Law and Legal

Cognitive scientist explains why humans are so susceptible to fake news and misinformation

Nieman Lab – “We might like to think of our memory as an archivist that carefully preserves events, but sometimes it’s more like a storyteller.”

“How fake news gets into our minds, and what you can do to resist it Although the term itself is not new, fake news presents a growing threat for societies across the world. Only a small amount of fake news is needed to disrupt a conversation, and at extremes it can have an impact on democratic processes, including elections. But what can we do to avoid fake news, at a time when we could be waiting a while for mainstream media and social networks to step up and address the problem? From a psychology perspective, an important step in tackling fake news is to understand why it gets into our mind. We can do this by examining how memory works and how memories become distorted. Using this viewpoint generates some tips you can use to work out whether you’re reading or sharing fake news.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Your car is watching you. Who owns the data?

Roll Call – Computers on wheels raise thorny questions about data privacy: “If you’re driving a late model car or truck, chances are that the vehicle is mostly computers on wheels, collecting and wirelessly transmitting vast quantities of data to the car manufacturer not just on vehicle performance but personal information, too, such as your weight, the restaurants you visit, your music tastes and places you go. A car can generate about 25 gigabytes of data every hour and as much as 4,000 gigabytes a day, according to some estimates. The data trove in the hands of car makers could be worth as much as $750 billion by 2030, the consulting firm McKinsey has estimated. But consumer groups, aftermarket repair shops and privacy advocates say the data belongs to the car’s owners and the information should be subject to data privacy laws…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Consumer Protection Ecosystem: Law, Norms, and Technology

Bradley, Christopher G., The Consumer Protection Ecosystem: Law, Norms, and Technology (March 8, 2019). Denver Law Review, Vol. 97, 2019. Available at SSRN: or

“Consumer law provokes fierce policy debate on issues from identity theft to online privacy, from arbitration clauses and class action lawsuits to Americans’ accumulation of debt and the unsavory practices sometimes used to collect. Pervasive technology in every aspect of consumer transacting has opened up many new fronts in these battles. Scholars, policymakers, and advocates have responded in kind, devoting increased energy to this area of law, which affects every single one of us, every single day. Despite its prominence, however, confusion persists regarding what consumer protection really is or does. The realities of social and technological change have not been integrated into legal analyses of consumer transactions.

This Article constructs a novel and comprehensive model of the consumer protection ecosystem by contextualizing purely legal constraints amid the other realities of commercial relationships. Drawing on scholarship in the areas of technology, social change, and the law, the model lays out three basic types of constraints on the activities of participants in consumer commercial transactions: legal, technical, and social constraints. This model provides a basis for exploring how those constraints interact and shape behavior.

The model has significant ramifications for scholars, policymakers, and advocates. The model underscores why the area of consumer-facing commerce defies one-size-fits-all solutions; instead, it demands refined and layered consideration of consumers, merchants, and the commercial relationships they pursue, as well as the changes in the social and technological contexts of those relationships. This Article’s model provides a framework for that future research and debate.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Sharp Rise in the Share of Americans Saying Jews Face Discrimination

“The public sees widespread discrimination against several racial, ethnic and religious groups in the U.S. And while most of these views are little changed over the last several years, the share of Americans saying Jews face discrimination in the U.S. has increased substantially since late 2016. Today, 64% of Americans say Jews face at least some discrimination – a 20-percentage-point increase from 2016; the share saying Jews face “a lot” of discrimination has nearly doubled, from 13% to 24%. Democrats remain more likely than Republicans to say there is discrimination against Jews, but the shift in these views is evident in both parties. The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted March 20-25 among 1,503 adults, also finds majorities continue to say there is a lot or some discrimination against Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, gays and lesbians, and women. Muslims, in particular, are seen as facing more discrimination than other groups in society; 82% say Muslims face some discrimination, with 56% saying they encounter a lot of discrimination – highest among nine groups included in the survey…”

