Law and Legal
“Employment data for the graduating law class of 2019 as reported by American Bar Association-approved law schools to the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is now publicly available. An online table provides select national outcomes and side-by-side comparisons for the classes of 2018 and 2019. Further reports on employment outcomes, including links to individual school outcomes and spreadsheets aggregating those reports, are available on the ABA Required Disclosures page of the section’s website. Each year’s employment outcomes measure law graduate employment on March 15, which is approximately 10 months after spring graduation. For the class of 2019, this date occurred just as the United States began experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the data reported for the class of 2019 reflects law graduate employment outcomes on March 16, 2020 — the first business day after March 15 — and may not reflect current law graduate outcomes in today’s changed economic environment. For the class of 2019, the aggregated school data shows that 80.6% of the 2019 graduates of the 198 law schools enrolling students and approved by the ABA to offer the J.D. degree were employed in full-time, long-term Bar Passage Required or J.D. Advantage jobs roughly 10 months after graduation. That compares to 77.7% of the graduates reporting similar full-time, long-term jobs last year…”
“The American Association of Law Libraries’ Foreign, Comparative & International Law Special Interest Section will be hosting a webinar on international responses to COVID-19 on June 18, 2020 at 11 am and 2 pm US/Central. Please join us for Law Librarians Combatting Infodemic during the COVID-19 Pandemic! Here is the description:As the legal response to COVID-19 constantly evolves, it can be difficult to keep track of the rapidly shifting legal landscape. In two paired webinars on June 18, 2020, law librarians will provide an overview of legal responses to COVID-19 worldwide, introduce tools for tracking the international legal response, and explain how to evaluate sources of information in connection with this crisis. At 11 am US/Central, Alex Zhang (Washington & Lee), Alison Shea (Cornell), Yemisi Dina (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University), and Mariya Badeva-Bright (Laws.Africa) will update viewers on COVID-19 responses in Asia, Europe, and Africa, highlighting especially interesting responses that you may have missed and resources for learning more. At 2 pm US/Central, Marcelo Rodríguez (US Courts for the 2nd Circuit), Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran (San José State University), and Victoria De La Torre (AALL Latino Caucus Chair) will introduce viewers to Law Librarians Monitoring COVID-19, their project tracking COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and provide updates on COVID-19 responses in the Americas. Please register now for the Law Librarians Combatting Infodemic during the COVID-19 Pandemic webinars on June 18 at 11 am and 2 pm US/Central. [via Caitlin Hunter, FCIL-SIS Continuing Education Committee Chair Caitlin, Reference Librarian Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library | UCLA School of Law]”
The New York Times – “The attorney general has long held an expansive view of presidential power. With multiple crises converging in the run-up to the 2020 election, he is busy putting his theories to work…Now nearing the end of his career, Barr did not take his current job for the glory. He had already been attorney general once, in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, winning him a reputation as a wise old man — a reputation that, in the eyes of some, his tenure in the Trump administration has tarnished. Nor is he doing it for the money. His time in corporate America earned him tens of millions of dollars in compensation and stock options, and his bearing is still that of a Fortune 500 counsel, cozy manners wrapped around a harder core…
As far as what Barr is hoping to do with his canvas, [Stuart] Gerson [former head of DOJ Civil Division] says he is committed to the “hierarchical” and “authoritarian” premise that “a top-down ordering of society will produce a more moral society.” That isn’t too far away from what Barr himself articulated in a 2019 speech at the University of Notre Dame. In Barr’s view, piety lay at the heart of the founders’ model of self-government, which depended on religious values to restrain human passions. “The founding generation were Christians,” Barr said. Goodness flows from “a transcendent Supreme Being” through “individual morality” to form “the social order.” Reason and experience merely serve to confirm the infallible divine law. That law, he said, is under threat from “militant secularists,” including “so-called progressives,” who call on the state “to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility.” At their feet, Barr places mental illness, drug overdoses, violence and suicide. All these things, he said, are getting worse. All are “the bitter results of the new secular age.”…
Publishers File Suit Against Internet Archive for Systematic Mass Scanning and Distribution of Literary Works
Association of American Publishers: “Today, member companies of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet Archive (“IA”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit asks the Court to enjoin IA’s mass scanning, public display, and distribution of entire literary works [Internet Archive Blog Posting], which it offers to the public at large through global-facing businesses coined “Open Library” and “National Emergency Library,” accessible at both openlibrary.org and archive.org. IA has brazenly reproduced some 1.3 million bootleg scans of print books, including recent works, commercial fiction and non-fiction, thrillers, and children’s books. The plaintiffs—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons and Penguin Random House—publish many of the world’s preeminent authors, including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Newbery Medal, Man Booker Prize, Caldecott Medal and Nobel Prize.
