Law and Legal
NRDC: “Tissue products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissue are cheap and convenient—but they cost the planet a great deal. The vast majority of these tissue products are made from wood pulp, and in the United States that wood pulp comes largely from the boreal forest of Canada. Our demand for tissue is devastating the boreal, with serious consequences for Indigenous Peoples, treasured wildlife, and the global climate. We already know of options for more sustainable tissue production—specifically by using recycled materials and responsibly-sourced alternative fibers. Yet, major companies have largely failed to adopt them. This report provides an overview of the major tissue brands and reveals the worst corporate offenders driving boreal degradation. It describes the impact of virgin pulp sourced from the old growth forests like Canada’s boreal forest and the United States’ strong reliance on tissue products. It also includes a scorecard for consumers ranking major tissue brands according to their impacts on forests. Finally, this report outlines existing solutions that companies can adopt to make their brands more sustainable. It is time to reexamine current norms of tissue production and consumption. It is also time for companies to act more as global citizens and usher the world into a more sustainable paradigm. Fortunately, solutions promoting healthy forests and a healthy planet already exist. Companies and consumers simply need to embrace them…”
Forbes – “And we thought we learned a lesson from Cambridge Analytica. More than 100 million people have downloaded the app from Google Play. And FaceApp is now the top-ranked app on the iOS App Store in 121 countries, according to App Annie. While according to FaceApp’s terms of service people still own their own “user content” (read: face), the company owns a never-ending and irrevocable royalty-free license to do anything they want with it … in front of whoever they wish:
You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you. When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile photo) will be visible to the public….Whether that matters to you or not is your decision…”
ars technica – In Chrome 76, websites can no longer check FileSystem API to detect private mode – “Over the past couple of years, you may have noticed some websites preventing you from reading articles while using a browser’s private mode. The Boston Globe began doing this in 2017, requiring people to log in to paid subscriber accounts in order to read in private mode. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers impose identical restrictions. Chrome 76—which is in beta now and is scheduled to hit the stable channel on July 30—prevents these websites from discovering that you’re in private mode. Google explained the change yesterday in a blog post titled, “Protecting private browsing in Chrome.”…
Law Practice Today – “It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of our technological era. Much of the modern experience, brought to us courtesy of the internet, feels miraculous: one-click same-day delivery, distributed cryptographically-enabled currency, on-demand video and audio content, and much more. Beyond that, innovators and entrepreneurs pitch their visions of a future that seems even more fantastic every day. Those attempting to follow the legal-industrial-hype complex will find no less noise: AI and robot lawyers, blockchain, etc. But there’s good news too. First, as usual, legal is about five to 10 years behind society at large. Second, and this is true inside and outside of the legal profession, the power of the internet is in its simplicity—specifically, the ability to connect disparate people and resources. This can be hard to wrap your brain around, so below are three examples of forces that have remade the broader cultural landscape, and how they’re poised to remake the legal realm, all with the central theme of connecting disparate people and resources….”
Law.com – “A group of four law firm library directors walked through the results of the study—one that found no winner, but a number of issues and potential improvements for current analytics platforms…”
Nature – A giant data store quietly being built in India could free vast swathes of science for computer analysis — but is it legal? – “Carl Malamud is on a crusade to liberate information locked up behind paywalls — and his campaigns have scored many victories. He has spent decades publishing copyrighted legal documents, from building codes to court records, and then arguing that such texts represent public-domain law that ought to be available to any citizen online. Sometimes, he has won those arguments in court. Now, the 60-year-old American technologist is turning his sights on a new objective: freeing paywalled scientific literature. And he thinks he has a legal way to do it. Over the past year, Malamud has — without asking publishers — teamed up with Indian researchers to build a gigantic store of text and images extracted from 73 million journal articles dating from 1847 up to the present day. The cache, which is still being created, will be kept on a 576-terabyte storage facility at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. “This is not every journal article ever written, but it’s a lot,” Malamud says. It’s comparable to the size of the core collection in the Web of Science database, for instance. Malamud and his JNU collaborator, bioinformatician Andrew Lynn, call their facility the JNU data depot.
No one will be allowed to read or download work from the repository, because that would breach publishers’ copyright. Instead, Malamud envisages, researchers could crawl over its text and data with computer software, scanning through the world’s scientific literature to pull out insights without actually reading the text…”
unlike kinds -“Since its earliest days, the core of Google’s search algorithm – and its greatest innovation – has been ranking a page by the amount and quality of the links pointing to it. For almost as long, businesses have fought to climb to the lucrative top positions on search result pages, with some resorting to unethical methods which, if noticed, could see Google penalise their sites, or drop them entirely. Despite Google’s efforts, for many years businesses have been paying to have the internet flooded with hundreds of fake links to their sites which, if done correctly, can be impossible to detect….”
Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues July 19, 2019 – 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: Trump is rattling sabers in cyberspace — but is the U.S. ready?; Casting the Dark Web in a New Light; Army researchers develop metrics for cyber defenders’ agility; and How To Clear Out Your Zombie Apps and Online Account.
