Law and Legal
Weapon Systems Cybersecurity: DOD Just Beginning to Grapple with Scale of Vulnerabilities. GAO-19-128: Published: Oct 9, 2018. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 2018. “DOD’s weapons are more computerized and networked than ever before, so it’s no surprise that there are more opportunities for attacks. Yet until relatively recently, DOD did not make weapon cybersecurity a priority. Over the past few years, DOD has taken steps towards improvement, like updating policies and increasing testing. Federal information security—another term for cybersecurity—has been on our list of High Risk issues since 1997. Today’s weapon systems are heavily computerized, which opens more attack opportunities for adversaries (represented below in a fictitious weapon system for classification reasons).”
CNET: “Google’s G Suite is adding automated closed captions to Google Slides, the company said Monday. The feature will roll out to users beginning this week. It works by accessing your computer’s microphone to pick up on what you’re saying during a presentation. It then transcribes your speech as captions, which appear on the slides you’re presenting in real time. Google said the closed-captions feature in Slides can be helpful not only for people who are hearing impaired, but also for audience members in a noisy room. It can also be beneficial when a presenter isn’t speaking loudly enough, the company said. To activate the feature, click the “CC” button in the navigation box when you start presenting. You can also use keyboard shortcuts, which are command + Shift + c on Mac and Ctrl + Shift + c in Chrome OS/Windows. The feature works for a single user speaking in US English, and is only available on the Chrome browser on a laptop or desktop. Google says it wants to roll out the feature in more countries and languages in the future. Laura D’Aquila and Abigail Klein, software engineers on the G Suite accessibility team, began working on the feature as part of an internal hackathon. D’Aquila, who has hearing loss, and Klein found it can be tough for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to follow along with presentations. Some of their other projects on G Suite’s accessibility team include improving support for screen magnifier, Braille and screen reader on Google Docs, Sheets and Slides…”
“The U.S. Census Bureau released new data on labor market outcomes for college graduates as part of the Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes (PSEO). These new data feature public institutions from Colorado, and include certificate and associate degrees, in addition to bachelor’s and more advanced degrees. PSEO is a public-use data product produced in cooperation with higher education institutional systems to provide a comprehensive look at degree attainment and graduate earnings nationwide. The Census Bureau is also releasing a web application which allows users to easily browse the earnings data from PSEO. The Census Bureau’s PSEO pilot research program is conducted in cooperation with higher education institutional systems to examine college degree attainment and graduate earnings. Through agreements with the Census Bureau, the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the University of Texas (released in March 2018) provided administrative education data on enrollment and graduation, which the Census Bureau matched with national jobs statistics produced by the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program in the Center for Economic Studies.”
Politico.com: “The term “fake news” has become a cudgel for political leaders trying to discredit reporting, but disinformation – false content created explicitly to deceive or misinform – runs rampant online. Just last week, a study out of George Washington University found that a vast majority of Twitter accounts that spread disinformation in 2016 remained active this year. The month leading up to the midterm elections will likely see a proliferation of false information spread under the guise of news in an effort to sway voters. POLITICO is undertaking an ambitious effort to identify and trace the origins of political disinformation and debunk it. Scouring the internet and contributions from the public, POLITICO will carefully examine potential pieces of disinformation. If an item fits our parameters for fakes, we will report on our findings in this publicly accessible database.
- Impostors: These are websites or social media users that falsely masquerade as known, reliable news sources.
- Hoaxes: These are bogus or fabricated reports and claims intended to pass for the truth.
- Doctored or manipulated content: These are visuals that have been deliberately distorted to misinform…”
“GODORT has a new website! Check it out at http://www.ala.org/rt/godort! There are still a few odds and ends left to do, including uploading meeting minutes (close to 400 PDF files!) and some cleanup work on a few pages; that work will be ongoing in the coming weeks. While the GODORT wiki is still online, as of September 30 2018 it is no longer being updated and will eventually be archived. The new website has been almost a year in the making. I would like to thank the members of the Website Migration Working Group (which I chaired) for all of their hard work on this project. Please enjoy the new GODORT website! [Hallie Pritchett, Associate Dean of Libraries for Research and Learning, North Dakota State University]
The New York Times: “Election Day is Nov. 6, but voter registration deadlines in many states are well before that. Deadlines have already passed in Alaska and Rhode Island. Many more are close. Here’s a list of each state’s voter registration deadline. The mail deadlines are when the applications should be postmarked, unless stated otherwise. Some states allow you to register through Election Day, but may have special requirements to do so.
