Law and Legal

ABA House approves measures at Midyear Meeting to expand access to justice, voting rights

ABA news release: “The American Bar Association House of Delegates approved a resolution today that would encourage states and other jurisdictions to consider innovative approaches to expanding access to justice with the goal of improving affordability and quality of civil legal services. By voice vote, the 596-member House, which is the association’s policy-making body, overwhelmingly supported Resolution 115 after revisions to the initial proposal. Overall, the House adopted more than three dozen measures that included recommendations for governments to review deadly force policies, curb gun violence and lessen the burden for release after a conviction and before sentencing on criminal charges. The all-day session concluded the ABA Midyear Meeting, which began Feb. 13. Proposed by the ABA Center for Innovation and supported by several standing committees of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, Resolution 115 calls for state regulators and bar associations to continue to explore regulatory innovations that have the potential to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of civil legal services…

Of voter-related measures approved by the House, Resolution 108 urges governmental bodies to enact legislation that would allow eligible youth between 16- and 18-years-old to preregister to vote and urges governments to automatically add preregistered teens to the voter rolls when they reach the legal voting age. Two voting proposals — Resolution 112 and Resolution 114 — ask governments to remove voting barriers for Native Americans and Alaska Natives and change residency requirements to make it easier for those without street addresses to use alternative forms of an address to register to vote. The fourth measure related to voting, Resolution 118, urges Congress to protect the security and integrity of U.S. elections by approving legislation that provides for funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to improve election security, including developing appropriate cybersecurity standards and certification processes. The gun safety measures recommend a ban on “ghost guns,” which are firearms made by individuals, without serial numbers or other identifying markings (Resolution 107A); urge stronger gun permitting laws (Resolution 107B); and endorse more awareness and regulations for safe storage of firearms (Resolution 107C)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Classification Systems vs. Taxonomies

The Accidental Taxonomist: “Is a taxonomy the same as a classification scheme or system? Or, to put it another way, is a classification system, such as the Dewey Decimal System, a kind of taxonomy? Both of these kinds of knowledge organization systems have the feature of arranging topical terms in a hierarchy of multiple levels, without having related-term relationships or necessarily synonyms/nonpreferred terms, which are features of thesauri. So, it appears as if the only difference is that classification systems have some kind of notation or alphanumeric code associated with each term, and taxonomies do not. The differences, however, are greater than that…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Did the Early Internet Activists Blow It?

Slate – I’ve fought for a free internet for 30 years. Here’s where I think we went wrong, and right. By Mike Godwin – “…I’ve come to believe our society should take reasonable steps to limit intentionally harmful speech, but I also find myself increasingly embracing a broader, more instrumentalist vision of freedom of speech than I typically championed in the 1990s. Back then, I was much more focused on encouraging tolerance and pluralism—the idea that an open, democratic society should be willing to let people say outrageous things, to the extent possible, because we ought to be strong enough in our democratic convictions to endure disturbing dissent. I still believe that, but here in 2020 I’m also haunted by the challenges we face everywhere in the world in this century, ranging from climate change to income inequality to the (not-unrelated) resurgence of populist xenophobia and even genocidal movements…”

Categories: Law and Legal

62% of GCs Still Use Excel, SharePoint + Email to Manage Contract Data

Artificial Lawyer – “A survey by ContractPodAi, the AI-powered contract lifecycle management platform, has found that 62% of companies are still using Excel, SharePoint or email to manage their business’s contract data. ContractPodAi gathered responses from 50 large corporate legal departments, that each manage more than 10,000 active contracts, and asked them about how they dealt with this complex mass of legal data that enabled their businesses to keep operating, and which enabled General Counsel (GC) to know their risks and obligations…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues February 15, 2020

Via LLRXPete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues February 15, 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: 2019 Internet Crime Report Released; The silent threat of the coronavirus: America’s dependence on Chinese pharmaceuticals; Equifax breach: How Chinese army hackers allegedly stole personal info; and How to Share Files Securely Online: Dropbox, Firefox Send, and More.

