Law and Legal
EdSurge: “The printed book just won’t die. But another print-based technology—the copy machine—is disappearing from many academic libraries, as librarians swap the old dime-eating machines for multi-function devices that scan texts and send copies to students via email. “Copiers seem to be going the way of the dodo, slowly,” says Stephanie Walker, dean of libraries and information resources at the University of North Dakota. The switch from copiers to scanners makes sense in the hybrid digital/print environment students and faculty operate in now. There’s also a financial incentive for academic libraries looking to economize and streamline operations and provide patrons with the services they most need. And in at least one case, the rise of the scanner has created an opportunity for an academic library to engage in a little community-minded entrepreneurship, providing fellow libraries with a customized computer/scanner/software bundle that won’t break the bank…Budget pressures have hastened the switch from copiers to scanners…”
“In 2016, Rapid7 Labs launched the National Exposure Index in order to better understand the nature of internet exposure—services that either do not offer modern cryptographic protection, or are otherwise unsuitable to offer on the increasingly hostile internet—and how those exposure levels look around the globe. Read the 2018 National Exposure Index. Executive Summary – Now in our third year, we continue this ongoing investigation into the risk of passive eavesdropping and active attack on the internet, and offer insight into the continuing changes involving these exposed services. We’ve added a third dimension for exposure, “amplification potential,” in the wake of the disastrous memcached exposure uncovered in 2018. We’ve also modified our ranking algorithm in this edition. First, we’re measuring and scoring amplification abuse potential. Second, we’ve added more studies targeting exposed databases, and weighted groups of protocols as “more risky” than others, such as SMB, memcached, and database ports. In addition, we’re treating the especially responsive 2% of IPv4 nodes (0.08% of routable IPv4 addresses) as mere noise absorbers/generators in their networks and have removed those nodes from scoring entirely. To learn about the key findings and analysis, as well as what steps can be taken to improve security posture worldwide, read the National Exposure Index in its entirety, register for our webcast to hear directly from the researchers, and explore country statistics via the interactive map and select country-specific executive summaries below…”
GOOD: “As the 2018 midterm elections approach in the U.S., Google’s power to influence undecided voters remains overshadowed by Facebook’s personal data crisis. Facebook has “taken it on the chin” for its role in the 2016 presidential election, and organizations like the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency have dominated headlines. Yet despite having a troubling history and collecting more personal data through more products than Facebook, Google has somehow managed to evade the public spotlight on this one. That may be changing. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee recently sent Google a letter asking a series of questions about the company’s personal data protections. As one of the researchers who helped discover that search engines can substantially influence users’ voting preferences, I found the last question to be the most intriguing: “Are you aware of any foreign entities seeking to influence or interfere with U.S. elections through your platforms?” If Google’s response to this question exists, it has not been made public…”
BuzzFeed: “Amazon’s third-party marketplace and its millions of sellers across the world have grown into a billion-dollar sales stream for the company since the marketplace first launched in 2000. But as Amazon sells competing products at significantly lower prices and expands its private-label brands, some of the site’s third-party sellers say the retail giant is squeezing them out. “Sellers are in this ‘frenemy’ position where they’re very dependent on these companies but also competing with them,” Lina Khan, a legal policy director with the nonprofit think tank Open Markets Institute, told BuzzFeed News. Sellers have recently become more worried about Amazon directly competing with them, according to a Feedvisor survey of 1,200 third-party merchants released last month. The Amazon seller consulting agency found that competing with Amazon has become a more pressing concern over the last two years. Amazon competition was sellers’ third-biggest concern last year and rose to be their top concern this year, according to Feedvisor. Merchants told BuzzFeed News they fear that the Seattle-based company uses its marketplace to test sales of new items, and then it sells similar or identical items at a lower price than third-party sellers could offer…”
Law Professor Letter on President’s Article II Powers, June 4, 2018 [Note – this letter is several pages long, includes a list of signatories, as well as annotations and links to referenced works. What follows is only the beginning of the letter.]
