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Could CAPTCHAs get any more annoying? New PC test asks web users to take the ‘correct’ moral stance on civil rights issues

Read Time:2 Minute, 21 Second

By Damien Gayle

PUBLISHED:09:06 EST, 9  October 2012| UPDATED:09:06 EST, 9 October 2012

A civil rights group has devised a new kind  of online test that measures a user’s sense of human empathy to distinguish them  from automatic spam posting programmes.

The Civil Rights Captcha asks users to take a  moral stance on a real-world civil rights issue by offering them three options  about how they feel about it.

Only one answer is correct, and that is the  one which shows compassion and empathy.

Moral stance: A new kind of Captcha asks users to prove  they are human by choosing the morally correct response from a choice of  three

For example, the Captcha might ask a user:  ‘In Kosovo people are tortured in detention. How does that make you  feel?’

It then asks them to enter either ‘excited’,  or ‘bothered’, or ‘great’.

A Captcha is a type of challenge-response  test used in computing as an attempt to ensure that the response is generated by  a person.

The acronym, coined in 2000 by researchers  from Carnegie Mellon University, is based on the word ‘capture’ and stands for  ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans  Apart’.

A common type of Captcha requires the user to  type letters or digits from a distorted image that appears on the screen, and  the tests are commonly used to prevent unwanted internet bots from accessing  websites.

Are you human? The test was designed by Swedish campaign  group  Civil Rights Defenders and draws from examples of incidents that breach  the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Devised by campaign group Civil Rights  Defenders, an Swedish campaign group, the Civil Rights Captcha is intended to  raise the profile of civil rights struggles worldwide.

‘With over 200 million CAPTCHAs being solved  everyday, we hope that by catching a tiny amount of those interactions we can  help promote and empower our partners – brave human rights defenders, who often  put themselves at great risk through their engagement for other people’s  rights,’ they say.

Most of the situations presented by the  Captcha are based on real events where the United Nations Universal Declaration  of Human Rights has been breached.

Civil Rights Defenders add that there is no  content related to their work on the app that is based on their ‘subjective and  personal’ values.

The app is available as free code for any web  developer to use on their site

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