Categories: Law and Legal

Activate This ‘Bracelet of Silence,’ and Alexa Can’t Eavesdrop

The New York Times – “…Mr. Zhao and Ms. Zheng are computer science professors at the University of Chicago, and …with the help of an assistant professor, Pedro Lopes, they designed a piece of digital armor: a “bracelet of silence” that will jam the Echo or any other microphones in the vicinity from listening in on the wearer’s conversations. The bracelet is like an anti-smartwatch, both in its cyberpunk aesthetic and in its purpose of defeating technology. A large, somewhat ungainly white cuff with spiky transducers, the bracelet has 24 speakers that emit ultrasonic signals when the wearer turns it on. The sound is imperceptible to most ears, with the possible exception of young people and dogs, but nearby microphones will detect the high-frequency sound instead of other noises.

“It’s so easy to record these days,” Mr. Lopes said. “This is a useful defense. When you have something private to say, you can activate it in real time. When they play back the recording, the sound is going to be gone.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in WW II Europe

National Archives presentation available via YouTube and C-SPAN – Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe, Thursday, January 23, 2020.

“While armies have seized enemy records and rare texts as booty throughout history, it was only during World War II that an unlikely band of librarians, archivists, and scholars traveled abroad to collect books and documents to aid the military cause. They collected enemy texts, followed advancing armies to capture records, and seized Nazi works from bookstores and schools. When the war ended, they found and helped restitute looted collections hidden in cellars and caves. In Information Hunters, cultural historian Kathy Peiss reveals how book and document collecting became part of the new apparatus of intelligence and national security, military planning, and postwar reconstruction.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google redraws the borders on maps depending on who’s looking

Washington Post – The Silicon Valley firm alters maps under political pressure and the inscrutable whims of tech executives – “Google’s corporate mission is “to organize the world’s information,” but it also bends it to its will. From Argentina to the United Kingdom to Iran, the world’s borders look different depending on where you’re viewing them from. That’s because Google — and other online mapmakers — simply change them. With some 80 percent market share in mobile maps and over a billion users, Google Maps has an outsize impact on people’s perception of the world — from driving directions to restaurant reviews to naming attractions to adjudicating historical border wars…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to shop without Amazon

“I’m Hanna Kozlowska, an investigative reporter at Quartz. I like shopping. I love a great new outfit, or a new skincare hack. I have hobbies that require gear (ski socks, knitting needles). I like my home to look nice-ish and have all sorts of useful things in it. I buy way too many books. I de-stress by browsing through review websites like The Strategist, and I listen to podcasts that offer up a gazillion product recommendations per episode. Doing all of these things brings me joy or relief, but I don’t love the consumerism and waste it encourages. And what I particularly don’t appreciate is how Amazon—a company with many questionable business practices—has weaseled itself into my life, by making it so quick, cheap, and easy to do all these things I love, not to mention chores like buying shoelaces or heads for my electric toothbrush. With my guilt about supporting Amazon steadily fed by a stream of media reports about the company’s various sins, I decided over the summer that I’d quit my several-times-a-month Amazon habit, and document what I did instead. It turned out that it wasn’t that difficult to do, so for this Valentine’s Day—a consumerist holiday if there every was one—here are my suggestions for how to get out of a toxic relationship with the world’s biggest online retailer…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Python programming language: Now you can take NSA’s free course for beginners

ZDNet – NSA releases Python course after receiving a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for its training materials. “Developers already have numerous options from the likes of Microsoft and Google for learning how to code in the popular Python programming language. But now budding Python developers can read up on the National Security Agency’s own Python training materials.  Software engineer Chris Swenson filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the NSA for access to its Python training materials and received a lightly redacted 400-page printout of the agency’s COMP 3321 Python training course. Swenson has since scanned the documents, ran OCR on the text to make it searchable, and hosted it on Digital Oceans Spaces. The material has also been uploaded to the Internet Archive…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Local Bookstores Have A New Weapon In The Fight With Amazon

Fortune: “In the book industry, Amazon is Goliath, the giant who overshadows everyone else. But there’s a new David on the scene, It doesn’t expect to topple the giant, but it has launched a weapon that could make Amazon’s shadow a little smaller, and help local bookstores fight back., a website that went live at the end of January and is still in beta mode, is designed to be an alternative to Amazon, and to generate income for independent bookstores. And, perhaps more importantly, it seeks to give book reviewers, bloggers and publications who rely on affiliate income from “Buy now” links to Amazon a different option. Profit from books sold through Bookshop will be split three ways, with 10% of the sale price going into a pool that will be divided among participating bookstores, 10% going to the publication that triggered the sale by linking to, and 10% going to to support its operations. Bookshop’s 10% commission for affiliate publications is roughly twice Amazon’s 4.5% affiliate commission…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Difficult Conversations Worksheet

