Law and Legal
Kaiser Health News: “Scores of organs — mostly kidneys — are trashed each year and many more become critically delayed while being shipped on commercial airliners, a new investigation finds….In a nation where nearly 113,000 people are waiting for transplants, scores of organs — mostly kidneys — are discarded after they don’t reach their destination in time. Between 2014 and 2019, nearly 170 organs could not be transplanted and almost 370 endured “near misses,” with delays of two hours or more, after transportation problems, according to an investigation by Kaiser Health News and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The media organizations reviewed data from more than 8,800 organ and tissue shipments collected voluntarily and shared upon request by the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, the nonprofit government contractor that oversees the nation’s transplant system. Twenty-two additional organs classified as transportation “failures” were ultimately able to be transplanted elsewhere….”
Fast Company – “The median employee at Align Technologies, the company that makes Invisalign, makes $13,180 a year. The CEO makes $41,758,338. That’s a pay ratio of 3,168:1. And if you look at how the company performed over the long term, he was only worth about about $14 million dollars, meaning he was overpaid by some $27 million. That’s according to a new report that compares CEO pay to a company’s total shareholder return, a metric that tracks performance over five years. In the report, “The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs,” the nonprofit As You Sow lists the most egregious examples. The CEO compensation and average employee compensation come from data that corporations now have to disclose to the SEC and are based on data from the most recent fiscal year. The “overpayment” calculation is based on a statistical regression model from the investment services company HIP Investor that looks at what CEOs should have made based on longer-term company performance. Here are the top 10, by the percent they were overpaid…”
Medium – Kati Price: “I say ‘problem’, of course I mean problems. Lots of them. (And not just in the cultural sector either.) So it’s interesting that last week saw the launch of number of initiatives that might just help improve digital skills and literacy within the UK cultural sector. (In case you missed it, the UK Museums Computer Group did a handy round up.) It’s reassuring to see some practical (funded) responses to some of the issues that Daf James and I uncovered in our research on Structuring for Digital Success back in 2018. That research saw us survey around 60 organisations across the globe to find out how they structure and resource their digital activity. It revealed a number of challenges, many of which are linked to digital skills and — more specifically — a lack of them…”
National Archives FOIA Ombudsman: “Looking for ways to bolster the use of technology within the FOIA process? Check out a report from the Technology Committee (Committee) of the Chief FOIA Officers Council (Council) to the Council Co-Chairs that discusses FOIA Information Technology (IT) best practices and recommendations. In response to a recommendation by the 2016-2018 term of the FOIA Advisory Committee, the Archivist of the United States directed that the cross-agency Council establish a technology subcommittee in partnership with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council, to study the use and deployment of technology in agency FOIA programs and identify best practices and recommendations that can be implemented across agencies. In September 2018, the Council established the Technology Subcommittee (later renamed the Technology Committee). Members hail from five Cabinet-level agencies and six independent agencies and met throughout Fiscal Year 2019…”
Smithsonian Magazine – “Culture connoisseurs, rejoice: The Smithsonian Institution is inviting the world to engage with its vast repository of resources like never before. For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge. Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse and transform them into just about anything they choose—be it a postcard, a beer koozie or a pair of bootie shorts And this gargantuan data dump is just the beginning. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting. “Being a relevant source for people who are learning around the world is key to our mission,” says Effie Kapsalis, who is heading up the effort as the Smithsonian’s senior digital program officer. “We can’t imagine what people are going to do with the collections. We’re prepared to be surprised.”
The database’s launch also marks the latest victory for a growing global effort to migrate museum collections into the public domain. Nearly 200 other institutions worldwide—including Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago—have made similar moves to digitize and liberate their masterworks in recent years. But the scale of the Smithsonian’s release is “unprecedented” in both depth and breadth, says Simon Tanner, an expert in digital cultural heritage at King’s College London…”
The New York Times – Smart-home sensors can detect leaks, frozen pipes, and open doors so that small problems don’t turn into big expenses – “Smart-home sensors can be discreetly placed all around your house, don’t require any expertise to use, and leave you with some peace of mind knowing that if mayhem strikes, you’ll have enough time to act before it busts your repair budget. Some smart-home sensors can be set up by themselves, while others work best when integrated with Apple HomeKit or another smart-home hub like SmartThings or Wink, which let different smart-home devices work together. All can send notifications to your smartphone when triggered, and many work with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or Google Nest Hub, letting you check their status just by asking or receive voice notifications through the speaker. In collaboration with Wirecutter, a product review company owned by The New York Times, here are some of the smart-home devices we think are useful for most people…”
The New York Times Coronavirus Live Updates: “For the U.S., it’s not if but when, federal officials say. Americans should brace for the likelihood that the coronavirus will spread to communities in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday. “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases….But health officials were not so reassuring. Dr. Messonnier said that public health officials have no idea whether the spread of the disease to the United States would be mild or severe, but that Americans should be ready for a significant disruption to their daily lives… As outbreaks grow and spread in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, U.S. officials warn Americans to brace for their own. Right Now – The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to a record low, and U.S. stocks dropped 3 percent. Here’s what you need to know…”
- For the U.S., it’s not if but when, federal officials say.
