Law and Legal

Introducing the CC Search Browser Extension

Creative Commons: “Creative Commons (CC) is working towards providing easy access to CC-licensed and public domain works. One significant step towards achieving that goal was the release of CC Search in 2019. Through this search and indexing tool, we’re making a plethora of CC-licensed images accessible in one place. As CC Search expands to include more than just images, CC is also developing a suite of applications and interfaces to help users across the world interact, consume, and reuse open access content. The CC Search Browser Extension is one such application. This browser extension is an open-source, lightweight plugin that can be installed and used by anyone with an updated web browser…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Bots Are Destroying Political Discourse As We Know It

The Atlantic: “Text-generation software is already good enough to fool most people most of the time. It’s writing news stories, particularly in sports and finance. It’s talking with customers on merchant websites. It’s writing convincing op-eds on topics in the news (though there are limitations). And it’s being used to bulk up “pink-slime journalism”—websites meant to appear like legitimate local news outlets but that publish propaganda instead. There’s a record of algorithmic content pretending to be from individuals, as well. In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission had an online public-commenting period for its plans to repeal net neutrality. A staggering 22 million comments were received. Many of them—maybe half—were fake, using stolen identities. These comments were also crude; 1.3 million were generated from the same template, with some words altered to make them appear unique. They didn’t stand up to even cursory scrutiny. These efforts will only get more sophisticated. In a recent experiment, the Harvard senior Max Weiss used a text-generation program to create 1,000 comments in response to a government call on a Medicaid issue. These comments were all unique, and sounded like real people advocating for a specific policy position. They fooled the Medicaid.gov administrators, who accepted them as genuine concerns from actual human beings. This being research, Weiss subsequently identified the comments and asked for them to be removed, so that no actual policy debate would be unfairly biased. The next group to try this won’t be so honorable…”

Categories: Law and Legal

ProPublica Database to Investigate Professors’ Conflicts of Interest

ProPublica: “When professors moonlight, the income may influence their research and policy views. Although most universities track this outside work, the records have rarely been accessible to the public, potentially obscuring conflicts of interests. That changed last month when ProPublica launched Dollars for Profs, an interactive database that, for the first time ever, allows you to look up more than 37,000 faculty and staff disclosures from about 20 public universities and the National Institutes of Health. We believe there are hundreds of stories in this database, and we hope to tell as many as possible. Already, we’ve revealed how the University of California’s weak monitoring of conflicts has allowed faculty members to underreport their outside income, potentially depriving the university of millions of dollars. In addition, using a database of NIH records, we found that health researchers have acknowledged a total of at least $188 million in financial conflicts of interest since 2012. We hope journalists all over the country will look into the database and find more. Here are tips for local education reporters, college newspaper journalists and anyone else who wants to hold academia accountable on how to dig into the disclosures…” [h/t Pete Weiss]

Categories: Law and Legal

Facebook Says It Will Ban ‘Deepfakes’

The New York Times – The company said it would remove videos altered by artificial intelligence in ways meant to mislead viewers. “Facebook says it will ban videos that are heavily manipulated by artificial intelligence, the latest in a string of changes by the company to combat the flow of false information on its site. A company executive said in a blog post late Monday that the social network would remove videos, often called deepfakes, that artificial intelligence has altered in ways that “would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said words that they did not actually say.” The videos will also be banned in ads…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to use your phone to spot fake images surrounding the U.S.-Iran conflict

Poynter: “Military conflicts — like the one that is sparking between the United States and Iran — are usually surrounded by false images and outdated videos that go viral on social media. It happened in Turkey the other day. To avoid that misinformation scenario, the International Fact-Checking Network developed a step-by-step guide to teach citizens how to verify images, from asking simple and rhetorical questions to using reverse image search on cell phones…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Firefox 72 arrives with fingerprinting blocked by default Picture-in-Picture on macOS and Linux

VentureBeat: “Mozilla today launched Firefox 72 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Firefox 72 includes fingerprinting scripts blocked by default, fewer annoying notifications, and Picture-in-Picture video on macOS and Linux. There isn’t too much else here, as Mozilla has now transitioned Firefox releases to a four-week cadence (from six to eight weeks). You can download Firefox 72 for desktop now from Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. The Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Will Artificial Intelligence Eat the Law? The Rise of Hybrid Social-Ordering Systems