Difficult Conversations Worksheet By Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Northern Illinois University, Human Resources Services

“Every Difficult Conversation consists of Three Conversations: * The What Happened? Conversation * The Feeling Conversation * The Identity Conversation *”

Categories: Law and Legal

LC – Machine Learning + Libraries Summit Event Summary

“On Friday, September 20, 2019, the Library of Congress hosted the Machine Learning + Libraries Summit. This one-day conference convened 75 cultural heritage professionals (roughly 50 from outside the Library of Congress and 25 staff from within) to discuss the on-the-ground applications of machine learning technologies in libraries, museums, and universities. Hosting this conference was part of a larger effort to learn about machine learning and the role it could play in helping the Library of Congress reach its strategic goals, such as enhancing discoverability of the Library’s collections, building connections between users and the Library’s digital holdings, and leveraging technology to serve creative communities and the general public.

The Machine Learning + Libraries Summit Event Summary is now available as a downloadable report on This document includes more detailed information about the conference proceedings. It broadly summarizes recurring themes of discussion and compiles the outputs of the small group activities. We hope it serves as a point of entry into broader conversations around the challenges, opportunities, and actionable items concerning machine learning in cultural heritage…”

Categories: Law and Legal

LC – New Online Collection: Military Legal Resources

In Custodia Legis: “This collection includes material from the William Winthrop Memorial Library at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) is the legal arm of the United States Army, established on July 29, 1775 by General George Washington. Judge Advocates are stationed in the United States and abroad. They are most known for representing soldiers during courts-martial, but their duties encompass a wide range of legal disciplines. Selections of their physical library collection have been digitized and made available to the public online, including primary source materials and publications in the field of military law. The collection is divided into three webpages to best highlight the type of material available: JAG Legal Center & School Materials, Historical Materials, and Military Law and Legislative History. These pages contain the digitized material, as well as descriptions of the collections and, in some cases, historical and contextual significance. The three webpages organize the collection with drop-down menus, under which you can find the descriptions and links to the PDFs…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Top Queries from Google in 2019

“At we collect two sets of search data: 1) searches that users type into Google that include pages in the search results and 2) queries that users type while on In reporting our top searches for 2019 we are including both sets of search data.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Top Searches on in 2019

“At we collect two sets of search data: 1) searches that users type into Google that include pages in the search results and 2) queries that users type while on In reporting our top searches for 2019 we are including both sets of search data.”

Categories: Law and Legal

1,000 of the most stunning landscapes in Google Earth

Google Blog: “…Earth View is a collection of thousands of the planet’s most beautiful landscapes, seen from space. Over the last decade, the collection has been witnessed by millions around the world as wallpapers for Android devices, screensavers for Chromecast and Google Home, and as an interactive exhibit in Google Earth’s Voyager. Earth View was even once featured on the world’s biggest billboard to bring a little zen to Times Square during the holidays. Today, we’re making our biggest update to Earth View by adding more than 1,000 new images to the collection, bringing the total to more than 2,500 striking landscapes. The upgraded imagery features more locations around the globe and is optimized for today’s high-resolution screens—featuring brighter colors, sharper images and resolutions up to 4K….”

Categories: Law and Legal

NYSDEC Issues Revised Guidance for PFAS Sampling and Analysis

Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) just released its new “Guidance for Sampling and Analysis of PFAS Under NYSDEC’s Part 375 Remedial Programs January 2020 (“PFAS Guidance”).  The purpose of the PFAS Guidance is to establish procedures for sampling PFAS and for determining if PFAS is a contaminant of concern for a particular site requiring remediation.  The PFAS Guidance is not yet available on the NYSDEC website but has been distributed to consultants working on sites subject to one of the DEC remedial programs.

Since the NYSDEC has not yet established Ambient Water Quality Standards (AWQS) and Soil Cleanup Objectives (SCOs) for PFAS , the PFAS Guidance states that the NYSDEC will determine on a case-by-case basis if PFAS-contaminated media will be subject to remediation.

