Law and Legal
“The Guardian has a regularly updated page on classical music and opera. But music isn’t just something that used to happen. Watch these performances too from self-isolating orchestras such as this cello octet performing an Arvo Part arrangement…”
Reporters Without Borders – [see also this YourTube video] “On March 12, the “World Day Against Cyber Censorship”, The Uncensored Library [built by BlockWorks] opened its doors. Providing access to independent information to young people around the world through a medium they can playfully interact with. Journalists from five different countries now have a place to make their voices heard again, despite having been banned, jailed, exiled and even killed. Their forbidden articles were republished in books within Minecraft, giving readers the chance to inform themselves about the real political situation in their countries and learn the importance of press freedom. Let’s empower the next generation to stand up for their right to information and give them a powerful tool to fight oppressive leaders: knowledge. Together with the ever-expanding gaming community, we will show the world that the truth will never be silenced!..”
Tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus – Sources: Local state agencies; Local media; World Health Organization; China National Health Commission; The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University. By Gurman Bhatia. Research by Cate Cadell | REUTERS GRAPHICS
See also via Reuters Graphics – The social distancing of America – Location data from millions of smartphones shows how Americans’ travel habits changed in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
Folks – this is Not Progress! – The Gender Social Norms Index – Almost 90% of Men/Women Globally Are Biased Against Women – “How big and thick is the Glass Ceiling? New analysis suggests that it covers all aspects of women’s lives – including the household – and that it is constructed, not of glass, but of pervasive bias and prejudice against women held by both men and women worldwide. These were the findings behind the new Gender Social Norms Index released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today. This index measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education, and contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 percent of the world’s population. This new analysis reveals that, despite decades of progress closing the equality gap between men and women, close to 90 percent of men and women hold some sort of bias against women, providing new clues to the invisible barriers women face in achieving equality, and a potential path forward to shattering the Glass Ceiling.
According to the index, about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders, and over 40 percent feel that men make better business executives and that men have more right to a job when jobs are scarce. 28 percent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife…”
Here’s a complete guide: “The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is spreading across the world. For those who catch it, the vast majority will experience mild symptoms, but for a few it can cause severe disease and death. Some groups – like older people and those with pre-existing health conditions – are more vulnerable when exposed than others. Because of this, the primary objectives in fighting the outbreak are to contain the virus and help the infected to get well again. In this context, health literacy is a valuable tool because it can affect health outcomes in multiple ways. Health literacy is the degree to which people can get, understand and use basic health information to make decisions about health issues. A health literate society is one with a population that will be aware of the severity of the situation and is able to understand how to protect themselves, and others, through basic actions. In the case of this new virus, this includes physical distancing and washing hands. It’s also a society in which the systems and services in place can ensure clear, timely and appropriate communication.
In the current situation, well-informed individual behaviour is a key intervention alongside medical and governmental action. It’s crucial that health authorities apply health literacy principles and provide information that is easy-to-understand, easy-to-access, and barrier-free. Health literacy is vital to slowing down the spread of the virus and mitigating the impact and effects of COVID-19…”
The New York Times – Even for people who have lost jobs or income during the coronavirus epidemic, there are books and reading material available online for free. “Readers who are used to spending their weekends in bookstores or libraries may be experiencing literary withdrawal. Many of these spaces have closed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. But there are still ways to keep a rotation of books on hand from your home. Many bookstores are adapting with pickup and delivery options, and for those trying to cut back on spending during this crisis, there are plenty of ways to access books for free. Here are the best ways to keep reading…”
American Horticultural Society – “Want to tour a botanic garden or arboretum in your neck of the woods or across the country without setting foot out of your home? Now you can, thanks to the virtual tours developed by many of our 330+ Reciprocal Admissions Program gardens..”
InsideHook: “Independent bookstores around the country have a particularly clever lifeline, one perfectly suited to the unprecedented moment we find ourselves in. The strange part? It came into being just weeks before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and before the bookstores started closing up shop wondering if they’d reopen at all. The lifeline in question is called Bookshop. In simple terms, it’s a super clean, user-friendly online bookstore whose raison d’être is supporting independent bookstores — not simply with exposure or resources (though that’s certainly a factor), but with cold hard cash. Implicitly? For the first time in 25 years — since Jeff Bezos launched Amazon as “Earth’s biggest bookstore,” effectively waging war against all booksellers (from chains to indies) and devouring market share at all costs until it owned about half of all new book sales — independent bookstores are fighting back, not just with expertly curated tables or eloquent shelf talkers, but with Amazon’s own tactics. And with Bookshop, they just might win.