Wu, Tim, Will Artificial Intelligence Eat the Law? The Rise of Hybrid Social-Ordering Systems (August 25, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3492846 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3492846

“Software has partially or fully displaced many former human activities, such as catching speeders or flying airplanes, and proven itself able to surpass humans in certain contests, like Chess and Jeopardy. What are the prospects for the displacement of human courts as the centerpiece of legal decision-making? Based on the case study of hate speech control on major tech platforms, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, this Essay suggests displacement of human courts remains a distant prospect, but suggests that hybrid machine–human systems are the predictable future of legal adjudication, and that there lies some hope in that combination, if done well.”
Categories: Law and Legal

Elite Law Firms Are Quietly Outsourcing High-Value Functions

The American Lawyer: “Sullivan & Cromwell spends millions of dollars on technology, ensuring its equipment is accessible to its lawyers around the globe and that its digital security can keep clients safe. Chairman Joe Shenker, citing bank surveys, says the Wall Street firm’s tech costs per lawyer are higher than any of its peers. Still, Sullivan & Cromwell has managed to improve its profit margin while maintaining high-quality telecommunications, computers and servers. That financial success isn’t tied only to the firm’s lawyers. It’s partly a result of back-office decisions. Starting in 2017, the firm began outsourcing some of its technology functions and infrastructure. The change required about 30 high-level staffers, including engineers, to leave the firm and become employees of another business, HBR Consulting’s managed services division. It was a sea change in Sullivan & Cromwell’s evolution, Shenker says. “You can’t keep up doing state-of-the-art, best-of-the-best [in technology]—which is what we try to do—doing it yourself,” Shenker says. Law firms just can’t compete with big tech companies, he says. Instead, “Let’s focus on what we’re great at and let other people focus on what they’re great at.” Sullivan & Cromwell isn’t alone. Big Law is embracing outsourcing. Not only are more firms doing it, but the industry is outsourcing a growing number of high-value departments, often shedding administrative and operations employees in the process. The decisions carry some risk, but also big rewards. The outsourcing trend goes beyond law firms opening so-called “captive” operation centers, in which they move some back-office jobs to lower-cost locations with firm employees. More and more firms are moving departments and jobs outside the firm entirely…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Judge backs Reveal’s suit to end secrecy around Silicon Valley’s diversity

Reveal: “A federal judge on Tuesday struck down attempts by the U.S. Department of Labor and several major Silicon Valley firms to keep companies’ staff diversity numbers secret, siding with the argument made by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting that the records are not confidential business information.  Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the federal agency to disclose the diversity reports filed with the government by 10 tech companies in response to Reveal’s Freedom of Information Act request.  Reveal filed suit in federal court after the Labor Department denied the FOIA request. The judge found that government attorneys failed to show that the diversity reports, called EEO-1s, are commercial confidential information. They also failed to show the records being released would result in financial harm that was foreseeable. The tech companies seeking to keep their diversity reports secret are Oracle America Inc., Box Inc., Fitbit Inc., Applied Materials Inc., Equinix Inc., Gilead Sciences Inc., Synopsys Inc., DocuSign Inc., Agilent Technologies Inc. and Xilinx Inc…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The rise and rise of the books you do not read

BBC Culture: “Audiobooks are in the midst of a boom, with Deloitte predicting that the global market will grow by 25 per cent in 2020 to US$3.5 billion (£2.6 billion). Compared with physical book sales, audio is the baby of the publishing world, but it is growing up fast. Gone are the days of dusty cassette box-sets and stuffily-read versions of the classics. Now audiobooks draw A-list talent – think Elisabeth Moss reading The Handmaid’s Tale, Meryl Streep narrating Charlotte’s Web or Michelle Obama reading all 19 hours of her own memoir, Becoming. There are hugely ambitious productions using ensemble casts (the audio of George Saunders’ Booker Prize-winning Lincoln in the Bardo features 166 different narrators), specially created soundscapes and technological advances such as surround-sound 3D audio. Some authors are even skipping print and writing exclusive audio content…Research by Nielsen Book found downloads of audiobooks in the UK were particularly high among urban-dwelling males aged 25 to 44. Laurence Howell, content director at Audible – the Amazon-owned audiobook platform – says they’ve also seen big growth in the 18-to-24 age group. “This is not an age group that is traditionally a strong book-buying group.” A study by The Publisher’s Association found 54 per cent of UK audiobook buyers listen to them for their convenience, while 41 per cent choose the format because it allows them to consume books when reading print isn’t possible…”