Categories: Law and Legal

New on LLRX for March 2019

The 5 new articles and 5 new columns on LLRX for March 2019

  • US takes tentative steps toward opening up government data – At the beginning of this year, President Trump signed into law the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act, requiring that nonsensitive government data be made available in machine-readable, open formats by default. As researchers who study data governance and cyber law [Anjanette Raymond, Beth Cate and Scott Shackelford] we are excited by the possibilities of the new act. But much effort is needed to fill in missing details – especially since these data can be used in unpredictable or unintended ways. The federal government would benefit from considering lessons learned from open government activities in other countries and at state and local levels.
  • The Future of Legal Journalism is Here – Lawyer, legal tech Innovator and legal blogger Kevin O’Keefe showcases the extraordinary talents of Robert Ambrogi, who is acknowledged as the best in class of law and technology journalism in America..
  • Law Library Lessons in Vendor Relations from the UC/Elsevier Split – Academic Law Library Director Jamie J. Baker discusses the requirements for scholarly research journal content in the context of the global push-back against publisher pricing increases that are beyond the acceptable thresholds of organizational funding and budgets.
  • What could you do today to help make your workplace more positive?  – Stan Garfield’s actionable list to establish and sustain workplace cooperation and communication is a useful reminder as well as a guide to share and reference with teams and leaders throughout the year.
  • Knowledge Modeling – Taxonomist Heather Hedden compares and contrasts the work of creating a taxonomy to that of creating a knowledge model, which also involve inputs of people and content, but where more emphasis is on stakeholder/user input. As Hedden says, “content contains information, but people contain knowledge, so knowledge modeling requires the input of various people, with the input gathered in a comprehensive and systematic way.” This article clearly identifies more facets of the role of knowledge management within organizations in many sectors.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, March 3, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Software vulnerabilities are becoming more numerous, less understood; What You Need to Know About Data captured automatically by smartphones and digital cameras; and Apps are sending sensitive data to Facebook, despite company policies.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, March 9, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency; Phishing Scams: Is Your Financial Institution Helping Cyberthieves? Guess what? Facebook still tracks you on Android apps (even if you don’t have a Facebook account); and – Phone numbers are the new Social Security numbers.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, March 16, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Inside Facebook’s physical security that protects Zuckerberg, employees; Many Americans do not trust modern institutions to protect their personal data – even as they frequently neglect cybersecurity best practices in their own personal lives; Some beSpacific (and LLRX) Subjects (topics) in which you may have an interest; and Firefox Send – Free File Transfers while Keeping your Personal Information Private.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, March 23, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Privacy. Yes, we’ll think about privacy, says FCC mulling cellphone location data overhaul; Are Health Apps Putting Your Privacy at Risk?; White House officials using personal accounts to do official work; and Michael Cohen warrants show how the FBI can unlock your phone and track your movements.
  • Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, March 30, 2019 – Four highlights from this week: Data Breaches: Range of Consumer Risks Highlights Limitations of Identity Theft Services; How Digital Wallets Work; NSO Group CEO on “60 Minutes”: Hacking Lawyers, Reporters Is OK; and How to permanently delete your Google account (and save your data).
Categories: Law and Legal

NYT – How to Cover 2020: Assume Nothing and Beware of Twitter

The New York Times – “Journalists have no idea how the 2020 election will play out. And that’s a good thing. Some of the country’s top political journalists came together last week for a gathering convened by the strategist David Axelrod, to talk about how to cover the presidential race in a way that won’t leave anybody dumbfounded on election night. The ideas that cropped up again and again on the panels were so basic to the practice of reporting that they are all too often ignored. Travel the country. Talk to people. Assume nothing. Such fundamentals may not seem fashionable in a media industrial complex that rewards logorrheic punditry and feigned certitude. But the inability of the media class to imagine the success of Donald J. Trump — and its under appreciation of the grievances that drove his supporters — has left reporters, pundits and producers wondering how they can be more prepared this time around. The pressure is on for journalists to be smarter in 2020. Even as online and TV business models encourage scooplets and mini-scandals. Even as the sitting president works to erode trust in the press. No one said it would be easy…”