“There are almost 2,000 bookstores in the country, and only about 150 of them have good online shopping platforms,” Andy Hunter, CEO and founder of Bookshop, tells InsideHook. “That leaves a lot of stores that haven’t adapted, and Amazon’s kind of eating their lunch.”..
Washington Post – “…To begin, we need to understand that most of us will not contract covid-19 by staying at home. Joseph Vinetz, a Yale Medicine infectious disease specialist, says: “We have no evidence whatsoever that people can get this virus at home. Period.” Unless, of course, somebody who has been exposed enters your house and coughs, sneezes or is in close proximity to you for more than 15 minutes. The real risk of contracting the disease is going out in public. Vinetz says that people need to think logically; if you are quarantined at home and no one in your house is infected or showing symptoms, then regular good household hygiene should be sufficient… [The Washington Post is providing this story for free so that all readers have access to this important information about the coronavirus. For more free stories, sign up for the daily Coronavirus Updates newsletter.]
“Today, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) released a collection of new publications and resources to help governments, educators, researchers, companies, and other organizations navigate essential privacy questions regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Global leaders responding to the coronavirus pandemic are increasingly relying on data from individuals and communities to analyze the virus’ progression, deploy resources, and make policy decisions. “We want to help organizations make data available for leaders, researchers, and the public without opening the door to lasting or limitless surveillance,” said Jules Polonetsky, CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum. “The information we have compiled will help decision makers think clearly about – and document – what personal information they will collect or disclose, to whom, and under what conditions.”
- The resources are accessible on the FPF website at fpf.org/privacy-and-pandemics. They include: COVID-19: Privacy & Data Protection Resources consolidates privacy resources from sources around the world, highlighting resources that are useful to organizations grappling with questions about pandemic-related data. The site will be updated on a regular basis with new content…”
TechDirt – The Answer (Sadly) Will Not Surprise You – “Clearview’s facial recognition app links to a database of 4 billion pictures. And those photos are linked to all the data that got scraped up with them, culled (without permission) from sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn… pretty much anywhere people post photos and personal information. There’s no opting-out of this collection either, even as Clearview packages and sells access to this scraped data to law enforcement agencies in the US, as well as government agencies in countries known for their human rights abuses. Fun, fun, fun and all just a click away from exploitation by anyone with an account. That includes demo accounts operated by the super-rich and law enforcement officers told to test drive the software by running searches on friends and family members. How much does Clearview gather on the average person? It’s tough to tell. Asking Clearview directly — at least in most of the US — will get you nothing. However, California’s privacy law (the California Consumer Privacy Act) mandates the disclosure of gathered personal data to requesters. That’s what Thomas Smith of OneZero did. And here’s what he got back…”
The New York Times – After an inquiry from Times reporters, Zoom said it would disable a data-mining feature that could be used to snoop on participants during meetings without their knowledge. “For Americans sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the Zoom videoconferencing platform has become a lifeline, enabling millions of people to easily keep in touch with family members, friends, students, teachers and work colleagues. But what many people may not know is that, until Thursday, a data-mining feature on Zoom allowed some participants to surreptitiously have access to LinkedIn profile data about other users — without Zoom asking for their permission during the meeting or even notifying them that someone else was snooping on them. The undisclosed data mining adds to growing concerns about Zoom’s business practices at a moment when public schools, health providers, employers, fitness trainers, prime ministers and queer dance parties are embracing the platform. An analysis by The New York Times found that when people signed in to a meeting, Zoom’s software automatically sent their names and email addresses to a company system it used to match them with their LinkedIn profiles…”
The New York Times – If you have some spare time at home and want a productive project, consider creating a digital archive of your personal papers. “While this week’s World Backup Day is typically celebrated most by hard-drive makers and data-storage services, it’s supposed to make people remember to back up their computers. But even if you’re already backing up your digital files, do you have a backup plan for your one-of-a-kind documents and photos that you have only on paper — like birth certificates, marriage licenses and military-discharge papers? Scanning copies of your personal papers creates a digital archive that can also be used as a backup, especially if you have the files password-protected and stored in a secure location. And even if you don’t have a document scanner, you can create your personal archive with a smartphone, a few apps and a bit of time. Here’s a guide to getting started…”