Bookriot – Anna Gooding-Call: “As a librarian, I think I could be forgiven for thinking that not enough people use the library. In fact, I feel this way most of the time! However, I have my days. These are the days when I encounter that two percent of the public that does not know how to be a good library patron. This isn’t just about not damaging the books. It’s about being a good citizen in a unique public space where personal boundaries can feel a bit fuzzy. I’m convinced that this is a lapse in education, so I’m gonna edumacate you right here and right now. If you think you’re a stellar patron, read this anyway. There is a special variety of the Dunning-Kruger effect just for public libraries, and the last thing you want is to be a statistic….”
Atlas Obscura – Kelly Angood curates an online museum of little, adhesive marvels: “Some of the world’s best, most surprising graphic design can be found in one of the most mundane places: your local supermarket. Nestled among pyramids of plums and bagged bunches of bananas are tiny works of art. Welcome to the world of fruit stickers. In much of the world, especially in large American supermarkets and chain stores such as Walmart, the stickers simply advertise somewhat ubiquitous brands—think Chiquita or Dole. But in the United Kingdom (and other places), smaller greengrocers carry produce plastered with tiny, hyperlocal stickers that bear the logos and art of smaller farms, growers, and distributors. When most people encounter these stickers, it’s only to peel them off and try, often unsuccessfully, to flick them into the trash. But Kelly Angood sees something else in them, and peels them carefully off before adding them to her collection of hundreds—spanning countries, decades, and a dizzying variety of fruit…”
Lawfare – “For the past several weeks, a group of us has been working on a project to tell the story of the Mueller Report in an accessible form. The Mueller Report tells a heck of a story, a bunch of incredible stories, actually. But it does so in a form that’s hard for a lot of people to take in. It’s very long. It’s legally dense in spots. It’s marred with redactions. It’s also, shall we say, not optimized for your reading pleasure. Various folks have made efforts to make the document easier to consume: the report is now an audiobook; it’s been staged as a play; there have been live readings. We took a different approach: a serialized narrative podcast. The extended network of writers, experts, lawyers, and journalists around Lawfare represents a unique body of expertise in the public conversation of the issues discussed in the report. So we teamed up with Goat Rodeo, a podcast production group in Washington, to use that group of people as a lens through which to tell the story contained in the report. The first episode, entitled “Active Measures,” is now out and covers the Russian social media campaign and the activities of the Internet Research Agency…”
Real Time Updates, Trip Frequency, and Alternate Routes – “Over the last six months, the Bing Maps team has been hard at work to improve the quality of mass transit routing. Here are our three biggest improvements, which you can try out today on Bing.com and Bing.com/maps
Search Engine Journal – “DuckDuckGo is rolling out several updates to its maps search experience while maintaining the same commitment to user privacy. Earlier this year, DuckDuckGo began using Apple Maps to power its maps search results. Since then, the company says it has been working on additional upgrades that are rolling out now. Here’s what’s new in DuckDuckGo maps search…”
Oxford University Press Blog: “Idioms, especially if we add proverbs and familiar quotations to them, are a shoreless ocean. Especially numerous are so-called gnomic sayings (aphorisms) like make hay while the sun shines, better safe than sorry, and a friend in need is a friend indeed. Their age is usually hard or even impossible to determine. Since most of them reflect people’s universal experience, they may be very old. In contrast, such undecipherable phrases as kick the bucket, put a spoke in someone’s wheel, or cut the mustard are fairly recent. At least they presuppose the existence of buckets, spokes, wheels, and the cultivation of mustard. (This type of reasoning is called relative chronology and sometimes yields useful results.)…”
DataSpii: The catastrophic data leak via browser extensions Sam Jadali SecurityWithSam.com – Abstract – “We present DataSpii (pronounced data-spy), the catastrophic data leak that occurs when any one of eight browser extensions collects browsing activity data — including personally identifiable information (PII) and corporate information (CI) — from unwitting Chrome and Firefox users. Our investigation uncovered an online service selling the collected browsing activity data to its subscription members in near real-time. In this report, we delineate the sensitive data source types relevant to the security of individuals and businesses across the globe. We observed two extensions employing dilatory tactics — an effective maneuver for eluding detection — to collect the data. We identified the collection of sensitive data from the internal network environments of Fortune 500 companies. Several Fortune 500 companies provided an additional measure of confirmation through a process of responsible disclosure. By deploying a honeypot to monitor web traffic, we discovered near-immediate visits to URLs collected by the extensions. To address the evolving threat to data security, we propose preemptive measures such as limiting access to shareable links, and removing PII and CI from metadata…”
Washington Post :”…The app uploads people’s photos to the “cloud” of servers run by Amazon and Google, the company said, meaning deleting the app would likely make no difference on how the photos are used. In its privacy terms, the company said it can collect any of a user’s uploaded photos as well as data on the user’s visited websites and other information.
