Law and Legal
Via LLRX – Green Files 2019 – 2020 – This guide by Marcus Zillman includes a range of links to green and eco sources that are sponsored by technical, government, small businesses, the products and services sectors, advocacy groups, and also includes topical journals, search engines and aggregated reference resources.
Via LLRX – New laws give victims more time to report rape or sexual assault – even Jeffrey Epstein’s – Jane E. Palmer is a scholar of gender-based violence currently studying the legal needs of survivors of sexual assault. In this article Palmer examines why someone might wait decades to report a sexual assault, why sexual offenders are often not held accountable, and why so few resources are devoted to rape prevention, I believe that increasing – but not eliminating – time limits will not help most victims heal or access justice.
Via LLRX – The Mindful Lawyer: Apps and Other Resources – Nicole Black discusses practical ways for lawyers to combat work related stress. One of the most effective ways she suggests that colleagues may can consider is to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. Fortunately, there are lots of mindfulness apps and tools available for lawyers seeking to reduce heir stress levels through mindful thinking. Black shares some of her favorites, all of which are low-cost or free resources designed to get you on your way to a more stress-free existence.
Route Fifty – “…Across the country, municipalities are helping residents repair mendable belongings, keep material out of landfills and save money… Also known as repair cafés, fix-it clinics have gained popularity in recent years as a way for local governments to encourage residents to reduce, reuse and recycle. It can also help them save money, as they won’t need to replace broken items. For Washington, D.C., the event was one way to work toward the city’s broader sustainability goals, Wells said. Among those goals, the city aims to divert 80% of its waste away from landfills by 2032…”
National Academies: “Since 2009, when NCHRP’s last Security 101 report was released, there have been significant advances in transportation security approaches, including new strategies, programs, and ways of doing business that have increased the security of transportation systems as well as ensured their resiliency. Hazards and threats to the system have also continued to evolve since 2009. While the incidence of large-scale terrorist attacks has remained small, transportation agencies are at increasingly greater risk from system-disrupting events due to natural causes, unintentional human intervention, and intentional criminal acts, such as active-shooter incidents. Cyber risks also are increasing, and can impact not only data, but the control systems – like tunnel-ventilation systems – operated by transportation agencies.
This update, a pre-publication draft of NCHRP Research Report 930: Security 101: A Physical and Cybersecurity Primer for Transportation Agencies, provides valuable information about current and accepted practices associated with both physical and cyber security and its applicability to surface transportation…”
Washington Post: “…The Post examined all 204 incidents investigated by police as hate crimes [in 2018], interviewing two dozen victims and a handful of suspects. What emerged was a portrait of pervasive bigotry and violence: gay men and women assaulted on the street, transgender people threatened by strangers, African Americans taunted with slurs, Muslims harassed for wearing headscarves, synagogues subjected to anti-Semitic calls. Roughly half were violent crimes ranging from robbery to sexual abuse to assault, which was the most common offense. Yet most suspected hate crimes go unpunished in the District. Despite a strong push by police to identify and investigate bias-motivated incidents, there were no arrests in roughly two-thirds of the cases, The Post found. Of the adult suspects identified, just 55 faced charges of any kind. None has been convicted of a hate crime….” [The research for this article is based on the work of Brian Levin, Esq. Director, Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, Professor of Criminal Justice California State University, San Bernardino]
Gizmodo: “Browsing the internet generally feels exhausting for me. Mostly, it’s because everything is bad. The websites I once visited for “fun” are now saturated with reminders of society’s collapse, brands making painful jokes, lies, outrage, and actual Nazis. I only visit these websites out of habit and poor impulse control. But I’ve recently joined a welcoming community on the internet that doesn’t drain me of my joy and energy. It’s a place where people with similar interests can connect, share interests and experiences, and foster friendships despite distances—the things social media sites always claim they do and always seem to fail miserably at. I’m talking about Bird Twitter…”
The New York Times: “Summer Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer living in Kansas, has been in the midst of a bitter separation and parenting dispute for much of the past year. So she was surprised when she noticed that her estranged spouse still seemed to know things about her spending. Had she bought a car? How could she afford that? Ms. Worden put her intelligence background to work, asking her bank about the locations of computers that had recently accessed her bank account using her login credentials. The bank got back to her with an answer: One was a computer network registered to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Ms. Worden’s spouse, Anne McClain, was a decorated NASA astronaut on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station. She was about to be part of NASA’s first all-female spacewalk. But the couple’s domestic troubles on Earth, it seemed, had extended into outer space. Ms. McClain acknowledged that she had accessed the bank account from space, insisting through a lawyer that she was merely shepherding the couple’s still-intertwined finances. Ms. Worden felt differently. She filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and her family lodged one with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, accusing Ms. McClain of identity theft and improper access to Ms. Worden’s private financial records.