Categories: Law and Legal

AALL Releases Inaugural State of the Profession Report

“The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) today releases its AALL State of the Profession2019, a data-driven exploration of current legal information professionals’ contributions. It covers research platform expertise,contract and vendor negotiation, AI development and implementation, metadata management, legal writing and research instruction, competitive intelligence,customer and client relations,and leadership.The report provides quantitative insights on user services, technology services, operations, budgets, and partnerships. Additionally, the report features an inventory of expertise—including current skills held by law librarians and competencies for library and law school graduates. The report is the first of its kind from AALL—a leading voice in the legal information field. “We are pleased to release the AALL State of the Profession 2019.It captures the ways in which law librarians use their adaptability, ingenuity, and dedication to make their organizations smarter,”said AALL President Femi Cadmus. “In addition, it’s a valuable tool for benchmarking legal information services and strategically planning for the future for law firms, law schools, government agencies,and corporations alike.”This report is the culmination of the State of the Profession Advisory Group’s work. The group created a survey for each main law library type—academic, government, and firm/corporate—in the legal information community. The surveys were sent in November2018. A total of 883 responses were received. The complimentary AALL State of the Profession 2019 Snapshot provides an introduction to the full report. The AALL State of the Profession 2019 isavailablein print and digital formats.Purchases of the full report are available through AALL’s website.”

Categories: Law and Legal

‘Have Law Books, Computer, Simulations –Will Travel’: The Transnationalization of (some of) the Law Professoriate

Menkel-Meadow, Carrie J., ‘Have Law Books, Computer, Simulations –Will Travel’: The Transnationalization of (some of) the Law Professoriate (April 10, 2019). Chapter IN: The Globalization of Legal Education: A Critical Study (Bryant Garth, Anthea Roberts and Gregory Shaffer, eds.), Forthcoming; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2019-20. Available at SSRN:

“This essay (written in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Centre for Transnational Legal Studies in London (Georgetown), and for several conferences on the globalization of legal education, describes the growth of “transnational legal education” in many forms: domestic comparative and international law, study abroad programs of various kinds, the integration (in some schools) of foreign LLMs into the full curriculum, and the author’s experience in teaching in over 25 different countries in internationalized legal studies and law programs and courses. True “transnational” or “globalized” legal education, in my view, requires full immersion in the legal culture and contexts being studied, not simply traditional forms of legal education. The essay describes a variety of experiential, as well as traditional, courses of comparative, domestic and international law, undertaken in multi-cultural settings where some diversity of teaching method, faculty and students is achieved. The ideal goals of such courses are for students (and faculty) to undertake rigorous study of legal pluralism at all levels (international, domestic, supranational and sub-national) and to understand that most law is “chosen,” not mandated or given. True transnational legal education must be socio-legal, multi-cultural, contextual, and also use multiple methods of instruction. Examples of such educational efforts in some different contexts are provided. How we evaluate the success or impact of such programs at achieving their goals remains understudied.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Leaked docs expose how Facebook management leveraged user data for partners – against rivals

NBC News – “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data, according to about 4,000 pages of leaked company documents largely spanning 2011 to 2015 and obtained by NBC News. The documents, which include emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets and meeting summaries, show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook’s trove of user data — including information about friends, relationships and photos — as leverage over companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook would reward favored companies by giving them access to the data of its users. In other cases, it would deny user-data access to rival companies or apps…

About 400 of the 4,000 pages of documents have previously been reported by other media outlets, and also by a member of the British Parliament who has been investigating Facebook’s data privacy practices in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, this cache represents the clearest and most comprehensive picture of Facebook’s activities during a critical period as the company struggled to adapt to the rise of smartphones following its rocky debut as a public company…”

And via ComputerWeekly – Facebook takes extraordinary legal steps to contain document leak

Categories: Law and Legal

How Grifters Gamed Amazon to Sell the ‘Mueller Report’ Already

The Daily Beast: “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report on the Trump campaign will be released Thursday, the Justice Department announced Monday. Like all public reports, the document will be free to read. That hasn’t stopped people from trying to sell Mueller report books on Amazon for months. Amazon’s book listings are an SEO cesspool where grifters try to peddle ebooks on every trending topic. In recent months, self-published works on the anti-vaccination and QAnon conspiracy theories have soared in Amazon’s ratings. So as readers clamored to see the full Mueller report, publishing houses and self-published authors rushed to sell books on the still-unpublished document. Alan Dershowitz, the celebrity lawyer and frequent Fox News guest, has not read the Mueller report yet. No one has, aside from Mueller’s team of investigators and Attorney General William Barr. But for more than a month, Dershowitz and the publishing house Skyhorse have been selling a book with the full text of the report, plus a foreword from Dershowitz. “There has never been a more important political investigation than Robert S. Mueller III’s into President Donald Trump’s possible collusion with Russia,” a product description for Dershowitz’s book reads. “His momentous findings can be found here.”…”[h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