- Registered already? Here is a list of states that allow early voting.
“There are many reasons to be curious about the way people learn, and the past several decades have seen an explosion of research that has important implications for individual learning, schooling, workforce training, and policy. In 2000, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition was published and its influence has been wide and deep. The report summarized insights on the nature of learning in school-aged children; described principles for the design of effective learning environments; and provided examples of how that could be implemented in the classroom. Since then, researchers have continued to investigate the nature of learning and have generated new findings related to the neurological processes involved in learning, individual and cultural variability related to learning, and educational technologies. In addition to expanding scientific understanding of the mechanisms of learning and how the brain adapts throughout the lifespan, there have been important discoveries about influences on learning, particularly sociocultural factors and the structure of learning environments.
How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures provides a much-needed update incorporating insights gained from this research over the past decade. The book expands on the foundation laid out in the 2000 report and takes an in-depth look at the constellation of influences that affect individual learning. How People Learn II will become an indispensable resource to understand learning throughout the lifespan for educators of students and adults.”
AP – “Close to one in five Americans who’s 65 or older is still working, the highest percentage in more than half a century. And the one who’s still working may be better off. As more and more Americans delay retirement, it’s those with a college degree that find it easiest to keep working past 65. Their less-educated peers, meanwhile, are having a more difficult time staying in the workforce. It’s a crucial distinction because financial experts say both groups would benefit from working an extra year or more to improve their retirement security. By staying on the job, older Americans can build up their savings, which in too many cases are inadequate. Plus, they can allow bigger Social Security benefits to accrue. Besides, many older Americans like the idea of staying engaged by working. Less-educated Americans, though, aren’t always able to follow this path, even though they tend to have less in retirement savings. Instead, many are forced to retire before their mid-60s because of poor health, the inability to do jobs that require a lot of physical activity or other reasons.
“If less-educated people were retiring early and comfortable in their retirement years, good for them, but we know they aren’t,” said Matt Rutledge, research economist at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. There is a widening gap in retirement ages between college and high-school graduates, Rutledge says, one that is most apparent when looking at the average age of retirement for men. The increasing number of women in the workforce in recent decades can skew the overall figures. Men with college degrees are retiring at an average age of 65.7, according to Rutledge’s calculations based on government data. That’s nearly three years later than men with only high-school degrees, who are retiring at an average age of 62.8 In the late 1970s, though, the two groups were retiring at nearly the same age: 64.6 for college graduates and 64.1 for high-school graduates. “We see people intending to work a whole lot longer, but the problem is that for the most part, it’s a lot easier for the college graduates to fulfill that plan,” Rutledge said…”
ABA Journal – “Equifax. Yahoo. Anthem. Sony. In the past few years, these companies experienced some of the most significant data breaches to date. And all of these companies found themselves subject to intense worldwide media coverage over their failure to secure their information. The industries affected—from health care to entertainment—know all too well that the struggle to secure data in the digital age never ends. While individual businesses within these industries will continue to find themselves vulnerable to breaches, they have an advantage over law firms. They have been fighting this battle for a long time. The legal industry is lagging well behind when it comes to data security, says Rich Santalesa, a member of the boutique cybersecurity firm SmartEdgeLaw Group and of counsel to the New York City-based Bortstein Legal Group. “Law firms as a whole can learn a lot about cybersecurity by looking at other industries,” says Santalesa. “Unfortunately, other industries have had to learn their lessons the hard way—by having breaches that have received media attention.” Santalesa says data security involves three different, simultaneous focuses: “the technology, the people you have, and needs of the industry in which you work.” In addition, data security can’t be a one-size-fits-all situation. The cybersecurity needs of a small law firm will be different than the needs of an international firm, just like the needs of Target are different from the needs of a small retail website. However, all law firms, just like all businesses, must pay close attention to the applicable privacy laws, Santalesa says. The legal industry needs to pay special attention to the changes in privacy law coming from the European Union. Companies worldwide are responding to the General Data Protection Regulation, which sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union.
