Working Groups/Truth as a Public Good
Truth as a Public Good (2020)
Truth as a Public Good was launched in the pilot cohort of Mozilla’s building trustworthy AI working group. It was initially conceptualized as a vague idea based off of “Lessons Learned from #Tech4Good: Between Marketing and Substance” intended to call attention to the for-profit, VC-funded Authentication technologies and standards that are purported to be trustworthy solutions to deep fakes, disinformation, and manipulated online content.
Most of the contributors hailed from the Health Tech space, so the project sought to answer the question: ‘how do we keep health data and ultimately Health in the public good?’
Content authentication, evaluating the integrity of shared multimedia content, is crucial in the era of increasing erosion of the public’s trust in media and information sources. The demand and supply for content authentication was incubated by civil society actors. Now with buzzwords, such as deepfakes and fake news, the private sector is catching up to the potential monetary gain of content authentication.
The internet and its content was created by all of us, and therefore should belong to all of us. By framing these digital platforms as public goods, we ask: ‘can we build a new healthier relationship between the public and private digital companies in order to deliver real value to society?’
The group met weekly to discuss this abstract concept and settled on the following description to summarize its purpose: The Truth as a Public Good (TPG) Working Group will explore the “dilemma” of standardized content authentication and the stakeholders involved in this decision-making ecosystem.
During each of the weekly meetings, the first half hour or so would be a “check-in” where we would each share what was on our minds, how we’re feeling, what we’re looking forward to. We benefited from diverse representations of nationalities and given the time period, a big topic of conversation was Covid-19 and the vaccine, especially each region/country’s unique lived experience with something as unifying as a global pandemic. So when it came to applying our “authentication examination” framework to some kind of real-world use-case, the Covid-19 vaccine story emerged as a compelling anchor.
During MozFest we designed the following workshop: Since October 2020, the Truth as a Public Good Working Group has been exploring the “dilemma” of standardized content and data authentication and the stakeholders involved in this decision-making ecosystem. Content authentication, evaluating the integrity of shared multimedia content, is crucial in the era of increasing erosion of the public’s trust in media and information sources. Truth as a Public Good will be examined in the context of the Covid-19 vaccine story and how it relates to the public’s right to authenticating public health data. Truth as a Public Good will anchor this concept in the public’s shared experience of observing development of the Covid-19 Vaccine. This working group will host a World Cafe style workshop to examine authentication layers.
As a result of the working group, we found a Community of like-minded individuals who were able to conceptualize how to apply an abstract framework of transparency and responsible innovation to pretty much any issue set.
Ahnjili Zhuparris, Munib Mesinovic, James Littlejohn, Sarada Mahesh, Esther Mwema, Charles Ngounou, Tara Vassefi