The PFAS Guidance states that all future workplans should include PFAS sampling and analysis procedures that conform to the PFAS Guidance analysis will be required for sampling of soil, groundwater, surface water, and sediment but not soil vapors. The field sampling procedures for the various media are set forth in the appendices. Appendix B establishes the sampling protocols for soils, sediments or other solids. Appendix C sets forth the sampling protocols for non-potable groundwater monitoring wells. Appendix D contains the methodology for sampling PFAS in surface water, Appendix E applies to PFAS sampling of private water supply wells and Appendix F for collecting PFAS samples from fish tissue. Laboratories analyzing environmental samples for PFAS must hold ELAP certification for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water by EPA Method 537.1 or ISO 25101

Appendix G of the PFAS Guidance contains a list of 19 PFAS substances that are to be initially analyzed for all remedial program sites. This PFAS Analyte List may be adjusted or refined  for a particular site depending on investigative results.

Water Sample Results

The PFAS Guidance states that PFAS will be a potential contaminant of concern in groundwater or surface water requiring further assessment when PFOA or PFOS is detected in any water sample at or above 10 ng/L (ppt).

In addition, NYSDEC indicates that further assessment of water may be warranted if either of the following screening levels are met:

  • any other individual PFAS (not PFOA or PFOS) is detected in water at or above 100 ng/L; or
  • total concentration of PFAS (including PFOA and PFOS) is detected in water at or above 500 ng/L

Soil Sample Results

The PFAS Guidance states that for purposes of delineation and remedy selection,  soil samples should be tested using the Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure (SPLP) and the leachate analyzed for PFAS. Soils exhibiting SPLP results above 70 ppt for either PFOA or PFOS (individually or combine) are to be evaluated during the cleanup phase.

The PFAS Guidance notes that the SPLP leachate criteria is based on the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) proposed for drinking water by New York State Department of Health. Thus, the SPLP criteria may be updated based on future federal or state regulatory standards.

NYSDEC indicates in the PFAS Guidance that remedial parties have the option of analyzing samples concurrently for both PFAS in soil and in the SPLP leachate to minimize project delays.

Testing for Imported Soil

The PFAS Guidance states that soil imported to a site for use in a soil cap, soil cover, or as backfill must be tested for PFAS in general conformance with DER-10, Section 5.4(e) for the PFAS Analyte List (Appendix F) using the analytical procedures discussed below and the criteria in DER-10 associated with SVOCs.

  • If PFOA or PFOS is detected in any sample at or above 1 µg/kg, then soil should be tested by SPLP and the leachate analyzed for PFAS.
  • If the SPLP results exceed 10 ppt for either PFOA or PFOS (individually) then the source of backfill should be rejected, unless a site-specific exemption is provided by DER.

PFAS Sampling For Sites Subject Site Management

For sites that were previously remediated and are now under site management, the PFAS  Guidance says PFAS will need to be analyzed to determine if modification to any components of the SMP is necessary (e.g., monitoring for PFAS, upgrading treatment facilities, or performing an RSO).

Thus, much like MTBE sites in the 1990s and chlorinated sites in the early 2000s, it is possible that sites that have received certificate of completion may become subject to reopeners where PFAS was not previously assessed and site management sampling identifies PFAS as a contaminant of concern. As the noted American philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It Aint Over Till its Over.”

The post NYSDEC Issues Revised Guidance for PFAS Sampling and Analysis appeared first on Schnapf Environmental Law.

Categories: Law and Legal

3D Printing Is Changing the World

This is a 12 minute HBO production via YouTube – by VICE – “3D-printing innovations in recent years have brought a sea change in the fabrication of everything from automobile parts to human bio-tissues. VICE’s Krishna Andavolu delves into the cutting-edge research behind what’s being called the next industrial revolution, meeting the scientists and entrepreneurs pushing the boundaries of manufacturing, material science, and even space exploration.”

Categories: Law and Legal

In Manila and San Francisco, Rising Seas Are a Crisis Right Now

The New York Times: “…An estimated 600 million people live directly on the world’s coastlines, among the most hazardous places to be in the era of climate change. According to scientific projections, the oceans stand to rise by one to four feet by the end of the century, with projections of more ferocious storms and higher tides that could upend the lives of entire communities. Many people face the risks right now. Two sprawling metropolitan areas offer a glimpse of the future. One rich, one poor, they sit on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean: the San Francisco Bay Area (population 7 million) and metropolitan Manila (almost 14 million). Their history, their wealth, and the political and personal choices they make today will shape how they fare as the water inevitably comes to their doorsteps…”

Categories: Law and Legal


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