NOAA: “Immerse yourself in the ocean and your national marine sanctuaries without getting wet! These virtual reality voyages use 360-degree images to highlight the amazing habitats, animals, and cultural resources you can find in each national marine sanctuary. Select which sanctuary you want to visit, scroll through the gallery, and click on a panorama to start your dive!…”
GitHub – “An analyzed list of projects to make emergency ventilators in response to COVID-19, focusing on free-libre open source. PLEASE make pull requests or submit issues too add any project missing from this list. The comments are entirely my own (possibly not well-informed) opinions and are meant to be helpful to those looking for quick information, not to disparage any project…”
Cable TV and COVID-19: “Coverage of COVID-19 has dominated the news and resulted in skyrocketing ratings for the nation’s cable news networks. And according to a survey conducted March 10-16, 2020, as a part of Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways project, responses to that coverage and the pandemic itself vary notably among Americans who identify Fox News, MSNBC or CNN (the three major cable news networks featured in the analysis) as their main source of political news. In particular, the responses to COVID-19 news from those whose main source for political news is MSNBC or Fox News are strikingly different. The views of those who identify CNN as their main news source most often fit somewhere between the two. One such difference emerges around knowledge and understanding of the pandemic. The group who names MSNBC as their main news source is far more likely than the Fox News group to answer correctly that the coronavirus originated in nature rather than a laboratory and that it will take a year or more for a vaccine to become available. On both questions, the portion in the CNN group to answer correctly falls between the MSNBC and Fox News numbers. This analysis comes from a survey of 8,914 U.S. adults who are members of the Center’s American Trends Panel…”
Jamie Hopkins – PublicIntegrity.org: “I wrote a story this week about air pollution’s impact on health and the immune system that included a quick data analysis. Academics who studied the impact of the 1918 flu looked at 180 cities and found that higher-pollution places — as measured by coal use — saw more deaths. I wondered how air quality in those worse-off cities looked these days and used EPA ozone and fine particle data to see.
- Really proud of my colleagues who produced this important story quantifying the ventilators in the nation’s stockpile — an alarmingly small number given the need..”
StateScoop – “New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications this week launched a new website aimed at getting residents to contribute to the city’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic by self-reporting symptoms or encounters with people who may have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 illness. The “NYC COVID-19 Engagement Portal” is designed to help the city — which is the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak — get a better picture of where potential COVID-19 patients or people in self-quarantine are, and facilitate the city government’s communications with those populations, said Jessica Tisch, New York City’s chief information officer and DoITT’s commissioner…”
TechCrunch: “Nearly 300 million kids are missing school worldwide because of the coronavirus outbreak, including some 54 million in the U.S. alone. That’s left parents scrambling for resources to help continue their children’s education, often while also working from home themselves — an almost insurmountable challenge. Today, the nonprofit media organization Common Sense is launching a site to help parents. Called Wide Open School (WideOpenSchool.org), it combines in one place the best educational resources for publishers, nonprofits and education companies. At launch, this free resource includes content from the American Federation of Teachers, Amplify, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Head Start, Khan Academy, National Geographic, Noggin, PBS, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, Time for Kids, XQ Institute and even YouTube…”
BetaNews: “We are weeks into people self-isolating in their homes due to the Coronavirus (COVID 19), and apparently, many are getting bored. As someone who is staying indoors to help “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the virus, I have to wonder if these bored people are nuts. I mean, look, we live in a world where the internet exists, and you can stream thousands upon thousands of films right in your living room. Not to mention video games, books, television, radio, board games, puzzles, and more. In 2020, I don’t know how anyone can be bored, but OK, I guess some people live more exciting lives than me. If you feel the need to have even more entertainment in your life, I have some great news. SiriusXM is free through May 15! No, this does not include satellite access for your car — it is limited to streaming. But still, it is the same content, including the highly coveted Howard Stern Show! The company is even launching a special channel called “#StayHome Radio,” which will only play feel-good tunes. Best of all, you don’t even need to enter a credit card to get the access, so there is no worry about being charged when the offering ends — there is nothing to cancel…”