The GDPR is “scaring everyone because the penalties for failing to protect personal data are high,” says Charles Gold, chief marketing officer for Virtru, an encryption and data protection company. “If you are doing business with Europeans, you need to be very conscious about GDPR and the requirements for protecting personal data,” he says. Gold points out that Europe tends to blaze the trail when it comes to privacy laws, so “even if you aren’t doing business in Europe, you need to know that the same kind of regulation as GDPR is coming soon to a country near you. “Giddyup and get ready,” Gold says…”
Liberty Street Econimics – New York Fed – Unlocking the Treasury Market through TRACE Doug Brain, Michiel De Pooter, Dobrislav Dobrev, Michael Fleming, Peter Johansson, Collin Jones, Frank Keane, Michael Puglia, Liza Reiderman, Tony Rodrigues, and Or Shachar.
“The U.S. Treasury market is widely regarded as the deepest and most liquid securities market in the world, playing a critical role in the global economy and in the Federal Reserve’s implementation of monetary policy. Despite the Treasury market’s importance, the official sector has historically had limited access to information on cash market transactions. This data gap was most acutely demonstrated in the investigation of the October 15, 2014, flash event in the Treasury market, as highlighted in the Joint Staff Report (JSR). Following the JSR, steps were taken to improve regulators’ access to information on Treasury market activity, as detailed in a previous Liberty Street Economics post, with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) members beginning to submit data on cash market transactions to FINRA’s Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) on July 10, 2017. This joint FEDS Note and Liberty Street Economics blog post from staff at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Federal Reserve Bank of New York aims to share initial insights on the transactions data reported to TRACE, focusing on trading volumes in the market. The Structure of the Treasury Market – To inform our approach in analyzing the TRACE data, we model the Treasury market in the figure below, dividing it into three segments: interdealer broker (IDB), dealer-to-dealer (DTD), and dealer-to-client (DTC). IDBs historically have intermediated trades between dealers. However, after IDBs introduced electronic trading platforms, they also eventually opened up to firms beyond the traditional bank and dealer community, notably principal trading firms (PTFs) which specialize in electronic and automated intermediation. The DTC space has evolved as well, with request-for-quote platforms, for example, enabling clients to solicit bids and offers from multiple dealers electronically. More recently, some PTFs have begun offering direct stream services to dealers, which feature live, continuous, executable prices, delivered electronically under bilaterally negotiated terms…”
Google Blog: “Many third-party apps, services and websites build on top of our various services to improve everyone’s phones, working life, and online experience. We strongly support this active ecosystem. But increasingly, its success depends on users knowing that their data is secure, and on developers having clear rules of the road. Over the years we’ve continually strengthened our controls and policies in response to regular internal reviews, user feedback and evolving expectations about data privacy and security. At the beginning of this year, we started an effort called Project Strobe—a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps’ data access. This project looked at the operation of our privacy controls, platforms where users were not engaging with our APIs because of concerns around data privacy, areas where developers may have been granted overly broad access, and other areas in which our policies should be tightened. We’re announcing the first four findings and actions from this review today.
- Finding 1: There are significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ product that meets consumers’ expectations.
