Law and Legal

A blog about apples

An  A-Z exploration of varieties available in some states and regions, and not others, from a Massachusetts blogger who really knows his apples – hence the name of the blog, Adam’s Apples. Postings include his photos of the wonderful examples of each apple by name, information on its provenance, taste, appearance, trademarks and patents (yup each apple has them), names and states/regions in which they may be purchased. As a life long apple aficionado, I had not idea what I have been missing – the hunt is now on!

Categories: Law and Legal

Libraries 2020 – campaign to support libraries

Libraries 2020 is a national campaign to build support for local libraries in order to help them keep their doors open. But how does a national campaign and fundraising for EveryLibrary benefit local libraries like yours?

We are dedicated to working in conjunction with other library advocacy organizations and to providing all of our tools, data, and services to libraries  free of charge. Providing political support at no cost to local library campaigns and elections is important because many library campaigns are run by people who care about libraries and literacy enough that they’ve decided to take action and ask the voters for support. The Americans running library campaigns are not political operatives. They haven’t been trained to run political campaigns. They don’t know how to go to the voters to ask for support. But often, the organizations and political leaders who oppose libraries are backed by large political agencies and have the funding to hire well-trained consultants and spend thousands of dollars opposing funding for new libraries or the continued existence of libraries…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Release of World’s First Internet & Jurisdiction Global Status Report

“The Secretariat of the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network launched the world’s first Internet & Jurisdiction Global Status Report at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum on November 27, 2019, during a Special Session. It presents a first-of-its-kind mapping of internet jurisdiction related policy trends, actors and initiatives. The pioneering Internet & Jurisdiction Global Status Report 2019 is a new resource for policy makers and shapers to enable evidence-based policy innovation. It exposes a dangerous spiral of uncoordinated policy making. At a time when the world has never been so interconnected, reactive and quick-fix, unilateral regulatory initiatives proliferate to tackle new digital challenges. This legal arms race is threatening the future of the cross-border internet, unless actors actively coordinate.”

  • 79% of surveyed stakeholders consider that there is insufficient international coordination and coherence to address cross-border legal challenges on the internet.
  • 95% of them agree that cross-border legal challenges on the internet will become increasingly acute in the next three years.
  • Only 15% of them believe that we already have the right institutions to address these challenges. 
Categories: Law and Legal

Now even the FBI is warning about your smart TV’s security

TechCrunch: “If you just bought a smart TV on Black Friday or plan to buy one for Cyber Monday tomorrow, the FBI wants you to know a few things. Smart TVs are like regular television sets but with an internet connection. With the advent and growth of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, most saw internet-connected televisions as a cord-cutter’s dream. But like anything that connects to the internet, it opens up smart TVs to security vulnerabilities and hackers. Not only that, many smart TVs come with a camera and a microphone. But as is the case with most other internet-connected devices, manufacturers often don’t put security as a priority. That’s the key takeaway from the FBI’s Portland field office, which just ahead of some of the biggest shopping days of the year posted a warning on its website about the risks that smart TVs pose…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Archivists Are Trying to Make Sure a ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Never Goes Down

Vice – A new project aims to make LibGen, which hosts 33 terabytes of scientific papers and books, much more stable. “It’s hard to find free and open access to scientific material online. The latest studies and current research huddle behind paywalls unread by those who could benefit. But over the last few years, two sites—Library Genesis and Sci-Hub—have become high-profile, widely used resources for pirating scientific papers. The problem is that these sites have had a lot of difficulty actually staying online. They have faced both legal challenges and logistical hosting problems that has knocked them offline for long periods of time. But a new project by data hoarders and freedom of information activists hopes to bring some stability to one of the two “Pirate Bays of Science.”

Library Genesis (LibGen) contains 33 terabytes of books, scientific papers, comics, and more in its scientific library. That’s a lot of data to host when countries and science publishers are constantly trying to get you shut down. Last week, redditors launched a project to better seed, or host, LibGen’s files. “It’s the largest free library in the world, servicing tens of thousands of scientists and medical professionals around the world who live in developing countries that can’t afford to buy books and scientific journals. There’s almost nothing else like this on Earth. They’re using torrents to fulfill World Health Organization and U.N. charters. And it’s not just one site index—it’s a network of mirrored sites, where a new one pops up every time another gets taken down,” user shrine said on Reddit. Shrine is helping to start the project…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Facebook Gives Workers a Chatbot to Appease That Prying Uncle

The New York Times – “Some Facebook employees recently told their managers that they were concerned about answering difficult questions about their workplace from friends and family over the holidays. What if Mom or Dad accused the social network of destroying democracy? Or what if they said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, was collecting their online data at the expense of privacy? So just before Thanksgiving, Facebook rolled out something to help its workers: a chatbot that would teach them official company answers for dealing with such thorny questions. If a relative asked how Facebook handled hate speech, for example, the chatbot — which is a simple piece of software that uses artificial intelligence to carry on a conversation — would instruct the employee to answer with these points: Facebook consults with experts on the matter.