- Despite the self-serving library branding of its operations, IA’s conduct bears little resemblance to the trusted role that thousands of American libraries play within their communities and as participants in the lawful copyright marketplace. IA scans books from cover to cover, posts complete digital files to its website, and solicits users to access them for free by signing up for Internet Archive Accounts. The sheer scale of IA’s infringement described in the complaint—and its stated objective to enlarge its illegal trove with abandon—appear to make it one of the largest known book pirate sites in the world. IA publicly reports millions of dollars in revenue each year, including financial schemes that support its infringement design…”
Vox: “The video is horrific. George Floyd lies on the ground, facing the back end of a police SUV, as three cops kneel on his body. One of them, Derek Chauvin, has his knee on Floyd’s neck as the helpless man begs for his life. “I can’t breathe, man. Please understand. Please, man.” It’s a sadly familiar scene, and quite like one that played out in 1976 after Los Angeles police officers pulled over Adolph Lyons for a broken taillight. Like Floyd, Lyons was black. The officers met him with guns drawn and ordered him to face the car, spread his legs, and place his hands on top of his head. Not long after Lyons complained that a ring of keys that he held in his hands was causing him pain, one of the officers wrapped his forearm around Lyons’s throat and began to choke him. Lyons passed out. He woke up facedown on the ground, covered in his own urine and feces. The officers released him with a citation for the broken taillight.
- Lyons brought a federal lawsuit against the city and officers who assaulted him. But that case, City of Los Angeles v. Lyons (1983), did not end well for him. Decades later, the 5-4 decision still stands as one of the greatest obstacles to civil rights lawyers challenging police brutality in cases like George Floyd’s…”
Axios: “The ways Americans capture and share records of racist violence and police misconduct keep changing, but the pain of the underlying injustices they chronicle remains a stubborn constant.
Driving the news: After George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked wide protests, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said, “Thank God a young person had a camera to video it.”
Why it matters: From news photography to TV broadcasts to camcorders to smartphones, improvements in the technology of witness over the past century mean we’re more instantly and viscerally aware of each new injustice.
- But unless our growing power to collect and distribute evidence of injustice can drive actual social change, the awareness these technologies provide just ends up fueling frustration and despair…”
CRS report via LC – Digital Contact Tracing Technology:Overview and Considerations for Implementation, May 29, 2020: “Contact tracing” is a public health measure used to control disease spread. Trained public health workers assist patients with an infectious disease recall their close contacts within a given time frame, notify them of potential exposure, and provide advice to patients and contacts. Given the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, some public health authorities are automating part of the tracing process with smartphone applications (apps). Some apps take advantage of Bluetooth signals to track individuals proximity to one another, otherwise known as “digital exposure notification (DEN)” Bluetooth allows short-range wireless communications between electronic devices. Apps may also be used by public health authorities to enable “digital contact tracing” (DCT), which may also use location data…Discussion of U.S. digital contact tracing has identified a number of challenges related to its use, including Bluetooth limitations, app effectiveness versus personal privacy, interoperability,and coverage. Each poses a different challenge to effective use of digital tracing capabilities…”
Police Accountability Tool – “Use the data on this page to hold Police Chiefs and Mayors accountable for ending police violence in your city. The charts below use data from January 2013 through December 2019 to show which police departments are most – and least – likely to kill people. You can also compare police departments operating in jurisdictions with similar levels of crime to show that, even under similar circumstances, some police departments are much more likely to kill people than others. And after you’ve explored this tool, click here to learn about police violence in your state…”
Popular Science: “Social media networks know a lot about you. In fact, that’s their primary job. They want to collect information about you and use that to sell advertisements that you can’t resist. In return for your data, these companies give you a chance to interact with other users and share your life no matter how interesting or banal. Recently, instructions have been floating around the web about how to see the secret interests Instagram thinks you want to see ads about. The results are sometimes hilariously wrong, but they can also be worryingly accurate. Your information is a product that companies leverage. In a perfect world, this exchange would result in a harmonious civilization in which people find others with similar interests and we enjoy our hobbies in peace. In real life, however, our information crawls around the dark corners of the web where it’s compromised, sold, leveraged, and otherwise abused. And that’s not even mentioning what happens when one of these social media sites flickers out of existence and takes all of your stuff with it. This article provides a quick primer on how to see what data sites have collected about you, as well as how to download and delete it. It’s handy information to have before the next site shuts down or accidentally tells a bunch of bad guys your favorite movie and your cellphone number…”
Science: “Artificial intelligence (AI) just seems to get smarter and smarter. Each iPhone learns your face, voice, and habits better than the last, and the threats AI poses to privacy and jobs continue to grow. The surge reflects faster chips, more data, and better algorithms. But some of the improvement comes from tweaks rather than the core innovations their inventors claim—and some of the gains may not exist at all, says Davis Blalock, a computer science graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Blalock and his colleagues compared dozens of approaches to improving neural networks—software architectures that loosely mimic the brain. “Fifty papers in,” he says, “it became clear that it wasn’t obvious what the state of the art even was.” The researchers evaluated 81 pruning algorithms, programs that make neural networks more efficient by trimming unneeded connections. All claimed superiority in slightly different ways. But they were rarely compared properly—and when the researchers tried to evaluate them side by side, there was no clear evidence of performance improvements over a 10-year period. The result, presented in March at the Machine Learning and Systems conference, surprised Blalock’s Ph.D. adviser, MIT computer scientist John Guttag, who says the uneven comparisons themselves may explain the stagnation. “It’s the old saw, right?” Guttag said. “If you can’t measure something, it’s hard to make it better.”…