The Insiders’ Guide To the Mueller Report

Politico – How experts and political operatives are gearing up to read the juiciest Washington info dump in two decades. “…The report by special counsel Robert Mueller could be the biggest oppo dump in history. It could be a fizzle. Although Mueller didn’t find enough evidence to charge President Donald Trump for conspiring with Russia to win the White House, and Attorney General William Barr has concluded that it doesn’t show Trump obstructed justice, the report itself is expected to be rich with details uncovered by the sweeping 22-month investigation. We already know something about the way the report will look, courtesy of Barr. The attorney general last week told Congress that the document will be color-coded to explain why lawyers for Mueller and DOJ have redacted some of the most sensitive material. But he promised that, for all the gaps, the report won’t end up looking totally like Swiss cheese. “You will get more than the gist,” Barr told a Senate appropriations subcommittee.

To help navigate this once-in-a-generation moment, POLITICO asked dozens of people who have been tuned in since the 2016 presidential election—Trump officials, Republicans and Democrats, former prosecutors, academics, historians and even the Russians—how they plan to read this two-years-in-the-making document when it shows up in their inbox. Here’s what some of them said….”

Categories: Law and Legal

Paper – The Marginalization of Black Aspiring Lawyers

Aaron N. Taylor, The Marginalization of Black Aspiring Lawyers, 13 FIU L. Rev. 489 (2019). Available at:

“This paper argues that Black people who aspire to be lawyers endure marginalized existences, which span the law school admission process through the matriculation process and into the law school classroom. The manner in which the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) drives the vetting of law school applications ensures that Black applicants face steep disadvantages in gaining admission. In the 2016-17 admission cycle, it took about 1,960 Black applicants to yield 1,000 offers of admission, compared to only 1,204 among White applicants and 1,333 overall. These trends are explained in large part by racial and ethnic disparities in average LSAT scores. The average score for Black test-takers is 142—11 points lower than the average for White and Asian test-takers of 153. Therefore, for large proportions of Black law school applicants—49 percent in 2016-17—their marginalization in the admission process ends in outright exclusion…Unfortunately, for many Black applicants who do receive offers of admission, the marginalization process continues. They are often required to pay higher proportions of their law school’s “sticker price” than other students. They are also disproportionately funneled into schools with the least favorable outcomes. Lastly, they are exposed to a curriculum that is presented in a way that alienates Black students and other students from underrepresented backgrounds. Part I of the paper introduces the concept of marginalization. Part II explains how the law school admission process funnels Black students into schools with the least favorable outcomes. Part III discusses how law school scholarship policies contribute to higher student loan debt among Black students. Part IV argues that the law school environment marginalizes Black students through the lack of diversity and the centrality of White racial and cultural norms. In the end, Black law students are often, in the words of Du Bois, outcasts and strangers in their own law schools, if they are not excluded from law school altogether…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The New York Times Privacy Project

The Privacy Project – “Companies and governments are gaining new powers to follow people across the internet and around the world, and even to peer into their genomes. The benefits of such advances have been apparent for years; the costs — in anonymity, even autonomy — are now becoming clearer. The boundaries of privacy are in dispute, and its future is in doubt. Citizens, politicians and business leaders are asking if societies are making the wisest tradeoffs. The Times is embarking on this monthslong project to explore the technology and where it’s taking us, and to convene debate about how it can best help realize human potential.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Falling through the gap: How the UK’s gender pay gap sizes up

Via Center for Data Innovation – “BBC has created a series of data visualizations showing that 78 percent of companies in the UK pay men more than women and that the average pay gap is 9.6 percent, almost identical to the 9.7 percent pay gap firm’s reported in 2018, when the UK first required firms to disclose their pay gap. One reason for the pay gap is that every business sector in the UK has fewer women than men in high-paying, senior roles. For example, four firms in the airline industry have a pay gap of at least 40 percent, largely because men occupy most high-paying pilot roles, while women mostly work in lower-paying stewardess jobs…” [Note – the visualizations used in this article are an excellent example of showing the facts as you tell the story.]