- Action 1: We are shutting down Google+ for consumers…”
See also the Washington Post – Google for months kept secret a bug that imperiled the personal data of Google+ users
NBC News – Google says it found security flaw in March but chose not to tell users
BuzzFeedNews: “Chief Justice John Roberts has traversed a difficult path leading the Supreme Court since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016. He has led the court through an extended vacancy, the beginning of the Trump administration, and, just this past week, opened the court’s term for a second time with just eight justices. Now, however, Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed in the wake of explosive hearings over sexual assault allegations. The court is back to nine justices, and Roberts finds himself leading a conservative-majority Supreme Court. The question for Roberts is what will he do with it? Over the past two-and-a-half years, Roberts worked to keep the court from appearing too politically divided, in part, by voting with Justice Anthony Kennedy more often than with any other justice. Although they still differed at times, the move tended to decrease the number of closely divided cases and increase the size of the majority on opinions. Roberts also took other steps aimed at supporting the court’s institutional integrity, in terms of what cases were granted and how procedural votes were handled…”
Harvard Political Review – October 8, 2018: “The musty scent of old paperback. The groan of a creaky, carpeted floor. The sight of endless shelves filled with unread volumes. But when one steps through the marble columns into the Reading Room of Harvard’s flagship Widener Library today, they find a very different scene. Rows of tables host students consumed by laptops, not encyclopedias. Librarians clack across the oak floor to answer questions on how to access databases, not to retrieve documents. The traditional library experience now seems to be a thing of the past. While the American foray into the digital age would lead many to classify libraries as obsolete, the continued — if not heightened — importance of the library’s core mission to provide knowledge, as well as new skills of librarians and changes to the design of libraries, make them relevant in our changed world. Their continued evolution will be essential to the future of scholarship and citizenship…”
The fundamental role of the library is not to provide books, it is to provide information. So that has not changed,” said Eileen Abels, dean of the Simmons School of Library and Information Science, in an interview with the HPR. “But I think the time has come for librarians to reach into new media.” The central mission of a library has been and will remain to be to provide “unlimited access to high quality sources of information,” Suzanne Wones, director of library digital strategies and innovations at Harvard Library, told the HPR. Rather than through print books, Wones said, this is now mostly achieved through digital resources and tools…”
Knight Foundation: “How did misinformation spread during the 2016 presidential election and has anything changed since? A new study of more than 10 million tweets from 700,000 Twitter accounts that linked to more than 600 misinformation and conspiracy news outlets answers this question. The report reveals a concentrated “fake news” ecosystem, linking more than 6.6 million tweets to fake news and conspiracy news publishers in the month before the 2016 election. The problem persisted in the aftermath of the election with 4 million tweets to fake and conspiracy news publishers found from mid-March to mid-April 2017. A large majority of these accounts are still active today. The study, one of the largest to date on this topic, is supported by Knight Foundation and produced by Matthew Hindman of The George Washington University in collaboration with Vlad Barash of the network analysis firm Graphika. Knight commissioned the study to improve understanding of how misinformation spreads online.
Here are eight findings that stood out to us: There was a concentrated “fake news” ecosystem highly active both during and after the 2016 election; “Fake news” and disinformation continue to reach millions; Just a few fake and conspiracy news sites accounted for most of the fake news that spread on Twitter: Most of the accounts spreading fake or conspiracy news included in the report show evidence of automated posting; Fake news still receives significantly fewer links than mainstream media sources; Accounts that spread fake news are densely connected; A substantial amount of misinformation was spread by both Republican- and Democratic-identified accounts; The coordinated spread of misinformation by Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) trolls is evident — but other accounts were likely more important in spreading fake news.
- This report is part of Knight Foundation’s Trust, Media and Democracy initiative, which aims to strengthen the role of strong, trusted journalism as essential to a healthy democracy. In September 2017, Knight Foundation announced $2.5 million in support to launch the initiative…”
Lauren Weinstein’s Blog: “It appears that at least some Gmail users are now getting an (apparently one-time) pop-up box giving the option to turn off “Smart Compose” when it first becomes active for them. This is definitely an improvement. However, if someone accepts that default (“Got it”) to try it out, there’s no clue provided to help the user turn it off again at some future time, without digging around in the user interface as I describe below. Many users report regretting accepting it in the first place, since they didn’t know how to turn it off afterwards…”
Krebs on Security: “Most of us have been trained to be wary of clicking on links and attachments that arrive in emails unexpected, but it’s easy to forget scam artists are constantly dreaming up innovations that put a new shine on old-fashioned telephone-based phishing scams. Think you’re too smart to fall for one? Think again: Even technology experts are getting taken in by some of the more recent schemes (or very nearly)…”
News release: “With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015. The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. “One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I. The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C…”