Bookmarkos – “The following is an attempt to categorize every bookmark manager ever made into the following categories: visual-based, list-based, start pages, search-based, tag-based, tab management, read it later, image bookmarking, privacy focused, sync-based, offline downloadable solutions, and other…”
Politico – Test counts inflated, death tolls deflated, metrics shifted: “Federal and state officials across the country have altered or hidden public health data crucial to tracking the coronavirus’ spread, hindering the ability to detect a surge of infections as President Donald Trump pushes the nation to reopen rapidly. In at least a dozen states, health departments have inflated testing numbers or deflated death tallies by changing criteria for who counts as a coronavirus victim and what counts as a coronavirus test, according to reporting from POLITICO, other news outlets and the states’ own admissions. Some states have shifted the metrics for a “safe” reopening; Arizona sought to clamp down on bad news at one point by simply shuttering its pandemic modeling. About a third of the states aren’t even reporting hospital admission data — a big red flag for the resurgence of the virus…”
See also BuzzFeed news – “The CDC Released New Death Rate Estimates For The Coronavirus. Many Scientists Say They’re Too Low. Public health experts are accusing the CDC of bending under political pressure to say the coronavirus is less deadly…”
EFF: “As part of EFF’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve edited and compiled our critical thoughts on digital rights and the pandemic into an ebook: EFF’s Guide to Digital Rights and the Pandemic. To get the ebook, you can make an optional contribution to support EFF’s work, or you can download it at no cost. We released the ebook under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits sharing among users…”
Newsweek: “The video-conference app Zoom plans to strengthen the encryption of its service for paying customers, but the upgrade will not be available to users of its free service. The tech company discussed the encryption boost on a call with civil liberties groups earlier this week. Zoom security consultant Alex Stamos later confirmed the details of the reported move in an interview with Reuters, which first reported the changes on Friday. But he also told the news outlet that Zoom’s plans could still change…”
BuzzFeedNews – By Digital Contact Tracing Apps – “Imagine you arrive at work. Before you’re allowed to clock in, you have to complete a quiz on your phone that asks if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. If you’re healthy, you get to walk in. Once inside, you go about your day while your phone uses Bluetooth beacons, GPS tracking, or both to determine the people you have been near. If one day you do come down with symptoms, the app alerts HR, which then alerts the people you’ve been in contact with. This is already a reality for thousands of workers around the world — in particular, those working in sectors like mining, energy, manufacturing, field services (like appliance installation or repair), construction, or hospitality. Digital contact tracing — using an app or another form of technology to track who you’ve been in touch with, with the goal of stopping the spread of the coronavirus — isn’t mandated by any states or governments in the US. But there’s nothing stopping private companies from encouraging or even requiring workers to participate…”
Survey of 1,400+ Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses participants highlights status of loan funds and that COVID-19 will change how they operate their businesses – “The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and communities all over the world is significant. Consistent with our firm’s purpose of advancing sustainable economic growth and financial opportunity, Goldman Sachs is committed to supporting relief efforts, elevating the voices of our small business community to policymakers, and working across sectors on innovative sources of funding…”
COVID-19 – New tools aim to tame pandemic paper tsunami, Jeffrey Brainard, Science 29 May 2020: Vol. 368, Issue 6494, pp. 924-925. DOI: 10.1126/science.368.6494.924. “Timothy Sheahan, a virologist studying COVID-19, wishes he could keep pace with the growing torrent of new scientific papers related to the pandemic. But there have just been too many—more than 5000 papers a week. “I’m not keeping up,” says Sheahan, who works at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “It’s impossible.” A loose-knit army of data scientists and software developers is pressing hard to change that. They are creating digital collections of papers and building search tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that could help researchers quickly find the information they seek. The urgency is growing: The COVID-19 literature has grown to more than 31,000 papers since January and by one estimate is on pace to hit more than 52,000 by mid-June—among the biggest explosions of scientific literature ever. The volume of information “is like what you would get in a medical conference that used to happen yearly. Now, that’s happening daily,” says Sherry Chou, a neurologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who is studying COVID-19’s neurologic effects…”
Library Journal – NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL – “We understand our plans may not be applicable to everyone’s situation. In fact, our experience shows how specific needs and situations will drive the different decisions each library makes. Our campuses range from dense urban centers to suburban settings. Even within the same city, our five libraries have different plans for re-opening.
- One library with a very small staff is only offering remote services as long as instruction at their college remains online-only.
- Another library supports several healthcare assistant training programs requiring in-person instruction. We need to re-open that library as soon as possible for those students.
- Staff at another library want to be very cautious. They interacted with someone later confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 from the Mount Vernon, WA, choir practice at which 45 of 60 choir members got sick even while following distancing guidelines.
It’s important to consider what’s best for your situation and review local and state health organizations recommendations…”