Law and Legal

Use the DuckDuckGo Extension to Block FLoC, Google’s New Tracking Method in Chrome

Via DuckDuckGo News:

  • “Google has created a new tracking method called FLoC, put it in Chrome, and automatically turned it on for millions of users.
  • FLoC is bad for privacy: It puts you in a group based on your browsing history, and any website can get that group FLoC ID to target and fingerprint you.
  • You can use the DuckDuckGo Chrome extension (pending Chrome Web Store’s approval of our update) to block FLoC’s tracking, which is an enhancement to its tracker blocking and directly in line with the extension’s single purpose of protecting your privacy holistically as you use Chrome.
  • DuckDuckGo Search (via our website is now also configured to opt-out of FLoC, regardless if you use our extension or app.”
Categories: Law and Legal

The Cursed Computer Iceberg Meme

Take a couple minutes to read this work by Blackle Mori (@suricrasia) – 2021. It is a fascinating collection of  links to definitions, papers, computer jargon and sites, many of which you are likely to have encountered in your work, arranged by the following categories: Above the Iceberg; On the Iceberg; Below the Water; Middle of the Iceberg; Bottom of the Iceberg; Below the Iceberg; Deep Water; and The Abyss.

Categories: Law and Legal

Are You Confused by Scientific Jargon? So Are Scientists

The New York Times – Scientific papers containing lots of specialized terminology are less likely to be cited by other researchers. “…Specialized terminology isn’t unique to the ivory tower — just ask a baker about torting or an arborist about bracts, for example. But it’s pervasive in academia, and now a team of researchers has analyzed jargon in a set of over 21,000 scientific manuscripts. They found that papers containing higher proportions of jargon in their titles and abstracts were cited less frequently by other researchers. Science communication — with the public but also among scientists — suffers when a research paper is packed with too much specialized terminology, the team concluded. These results were published Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society…”

Categories: Law and Legal

A 20-year-forecast for the world: increasingly fragmented and turbulent

National Intelligence Council – Global Trends 2040 – A More Contested World – March 2021: “…Published every four years since 1997, Global Trends assesses the key trends and uncertainties that will shape the strategic environment for the United States during the next two decades. Global Trends is designed to provide an analytic f ramework for policymakers early in each administration as they craft national security strategy and navigate an uncertain future. The goal is not to offer a specific prediction of the world in 2040; instead, our intent is to help policymakers and citizens see what may lie beyond the horizon and prepare for an array of possible futures…This edition of Global Trends constructs its analysis of the future in several stages. First, we examine structural forces in demographics, environment, economics, and technology that shape the contours of our future world. Second, we analyze how these structural forces and other factors—combined with human responses—affect emerging dynamics in societies, states, and the international system. Third, we envision five plausible scenarios for the distant future in 2040. The key themes discussed previously appear across these sections…”

Categories: Law and Legal

GPO and Libraries Set Goal to Make Every US Government Document Accessible

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is undertaking a massive effort to capture and make publicly accessible every U.S. Government document through the National Collection of U.S. Government Public Information (National Collection). GPO will do this by digitizing documents and making them accessible on govinfo and the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), as well as partnering with Federal depository libraries who serve as stewards for all tangible materials. The National Collection includes all public information products of the U.S. Government. To achieve its vision, GPO will identify, acquire, catalog, disseminate, digitize, make accessible, authenticate, and preserve all Government publications….In the National Collection, the public can find many historic documents, including authentic messages and Papers of the Presidents for Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln; the Watergate Hearings; documents on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; Presidential addresses and speeches; Acts that created Federal agencies such as NASA and the National Park Service; and more. It also includes important recent documents that are added daily such as the Congressional Record, Federal Register, Congressional Bills, Presidential Executive Orders, and more. The National Collection is a geographically dispersed collection of the corpus of Federal Government public information, accessible to the public at no cost. The development, maintenance, and preservation of the National Collection is critical to providing free, ready, and permanent public access to Federal Government information, now and for future generations. Through the CGP, the public can search for more than one million records in the National Collection and find direct links to the full document as well as nearby Federal Depository Libraries that offer the publication. GPO’s govinfo, the one-stop site for authentic information published by the Government, offers over two million content packages in the National Collection available for download. GPO’s govinfo is an ISO 16363 certified trustworthy digital repository—the only repository in the world with this certification. Visit to explore the collection…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Expedia launches a new tool to check coronavirus travel restrictions