  • It has hired more moderators to police its content.
  • It is working on A.I. to spot hate speech.
  • Regulation is important for addressing the issue.

It would also suggest citing statistics from a Facebook report about how the company enforces its standards. The answers were put together by Facebook’s public relations department, parroting what company executives have publicly said. And the chatbot has a name: the “Liam Bot.” (The provenance of the name is unclear.)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Books May Be Dead in 2039, but Stories Live On

The New York Times – Opinion: On the 600th anniversary of the Gutenberg press, we can still celebrate how stories are shared. By Alix E. Harrow, author of  The Ten Thousand Doors of January. “In 1439, an eccentric German goldsmith cast the Latin alphabet in lead, smeared the letters with oil-based ink and squashed them beneath a wine press. Johannes Gutenberg hadn’t invented the ink, the paper, the press or the alphabet, but by combining their powers, he built the first printing press and printed the first mass-produced book: a 1,200-page Bible printed on vellum and bound in pigskin. Six hundred years later, we find ourselves in a post-book world. The last of the old five publishing houses went under last spring; most high school libraries have been converted into virtual reality lounges; bookstores are now antique shops haunted by aging millennials and the kinds of effortlessly hip retro teenagers who might have collected vinyl records in previous decades. In the age of cheap and accessible virtual reality, most consumers prefer to experience their narratives rather than read them; this piece — composed of mere letters and punctuation — is itself an anachronism.

The printed word has not gone unmourned. Social media is flooded with nostalgic images of textbooks and battered paperbacks, and the best-selling candle scents are “Indie Bookshop” and “Library Dream.” The surviving cable networks fill slow news cycles with tours of defunct paper mills and interviews with bitter authors who failed to transition from novels to experiences. Last week, the Public Broadcasting Service uploaded the first part of its four-part retrospective “The Written Age,” which featured David Brett, associate professor in the University of Vermont’s recently rebranded department of English and experiential literature. “Virtual reality has given us a post-literacy landscape more grimly banal than Bradbury could ever have imagined, where it is not necessary to burn books because no one wants to read them anyway,” Dr. Brett concluded. “Gutenberg would weep. We ought to weep with him.”..

Categories: Law and Legal Names ‘Existential’ 2019 Word of the Year “…existential also inspires us to ask big questions about who we are and what our purpose is in the face of our various challenges—and it reminds us that we can make choices about our lives in how we answer those questions. “Existential also inspires us to ask big questions about who we are and what our purpose is in the face of our various challenges—and it reminds us that we can make choices about our lives in how we answer those questions.” What does existential mean? We define the adjective existential in two senses. The first is “of or relating to existence.” Entering English in the late 1600s, this existential is often used when the fact of someone or something’s being—its very existence—is at stake. An existential threat to a species, for example, puts its continued existence in real, concrete peril…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Visualizing How Adversity Affects SAT Scores [paywall]: “What if SAT scores could take into account whether a student went to an elite boarding school in New England or a struggling public school in Chicago’s poorest neighborhood? The College Board, which administers the SAT, asked this question and developed an adversity score for every U.S. high school, measuring about 15 factors such as income level and crime rate in a school’s neighborhood….The Wall Street Journal obtained the list, and it offers a glimpse of the effects on test scores..It abandoned the single-number measurement over the summer after a public outcry from educators and parents…The College Board plans to assign an adversity score to every student who takes the SAT to try to capture their social and economic background, jumping into the debate raging over race and class in college admissions…” [See also this associated graphic via Center for Data Innovation.]

Categories: Law and Legal

Books on wheels – When the library comes to the homeless shelter

Christian Science Monitor – “The bookmobile has a history of bringing the written word to people who can’t get to a library building. Queens has taken that ethos further, parking its mobile library at homeless shelters in the borough…Over the past decade, scholars and social workers have noted how public libraries around the country are particularly well-positioned to provide those without stable housing with the kinds of resources many take for granted, including computers and internet access, a dedicated place to think and work, and opportunities to learn. “Libraries are always reinventing themselves, and what I love most about my job is connecting families to the library and to literacy,” says Kim McNeil-Capers, director of community engagement for the Queens Public Library system. “This is a way for us to bring the library right into the community – we can embed ourselves right here, right in the middle of a community, and talk to people directly.”

There were over half a million people without a stable home last year, according to federal estimates, and library systems in many U.S. cities have become more and more focused on serving their homeless patrons, sometimes partnering with social service organizations or even adding social workers to their staffs…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Lawyers Leveraging Less Social Media to Balance Ethics Rules, Time Constraints – “Navigating social media isn’t quite so straightforward when you’re a lawyer. Lawyers must consider any confidentiality or professional conduct rules before they post, making such networks too time-consuming for some to maintain…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Alternative search engine provides google results but with privacy