- U.S. tests experimental treatment and watches for disruptions of Chinese drug supplies.
- Stock market continues decline for a second day.
- A continental scramble as Italy-linked coronavirus cases appear in five European nations.
- Virus’s spread waning in China, but threatening to balloon in the Middle East and Europe.
European Parliamentary Research Service Blog: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is usually understood as the ability for a machine to display human-like capabilities such as reasoning, learning, planning and creativity. The ‘Holy Grail’ for many governments and companies seeking to benefit from the digital revolution, the first to invent and apply true AI could achieve an enormous advantage in economic and military terms. However, there are serious ethical implications in such potential developments. Many aspects of AI have already been applied since the 2000s in machines with sufficiently fast processing speeds, equipped with learning techniques and fed large amounts of data. Current versions of AI help to drive cars, beat chess champions, and offer excellent medical diagnostics, to take a few examples. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on AI and related issues…”
RAPS: “The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday unveiled the first version of its searchable online database of biological product information, known as the Purple Book. Building off the previous PDF lists of biological products, the database now allows for easier searches and includes information on product names (proprietary and proper), the type of biologics license application (BLA) that was submitted, strength of the biologic, dosage form, product presentation, license status, BLA number and approval date. Biopharma companies previously requested that FDA include exclusivity information in the Purple Book, similar to what’s offered in the Orange Book, and FDA says that a later iteration of the database will include such dates. “Once the Purple Book database is completed, it will offer information about all licensed biological products, including information pertaining to exclusivity,” FDA said…”
When Speakers Are All Ears – Understanding when smart speakers mistakenly record conversations. Daniel J. Dubois (Northeastern University), Roman Kolcun (Imperial College London), Anna Maria Mandalari (Imperial College London), Muhammad Talha Paracha (Northeastern University), David Choffnes (Northeastern University), Hamed Haddadi (Imperial College London) Last updated: 02/14/2020
Summary – Voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, OK Google, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana are becoming increasingly pervasive in our homes, offices, and public spaces. While convenient, these systems also raise important privacy concerns—namely, what exactly are these systems recording from their surroundings, and does that include sensitive and personal conversations that were never meant to be shared with companies or their contractors? These aren’t just hypothetical concerns from paranoid users: there have been a slew of recent reports about devices constantly recording audio and cloud providers outsourcing to contractors transcription of audio recordings of private and intimate interactions. Anyone who has used voice assistants knows that they accidentally wake up and record when the “wake word” isn’t spoken—for example, “Seriously” sounds like the wake word “Siri” and often causes Apple’s Siri-enabled devices to start listening. There are many other anecdotal reports of everyday words in normal conversation being mistaken for wake words. For the past six months, our team has been conducting research to go beyond anecdotes through the use of repeatable, controlled experiments that shed light on what causes voice assistants to mistakenly wake up and record. Below, we provide a brief summary of our approach, findings so far, and their implications. This is ongoing research, and we will update this page as we learn more…”
The Correspondent: “The ends of the Earth are melting at a rate not seen in at least 115,000 years. And over the past few months, there’s been increasing evidence that the changes we’re seeing at our planet’s poles are only growing more severe.
- On 1 August, the Greenland ice sheet lost 12.5bn tonnes of ice on a single day, a new all-time record.
- On 18 September, the Arctic Ocean reached its second lowest extent of sea ice in history.
- On 9 February, the temperature reached an astounding 20.75C (69F) on Seymour Island, just off the coast of the Antarctic peninsula, the warmest temperature ever measured on the continent. “[W]e have never seen anything like this,” said Carlos Schaefer, a Brazilian scientist working on Seymour Island.