“Dear Mr. McGahn (White House Counsel) & Mr. Flood (Special Counsel to the President): “We, legal scholars who study and teach constitutional and criminal law, write in connection with the President’s apparent belief that he is empowered by the Constitution to halt the Special Counsel’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election for any reason whatsoever, and his apparent view that he is not constrained by Congress’s duly enacted laws prohibiting the obstruction of justice. As reported in the New York Times, attorneys for the President wrote a letter to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller asserting that the Constitution empowers him to “to terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon,” and that he cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation because of these powers.These views are incorrect. First, the best understanding of Article II of the Constitution is that presidential actions motivated by self-protection, self-dealing, or an intent to corrupt or suborn the legal system are unauthorized by and contrary to Article II of the Constitution. Second, and even if one does not accept the foregoing construction of Article II, Congress has enacted obstruction of justice statutes that prohibit any person from acting “corruptly” to interfere with federal criminal investigations. Whatever a President may have been able to do in the absence of such statutes, Congress’s judgment that obstruction of justice is prohibited binds the President…”
National Endowment for the Arts – Sunil Iyengar, NEA Director of Research and Analysis: “In recent months, I’ve come across various news articles and at least one press release declaring that social media has contributed greatly to poetry’s readership. Some of these sources even attribute to the technology a bump in 2017 poetry book sales. While it remains unknown how much of that reading is directly due to these still-emerging platforms, we now can report with confidence: poetry reading in the United States has increased since five years previously. Nearly 12 percent (11.7 percent) of adults read poetry in the last year, according to new data from the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). That’s 28 million adults. As a share of the total U.S. adult population, this poetry readership is the highest on record over a 15-year period of conducting the SPPA, a research partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2017 poetry-reading rate is five percentage points up from the 2012 survey period (when the rate was 6.7 percent) and three points up from the 2008 survey period (when the rate was 8.3 percent). This boost puts the total rate on par with 2002 levels, with 12.1 percent of adults estimated to have read poetry that year. Growth in poetry reading is seen across most demographic sub-groups (e.g., gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education level)…”
“Every area of the globe has warmed since instrument records began in 1880, NASA data shows, Axios science editor Andrew Freedman reports:
The planet isn’t warming equally, however — the fastest temperature increases are taking place at the poles. That Arctic, for example, is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe, melting sea ice, glaciers and permafrost. The bottom line: Due largely to human emissions of greenhouse gases, there is virtually no such thing as a cooler-than-average year on Earth anymore. (The last cooler-than-average month was 30 years ago, in December 1984).
“Suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise. Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor. Although suicide prevention efforts largely focus on identifying and providing treatment for people with mental health conditions, there are many additional opportunities for prevention…For this Vital Signs report, CDC researchers examined state-level trends in suicide rates from 1999-2016. In addition, they used 2015 data from CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System, which covered 27 states, to look at the circumstances of suicide among people with and without known mental health conditions…”
“Suicide is a leading cause of death for Americans – and it’s a tragedy for families and communities across the country,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “From individuals and communities to employers and healthcare professionals, everyone can play a role in efforts to help save lives and reverse this troubling rise in suicide.”
Scholarly Twitter metrics, Stefanie Haustein (Submitted on 6 Jun 2018) – to be published in W. Gl\”anzel, H.F. Moed, U. Schmoch, & M. Thelwall (Eds.), Handbook of Quantitative Science and Technology Research, Springer. 40 pages, 5 figures, 7 tables. Cite as: arXiv:1806.02201 [cs.SI] (or arXiv:1806.02201v1 [cs.SI] for this version)
“Twitter has arguably been the most popular among the data sources that form the basis of so-called altmetrics. Tweets to scholarly documents have been heralded as both early indicators of citations as well as measures of societal impact. This chapter provides an overview of Twitter activity as the basis for scholarly metrics from a critical point of view and equally describes the potential and limitations of scholarly Twitter metrics. By reviewing the literature on Twitter in scholarly communication and analyzing 24 million tweets linking to scholarly documents, it aims to provide a basic understanding of what tweets can and cannot measure in the context of research evaluation. Going beyond the limited explanatory power of low correlations between tweets and citations, this chapter considers what types of scholarly documents are popular on Twitter, and how, when and by whom they are diffused in order to understand what tweets to scholarly documents measure. Although this chapter is not able to solve the problems associated with the creation of meaningful metrics from social media, it highlights particular issues and aims to provide the basis for advanced scholarly Twitter metrics.”