FastCompany – “Picture for a moment a version of Google Search that barely evolved from its early years. Instead of a results page cluttered by informational widgets, this one would primarily link out to other sites. And instead of tracking your search history for ad targeting purposes, this search engine would be decidedly impersonal. It turns out that such a thing exists today in Startpage, a Netherlands-based Google search alternative that emphasizes privacy. While it’s not the only privacy-first search engine—DuckDuckGo is a better-known example—Startpage is the only one whose search results come from Google, due to a unique and longstanding agreement in which Startpage pays the search giant to get a feed of links for any search. The result is a search engine that feels a lot like Google did before it leaned into personalized search and advertising—and all of its requisite data collection—about 15 years ago…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues November 30, 2019

Via LLRXPete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues November 30, 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. <strong>Four highlights from this week<strong>: Go Google free: We pick privacy-friendly alternatives to every Google service; Alexa, Siri and other voice systems are raising security worries; Canada’s use of Huawei 5G would hamper its access to U.S. intelligence – U.S. official; Law enforcement can plunder DNA profile database, judge rules.

Categories: Law and Legal

2020 Guide to Web Data Extractors

New on LLRX2020 Guide to Web Data Extractors – This guide by Marcus P. Zillman is a comprehensive listing of web data extractors, screen, web scraping and crawling sources and sites for the Internet and the Deep Web. These sources are useful for professionals who focus on competitive intelligence, business intelligence and analysis, knowledge management and research that requires collecting, reviewing, monitoring and tracking data, metadata and text.

Categories: Law and Legal

Stanford research – search results not biased along party lines

“According to newly published research by Stanford scholars, there appears to be no political favoritism for or against either major political party in the algorithm of a popular search engine. Stanford scholars reviewed the first page of Google search results for every candidate running for federal office in the 2018 U.S. election over a six-month period. After a systematic audit of about 4 million URLs scraped from the search engine, they found that sources from either end of the political spectrum are not being excluded from results. For the most part, the researchers found that the news sources most commonly held a relatively centrist point of view.

“Our data suggest that Google’s search algorithm is not biased along political lines, but instead emphasizes authoritative sources,” said Jeff Hancock, a professor of communication in the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, and author on the study that recently published in the Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery on Human-Computer Interaction. “I think audits of large-scale algorithms that play such an important role in so many aspects of our lives are crucial. We need to be able to trust that these AI systems aren’t biased in important ways, and without audits, it’s difficult to assess these opaque algorithms.”

Categories: Law and Legal

It’s Way Too Easy to Get a .gov Domain Name

Krebs on Security – “Many readers probably believe they can trust links and emails coming from U.S. federal government domain names, or else assume there are at least more stringent verification requirements involved in obtaining a .gov domain versus a commercial one ending in .com or .org. But a recent experience suggests this trust may be severely misplaced, and that it is relatively straightforward for anyone to obtain their very own .gov domain…”

Categories: Law and Legal

&#8220;&#8230;Despite the climate

“…Despite the climate crisis that our planet faces, Big Oil is doubling down on fossil fuels. At over 30 billion barrels of crude oil a year, production has never been higher. Now, with the help of tech companies like Microsoft, oil companies are using cutting-edge technology to produce even more. The collaboration between Big Tech and Big Oil might seem counterintuitive. Culturally, who could be further apart? Moreover, many tech companies portray themselves as leaders in corporate sustainability. They try to out-do each other in their support for green initiatives. But in reality, Big Tech and Big Oil are closely linked, and only getting closer.

The foundation of their partnership is the cloud. Cloud computing, like many of today’s online subscription services, is a way for companies to rent servers, as opposed to purchasing them. (This model is more specifically called the public cloud.)..The market is dominated by Amazon’s cloud computing wing, Amazon Web Services (AWS), which now makes up more than half of all of Amazon’s operating income. AWS has grown fast: in 2014, its revenue was $4.6 billion; in 2019, it is set to surpass $36 billion….”

Categories: Law and Legal

The War For Kindness

Building Empathy In A Fractured World – “This book reviews the science of human kindness and empathy, drawing largely from psychological research.  In recent years, high-profile findings in this field (and others) have proven to be less robust than we once thought.  Psychologists have responded by making sure we are as transparent as possible about how much evidence supports each claim we make.  In this spirit, the author and a colleague teamed up to produce an appendix in The War for Kindness, titled “evaluating the evidence.”  It provides readers with more information about the work underlying claims made in the book.  On this page you can find more details about what went into this appendix…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property

Via Kris Kasianovitz, Government Information Librarian for International, State and Local Documents, Head, Social Sciences Resource Group, Green Library, 123E, Stanford, CA 94305 – “For those who work with State and Local government information (legal, regulatory, legislative, executive, etc. – that’s most of us, yea?) – you might want to tune in to this webcast or if you are in the DC area consider attending.

Carl Malamud had been taking on copyright of state legal materials (including standards and regulations)  for some time; he has won some important court cases on this issue – helping establish legal precedence on the issue of public domain of state and local government information. The case with Georgia which is over the “government edicts doctrine” has been dragging on for some time and is now before the Supreme Court (Docket # 18-1150, there’s a whole lotta briefs to read: – so this discussion is timely and should be very informative (in addition to the court’s opinion).


Categories: Law and Legal


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