Categories: Law and Legal

Four Steps Facebook Should Take to Counter Police Sock Puppets

EFF: “Despite Facebook’s repeated warnings that law enforcement is required to use “authentic identities” on the social media platform, cops continue to create fake and impersonator accounts to secretly spy on users. By pretending to be someone else, cops are able to sneak past the privacy walls users put up and bypass legal requirements that might require a warrant to obtain that same information. The most recent examples—and one of the most egregious—was revealed by The Guardian this week. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security executed a complex network of dummy Facebook profiles and pages to trick immigrants into registering with a fake college, The University of Farmington. The operation netted more than 170 arrests. Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection issued a privacy impact assessment that encourages investigators to conceal their social media accounts…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google searches reveal popular bird species

EurekAlert – Knowledge may help fine-tune conservation messages – “Cross-referencing a decade of Google searches and citizen science observations, researchers have determined which of 621 North American bird species are currently the most popular and which characteristics of species drive human interest. Study findings have just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Google Trends data describe how often people search for birds and provide a snapshot of public interest in different species,” says researcher Justin Schuetz, Cornell alum and lead author of the study. “In general, large birds, such as hawks and grouse drew more attention than small birds. People also expressed more interest in birds that visit feeders, are endangered, or have been chosen as sports team mascots. In addition, we found that owls–more than any other group of birds–were the subject of public curiosity.”… [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Hacker has dumped nearly 1B user records over past two months

ZDNet: “A hacker who spoke with ZDNet in February about wanting to put up for sale the data of over one billion users is getting dangerously close to his goal after releasing another 65.5 million records last week and reaching a grand total of 932 million records overall. The hacker’s name is Gnosticplayers, and he’s responsible for the hacks of 44 companies, including last week’s revelations. Since mid-February, the hacker has been putting batches of hacked data on Dream Market, a dark web marketplace for selling illegal products, such as guns, drugs, and hacking tools. He’s released data from companies like 500px, UnderArmor, ShareThis, GfyCat, and MyHeritage, just to name the bigger names. Releases have been grouped in four rounds —Round 1 (620 million user records), Round 2 (127 million user records), Round 3 (93 million user records), and Round 4 (26.5 million user records)….

Hackers like Gnosticplayers are part of small underground communities of hackers and data hoarders. They hack companies, steal their data, and then sell it to vetted partners. This data is filtered and organized in various categories. Stolen email addresses are sold to spam botnets. Financial details are sold to groups specialized in online fraud or tax scams. Usernames and cracked passwords are sold to botnet operators specialized in credentials stuffing attacks. This is a lucrative business, and many of these hackers don’t have to sell their data on public marketplaces like Dream Market….”

Categories: Law and Legal

2019 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Video and text – local news organizations were well recognized for their outstanding work – “The 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners in 14 journalism and seven letters, drama and music categories were announced on Monday, April 15 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Two special citations were also awarded.”

  • Special Citations – Capital Gazette “A special citation to honor the journalists, staff and editorial board of the Capital Gazette, Annapolis, Maryland, for their courageous response to the largest killing of journalists in U.S. history in their newsroom on June 28, 2018, and for demonstrating unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief. The citation comes with a $100,000 bequest by the Pulitzer Board to be used to further the newspaper’s journalistic mission.”
Categories: Law and Legal

What e-books at the library mean for your privacy

cnet: “E-books and audiobooks, now standard at libraries, make protecting privacy harder. Titles are usually provided through private companies, which can access your data. And today’s software can create more comprehensive records about you than a simple list of the books you checked out. (You can also get many e-books and audiobooks online free and legally.),,,Cybersecurity experts have found bugs in library apps. Erin Berman, who chairs a privacy subcommittee at the American Libraries Association, said a test of products she oversaw at the San Jose Public Library in 2018 found six apps with serious cybersecurity flaws…”

Categories: Law and Legal


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