Washington Post: “The world stands on the brink of failure when it comes to holding global warming to moderate levels, and nations will need to take “unprecedented” actions to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade, according to a landmark report by the top scientific body studying climate change…the transformation described in the document is breathtaking, and the speed of change required raises inevitable questions about its feasibility. Most strikingly, the document says the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, which amount to more than 40 billion tons per year, would have to be on an extremely steep downward path by 2030 to either hold the world entirely below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or allow only a brief “overshoot” in temperatures…”
BBC – Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’: “The countdown to the worst of global warming seems to have accelerated. Seriously damaging impacts are no longer on a distant horizon later this century but within a timeframe that appears uncomfortably close. By the same token, the report’s “pathways” for keeping a lid on temperatures all mean that hard decisions cannot be delayed:
- a shift away from fossil fuels by mid-century
- coal phased out far sooner than previously suggested
- vast tracts of land given over to forests…”
The Conversation: “Depending on who you ask, the American people saw very different things in the riveting testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. To some, Kavanaugh’s behavior was the self-indulgent temper tantrum of an angry and entitled man. To others, it was the understandable – even laudable – reaction of a man pushed too far, forced to defend his honor. There are no obvious ways to bridge this perception gap. The meaning of Kavanaugh’s display, it appears, is in the eye of the beholder. To us, as legal scholars, it was a stunning display from a sitting federal judge. We have, for more than a decade, studied Supreme Court confirmation hearings in minute detail, and we have never seen anything like it. Even Clarence Thomas’s striking metaphor in 1991, denouncing his confirmation hearing a “high-tech lynching,” did not openly invoke such raw partisanship or vengeful threats such as Kavanaugh’s “what goes around comes around.” But, as scholars of the confirmation process, we aim to measure what is measurable, in the hope that data can inform our more subjective perceptions of politics. And one measurable feature of Kavanaugh’s testimony is the striking number of times he interrupted the senators to challenge their comments or force his own point. Here, the historical record can shed some light…[h/t Pete Weiss]
Christian Howard · October 1, 2018 – Mining Twitter Data
“Hello again, everybody! I’m back this semester as a DH Prototyping Fellow, and together, Alyssa Collins and I are working on a project titled “Twitterature: Methods and Metadata.” Specifically, we’re hoping to develop a simple way of using Twitter data for literary research. The project is still in its early stages, but we’ve been collecting a lot of data and are now beginning to visualize it (I’m particularly interested in the geolocation of tweets, so I’m trying out a few mapping options). In this post, I want to layout our methods for collecting Twitter data.
Okay, Alyssa and I have been using a python based Twitter scraping script, which we modified to search Twitter without any time limitations (the official Twitter search function is limited to tweets of the past two weeks). So, to run the Twitter scraping script, I entered the following in my command line: python3 TwitterScraper.py. This command then prompted for the search term and the dates within which I wanted to run my search. For this post, I ran the search term #twitterature (and no, the python scraper has no problem handling hashtags as part of the search query!). After entering the necessary information, the command would create both a txt and a csv file with the results of my search…”
EveryCRSReport.com: Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile, October 1, 2018
“This report presents a profile of the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as of October 1, 2018. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service. In the House of Representatives, there are 237 Republicans (including 1 Delegate and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico), 197 Democrats (including 4 Delegates), and 7 vacant seats. The Senate has 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and 2 Independents, who both caucus with the Democrats. The average age of Members of the House at the beginning of the 115th Congress was 57.8 years; of Senators, 61.8 years, among the oldest in U.S. history. The overwhelming majority of Members of Congress have a college education. The dominant professions of Members are public service/politics, business, and law. Most Members identify as Christians, and Protestants collectively constitute the majority religious affiliation. Roman Catholics account for the largest single religious denomination, and numerous other affiliations are represented, including Jewish, Mormon, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Greek Orthodox, Pentecostal Christian, Unitarian Universalist, and Christian Science. The average length of service for Representatives at the beginning of the 115th Congress was 9.4 years (4.7 House terms); for Senators, 10.1 years (1.7 Senate terms).
One hundred twelve women (a record number) serve in the 115th Congress: 89 in the House, including 5 Delegates and the Resident Commissioner, and 23 in the Senate. There are 48 African American Members of the House and 3 in the Senate. This House number includes two Delegates. There are 46 Hispanic or Latino Members (a record number) serving: 41 in the House, including 1 Delegate and the Resident Commissioner, and 5 in the Senate. Eighteen Members (13 Representatives, 2 Delegates, and 3 Senators) are Asian Americans, Indian Americans, or Pacific Islander Americans. This is also a record number. Two American Indians (Native Americans) serve in the House.”
The portions of this report covering political party affiliation, gender, ethnicity, and vacant seats will be updated as events warrant. The remainder of the report will not be updated.”