Tripwire: “With hacking attacks, government surveillance and censorship constantly in the headlines, more and more people are looking for ways to increase their privacy online. One of the simplest and most popular solutions is to use a virtual private network. With a VPN, all your internet traffic is encrypted and tunneled through a third-party server, so it can’t be traced back to you. While this can be very effective, it must be noted that the main objective of a VPN provider – like any other company – is to make a profit. Although concern for the principle of web privacy may come into play, no one would be so naive as to assume that a VPN is in it for purely altruistic purposes. With this in mind, it’s worth asking: why should users place their trust in VPN providers?..”
Forbes: “Statistically speaking, the odds of becoming a CEO of a Fortune 500 company are a little better than lightning striking you dead. If you’re a woman, you may be more likely to be attacked by a shark. But there’s hope. In fact, there’s a plan of action you can begin now. The number of female Fortune 500 CEOs is doubling every five years, and two insightful women and their team at organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry have designed a program to accelerate that trend and increase your odds. Jane Stevenson and Evelyn Orr, both c-suite executives themselves, studied 57 female CEOs to uncover the common personal attributes and workplace experiences that prepared–and propelled–these women to the pinnacle of career success in spite of the headwinds against them. “We were tired of talking about the problem,” Stevenson said, “we wanted to find out what happens when women are successful and why. And we wanted to replicate it…”
Knowledge@Wharton: “In this opinion piece, researchers Amy Lui Abel and Diane Lim of The Conference Board explain why demographic and economic trends provide an opportunity for older women to expand their role in the labor market. Several female-dominated occupations — especially in health care services — face shortages that will only grow. But given the unique needs and circumstances of older women, realizing their full economic contribution will hinge on employers providing them with more flexible work environments. If companies do this, the greying of America could become an opportunity rather than a threat. Over the next decade America’s tight labor market will continue making headlines. The fundamental reason stems from retiring Baby Boomers outpacing the number of younger workers entering the workforce.To help the country’s labor supply better meet demand, keeping the present workforce engaged in work would go a long way. Retaining every cohort matters. But U.S. businesses should put particular focus on retaining older women. Now and even more so in the future, increasing their participation would create substantial economic opportunity. To realize that opportunity, more companies should consider making flexible work arrangements a staple of their employee recruitment and engagement strategy. Of all the population groups participating in America’s workforce, women 55 and older represent the single fastest growing age-gender segment. That group alone will account for more than a third – nearly 3.6 million – of all additional workers entering the labor force over the next decade (2016-2026). But securing robust participation from older women depends on employers offering employment conditions that reflect their circumstances. As an example, for some older women maximizing income is not the primary goal of working in their later years. Many have high levels of education. And with their childcare responsibilities reduced now that their children have grown, they are ready to take on or continue holding a job – but not just any job. For them, a work arrangement that offers flexibility with an engaging environment can represent a more attractive alternative than outright retirement.”
The New York Times: “Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics companies, including a manufacturing giant that has a close relationship with China’s government, the social media company said on Tuesday.The agreements, which date to at least 2010, gave private access to some user data to Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company that has been flagged by American intelligence officials as a national security threat, as well as to Lenovo, Oppo and TCL. The four partnerships remain in effect, but Facebook officials said in an interview that the company would wind down the Huawei deal by the end of the week. Facebook gave access to the Chinese device makers along with other manufacturers — including Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung — whose agreements were disclosed by The New York Times on Sunday. The deals were part of an effort to push more mobile users onto the social network starting in 2007, before stand-alone Facebook apps worked well on phones. The agreements allowed device makers to offer some Facebook features, such as address books, “like” buttons and status updates…”
“The Post has mapped more than 50,000 homicides in major U.S. cities over the past decade and found that the nation’s urban areas contain pockets of impunity — places where killings routinely go unpunished. The analysis goes beyond what is known nationally about unsolved homicides, revealing block by block where police fail to make arrests…The data, which The Post is making public, is more precise than the national homicide data published annually by the FBI. The federal data fails to distinguish whether a case was closed due to an arrest or other circumstances, such as the death of the suspect, and does not have enough detail to allow for the mapping of unsolved homicides…” [This is outstanding work that reveals critical disparities in the rate of unsolved homicides specific to neighborhoods throughout America. ]
Explore The Post’s homicide database – Out of 52,179 homicides in 50 cities over the past decade, 51 percent did not result in an arrest.
