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Are you human or robot? Check your conscience

New online computer CAPTCHA to stop spammers will check you are not a robot by asking your reaction to gay human rights abuses
Natasha Jevtic Esbjörnson says the new CAPTCHA will check your empathy to see if you are a person or a robot.

Are you a person or a machine? If you spend a lot of time online, the chances are you have been put to the test with a CAPTCHA.

These web tools give your wibbly-wobbly words or scratched out words to read and type in to make sure you are a real person using a service or making a comment, rather than a malware or spam program.

But now Civil Rights Defenders have found a better, more humane way to test whether you are a ‘fully developed human being’ (as the Pope would put it).

It’s asking people to type in their reaction to human rights abuses to ensure they are not thinking like robots but have that most human sapien trait – empathy.

And there are a few scratchy lines too – because it wouldn’t be an annoying CATPCHA without one.

Best of all, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender rights around the world are getting a big profile.

Civil Rights Defenders are planning to launch it this Saturday (6 October) to coincide with the planned date for the gay Belgrade Pride in Serbia which has today been banned by the Ministry of Interior.

One of the questions asks: ‘The vice minister of defense in Albania, Ekrem Spahui, thinks gays should be beat up with a stick. How does that make you feel?’

You then have to choose from the options ‘fascinated’, ‘homesick’ or ‘terrible’.

It will ask people what they think about the minister for human rights in Montenegro who says the existence of homosexuals in Montenegro is bad news.

Or you may get asked your reaction to the laws against ‘homosexual propaganda’ in St Petersburg, Russia or gay rights abuses in Uganda.

Natasha Jevtic Esbjörnson, Head of Communications at Civil Rights Defenders said: ‘Ironically, we are asked by computers to prove our humanity by interpreting and decoding words. But what really tells us apart is our ability to express emotions.

‘Therefore, we’ve built a CAPTCHA that lets us prove our humanity by showing empathy, while simultaneously highlighting injustice in the world.’

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