The app’s terms of service say users grant the company a “perpetual, irrevocable . . . [and] worldwide” license to use a user’s photos, name or likeness in practically any way it sees fit. If a user deletes content from the app, FaceApp can still store and use it, the terms say. FaceApp also says it can’t guarantee that users’ data or information is secure and that the company can share user information with other companies and third-party advertisers, which aren’t disclosed in the privacy terms…”
Pew – A majority of Americans (62%) continue to say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation. “But the share expressing this view is 6 percentage points lower than it was in September – a result of a shift in opinion among Republicans. Democrats continue to overwhelmingly take the view that openness is an essential characteristic of the nation. Currently, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that if the United States is too open to people from around the world, “we risk losing our identity as a nation.” Fewer (37%) say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential to who we are as a nation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 10-15 among 1,502 adults.
Both last fall and in 2017, Republicans’ opinions on this question were divided. Since September, the share of Republicans who say America risks losing its identity if it is too open has increased 13 percentage points, while the share who view the nation’s openness to others as essential has declined 10 points. Over the past two years, there has been virtually no change in Democrats’ attitudes. Today, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation; 85% said this last September…”
See also – “A USA Today-Ipsos poll finds that 68 percent of Americans who were aware of Trump’s tweets about the four liberal minority lawmakers said they are offensive. But 57 percent of Republicans polled said they agreed with the president, and a third said they strongly agreed. Overall, 59 percent called the president’s tweets “un-American,” including independents by a 2-to-1 margin, and 65 percent of those surveyed said telling minority Americans to “go back where they came from” is a racist statement. Among Republicans, however, 45 percent agreed and 34 percent disagreed. Seven in 10 Republicans say that “people who call others ‘racist’ usually do so in bad faith,” compared with 17 percent of Democrats…”
The New York Times – “Her pioneering approach involved quietly examining birds in their natural habitat, rather than shooting them, as people had previously done…A student at Smith College at the time, Bailey decided to start a grassroots effort, with a simple step: She took her fellow classmates outdoors. “We won’t say too much about the hats,” she wrote in Bird-Lore. “We’ll take the girls afield, and let them get acquainted with the birds. Then of inborn necessity, they will wear feathers never more.”
It was the beginning of an animal rights campaign that evolved into a lifelong crusade of ecological conservationism and promotion of what would become modern day bird-watching. Bailey eventually traveled around the country to write about the pursuit. Back then ornithology was generally practiced by examining “skins,” or dead birds preserved in universities or museums. Ornithologists typically trapped or shot birds and then decamped indoors to identify the bodies. Bailey, on the other hand, urged that birds be observed quietly in their natural habitat.
“Florence was one of the first bird-watchers to actually watch birds instead of shoot them,” Marcia Bonta, a naturalist and author of “Women in the Field: America’s Pioneering Women Naturalists” (1991), said in a phone interview. In 1889, at the age of 26, Bailey published “Birds Through an Opera-Glass,” considered the first field guide to American birds. The book, one of many travelogues and field guides she would publish, suggested that the best way to view birds was through the lenses of opera glasses, not a shotgun sight. Her approach, now commonly practiced with binoculars, helped form the basis of modern bird-watching…”
Fortune – “Amy Hess, boss of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division, warned a room of business executives about the various threats China poses to American interests on stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., on Wednesday. Her team is responsible for pursuing criminals and nation state actors who are targeting—and pilfering—American companies and citizens.
“China’s goal is, clearly, to become the world’s dominant superpower,” Hess said. “To do that they’re willing to steal information, to steal intellectual property, to steal PII [personally identifiable information], to steal military secrets, government secrets, academic secrets, and R&D.” Hess described China’s siphoning of American trade secrets as unfair and imbalanced. China “can get information that American companies and American ingenuity has taken years to develop,” she said. “They get it for free, they get it quickly, and it positions them to achieve their goal” of international supremacy….”
The New York Times – If past experience (cough, blogs) is any indication, a shakeout is nigh. – “…Call him cynical, but Jordan Harbinger, host of “The Jordan Harbinger Show” podcast, thinks there is a “podcast industrial complex.” Hosts aren’t starting shows “because it’s a fun, niche hobby,” he said. “They do it to make money or because it will make them an influencer.”
…It’s no wonder that the phrase “everyone has a podcast” has become a Twitter punch line. Like the blogs of yore, podcasts — with their combination of sleek high tech and cozy, retro low — are today’s de rigueur medium, seemingly adopted by every entrepreneur, freelancer, self-proclaimed marketing guru and even corporation. (Who doesn’t want branded content by Home Depot and Goldman Sachs piped into their ears on the morning commute?) There are now upward of 700,000 podcasts, according to the podcast production and hosting service Blubrry, with between 2,000 and 3,000 new shows launching each month. In August William Morrow will publish a book by Kristen Meinzer, a co-host of the popular “By the Book” podcast. Its title: “So You Want to Start a Podcast.”…”