A complaint involving bank access from the space station is just one of a number of complex legal issues that have emerged in the age of routine space travel, issues that are expected to grow with the onset of space tourism…”
Nautilus: “…Evolutionary progress can be propelled both by the competitive struggle to adapt to an environment, and by the relaxation of selective forces. When natural selection on an organism is relaxed, the creative powers of mutation can be unshackled and evolution accelerated. The relief of an easier life can inspire new biological forms just as powerfully as the threat of death. One of the best ways to relax selective forces is to work together, something that mathematical biologist Martin Nowak has called the “snuggle for survival.” New research has only deepened and broadened the importance of cooperation and lifting of selective pressures. It’s a big, snuggly world out there…Evolution is not a weapons race, but a peace treaty among interdependent nations…”
Via LLRX– New laws give victims more time to report rape or sexual assault – even Jeffrey Epstein’s – Jane E. Palmer is a scholar of gender-based violence currently studying the legal needs of survivors of sexual assault. In this article Palmer examines why someone might wait decades to report a sexual assault, why sexual offenders are often not held accountable, and why so few resources are devoted to rape prevention, I believe that increasing – but not eliminating – time limits will not help most victims heal or access justice.
The New York Times – “A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists. It is the latest step in a long-running effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting. Four people familiar with the operation described how it works, asserting that it has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations. The group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects…”
A. G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The Times, said in a statement that such tactics were taking the president’s campaign against a free press to a new level. “They are seeking to harass and embarrass anyone affiliated with the leading news organizations that are asking tough questions and bringing uncomfortable truths to light,” Mr. Sulzberger said. “The goal of this campaign is clearly to intimidate journalists from doing their job, which includes serving as a check on power and exposing wrongdoing when it occurs. The Times will not be intimidated or silenced.”
Farhad Manjoo and Nadieh Bremer: “Earlier this year, an editor working on The Times’s Privacy Project asked me whether I’d be interested in having all my digital activity tracked, examined in meticulous detail and then published — you know, for journalism. “Hahaha,” I said, and then I think I made an “at least buy me dinner first” joke, but it turned out he was serious. What could I say? I’m new here, I like to help, and, conveniently, I have nothing whatsoever at all to hide….What did we find? The big story is as you’d expect: that everything you do online is logged in obscene detail, that you have no privacy. And yet, even expecting this, I was bowled over by the scale and detail of the tracking; even for short stints on the web, when I logged into Invasive Firefox just to check facts and catch up on the news, the amount of information collected about my endeavors was staggering…”
CRS Report updated August 23, 2019 – The Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution – “Recent litigation involving President Trump has raised a number of legal issues concerning formerly obscure constitutional provisions that prohibit the acceptance or receipt of “emoluments” in certain circumstances. This In Focus provides an overview of these constitutional provisions, highlighting several unsettled legal areas concerning their meaning and scope, and reviewing the status of ongoing litigation against President Trump based on alleged violations of the Emoluments Clauses…
Each of the Emoluments Clauses has a distinct, but related, purpose. The purpose of the Foreign Emoluments Clause is to prevent corruption and limit foreign influence on federal officers. The Clause grew out of the Framers’ experience with the European custom of gift-giving to foreign diplomats, which the Articles of Confederation prohibited. Following that precedent, the Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits federal officers from accepting foreign emoluments without congressional consent…”
Jacobin – Review of Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media, by Sarah T. Roberts (Yale University Press, 2019). “Commercial content moderation, or CCM, describes one of the dirtier jobs on the corporate internet: reviewing and removing violent, racist, and disturbing content posted to social media sites like Facebook and YouTube and in the comments sections of brand-aware websites for consumer products. Such dirty work falls to people like these three cast-iron office workers who do that digital piecework just steps away from the [Eastwood Mall in Quezon City, Philippines]…”