The Verge: “As more people get vaccinated against the coronavirus and spring weather coaxes people outside, we’re all thinking about those travel plans we shelved last summer. But with COVID-19 travel restrictions varying by country and by state in the US, it’s difficult to figure out what’s safe and what the latest rules are. Expedia Group — whose online travel agent (OTA) websites include Expedia, Vrbo, Travelocity,, and others — has created a tool to help travelers plan trips while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions at their destinations. “Right now, many people are considering booking trips as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, but at the same time, they’re inundated with conflicting information about where and how they can safely travel,” Stacey Symonds, Expedia’s senior director of experience insights, said in an email to The Verge. The company says 1.6 million travelers participated in a pilot of its COVID-19 Travel Advisor back in November. To use the Travel Advisor tool, enter your departure and arrival airports and your travel dates, and it will tell you whether restrictions are in place, what the quarantine policy is, whether you need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, and the mask policy at your destination and upon your return…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How and when to use the Recall feature in Outlook (and other email systems)

Tech Republic – “Outlook’s Recall feature, which ostensibly offers users a way to recall emails they have sent either by mistake, with incorrect or inappropriate information or in the heat of a bad moment, has been around for some time across numerous versions. Its usage was especially common when the “press Ctrl-Enter to send” problem was well underway (this can be disabled in Options and every place I’ve worked recently has done so via policies) … The Recall function has improved (you can also recall and replace a message with the updated version), and I’ve tested it successfully myself, but there are some stipulations. It works only if you’re on a Microsoft 365 or Exchange account in the same organization. Microsoft provides some guidelines on how to use it though the guidelines are overly wordy, as they usually seem to be.  In a nutshell, if the message has not been read, your recall will most likely succeed (barring some unforeseen Office glitch) and the recipient won’t see the message but will be told you deleted it…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to Protest Without Sacrificing Your Digital Privacy

Vice: “Thousands of protesters are filling the streets of American cities to protest the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, and police brutality writ large. Police officers have shown they’re more than willing to escalate violence with pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, vehicles, and other dangerous crowd suppression measures. In addition, law enforcement are likely heavily surveilling protests with all sorts of tech and spying gear. Already, we’ve seen a Customs and Border patrol drone flying over Minneapolis protests.  It’s not just the cops that protesters need to worry about: when much of a protest is broadcast via tweets, viral video clips, and livestreams, those watching may also want to digitally target protesters, perhaps by identifying them publicly. So, if you’re a peaceful protester, but you don’t necessarily want your participation in a demonstration to follow you around or lead to harassment online, what sort of steps can you take around your digital security?…”

Categories: Law and Legal

New U.S. Carbon Monitor website compares emissions among the 50 states

UCI News: “Following last year’s successful launch of a global carbon monitor website to track and display greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of sources, an international team led by Earth system scientists from the University of California, Irvine is unveiling this week a new data resource focused on the United States. Near real-time, state-level emissions estimates are now available at the U.S. Carbon Monitor website to serve the academic community, policy makers, the news media and the general public. As a companion to launch of the public website, the team today also released an explanatory paper on the EarthArXiv preprint server. “The data provided in these resources will allow us to monitor the pandemic recovery and the impact of state-level efforts to reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions going forward,” said lead author Chaopeng Hong, a UCI post-doctoral scholar in Earth system science. “Our global web platform has been averaging about a thousand hits per day, and I expect this U.S.-based site will perform as well or even better.” U.S. Carbon Monitor is based on statistics from a mix of sources, including flight data from FlightRadar24 and electricity usage from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Road transportation information comes from TomTom, the EIA and the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Wood Mackenzie provides industry data. The researchers calculate daily, state-level carbon dioxide emissions using datasets of hourly electricity power production, daily natural gas consumption, daily road vehicle distance traveled, daily global passenger aircraft flights and distance flown, and monthly consumption and sales of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and natural gas used for transportation…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Columbia Launched Democracy Reform and Voting Rights in the United States Web Archive

“Columbia University Libraries is pleased to announce the launch of the Democracy Reform and Voting Rights in the United States Web Archive. The ongoing struggle in the United States between advocates for voting rights and official proponents of voter suppression measures intensified in 2020 during a bitter presidential election campaign conducted amidst the substantial additional challenges to participatory democracy posed by the global pandemic…Columbia University Libraries has initiated a new thematic web archive collection devoted to documenting these historic debates and any ensuing legislation, both at the national and in selected local contexts, focusing on democracy reform and voting rights and the following subtopics: campaign finance reform; electoral college reform (including the National Popular Vote interstate compact); the equal-time rule; gerrymandering; ranked-choice voting; universal voter registration; voter identification; voter suppression; DC statehood; Puerto Rico statehood; and Supreme Court expansion and reform…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Ethical Financial Stewardship: One Library’s Examination of Vendors’ Business Practices

