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Jeff Kao

Computational Journalist

Jeff Kao is a computational journalist at ProPublica. He previously worked as a machine learning engineer at Atrium LTS, where he developed natural language processing systems for legal services. He holds a law degree from Columbia Law School, where he was the editor-in-chief of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, and a bachelor’s degree in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Methodology: How We Tested an Aggression Detection Algorithm

An in-depth look at software that claims to spot aggression from your voice.

Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students

In response to mass shootings, some schools and hospitals are installing microphones equipped with algorithms. The devices purport to identify stress and anger before violence erupts. Our testing found them less than reliable.

The Trade Secret: Firms That Promised High-Tech Ransomware Solutions Almost Always Just Pay the Hackers

As ransomware attacks crippled businesses and law enforcement agencies, two U.S. data recovery firms claimed to offer an ethical way out. Instead, they typically paid the ransom and charged victims extra.

We’re Reporting on Ransomware. Do You Know Something About an Attack?

Has your organization been hit by ransomware? Did you hire a data recovery firm? Do you know how an attack works from the inside? We’d like to hear from you.

Georgia Officials Quietly Patched Security Holes They Said Didn’t Exist

A ProPublica analysis found that the state was busily fixing problems in its voter registration hours after the office of Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, had insisted the system was secure.

File-Sharing Software on State Election Servers Could Expose Them to Intruders

A ProPublica analysis found election computer servers in Wisconsin and Kentucky could be susceptible to hacking. Wisconsin shut down its service in response to our inquiries.

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