- These changes in the most remote places on Earth have huge consequences for our daily lives because our daily lives have huge consequences for the most remote places on Earth. Decades of routine human activities – going to work, driving a car, eating a hamburger, choosing a stock portfolio – have transformed the frozen parts of this planet on a scale never seen before. If we do not change our behaviour drastically to slow down and eventually stop the Arctic melt, rising sea levels and even faster rising global temperatures will threaten our very way of life…”
EFF: “California police and sheriffs are failing to protect the privacy of drivers on city streets, the California State Auditor’s office determined after a seven-month investigation into the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by the Los Angeles Police Department and three other local law enforcement agencies. California State Senator Scott Wiener sponsored the State Auditor’s report. The auditor raised a long list of concerns, including fundamental problems with police ALPR policies, failure to conduct audits, and the risk of ALPR data being abused to surveil political rallies or target immigrant populations. In addition to Los Angeles, the auditor investigated the Fresno Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, and Marin County Sheriff’s Office. The auditor indicated that the problems are likely prevalent across 230 California law enforcement agencies using ALPRs. The report is a damning assessment of how California law enforcement agencies use this mass-surveillance technology, which employs computer-controlled, high-speed cameras mounted on street lights, on top of police cars, or speed-monitoring trailers that automatically capture images of every vehicle that drives by, without drivers’ knowledge or permission. The cameras capture the exact time and place a license plate was seen, and often compares that data point to hot lists of “people of interest” to police. The cameras are capable of capturing millions of data points, which, taken in the aggregate, can paint an intimate portrait of a driver’s life and even chill First Amendment protected activity…”
“OCW is a free and open publication of material from thousands of MIT courses, covering the entire MIT curriculum. That’s every MIT department and degree program, and ranging from the introductory to the most advanced graduate level. Each OCW course includes a syllabus, some instructional material (such as lecture notes or a reading list), and some learning activities (such as assignments or exams). Many courses also have complete video lectures, free online textbooks, and faculty teaching insights. While some OCW content is custom-created for online use, most of it comes straight from the MIT classroom…”
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE – total confirmed cases world wide as of 02/24/2020 – 79,554.
- Lancet Article: Here. Mobile Version: Here. Visualization: JHU CSSE. Automation Support: Esri Living Atlas team.
- Data sources: WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC and DXY. Read more in this blog. Contact US.
- Downloadable database: GitHub: Here. Feature layer: Here.
- Point level: City level – US, Canada and Australia; Province level – China; Country level – other countries.
- Time Zones: lower-left corner indicator – your local time; lower-right corner plot – UTC.
- This website and its contents herein, including all data, mapping, and analysis (“Website”), copyright 2020 Johns Hopkins University, all rights reserved,
Politico – “The U.S. Constitution is famously short—a mere 7,591 words, including its 27 amendments. That makes it all the more remarkable that 110 of those words have been, in effect, lost to the ages. These forgotten words form Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, which was designed to guard against the infringement of voting rights. The lost provision is simple: States that deny their citizens the right to vote will have reduced representation in the House of Representatives. I bet you’ve never heard of that part of our founding document. That’s because, throughout U.S. history, legal ambiguities and confusion over implementation authorities have kept this provision from realizing its potential. But there are ways to put it to work right now. And there’s no better time. From widespread closure of polling locations and expanding imposition of voter identification laws to escalating purges of voter rolls, assaults on the right to vote nationwide illustrate that we need these lost words back, urgently. The 14th Amendment is divided into five sections, all aimed at protecting civil rights in the wake of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Section 2 states:
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues February 22, 2020 – 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: A spotter’s guide to the groups that are out to get you; The ‘Robo Revenge’ App Makes It Easy to Sue Robocallers; Activate This ‘Bracelet of Silence,’ and Alexa Can’t Eavesdrop; and Security experts raise concerns about voting app used by military.
ars technica – “…we’re going to teach you how to figure out how many Wi-Fi access points (APs) you need, and where to put them. These rules apply whether we’re talking about a single Wi-Fi router, a mesh kit like Eero, Plume, or Orbi, or a set of wire-backhauled access points like Ubiquiti’s UAP-AC line or TP-Link’s EAPs. Unfortunately, these “rules” are necessarily closer to “guidelines” as there are a lot of variables it’s impossible to fully account for from an armchair a few thousand miles away. But if you become familiar with these rules, you should at least walk away with a better practical understanding of what to expect—and not expect—from your Wi-Fi gear and how to get the most out of it…”
“Apollo supports open access to images of artworks that are out of copyright. [This is a] list of museums and other archives that provide unrestricted downloads of high-resolution images.”