In the Library with the Lead Pipe: Katy DiVittorio and Lorelle Gianelli – “The evaluation of library collections rarely digs into the practices or other business ventures of the companies that create or sell library resources. As financial stewards, academic Acquisition Librarians are in a unique position to consider the business philosophy and practices of our vendors as they align with the institutions we serve. This article shares one academic library’s research and assessment of library vendors’ corporate practices, a review that involved purchasing Consumer Sustainability Rating Scorecards and Accessibility Reports. Challenges the library faced include lack of vendor involvement and how to move forward when it is discovered that a provider’s business ventures could harm our library patrons or their families. As a library that serves two official Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) and one emerging HSI this evaluation also considered how vendor practices may impact Hispanic/Latinx students. “

Categories: Law and Legal

Consumers now average 4.2 hours per day in apps, up 30% from 2019

Tech Crunch: “The coronavirus pandemic has increased our collective screen time, and that’s particularly true on mobile devices. According to a new report from mobile data and analytics firm App Annie, global consumers are now spending an average of 4.2 hours per day using apps on their smartphones, an increase of 30% from just two years prior. In some markets, the average is even higher — more than five hours. In the first quarter of 2021, the daily time spent in apps surpassed four hours in the U.S., Turkey, Mexico and India for the first time, the report notes. Of those, India saw the biggest jump as consumers there spent 80% more time in smartphone apps in the Q1 2021 versus the first quarter of 2019. To put this in perspective in the American market, Nielsen had last year reported consumers were spending around 4.5 hours watching live or time-shifted TV, but only 3 hours, 46 minutes using smartphone apps…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Sorry, judges, encrypted chat is not like a private thought

Engadget: “A state judge recently ruled that two of the men who plotted to kidnap Michigan’s governor did not make terrorist threats because they used an encrypted chat app to do so. Since federal agencies and lawmakers have been trying to get encrypted comms backdoored by arguing that they are the tool of choice for terrorists, we won’t blame you if your double-take gave you whiplash. It already boggles the mind to see a terrorism charge dropped against people doing domestic terrorism things, like plan and coordinate to attack the Capitol, blow up a bridge to stop police, murder law enforcement that got in the way to kidnap a US state governor, and murder said governor. But hang on. Just try not to strain anything when we tell you that the judge’s reason not to charge the foiled kidnappers for “threatening an act of terrorism” is because 12th District Court Judge Michael Klaeren said that using encrypted comms is the same as having private thoughts. “After onboarding new members through mediums such as Facebook, the group’s conversations took place in encrypted chats,” reported The Detroit News…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to Stop Spam Calls

Wirecutter – The research:” When people talk about spam calls, they tend to refer to four types of calls:

  • Telemarketing: These calls originate from a live person who is trying to sell you something from a legally registered business. Such calls are annoying but generally not fraudulent.
  • Legal robocalls: Legal robocalls are automated calls for notifications, services, or sometimes bills. A robocall is not inherently spam. Everyone gets legitimate robocalls from doctor’s offices confirming appointments, political campaigns looking for votes, debt collectors pursuing money, charities contacting prior donors, or schools making announcements.
  • Illegal robocalls: Illegal robocalls include many prerecorded messages you didn’t sign up to receive. This category includes calls such as a sketchy auto-warranty call, student-loan scams, or a call that went out during the presidential election telling people not to vote (subscription required to read article). In some cases, such as the auto-warranty call, you’re asked to press a button to connect to a live person, who then attempts to scam you.
  • Scam calls: When a live person calls and tries to defraud you in some way, that’s a scam call. This category includes everything from the aforementioned car-warranty scam to kidnapping scams. There are so many robocall scam variations that the Federal Communications Commission keeps a glossary of different iterations…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Long Covid isn’t as unique as we thought

Vox: “…The dominant narrative about long Covid has been that it’s a uniquely perplexing feature of Covid-19. Reports of “Covid brain fog” or “Covid dementia,” for example, suggest a disturbing and extraordinary ability of the coronavirus to destroy the lives of survivors. Even a year later, some patients are still struggling to return to work or have their illness recognized, let alone access disability benefits. While there’s no doubt long Covid is a real condition worthy of diagnosis and treatment, “this isn’t unique to Covid,” Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at the Yale School of Medicine, said. Covid-19 appears to be one of many infections, from Ebola to strep throat, that can give rise to stubbornly persistent symptoms in an unlucky subset of patients. “If Covid didn’t cause chronic symptoms to occur in some people,” PolyBio Research Foundation microbiologist Amy Proal told Vox, “it would be the only virus that didn’t do that.” Even with growing awareness about long Covid, patients with chronic “medically unexplained” symptoms — that don’t correspond to problematic blood tests or imaging — are still too often minimized and dismissed by health professionals. It’s a frustrating blind spot in health care, but one that can’t be as easily ignored with so many new patients entering this category, said Megan Hosey, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “It has always been [and] is the case that patients who get sick experience high levels of symptoms like those described by long-Covid patients,” she said. “We have just done a terrible job of acknowledging [and] treating them.”…