Consumer Reports – These alternatives will appeal to fans of British TV, classic movies, horror, or other niche content: “When it comes to streaming video services, Netflix clearly looms large over its competitors, accounting for more than one-third of all peak-time downstream traffic, according to research firm Sandvine. Maybe that explains why you never hear anyone say they’re going to a friend’s house to “Hulu and chill.” But that doesn’t mean there are no worthy streaming alternatives. Here are five services for people with a taste for something different. Many offer free plans and access via computers, mobile devices, smart TVs, and streaming devices such as Apple TV and Roku. (You should also check our guide to all the major streaming services.)…” [h/t Pete Weiss]
Times Open: “Even if you’ve covered Congress for The New York Times for a decade, it can be hard to recognize which member you’ve just spoken with. There are 535 members, and with special elections every few months, members cycle in and out relatively frequently. So when former Congressional Correspondent Jennifer Steinhauer tweeted “Shazam, but for House members faces” in early 2017, The Times’s Interactive News team jumped on the idea….”
Conversations Gone Awry: Detecting Early Signs of Conversational Failure. Justine Zhang, Jonathan P. Chang, Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, Lucas Dixon, Nithum Thain, Dario Taraborelli.
“One of the main challenges online social systems face is the prevalence of antisocial behavior, such as harassment and per-sonal attacks. In this work, we introduce the task of predicting from the very start of a conversation whether it will get out of hand. As opposed to detecting undesirable behavior after the fact, this task aims to enable early, actionable prediction at a time when the conversation might still be salvaged. To this end, we develop a framework for capturing pragmatic devices—such as politeness strategies and rhetorical prompts—used to start a conversation, and analyze their relation to its future trajectory. Applying this framework in a controlled setting, we demonstrate the feasibility of detecting early warning signs of antisocial behavior in online discussions.”
Washington Post: Voters remove judge who sentenced Brock Turner to six months in Stanford sexual assault case – “The California judge who evoked national outrage after sentencing Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail after his conviction for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman was ousted from office Tuesday night following a tempestuous recall campaign. Voters in Santa Clara County removed Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky from the bench in a victory for the campaign that argued Persky’s leniency in the sexual assault case was an affront to the victim and all survivors. As of 4:30 a.m. Pacific Time, 59.6 percent of voters supported recalling Persky, with 76 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. Persky, 56, had served on the court since 2003. His supporters had argued that removing a duly elected judge over disagreement with a controversial but lawful sexual assault sentence would both erode the democratic process and cause judges everywhere to impose lengthier sentences for fear of public backlash.
“Tonight many, many voters voted against the culture of impunity for high-status perpetrators of sexual assault or domestic violence,” Michele Dauber, a Stanford University professor and chair of the Recall Judge Aaron Persky Campaign, told The Washington Post. “This election expresses clearly that sexual assault, sexual violence is serious and it has to be taken seriously by elected officials. It’s a historical moment when women across all sectors of society are standing up saying, ‘Enough is enough.’”
…So how does a tool library work? There are two main options: you can buy either a “tool newbie” membership that gives you access to tools for a shorter period of time, or you can buy a “tool pro” membership which allows you to borrow more expensive tools for a longer period of time. Since the goal of a tool library is to make tools available for as many people as possible, there will be a third option: the so-called “Robin Hood” membership. This will enable you to get a tool pro membership for yourself, but also to donate a membership to someone in the community who cannot afford it themselves…