“A hidden army of tens of thousands of content moderators is at work every day — in often appalling conditions — to make the internet as we know it habitable. We should hold Silicon Valley responsible.The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, which includes commercial content moderators, is one of the fastest growing in the Philippines…Fast forward to the contemporary internet, and content moderation looks somewhat different. No longer the domain of community participants whose identity is known by all, mods are invisible, the fact of moderation, says Roberts, almost secret. Roberts attends to this secrecy in her book, using pseudonyms for informants and some of the companies they work for, mindful of the corporate secrecy that puts these workers at risk. Responsibility for upholding community norms online is carried out by workers in order to enhance the profit of the large-scale social-media companies they work for. The rules of engagement are subject to non-disclosure agreements, moderators work from cubicles and call centers, and the job is no longer a labor of community love, but just another low-paid contingent job from Quezon City to Silicon Valley…”
Freedom to Tinker By Jonathan Mayer and Arvind Narayanan – “Blocking cookies is bad for privacy. That’s the new disingenuous argument from Google, trying to justify why Chrome is so far behind Safari and Firefox in offering privacy protections. As researchers who have spent over a decade studying web tracking and online advertising, we want to set the record straight. Our high-level points are:
- Cookie blocking does not undermine web privacy. Google’s claim to the contrary is privacy gaslighting.
- There is little trustworthy evidence on the comparative value of tracking-based advertising.
- Google has not devised an innovative way to balance privacy and advertising; it is latching onto prior approaches that it previously disclaimed as impractical.
- Google is attempting a punt to the web standardization process, which will at best result in years of delay
What follows is a reproduction of excerpts from yesterday’s announcement, annotated with our comments…”Technology that publishers and advertisers use to make advertising even more relevant to people is now being used far beyond its original design intent – to a point where some data practices don’t match up to user expectations for privacy. Google is trying to thread a needle here, implying that some level of tracking is consistent with both the original design intent for web technology and user privacy expectations. Neither is true…”
“The recycling of scrap metal is a $32 billion business in the United States, according to IBISWorld. As virgin materials become increasingly difficult to mine — and demand soars globally for metals — scrap is more important than ever. When he makes a good find, like discovering a length of copper wire, for example, he immediately checks the current prices using an app on his phone called iScrap, which lists the rates for all types of scrap metal. When it comes to copper wire, there’s “bare bright,” “tin coated copper,” “insulated wire copper,” “computer wire” and many others. Depending on the prices, he may opt to cash in right away or hoard it until prices go up…”
Crisis Text Line – Text from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.
“Every texter is connected with a Crisis Counselor, a real-life human being trained to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem solving. All of Crisis Text Line’s Crisis Counselors are volunteers, donating their time to helping people in crisis. Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via a medium people already use and trust: text. Here’s how it works.…”
Forbes – “For more than half a century our digital search engines have relied upon the humble keyword. Yet over the past few years, search engines of all kinds have increasingly turned to deep learning-powered categorization and recommendation algorithms to augment and slowly replace the traditional keyword search. Behavioral and interest-based personalization has further eroded the impact of keyword searches, meaning that if ten people all search for the same thing, they may all get different results. As search engines depreciate traditional raw “search” in favor of AI-assisted navigation, the concept of informational access is being harmed and our digital world is being redefined by the limitations of today’s AI…”
“Some of the terms and acronyms (an abbreviation of the first letters of words in a phrase) people use when they talk about Social Security can be a little confusing. We’re here to help you understand all you need to know. Social Security employees strive to explain benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. In fact, The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to communicate clearly in a way “the public can understand and use.” If a technical term or acronym that you don’t know slips into the conversation or appears in written material, you can easily find the meaning in our online glossary..” [h/t Pete Weiss]