Categories: Law and Legal

Yahoo Answers will be shut down forever on May 4th

The Verge: “Yahoo Answers, one of the longest-running and most storied web Q&A platforms in the history of the internet, is shutting down on May 4th. That’s the day the Yahoo Answers website will start redirecting to the Yahoo homepage, and all of the platform’s archives will apparently cease to exist. The platform has been operating since 2005, and in the years since its relevance as a meme haven has remained intact while its practicality as a forum has waned during the rise of Reddit, Quora, and other competing internet hangouts. Yahoo, which is now part of Verizon Media Group following the company’s sale to the telecom for nearly $5 billion in 2017, announced the change at the top of the Yahoo Answers homepage. The message links to an FAQ, which details the timeline of the shutdown. Starting April 20th, the platform will no longer accept new submissions, the FAQ explains. Users will also have until June 30th to request their data or it’ll be inaccessible after that. That includes “all user-generated content including your Questions list, Questions, Answers list, Answers, and any images,” Yahoo says, but “you won’t be able to download other users’ content, questions, or answers.”…

Categories: Law and Legal

5 Ways to Tap Into Your Smartphone’s Audio Powers

The New York Times – “A virtual assistant is just one tool that lets you use your voice to share your thoughts, capture a moment or just get things done. It has been a decade since Apple integrated Siri right into its iPhone software and mainstreamed the voice-activated assistant. But the assistant is just one of the voice-powered tools in your smartphone’s ever-growing audio toolbox. Your device can also be a digital recorder, a dictation machine, a podcast production studio and more. Here’s how to get things done with more talking and less typing…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Data scraped from 500 million LinkedIn users found for sale online

Tech Republic: “A massive trove of LinkedIn account data has been found for sale online, containing 500 million user records including email addresses, phone numbers, links to other social media profiles and professional details Reported by CyberNews researchers, the leak was posted to a forum popular with hackers by a user asking for a “four-digit $$$$ minimum price” for access to the full database of stolen account information.  To prove the legitimacy of the info, the leaker included two million records as a sample that users on the form can view for $2 worth of forum-specific credits. CyberNews researchers were able to confirm that the data contained in the sample was legitimate, but added that ” it’s unclear whether the threat actor is selling up-to-date LinkedIn profiles, or if the data has been taken or aggregated from a previous breach suffered by LinkedIn or other companies.”  Included in the leaked data was “a variety of mostly professional information,” including LinkedIn IDs, full names, email addresses, phone numbers, user gender, links to LinkedIn profiles, links to other connected social media profiles, professional titles and other work-related data. The leaked data doesn’t appear to contain any credit card or other financial details, or legal documents that could be used for fraud…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Social Media Use in 2021

Pew Research Center – “A majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, while use of Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok is especially common among adults under 30. Despite a string of controversies and the public’s relatively negative sentiments about aspects of social media, roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they ever use any kind of social media site – a share that has remained relatively stable over the past five years, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. Beyond the general question of overall social media use, the survey also covers use of individual sites and apps. YouTube and Facebook continue to dominate the online landscape, with 81% and 69%, respectively, reporting ever using these sites. And YouTube and Reddit were the only two platforms measured that saw statistically significant growth since 2019, when the Center last polled on this topic via a phone survey. When it comes to the other platforms in the survey, 40% of adults say they ever use Instagram and about three-in-ten report using Pinterest or LinkedIn. One-quarter say they use Snapchat, and similar shares report being users of Twitter or WhatsApp. TikTok – an app for sharing short videos – is used by 21% of Americans, while 13% say they use the neighborhood-focused platform Nextdoor…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Americans are super-spreaders of COVID-19 misinformation

Infodemic pathways: Evaluating the role that traditional and social media play in cross-national information transfer” by Aengus Bridgman, Eric Merkley, Oleg Zhilin, Peter John Loewen, Taylor Owen, and Derek Ruths was published in Frontiers in Political Science. DOI:

“Misinformation about COVID-19 is spreading from the United States into Canada, undermining efforts to mitigate the pandemic. A study led by McGill University shows that Canadians who use social media are more likely to consume this misinformation, embrace false beliefs about COVID-19, and subsequently spread them. Many Canadians believe conspiracy theories, poorly-sourced medical advice, and information trivializing the virus—even though news outlets and political leaders in the country have generally focused on providing reliable scientific information. How then, is misinformation spreading so rapidly?

Categories: Law and Legal


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