Categories: Law and Legal

What you’d spend to prevent climate change and what you could get with your money

ABC.net.au: “As the country burns and temperatures rise, climate change is once again at the forefront of our national consciousness. It’s a problem that seems intractable, and has dogged politics for decades. More than 54,000 Australians took part in the nationally representative Australia Talks National Survey, and the number one thing they said was keeping them up at night was climate change. When we asked how much more they’d be personally willing to spend to help prevent climate change, the numbers varied. Some people wouldn’t spend anything more (21 per cent) and some were happy to spend thousands (9 per cent) — but most of us sit somewhere in the middle. On average, we’re willing to chip in at least $200 each year. To halt climate change we’d need to make some major changes to the way the world works, so would an extra couple of hundred dollars a year even make a difference? It may not sound like much, but even if we take the bare minimum Australians told us they’d be willing to spend, it’d add up to just over $4 billion a year….”

Categories: Law and Legal

Switch to single sign-on system at one hospital saved 130 staffing hours a day

The Guardian – “The NHS is to receive £40m in funding to try to cut login times on IT systems across the health service – a move the government says could free up thousands of staffing hours a day as the saved seconds add up. In a typical hospital, staff need to log in to as many as 15 systems when tending to a patient. As well as taking up time, the proliferation of logins requires staff either to remember multiple complex passwords or, more likely, compromise security by reusing the same one on every system. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “It is frankly ridiculous how much time our doctors and nurses waste logging on to multiple systems. As I visit hospitals and GP practices around the country, I’ve lost count of the amount of times staff complain about this. It’s no good in the 21st century having 20th-century technology at work. “This investment is committed to driving forward the most basic frontline technology upgrades, so treatment can be delivered more effectively and we can keep pace with the growing demand on the NHS.”

The investment will support projects similar to one at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool, where a single sign-on system was built and deployed, reducing time spent logging into systems from 105 seconds to just 10. At that one hospital alone, the reduction in login time saved more than 130 hours a day, according to the Department of Health and Social Care…”

Categories: Law and Legal

A History of Buying Books Onto the Bestseller List

BookRiot: “…For those unaware of how bestseller lists work, here’s a primer. They each use different metrics and data sources, but the NYT is considered to be the most “curated,” with a secretive process. It is known that they poll a large selection of independent booksellers and major retailers. These are often called “reporting” bookstores. Those looking to game the system with bulk sales will only order from sources known or highly suspected to be reporting. The general wisdom is that you need to sell somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 copies a week to make most of their lists. The NYT list is usually seen as the most prestigious, with the Wall Street Journal’s list being highly respected in business circles. The USA Today list is broader, with no category breakdowns—just a simple list of the top 150 books that week in print and electronic formats. These are considered “easier” to hit than the NYT list. You’ll most often seen folks touting an “Amazon bestseller” label, or sometimes they’ll simply say “bestseller.” Marketer Brent Underwood blew the lid off these claims with a charming experiment and article in 2016. I myself am a #1 Amazon bestseller in “Teen & Young Adult LGBT Fiction,” but I don’t advertise that…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Eurasia Group’s Top risks For 2020

