Jeff Kao

Computational Journalist

Photo of Jeff Kao

Jeff Kao is a computational journalist at ProPublica who uses data science to cover technology. His project on videos posted to Parler during the Capitol riots was cited as evidence throughout former President Trump’s second impeachment hearing. His collaboration with the New York Times on Chinese government censorship of the coronavirus outbreak was a part of their winning entry for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Kao 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 engineering from the University of Waterloo.

华裔科学家钱卓:无国可归的才情

发现自己受到学校和美国政府的调查后,著名科学家钱卓(Joe Tsien)决定留在中国避风头。他说自己是针对亚裔种族歧视的受害者,但他的故事并非这么简单。

A Visionary Without a Country

Celebrated scientist Joe Tsien retreated to China after his Georgia university and the U.S. government began investigating him. He says he’s a victim of anti-Asian discrimination, but key parts of his story don’t add up.

Facebook Hosted Surge of Misinformation and Insurrection Threats in Months Leading Up to Jan. 6 Attack, Records Show

A ProPublica/Washington Post analysis of Facebook posts, internal company documents and interviews, provides the clearest evidence yet that the social media giant played a critical role in spreading lies that fomented the violence of Jan. 6.

China Unleashed Its Propaganda Machine on Peng Shuai’s #MeToo Accusation. Her Story Still Got Out.

Chinese propaganda officials have tried to shape the global discussion of the tennis player Peng Shuai’s accusations and disappearance, but their top-down strategy has largely stumbled.

How China Spreads Its Propaganda Version of Life for Uyghurs

Thousands of videos of Uyghurs denying abuses against their community are showing up on Twitter and YouTube. They’re part of an elaborate influence campaign by Chinese officials to counter reports of human rights violations in Xinjiang.

How We Found Pricey Provisions in New Jersey Police Contracts

ProPublica and the Asbury Park Press scoured hundreds of police union agreements for details on publicly funded payouts to cops.

How the Police Bank Millions Through Their Union Contracts

The public funds six-figure “sick day” payouts, $2,500 “perfect attendance” bonuses and lucrative “extra duty” assignments identified in a ProPublica, Asbury Park Press analysis of New Jersey police union contracts.

What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Capitol

ProPublica sifted through thousands of videos taken by Parler users to create an immersive, first-person view of the Capitol riot as experienced by those who were there.

Why We Published More Than 500 Videos Taken by Parler Users of the Capitol Riot

This collection of clips from the insurrection, while incomplete, offers a unique experience of the historic event through hundreds of participants' eyes.

Leaked Documents Show How China’s Army of Paid Internet Trolls Helped Censor the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus spread in China, the government stage-managed what appeared on the domestic internet to make the virus look less severe and the authorities more capable, according to thousands of leaked directives and other files.

Foreign Hackers Cripple Texas County’s Email System, Raising Election Security Concerns

The malware attack, which sent fake email replies to voters and businesses, spotlights an overlooked vulnerability in counties that don’t follow best practices for computer security.

The Disinfomercial: How Larry King Got Duped Into Starring in Chinese Propaganda

The broadcasting icon’s fake interview with a Russian journalist went viral on social media, spread by accounts tied to China’s government.

There’s Been a Spike in People Dying at Home in Several Cities. That Suggests Coronavirus Deaths Are Higher Than Reported.

Coronavirus death counts are based on positive tests and driven by hospital deaths. But data from major metropolitan areas shows a spike in at-home deaths, prompting one expert to say current numbers were just “the tip of the iceberg.”

How China Built a Twitter Propaganda Machine Then Let It Loose on Coronavirus

ProPublica analyzed thousands of fake and hijacked Twitter accounts to understand how covert Chinese propaganda spreads around the globe.

Millions of Americans’ Medical Images and Data Are Available on the Internet. Anyone Can Take a Peek.

Hundreds of computer servers worldwide that store patient X-rays and MRIs are so insecure that anyone with a web browser or a few lines of computer code can view patient records. One expert warned about it for years.

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.

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