar was an excellent introduction to the field of data collection and our students really enjoyed it. It would be great to dive even deeper next time and get a more technical view on things and see more examples of use cases etc.
Prof. Hugh Shanahan on behalf of Royal Holloway and Oxford University