This is Eurasia Group’s annual forecast of the political risks that are most likely to play out over the course of the year. This year’s report was published on 6 January 2020. “2020 is a tipping point. We’ve lived with growing levels of geopolitical risk for nearly a decade, but without a true international crisis. Outside of geopolitics, global trends have been strongly favorable. That’s now changing. Globalization is key. The most important feature of the post-war era landscape—people, ideas, goods, and capital moving faster and faster across borders around the planet—has created extraordinary wealth and opportunity. It’s increased global equality (even as it’s created more inequality within many countries), reduced poverty, extended lifespans, and supported peace and prosperity. But with China and the United States decoupling from one another on technology, a critical piece of the 21st-century economy is now fragmenting in two. Countries across the developed world have become more polarized, increasing the power of tribalism. Add the shrinking of supply chains with changes in the politics, economics, and technology of manufactured goods and services, and suddenly globalization has a split personality. Then there are the economic and geopolitical trends. Both are now cycling downward. The global economy, after emerging from the great recession of 2008 with the longest expansion of the post-war period, is now softening. More economists expect a recession in 2020 or 2021. And the world is now entering a deepening geopolitical recession, with a lack of global leadership as a result of American unilateralism, an erosion of US-led alliances, a Russia in decline that wants to undermine the stability and cohesion of both the US and its allies, and an increasingly empowered China under consolidated leadership that’s building a competitive alternative on the global stage…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues January 5, 2020

Via LLRXPete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues January 5, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways technology is used to compromise and diminish our privacy and security, often without our situational awareness. Four highlights from this week: The 5 Best Authenticator Apps for Protecting Your Accounts; Major US companies breached, robbed, and spied on by Chinese hackers; US Army bans soldiers from using TikTok over security worries; and 7 types of virus – a short glossary of contemporary cyberbadness.

Categories: Law and Legal

An elegy for cash: the technology we might never replace

MIT Technology Review – Cash is gradually dying out. Will we ever have a digital alternative that offers the same mix of convenience and freedom? – “This is a feature of physical cash that payment cards and apps do not have: freedom. Called “bearer instruments,” banknotes and coins are presumed to be owned by whoever holds them. We can use them to transact with another person without a third party getting in the way. Companies cannot build advertising profiles or credit ratings out of our data, and governments cannot track our spending or our movements. And while a credit card can be declined and a check mislaid, handing over money works every time, instantly. We shouldn’t take this freedom for granted. Much of our commerce now happens online. It relies on banks and financial technology companies to serve as middlemen. Transactions are going digital in the physical world, too: electronic payment tools, from debit cards to Apple Pay to Alipay, are increasingly replacing cash. While notes and coins remain popular in many countries, including the US, Japan, and Germany, in others they are nearing obsolescence. This trend has civil liberties groups worried. Without cash, there is “no chance for the kind of dignity-preserving privacy that undergirds an open society,” writes Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, a policy advocacy group based in Washington, DC. In a recent report, Brito contends that we must “develop and foster electronic cash” that is as private as physical cash and doesn’t require permission to use…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Campaign and Election Security Policy

EveryCRSReport – Campaign and Election Security Policy: Overview and Recent Developments for Congress, January 2, 2020. “In the United States, state, territorial, and local governments are responsible for most aspects of selecting and securing election systems and equipment. Foreign interference during the 2016 election cycle—and widely reported to be an ongoing threat—has renewed congressional attention to campaign and election security and raised new questions about the nature and extent of the federal government’s role in this policy area. This report provides congressional readers with a resource for understanding campaign and election security policy. This includes discussion of the federal government’s roles; state or territorial responsibilities for election administration and election security; an overview of potentially relevant federal statutes and agencies; and highlights of recent congressional policy debates. The report summarizes related legislation that has advanced beyond introduction during the 116th Congress. It also poses questions for consideration as the House and Senate examine whether or how to pursue legislation, oversight, or appropriations…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Free Textbooks for Law Students

Inside Higher Ed – “Legal scholars are increasingly adopting and creating free textbooks in an attempt to increase affordability for students. But are these textbooks considered open educational resources? Law school is notoriously expensive, but a growing number of professors are pushing back on the idea that law textbooks must be expensive, too. Faculty members at the New York University School of Law have taken matters into their own hands by publishing their own textbooks at no cost to students. Barton Beebe, a law professor at NYU, published the sixth edition of his trademark-law textbook last year. Fellow NYU professors Jeanne Fromer and Christopher Jon Sprigman also published the first edition of their copyright-law textbook in 2019. Both titles are available to download electronically at no charge and are already in use at dozens of universities. Print copies of the textbooks can be ordered on demand through Amazon for the bargain-basement price of $20.26 and $15.40, respectively. The authors make no profit from these sales…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Pages

Subscribe to www.dgbutterworth.com aggregator - Law and Legal